Bam Bam and the Alva Bird

Alva Bird

Over Labor Day weekend I ran into Mike “Bam Bam” Sversvold, the original drummer for the storied skatepunk band, JFA. We were both attending the HocoFest, where JFA was playing (with their latest in a long line of drummers) .

Bam Bam and me at the Santa Rita Skatepark in Tucson.
Bam Bam and me at the Santa Rita Skatepark in Tucson.

We went to high school together. He was a freshman when I was a senior, but we used to talk music and skateboarding in art class. I hadn’t seen him in 30 years.

In Tucson, Mike introduced me to half a dozen people as the guy who “had the first quarter pipe in my neighborhood.”

“It was huge, with six feet of vert.”

It was. And when we learned to get to the top, we added a three-foot extension.

Alva Bird
Alva Bird

The Alva Aviary

Another memory was the caricature of skateboarder Tony Alva that I developed in high school. It depicted Alva as a turkey – “smoking a joint,” Mike reminded me. “I could draw one right now!”

This is the best I could do from memory, having not kept up the tradition:

When I referred to it as the “Alva turkey,” Mike corrected, “Alva bird.” Over the years, he has developed the caricature into several species.

“It could be a pigeon, or a chicken…” He told me that he knows Tony Alva, and has drawn the bird for him – giving me credit for the inspiration.

So now I’m connected to Tony Hawk by blood (distantly), and Tony Alva by Bam Bam.

1 comment

  1. Waterock Reply
    September 8, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Sweet! That ramp was a blast!

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