Rising from the ashes of a city’s nightlife in flames, Sydney punk outfit Birdman Or The Unexpected Virtue of A Tony Hawk Pro Skater Cover Band live to fight another day, and will be taking the stage this Saturday for another bash at their Vivid Sydney performance, after their first show was unceremoniously shut down after just 4 songs due to some snotty noise complaints.
The new, free, show is set to go down this Saturday, 17th June at Waywards in Newtown, where the band will perform their two sets, entailing a total of 29 cover songs from the legendary ‘Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater’ soundtracks.
So, before Birdman embark on their triumphant return to “kickflip the night away”, we thought it pertinent to gauge their expertise on a subject only they know best – the definitive and detailed ranking of each THPS soundtrack, from best to worst.
Here, we let Birdman guitarist Woodsy take the reins.
For a generation of teens in the late ’the 90s/early 2000s, the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games and soundtracks were a gateway to a sport, sound and culture none of us would have ever experienced otherwise. A cursory examination of our band – Birdman Or The Unexpected Virtue of A Tony Hawk Pro Skater Cover Band – exhibits that perfectly, as it was just as shared an experience for our rhythm guitarist who grew up in Wagga Wagga, as it was for out our lead guitarist who grew up on the outskirts of Sydney.
It also points to the reason why so many people get genuinely excited when we tell them about our band (it takes a while just to finish saying the name, tbh). We might be perceived as a novelty act, but we’d argue that there’s a lot more rich and honest nostalgia attached to what we do than the novelty. That being said we do wear funny outfits, fire off confetti cannons and hang balloons spelling out S-K-A-T-E around the room, so there’s plenty of novelty too.
But the THPS games and their soundtracks mean a great deal to us and so we decided to rank them definitively. Check out our list below, and if you disagree with us we’d still love to see you come party, then argue, with us in Newtown this Saturday.
1. THPS 2
Probably the soundtrack that punches you hardest in the feels. THPS 2 had improved all the glitches and angular effects of the original when it arrived, and thus we spent a lot more time playing it. The soundtrack, therefore, had hours/days/months longer to seep into our brains. The game also arrived in the year 2000 – just as X Games was really taking off, and festivals like the Big Day Out and Vans Warped Tour were really at their peak, so a lot of these bands were scoring solid radio play or even touring Australia. The nu metal contributions from Powerman 5000 and Papa Roach also stand as a kind of time capsule to an era when Limp Bizkit was the actual biggest band in the world (*weird shuffer) and eyebrow rings, wallet chains, cargo shorts and Fudge hair dye rained supreme.
2. THPS 1
Ahhh the original. Like a cool older brother or sister, the game introduced an entire generation of teens to the world of competitive street skateboarding, and now let us dive into its awesome CD collection. A brilliant mix of both classic and contemporary punk rock, there’s a lot less range than what would arrive in the years to come, but it expanded our minds into a frame where we were primed to absorb all the music that was yet to head our way.
3. THPS 3
To be totally honest in the scheme of this band, THPS 3 probably should rate toward the top of the list because of the sheer amount of songs we actually play from it. Also, shout outs for it being the first of the soundtracks to include an Aussie band in Melbourne legends Bodyjar. But the main strength of the soundtrack is its concerted effort to introduce just as much hip hop as it had punk rock in the past. GTA San Andreas would follow suit a few years later and completely school us on west coast rap and G-Funk, but the contributions from KRS-One, Redman, Del The Funky Homosapien and Xzibit made a huge impact.
4. THPS 4
The quality of songs in THPS 4 is lengthy and absolutely riddled with bangers, but it crams in so much it’s almost hard to take it all in. This playlist seemed less curated and more shotgun sprayed at us. It was around this time that the game franchise declined as well, as the mechanics of a big game franchise started to erase what was essentially the punk rock spirit of the early games that had won us over in the first place. Interest in action sports games was also starting to take a backseat to first-person- shooters, RPGs and the constant influx of high-quality FIFA and Madden sequels. All that being said… ‘Manthem’ is heaps fun to play live.
Don’t Bother: THPS 5
THPS 5 doesn’t deserve a list or to be counted purely because of how much of a let down the game was. The soundtrack really lost its way too, focusing too much on the contemporary and the alt, rather than the dirty punk and original hip hop of previous editions. But special shout outs go to Bully and Cloud Nothings – a couple of the few modern bands that legit deserve their spot on a THPS soundtrack.
#KeepSydneyTonyHawkin and catch Birdman Or The Unexpected Virtue of A Tony Hawk Pro Skater Cover Band perform, again, as part of Vivid this Saturday, 17th June at Waywards in Newtown.
THPS 1 TRACKLIST
1. Dead Kennedys – “Police Truck”
2. The Ernies – “Here and Now”
3. Even Rude – “Vilified”
4. Goldfinger – “Superman”
5. Primus – “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver”
6. Speedealer – “Screamer / Nothing to Me”
7. Suicidal Tendencies – “Cyco Vision”
8. The Suicide Machines – “New Girl”
9. Unsane – “Committed”
10. The Vandals – “Euro-Barge”
THPS 2 TRACKLIST
1. Rage Against the Machine – “Guerrilla Radio”
2. Bad Religion – “You”
3. Anthrax/Public Enemy – “Bring the Noise”
4. Powerman 5000 – “When Worlds Collide’
5. Naughty by Nature – “Pin the Tail on the Donkey”
6. Papa Roach – “Blood Brothers”
7. The High & Mighty – “B-Boy Document”
8. Consumed – “Heavy Metal Winner”
9. Dub Pistols – “Cyclone’
10. Swingin’ Utters – “Five Lessons Learned”
11. Styles of Beyond – “Subculture”
12. Millencolin – “No Cigar”
13. Alley Life featuring Black Planet – “Out With the Old”
14. Lagwagon – “May 16”
15. Fu Manchu – Evil Eye
THPS 3 TRACKLIST
1. AFI – “The Boy Who Destroyed the World”
2. Adolescents – “Amoeba”
3. Alien Ant Farm – “Wish”
4. Bodyjar – “Not the Same”
5. CKY – “96 Quite Bitter Beings”
6. Del the Funky Homosapien – “If You Must”
7. Guttermouth – “I’m Destroying the World”
8. House of Pain – “I’m a Swing It”
9. KRS-One – “Hush”
10. The Mad Capsule Markets – “Pulse”
11. Motörhead – “Ace of Spades”
12. The Nextmen – “Amongst the Madness”
13. Ozomatli – “Cut Chemist Suite”
14. The Ramones – “Blitzkrieg Bop”)
15. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Fight Like A Brave”
16. Redman – “Let’s Get Dirty (I Can’t Get in da Club)”
17. Reverend Horton Heat – “I Can’t Surf”
18. Rollins Band – “What’s The Matter Man”
19. Xzibit – “Paparazzi”
20. Zebrahead – “Check”
THPS 4 TRACKLIST
1. Agent Orange – Bloodstains (Darkness Version)
2. Aesop Rock – Labor
3. AC/DC – T’n’T
4. Avail – Simple Song
5. Biz Markie – Body Rock
6. Bouncing Souls – Manthem
7. City Stars – Bad Dreams
8. The Cult – Bad Fun
9. De La Soul – Oodles Of O’s
10. Delinquent Habits – House Of The Rising Drum
11. The Distillers – Seneca Falls
12. Eyedea & Abilities – Big Shots
13. The Faction – Skate And Destroy
14. Flogging Molly – Drunken Lullabies
15. Gang Starr – Mass Appeal
16. Goldfinger – Spokesman
17. Haiku De Etat – Non Compos Mentis
18. Hot Water Music – Freightliner
19. Iron Maiden – The Number Of The Beast
20. Jeru The Damaja – Verses Of Doom
21. JFA – Beach Blanket Bongload
22. Less Than Jake – All My Friends Are Metalheads
23. Lootpack – Whenimondamic
24. Grandmaster Melle Mel – I’m A Star
25. Nebula – Giant
26. NWA – Express Yourself
27. The Offspring – Blackball
28. Public Enemy – By The Time I Get To Arizona
29. Rocket From The Crypt – Savoir Faire
30. Run DMC – My Adidas
31. Sex Pistols – Anarchy In The U.K.
32. System Of A Down – Shimmy
33. Toy Dolls – Dig That Groove Baby
34. US Bombs – Yer Country
35. Zeke – Death Alley