Like most gamers, when I found out that Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 was getting the remastered treatment I was ecstatic. While I struggled as a skateboarder in the real world, I was a kick-flipping master in the games who could nail the hardest tricks with the push of a button.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and its immensely successful sequel capitalised on the popularity of the sport in the late ’90s/early ’00s and helped Hawk crossover into the mainstream to put a new spotlight on skateboarding. The unique levels, plethora of tricks to learn and stacked roster of famous skaters were pivotal to the game’s success, along with the banging soundtrack. Both instalments feature some of the most popular punk and alternate acts of that time period, with the good news being the majority of those tunes will be included on the remastered versions. While we have to wait until September for the new games, we thought we’d collect together our favourite tracks from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 for you to enjoy in one spot.
Bad Religion – ‘You’
A skateboarding game without Bad Religion is just blasphemy. Thankfully Activsion didn’t let the team down and included the driving punk of ‘You.’ Written for an ex-girlfriend guitarist Brett Gurewitz was mad at, ‘You’ is classic Bad Religion, nailing their signature sound over two minutes of melodic punk rock.
Dead Kennedys – ‘Police Truck’
A song that still resonates today, Dead Kennedys’ ‘Police Truck’ was a surprise inclusion on the soundtrack to the first Tony Hawk Pro Skater. Not only does the song tackle police corruption and brutality, but many fans questioned why the punk icons would blatantly sell out and license one of their tunes for a video game. Whatever the reasons, there’s no doubting ‘Police Truck’ absolutely slaps and is the type of song you want to be listening to as you transition from a 50-50 Grind into a 360 Ollie.
Primus – ‘Jerry Was A Race Car Driver’
Primus is a band that have always fascinated me. Their sound is incredibly unique and has been described as everything from thrash-funk to progressive metal, with founder and lead vocalist Les Claypool once describing their music as ‘psychedelic polka’. ‘Jerry Was A Race Car Driver’ is one of their more well known releases that has all the hallmarks of Primus’ distinct sound, incorporating a jittery melody, weird lyrics and Claypool’s unusual delivery. An absolute cracker.
The Vandals – ‘Euro-Barge’
A hard and fast dose of pop punk that will have you mashing the buttons on your controller as you try to pull of a Kickflip McTwist, ‘Euro-Barge’ is a memorable burst of fun with anti-Europe themes from the Orange County favourites.
Rage Against The Machine – ‘Guerrilla Radio’
Unlike some of the bands whose careers were given a shot in the arm by featuring in Tony Hawk Pro Skater, Rage Against The Machine were already one of the biggest bands in the world. The addition of their hit single ‘Guerrilla Radio’ was a masterstroke, with the song a smash hit that’s forever to be associated with Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2. Hawk loves the song so much he even used it to soundtrack a comical ‘choose your character’ video he shot with Rob Wootton on Instagram.
Goldfinger – ‘Superman’
No song on this lists fits with the arcade skateboarding action of Tony Hawk Pro Skater more than Goldfinger’s ska tinged ‘Superman.’ The opening track to the band’s sophomore album Hang-Ups, ‘Superman’ had already been used in the films Kingpin and Meet The Deedles before being given a second life two years later as one of the key tracks making up Tony Hawk Pro Skater soundtrack. A feel good slice of ska punk as iconic as the game it features in.
Anthrax feat. Chuck D – ‘Bring The Noise’
A decade before nu-metal became a thing, thrash metal stalwarts Anthrax teamed with activist and rapper Chuck D for a cover of Public Enemy’s ‘Bring The Noise.’ A hard hitting mesh of rock and political rap, Chuck’s direct delivery rides the heavy riffs like a pro skater as the song reaches its dramatic climax.
Fu Manchu – ‘Evil Eye’
This might be a left of field choice, but ‘Evil Eye’ is one of Fu Manchu’s more overlooked tunes. Driven by classic rock guitars, psychedelic riffs and Scott Hill’s chaotic vocals, ‘Evil Eye’ has an undeniable 90s feel to it and fits in well with the rest of the nostalgic Tony Hawk Pro Skater soundtrack.
Papa Roach – ‘Blood Brothers’
One of the more underrated acts to come out of the early ’00s nu-metal scene, Papa Roach hit pay dirt with their record Infest. Spawning the number one single ‘Last Resort,’ the album also features the aggressive ‘Blood Brothers.’ A head-banging rocker with distorted guitars and rapid-fire delivery, it become a cult hit after appearing in Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2.
Millencolin – ‘No Cigar’
From the moment the iconic drum roll kicks things off you know you’re in for a treat with Millencolin’s hit single ‘No Cigar.’ Taken from the Swedish group’s fourth album Pennybridge Pioneers, the song and album were massive down under, with the song’s inclusion on the Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 soundtrack thrusting Millencolin into the spotlight.