In the spring of '92, in Antelope Valley, my little dry, desert patch of Los Angeles County was on fire. Both literally and physically on fire. Brushfires and fiery SoCal racial tension ran rampant and with the Rodney King verdict right around the corner my friends were being slowly but surely divided. The town was too hot.
Not to mention we were already divided by our subcultures and their particulars. Gangbangers, tagbangers, skinheads, rudies, punks, mods, Suicidals, preps, the list goes on and on and on. California was nuts but I wouldn't trade the experience for the world.
From being a skater to discovering ska and 2 tone I gravitated real quick and in a hurry to the traditional skinhead culture. I was shaved in that year by older L.A. trojans at a house party in Lancaster. (Skins didn't do it as easily as the Sui's or the punk rock gangs active then but there WERE shave in parties.)
I just loved how trad skins stayed clean and kept in a hostile environment. I loved it and still do. There were no patches, not even many flight jackets honestly. Just straight up Harringtons and sheepskins, Polo's but more so, button ups and braces, 501's or Sta Prest (I liked Lee Prest myself, they passed and were much easier to find) and 8 eye or less D.M's, brogues or loafers. CLEAN. The Sharpies and the Oi skins were dripping with patches and wore bleachers and 14-20 eye boots but Trojans kept it hard and smart. I was sold.
The crazy thing is, I was so proud of my little subculture and still bold to go wherever I damn well pleased! So my first girlfriend was a little chola chick from Varrio Nueve Estrada and I went to raves in the desert, skateboarded and went out writing graffiti with a crew and just did what I had to do to make it in the concrete jungle. I remembered my roots though and I always stayed hard, smart and carrying my head up with pride. I fought legions of boneheads and all the other enemies we had at any given time. It was no relaxing thing being a skin, we were active in the streets and blatant enemies of so many other tribes, so leaving the house every day was and adventure. I also went through the system but that's another story. And a little under 20 years later and 2,000 some miles away, I'm still here. Still loyal.
What I'm trying to say in so many words is this is not a fashion trend. You can't just put this on and be like boom, I'm a skin now. Well, you CAN but you WILL be found out once you step out. Believe. It is super easy to claim skin now with all this internet access and ability to buy the gear but there's so much MORE to it than that. It's a working class subculture that I love to death. And the real skins I know are in the streets. They don't come from richie rich silver spoon backgrounds nor feel it's important to go overboard with the 'Oi, Oi' euphemisms and obvious skinhead culture indicators. Some hold jobs and some catch bids and some do both but that is the working class life! They just remain hard, smart and carrying on TRADITION.
This is a BIG UP to all traditional skinheads, no matter your age or length in the scene if you came to skinhead culture and learned you loved it then this is for you. It's a wonderful way of life and I will always be by your side and have your back when the chips are down. Now that I'm an old head my tastes might be weird AS but I still know what my heart really loves and that is this so that being said, KEEP THE FAITH skinheads! Rudie Just salutes all of you. BOH!