The best songs of the Tony Hawk saga

After a surprise appearance in London last weekend, we look back at some of the best music from the Tony Hawk universe

Last weekend a couple of hundred people arrived at a modest bar in East London to see what they thought would be a fun but not especially extraordinary night of cover songs. The band in question was The 900, the UK’s “first and only Tony Hawk Pro Skater cover band”, carving their niche performing favourites from the wildly popular skate game franchise that began in 1999.

But, in a twist bigger than the 900 itself, this blast from the past faceplanted into the present as the man himself Tony Hawk appeared on stage to perform Goldfinger’s ‘Superman’ and Agent Orange’s ‘Bloodstains’.

While the internet went off the rails at this cameo, it got us nostalgic for the songs that soundtracked a time when the only worry in life was collecting all five letters of ‘SKATE’ before dinner was ready. From BUSDRIVER to Millencolin, here are our favourite tracks from the Tony Hawk saga. Click on the artist’s name to see when and where they’re playing near you — though whether Tony Hawk will appear again like a punk-rock demi-god is up to him.

‘Police Truck’ – Dead Kennedys

(Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, 1999)

There was something about this Dead Kennedys track that really got the heart pumping. Its driving bass line, surf rock beat and wailing guitar was like a punk reimagining of the original Batman theme tune, while Jello Biafra’s shaky vocals give it a police-chase recklessness.

‘No Cigar’ – Millencolin

(Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, 2000)

A lot of the music from the Tony Hawk universe is irreverent, rebellious if not tongue-in-cheek, but ‘No Cigar’ soon became a favourite for its emotive purge. That rhythm change after the intro still slaps.

‘Superman’ – Goldfinger

(Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, 1999)

Simply put, this song and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater live in tandem with each other. It’s not a coincidence this is one of the two song’s The Birdman helped perform. It’s jubilant, punchy and summery. It almost makes you want to dig out the old checkerboard wristbands and get a skank on. Almost.

‘New Girl’ – The Suicide Machines

(Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, 1999)

The pace at which the snare drum rips off in the opening moments of ‘New Girl’ signalled you were in for high-octane ride, but it’s breezy ska versus were always welcome amid the mayhem.

‘Drunken Lullabies’ – Flogging Molly

(Tony Hawk’s Underground, 2003)

Underground had one of the franchise’s most eclectic soundtracks, but it really be a true skate game without some all out, fist-pumping debauched punk-rock chanting?

‘Misery Guts’ – Alex Lahey

(Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2, 2021)

The recent reboot of the classic first instalments of the series featured tracks from the original, but fittingly slid in modern tracks into the Tony Hawk’s universe. None felt at home as ‘Misery Guts’ from Australian rocker Alex Lahey, with its scratchy, youthful rebellion and huge choruses.

‘Imaginary Places’ – Busdriver

(Tony Hawk’s Underground, 2003)

There were some really cool hip hop cuts on Underground, and Mr. Complex’s ‘Underground Up’ deserves a special mention. But this rapid-fire, Johann Sebastian Bach-sampling number from Busdriver was a dizzying head nodder.

‘Jerry Was A Racecar Driver’ – Primus

(Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, 1999)

An absolute oddball that sounded like the South Park theme tune had gone down a dark path, as soon as this one starts you can practically feel your eyes twitching manically at the screen.

‘Remedy’ – Hot Water Music

(Tony Hawk’s Underground, 2003)

“I NEED A REMEDY OF DIESEL AND DUST!” You had to be quick if you wanted to catch Chris Wollard’s throaty intro. The chuggy guitars on this really helped you to focus when trying to beat the clock or kickflip over a moving car.

‘Like The Angel’ – Rise Against

(Tony Hawk’s Underground, 2003)

Rise Against have grown into one of the most popular hardcore bands of the last two decades, but their feature on Underground coincided with their debut album Revolutions Per Minute. No doubt they won many life-long fans from this track on the game, with its balance of grit and melody.

Blood Brothers – Papa Roach

(Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, 2000)

With its opening guitar riff as grizzly as a grazed knee, when this track dropped it was hard to keep hold of the remote.

‘Guerilla Radio’ – Rage Against The Machine

(Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, 2000)

This bombastic beast had every teenager feeling like they would set the world to rights on the bus to school. It was all about dropping into the halfpipe just as the whole band kicks in after that build-up in the intro.