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Duane Peters Biography

Invented Skateboarding Tricks, Fronts '90s Punk Bands, Chronology, Further InformationMaintains Hardcore Following


American skateboarder

Skateboard champion and punk-rock vocalist Duane Peters has been an idol of the underground skate-punk movement for nearly three decades. Known among his fans as the Master of Disaster, Peters is largely credited with pioneering the counterculture that unites skate-boarding and punk music. Skin-headed, missing his two front teeth, and festooned with tattoos and safety-pin earrings, he has been skateboarding since the late 1970s, and has led such punk bands as the U.S. Bombs and The Hunns. A heroin user in his earlier days, Peters renounced drugs in his mid-30s. Peters, who turned 40 in 2001, remains a strong presence in extreme sports and alternative music.

Peters's parents divorced when he was a child in Anaheim, California, and Peters went to live with his father, a used-car salesman, in nearby Newport Beach. A rebellious youth, Peters often skipped school. Hoping to discipline his son, his father sent Peters to live for a year with relatives on a farm in Michigan. "I went to school every day that year because there was nothing else to do," Peters told Rich Kane of OC Weekly.

Returning to live with his father, Peters dropped out of school at age 14. By then he had discovered the underground skateboarding scene of the mid-1970s. Not having the money to buy a skateboard, he made one for himself by sawing off a piece of wood and nailing on roller-skate wheels. He spent his days skate-surfing the sidewalks of Newport Beach and nearby Balboa. "I just wanted to skate all the time and didn't want to have to go to work," he told Kane of OC Weekly. "I didn't want to grow up."

Maintains Hardcore Following

Through his drug addictions and rehabilitations, and during his long and varied punk music career, Peters has continued skateboarding. As a member of the skateboarding club Beer City, he has participated in contests nationwide through his late 30s and into his early 40s. Within the skate-punk subculture, he has maintained a devoted following, and is celebrated as a pioneer.

Sketch by Wendy Kagan

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsExtreme Sports