Vern Laird/May 15, 2014
Joseph A. Gervasi interviews Vern Laird. Vern was just about to turn forty at when this interview was conducted. He was born in Philadelphia and spent his early years in NW Philly before moving to South Jersey in high school. As a kid, Vern was introduced to his two biggest passions by one person and at the same time: skating and hardcore punk. For Vern skating comes first and everything else after. While Vern is best known for being a skater (he now has his own Philly-themed board!), shooting skate videos around the world, and working in the industry, we mostly talk about the HC punk scene of Philadelphia and NJ in the late ‘80s and into the mid-‘90s. From venues like Club Pizzazz, the Unisound, the Harwan Theatre, Revival, the abysmal Bonnie’s Roxx (that extra “X” denotes even more rock), to sub-scenes like hardline straight edge and Krishna consciousness, dealing with white power skinheads at shows, and through his time as the third and final singer of the band Point of View, we have a rollicking time talking about the scene in its glory and its absurdity. For skaters, we do talk about skating a bit, including the homophobia still endemic to the scene and what a public figure like Vern does to speak out against it. This is one of the longest interviews of the series, though it seems jet-propelled thanks to Vern’s considerable enthusiasm. At age forty and having worked nearly his entire life in the skate industry, Vern remains both vegan and straight edge and glows with positivity and passion.