Joseph Shabason Reimagines a Skate Video Soundtrack on New Album 'Welcome to Hell'

Is skateboarding like jazz? Listen to "Jamie Thomas" and decide for yourself

Photo: Colin Medley

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Aug 22, 2023

Joseph Shabason has detailed a new album inspired by the filmography of skateboard company Toy Machine. The multi-instrumentalist and composer will share Welcome to Hell on October 20 via Telephone Explosion / Western Vinyl.

Sharing a title with the seminal 1996 skate film, Shabason's Welcome to Hell is a re-scoring of the beloved video featuring riders like Elissa Steamer, Ed Templeton, Brian Anderson and Mike Maldonado.

A release recounts how the young artist "hit rewind on his VHS copy of Welcome to Hell hundreds of times in his youth," making an impact that not only culminates with this new album, but also that sweet noseslide captured above.

While the 1996 skate video was soundtracked with music by Misfits, Black Sabbath and Sonic Youth, Shabason's re-score employs his expectedly heady explorations of musical environs both "angular and ambient." You can hear a piece of it below with "Jamie Thomas," complete with skate cinematography of the era.

"Of all the parts in Welcome to Hell, Jamie Thomas' was without a doubt the gnarliest," Shabason says in a statement. "He pushed the limits of what was possible for huge gaps and insane rails in a way that absolutely changed skateboarding and blew my young mind. I wanted to write a song for his part that both captured the unrelenting way that he skated as well as the muscular creativity of how he approached his lines. A song that is always driving forward while at the same time feeling light and nimble."

This is all fantastic news if, like this author, you spent plenty of time these last few years exploring Shabason-assisted albums, including Philadelphia, Fresh Pepper and At Scaramouche, the wider world of jazz and that remastered Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2.

Covered by a painting of Toy Machine's intimidating red monster, Welcome to Hell is now available for pre-order.

Shabason tours the US this fall, and you can find his dates here.

Welcome to Hell:

1. Intro/Mike Maldonado
2. Brian Anderson/Satva Leung
3. Parks & Demos
4. Ed Templeton
5. Jamie Thomas
6. Zero/Donny Barley
7. Interlude
8. Elissa Steamer
9. Friends
10. Welcome to Hell

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