When 1031 Skateboards owner-pro Kristian Svitak began archiving all his video parts on YouTube, one part in particular kept getting flagged and removed.
Svitak's part in the now-defunct 88 Footwear's "Destroy Everything Now" video (2004) was removed by Warner Brothers. The song he used was Devo's "Mr. DNA."
Dealing with music rights on YouTube is a constant challenge. Videos are taken down and accounts are shut down every day because of copyright infringement. "Destroy Everything Now" was just one of many skate videos created during an era that predated YouTube itself, back before obtaining music rights was common practice in skateboarding.
Svitak, a musician himself, has been drumming in San Diego-based band The Heartaches for more than a decade. He decided to skirt the copyright issue, by recording a cover of "Mr. DNA," and redubbing the video part. He enlisted the musical talents of Kelley Deal (formerly of The Breeders) and Mike Montgomery (who currently plays in R.Ring, alongside Deal), and together the three recorded the cover.
"I first met Kelley in the mid '90s," says Svitak, "She used to have this really great band called The Kelley Deal 6000. I saw they were coming to town, so being a Breeders fan, I went to the show. I ended up lurking around after the show and got to talk to her. Fast forward many years later, we finally starting doing some projects together." They went into Cincinnati, Ohio's Candy Land studio as a three piece, and recorded.
Deal admits to some trepidation about the cover song. "Devo are great, but so idiosyncratic! I thought it was going to require some crazy musical gymnastics to make it sound just so," she explains. "But really, when I think about Devo, the idea of us covering their song with 'enthusiasm' and 'spunk' versus 'technical know-how' makes all sorts of sense."
It was a happy coincidence that Svitak had moved from California back to his home state of Ohio in 2011. Once there, he reunited with Deal, and the opportunity to record presented itself. "I had been going down to Dayton quite a bit just to play with her and Mike Montgomery -- nothing serious, just having fun playing music," he says.
Technically, Svitak still runs the risk of getting flagged, or even having his YouTube channel shut down. But even though it's not strictly-speaking "legal," cover songs on YouTube are generally more tolerated.
The cover song was released by Phratry Records, and is available -- legally -- through Deal's web site kelleydeal.net. The 88 part, as well as Svitak's other video parts, is currently available here on the 1031 Skateboards YouTube channel.