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Created by T. Gentsch | News

URETHANE | Steve Caballero Interview

Skateboard Collectors-Meeting and a concert at the Skaters-Palace

Photos & Interview by T. Gentsch

Steve Caballero doesn't need too much of an introduction. Professional skateboarder since 1980, permanent member of a band since 1981, one of the first skateboarders with a pro shoe, longtime member of the Bones Brigade, multiple winner of the Monster Mastership - the list of "life-time achievements" could go on forever. Stevie has always had a very special bond with Münster, as he was one of the first US pros to find his way to the small Westphalian metropolis in 1987. Back then he won both the Street- and the Vert-Contest and thus found a certain love for Münster and Titus. 36 years later Steve was now back at the start, also with his skateboard in his travel-bag, but primarily to play a small concert at the Skaters-Palace with his newly formed band "URETHANE". Before that he visited the annual skateboard collectors meeting, patiently signing autographs for hours and giving us a little interview on top. Even at 58 years of age a true pro!

Hey Steve, first of all, do you prefer Steve, Stevie or Cab?

Oh, i don´t care, haha, whatever you prefer.

Allright Stevie, i´ve overread that the band URETHANE was formed during the pandemic, 2021, right? So first of all i was wondering how this came all about cause normally one might think that these times were more likely times when everyone kept to themselves?

Well, i´ve been in a band since 1982, The Faction. The band was pretty famous especially in the eighties, though throughout all those years i´ve been in other bands as well. But we still kept kinda together, reformed (The Faction) and actually played here in Germany in 2000. So as years went by, i came to the point where i figured it might be the right time to stop playing (with The Faction).

I felt like, as a musician, i wanted to grow and this couldn´t really work with The Faction; everybody always wanted to hear the old songs. So we didn´t really feel being in the position to practise new songs and so we decided to call it quits, which was actually after 40 years. So, i moved to the San Diego area couple of years ago and i formed this band with a few friends and we were jamming in the garage for about a year and then i decided it was time for us to find a singer. At that point, we didn´t even have a name for the band yet, though. So i put out a message on Instagram looking for a singer and that´s when i met Tim, our singer here. So he reached out, send me his demo tape and i really enjoyed it. The rest of the people i was playing with didn´t really like it though, so i decided to leave the band and wanted to do a whole new thing with Tim, the singer. So that was 3 years ago, when i wanted to start a band with Tim, and then we picked the name URETHANE. He found a drummer and we played for maybe like 4 months as a three-piece. I played bass, he sang and played the guitar and we had Dylan as a drummer. After 4 months i decided i wanna play the guitar to make the band sound more harmonic and thats when Chad came into play as the new bassist. That´s how URETHANE came to life.

So, during this process, the pandemic came into play and there was really not too much to do. Surely we decided to still play together. Dylan was a bit afaid at the beginning, which was funny cause till covid was over, even though we were practicing together, i had never seen Dylan without a mask, so never his actual face (in person). So, we played in a practice studio, we wrote some songs and got a record deal through our bass-player Chad. A year later, we decided to record and wrote our first album. So as soon as the pandemic was over, when people started to go out again and travled and stuff like that we already had an album - and we were ready to play! So we were busy in the studio while othe people weren´t doing anything… I mean, i also was still out skating, riding moto-X, riding my mountain bike… I was still living my life, i wasn´t gonna let covid affect my life too much. I just didn´t watch the news as much as maybe other people, especially cause i felt the news spread a lot of fear amongst the people. So i didn´t really buy into that.

Skateboard Collectors-Meeting 2023

How did the band´s name come all about? I mean, obviously skateboard-wheels are made of urethane, but how come you picked that name for the band?

Well, yeah, as you mentioned, it comes from skateboarding. In 1974 the urethane skateboard wheel was invented and it changed skateboarding i a very important way. So i thought it´s a cool name tying myself and my skateboarding into the band so we just decided to go by that name.

It makes you running smoothly, for sure, haha…

…yeah, no flatspots, haha.

So, i wanna go back in time a bit and was wondering, did you start playing music at the same time as you started skateboarding?

Well, i started skating in 1976, got sponsored in 79, turned pro 1980 and picked up a bass around 1981. I started to play bass first, even though i wanted to play the guitar but figured it was to difficult, at that time. It was only a couple of years down the road though when i started to play the guitar. I forced myself how to play the guitar in my bedroom, haha.

I was wondering, thinking of Claus Grabke for example, who had some of his songs in old Santa Cruz videos, did you ever have some song(s) in one of the early Powell videos?

Ähhm, i think we had a The Faction song in the first video, the Bones Brigade Video Show. We had "Skate and Destroy" and years down the road i think we had an Odd Man Out song in one of the later videos. And also some solo stuff i did as well, instumental. And i think in the Powell video "Chaos", in the credits section, there is some live footage of me playing with a band called Shovelhead.

When you are on tour, you also go skating or is that a „no-go“? Cause i mean, you can get hurt and maybe not being able to play the guitar then…

Well, i got my board with me, haha. It (getting hurt) might be a little bit in the back of my head but most of the time i don´t let that stop me. I mean, just before i went on this tour here i went out riding dirt bikes. Jumping 70ft. table tops and stuff like that, seeing the other band members sweating at the side, making comments like „we have a tour in a week, Stevie!“, hahaha. But, you know, i am careful cause i surely don´t wanna ruin it for the band.

Speaking of this popping up in my mind, you broke your femur pretty badly riding a dirtbike not too long ago, right?

Yeah, that was three years ago. That was before we started the band.

That was a pretty gnarly accident, wasn´t it?

Yeah, it was probably the gnarliest slam i ever had. I never had surgery before, not even from skating!


Not, that was my first surgery. I only had one broken ankle in my whole career. But then after the femur, i broke my ankle again, once again on a motocross bike.

So obviously, motocross is way more dangerous than skateboarding, right?

Yeah, it Is very dangerous. But, you know, i hear people saying „you shouldn´t ride dirtbikes, you broke this and that“ but then again, just recently Tony (Hawk) and Kevin (Staab) both broke their femurs on the same ramp i skate with them all the time. So it could happen to me there as well you know. But i think, it´s not so much the sport you are doing. We are humans, so we make mistakes and sometimes we take chances we shouldn´t and then we pay the price. But i am all about living life to the fullest and don´t wanna be afraid of what possibly could happen. I wanna enjoy my life and live how i want to live. It´s not about the amount of years in your life but the life you have.

How much does a skateboard-tour, and i am talking about the Bones-Brigade tour-times in the eighties, differ from a tour with a band? Is it all the same for you?

I think it´s sometimes the same fans, you know. Obviously, anyone who is into skateboarding listens to music as well. So, some people like Hip-Hop, some people like Rock, Punk Rock. It´s the same fans. I show up to a venue to play music and there are dozens of skateboards coming for me to sign their stuff. But then again, we as well make new fans. I have my skateboard-fans and introduce them to the band URETHANE. And then i bring my art with me and i get fans from people who just followed my art before. So it´s a win-win situation. And i just like to be creative in so many avenues, wether it´d be skating, music or artwork.

Ok Stevie, „Street-Cab“, it´s a coined term, there is no „Street-Tony“ or „Street-McGill“! I have to bring that up cause i wanna move a bit towards skateboarding. So, when vert-skating died in the early nineties you were kinda the only one not only staying at Powell but also adopting to „the new big thing in skateboarding“ – streetskating. So i was asking myself, did that come just naturally for you?

Haha, no, it took a looot of work! I just wanted to stay in the industry and vert skating felt like it got just pushed away. So, i went with it, following the trends so you can call me a trendy person – cause i was following the trends of skateboarding. I had to put the helmet and the kneepads away, got a popsicle deck and start learning how to flip my board. And with that i learned how to ride rails. I always had rails on my board and boardslides were always one of my favorite tricks. Grinding and boardsliding, those were also my favorite tricks on vert or a miniramp so why not transition that to the streets!? So i made new friends, hung out with different people and learned how to skate ledges and rails and flatground and just went with it. I just tried to keep up, shot photos and filmed videos. But it was the industry which created „Street-Cab“. People used it later on talking about me on the internet and would use the hashtag #streetcab and i would use it by myself speaking of myself, in third person, pretty funny. Like „street-cab makes an appearence“, hahaha. Like, when i showed old footage or filmed something new. The internet is funny, you can basically make anything famous. Any term. You just have to keep repeating it, over and over again. Just like the „Cab-Salad“, thats another one.

Whats the „Cab-Salad“?

So the „Cab-Salad“ popped up when i was trying to loose weight so i was making a bunch of salads and i would post photos of that all the time. That hashtag actually became really famous. So i drew a piece of artwork with an old graphic of mine where the dragon is holding a salad, haha.

Haha, thats amazing. But coming back to „Street-Cab“, i have to point out again that i was, and still am, always amazed, what kind of gnarly rails you skated, how technical your (street) skating went, even though you were not like 20 anymore.

No, i was more like 35, haha. But yeah, the reason i stayed with Powell and could also concentrate on my (street) skating was also skating for Vans and having the great opportunity to work with them, getting my first signature shoe in 1989. So when the streetskaters were cutting it (the shoe) down from then to 1992, they basically created the Half-Cab. Because i had that shoe deal, i stayed at Powell, i don´t know if i would if i hadn´t had the shoe-deal. That way, i was still making income from skateboarding. I mean, i rode for Powell for three years without even having a pro-model! I think it got taken off the market in 1993 and it was around 1997 when i got a model again.

Wow, that was very interesting! So last but not least, what pops into your mind when you think about the city of Münster?

Well, the Monster Mastership, obviously, that we used to skate in the eighties. 1987 was the first year i went and after that we´d come every year. It was amazing because the town was so small and besides all the american pros it seemd like every skateboarder from all over germany came here, taking over the town. Just a lot of skateboarding!

Steve Caballero Stuff at TITUS: