Ten Foot Pole and the Summer of ’96

March 30, 2010

Nothing reminds me more of mountain biking than this song. Well, this song and the smell of citrus degreaser. Oh, and that taste of blood you can get in the back of your throat when you’re totally anaerobic for longer than you’re supposed to be able to be.

I worked for a few years at this great shop called Spokes n’ Attire, in Kensington, Calgary. The owner was (and still is, I’m sure) a great guy, and the crew I worked with were all pretty rad as well. This was the dawn of the new skate-surf-snowboard punk scene in California and those were the tunes we would blast all day long. Lagwagon, Strung Out, Face to Face, Good Riddance, Bad Religion, Fugazi (ok, East Coast), Pennywise, NoFx. Basically anything that came out on Epitaph.

One of my all time fav bands from that era is these guys, Ten Foot Pole. A band that featured a lead singer that played professional baseball for the White Sox and the Dodgers. Scott Radinksy juggled pro ball and punk rock for a number of the eleven years he played in MLB – pretty cool if you ask me. And he was a pitcher, no less. And a good one – one of the best Jewish pitchers the league’s ever seen. Oh, and he had Hodgkin’s Disease and kicked that to keep playing. He retired and opened a skate park and museum, called Skatelab, in California.

I saw TFP play a number of gigs in those years, before Radinsky parted ways with them to join another punk group called Pulley. They’d play small community halls, or the campus spots, and there’d be anywhere from 75 to a couple hundred people in there moshing and losing their shit. Radinsky was very approachable and would hang out with the crowd, just sitting on the stage, having a beer, after the show. Talking to anyone that wanted to talk.

This song is probably one of the most motivating tunes I’d listened to, back in that day. Headphones on, knee warmers on, clipped in and ripping it up around Fish Creek Park, Nose Hill, or out in K-Country or the Benchlands near Canmore. Gold. Check it out and read the lyrics below.

Doesn’t Scott Radinsky seem like a pretty rad mo fo?

We’ve been hiding out forever
Waiting to release all our energy
That’s still inside
It’s time to get it out
Get it out of me

Something new
I want to make this time special
Something for you
Playing as hard as we can
Grind out the energy

I want to scream again
So you can hear me singing through my hands
Release it
Let it go
Let it go

We’ve found a way to make up for the lost time
Turn it up and play it loud
Grind out the energy