There’s something exhilarating to be found in the parking lots of American suburbia and urban skate parks, the deceivingly quiet slopes of ski resorts and the not-very-quiet-at-all atmosphere of punk rock clubs. It’s a sense of community between individuals who might not fit in easily anyplace else, who’ve collectively found refuge in the common interest of independence and integrity. Declaration of Independents is an incredible new look at the subcultures of skateboarding, snowboarding, and punk/indie rock music. Assembled by the editors of Heckler magazine, Declaration of Independents features amazing photos of skate- and snowboarders defying gravity and cutting the most ludicrous moves imaginable. Down staircases, off cliffs, through drained swimming pools and off the third story of a multi-tiered parking garage- they’re fearless.
Dozens of interviews with major athletes from the respective scenes, including Tony Hawk, Craig Kelly, Shaun Palmer, Lance Mountain, and Chris Roach, detail the inside opinions on topics like how everyone got their starts, how the scenes have changed since the suits moved in, and preferences on equipment and terrain.
Plenty of original essays on a wide range of topics give Declaration of Independents a valuable “behind-the-scenes” feeling. From the lighthearted “How to be a Rock Star” to the more analytical “On Style and Meaning”, debating terrain options, and the euphemistic “The Egg-Throwing Parallel”, detailing the appeal of skateboarding, these essays provide plenty of background and insight. The musical soundtrack to extreme sports gets a healthy profile as well. Producer Steve Albini, legendary DIY figure/Fugazi mastermind Ian MacKaye, Sleater-Kinney, Duane Peter of U.S. Bombs, Green Day, and 7 Seconds, among many others, are interviewed in Declaration of Independents. From Albini’s classic “The Problem with Music” essay to Public Enemy’s Chuck D ruminations on his group’s message, the self-reliant nature of these performers melds perfectly with the mindset of extreme sports fans and participants. With breathtaking photography, a deep look inside skate-and snowboarding culture, raucous music and a healthy dose of attitude, Declaration of Independents is an incredible document of an independent era.