"During that time, I was into L.A. punk rock," Adams writes from jail in Hawaii, where he's serving time on a drug bust. "Life was filled with violence. In order for me to have a good night, somebody else had to have a very bad night. Now that I'm older, I know that shit ain't right, but at the time, it was fun and games."
It stopped being fun and games after a typically chaotic Suicidal show in the Valley. On the way home a tequila-soaked Adams and his crew stopped as usual at Oki Dog in Hollywood. A gay couple, one guy white and the other black, strolled by and met with typical catcalls. Happens all the time, right? Only this time the couple decided to shout back -- something along the lines of "Fuck you, punk-rock assholes."
To Adams, those were fighting words. He and a friend put the guys on the ground and bolted. Unfortunately, the rest of the crowd moved in with steel boots and didn't stop until one of the guys was dead. Initially arrested for murder, Adams ended up serving a six-month sentence for felony assault.
If you wanted to look for a sad epitaph for this story, that would be it. But the Z-Boys' legacy endured. Stacy Peralta and Tony Alva, through their skate companies, introduced the world to the likes of Christian Hosoi, Tommy Guerrero, Mark Gonzales, Steve Alba and, eventually, Tony Hawk. One of the most famous and recognizable athletes in the world, Hawk spent his first 10 years as a professional skateboarder, an original member of Powell-Peralta's famed Bones Brigade.
Craig Stecyk and Stacy Peralta would also pioneer the use of video to document not only the most progressive skating, but the irreverent, barely legal exploits of the Brigade -- a trend that would set the tone for Big Brother magazine and MTV's highest-rated show, Jackass. Wes Humpston and Jim Muir would formalize Stecyk's initial artistic impulse and make production-level graphics on skateboards the industry standard.
In effect, the Z-Boys remade skateboarding in their own image, an image that is still haunted by Pacific Ocean Park and the ghosts of Dogtown, and now skateboarding has remade youth culture in its image. It's the $3 billion cornerstone of an extreme-sports franchise that rises from ESPN to Capital Cities/ABC up to Disney. Skateparks are once again flourishing, this time in partnership with mega-mall developers. All of which helps explain why Stecyk and Peralta's documentary is so aptly subtitled A Film About the Birth of the Now. It also helps explain why New Line has a feature film in the works, once again hoping to capitalize on the Z-Boys effect out there in the prized demographic of the teenage wasteland. One wonders if all the renewed interest in the Zephyr Competition Skate Team, once the fiery soul of skateboarding, can save it from this corporate takeover. At least Peralta won't have to worry about how the story comes out, because he's been hired to write the script.
Lock up your sons and daughters, Ma, the Z-Boys ride again.