In 1983 I became Santa Cruz’s first skinhead and remained the only one for over a year. Without older skins to teach me I gleaned what knowledge I could from various sources, mostly punk ‘zines and sort of made it up as I went along, listening to Two-Tone and Sham 69, wear combat boots and whatever plaid shirt I could find.
Then one day as I walked across the school yard I heard someone yell ”Oi! Skinhead!”. To my utter amazement there was another skinhead standing there. After a brief introduction we got to talking, Morgan explained that he was from Los Angeles but was sent to live with his uncle after getting in various forms of trouble back home.
I invited him over to my house after school and he showed up with a treasure trove of records and books. With his favorite album, Skinhead Anthems by the Last Resort, blaring we pored over Gary Johnson’s Oi book. A few beers later Nick Knight’s Skinhead blew my mind while Suburban Rebels by the Business played at top volume! We ended the evening with a joint and Intensified Ska volume 1. In one day I learned more than the previous year combined. And the stories! Morgan belonged to a big crew back in Pasadena, the North County Firm, and regaled me with tales of their skinhead exploits.
Over the next year we became best friends, the inseparable skinhead twins of Santa Cruz. Immensely likable, Morgan was immediately enfolded into the Santa Cruz scene. We eventually started an Oi! gang, the Formost Firm, with a bunch of our punk rock buddies, a few of which eventually turned into skinheads themselves.
Suffice to say I would never have become the skinhead I was without Morgan, and by extension Santa Cruz probably wouldn’t have became the skinhead Mecca it did without his influence. Unfortunately, during our last year of high school Morgan had to move back to LA. He would have loved Santa Cruz in the late 80’s.