Hawk taps celebs to help skateparks

Miki Vuckovich/Tony Hawk Foundation

Paul McCartney wrote the lyrics to The Beatles' "Blackbird" and signed Tony Hawk's personal skateboard as part of the Hawk Foundation auction.

Tony Hawk's decade-long effort to help build free, public skateparks in low-income communities has tapped the star power of Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Ben Harper, and the late Adam "MCA" Yauch for a skate collaboration and benefit auction.

Launched earlier this year by the Tony Hawk Foundation, the Boards+Bands project called on the four Grammy Award-winning musicians to pen song lyrics on the signed, beat-up skate decks of pro skaters Hawk, Jamie Thomas, Bucky Lasek, and Rodney Mullen.

Bidding for the collectible decks runs December 3-13 on eBay, with proceeds benefitting the foundation. During that time, the decks will also be on display at the Grammy Museum in downtown Los Angeles.

"We're thrilled to partner with the Tony Hawk Foundation as the worlds of music and skateboarding continue to merge," the museum's deputy director, Rita George, said in a statement. "The caliber of artists and skaters who are participating in the Boards+Bands project is incredible, and we're excited to showcase their boards in our museum."

The decks got their first public viewing in June during X Games Los Angeles in the ESPN Zone lobby.

"This is literally a dream come true," Hawk said at the time. "When Ben Harper first approached me with the idea, I was skeptical because the list of musicians requested was legendary. But they came through, proving that skateboarding's reach is even broader than we imagined."

Harper, who sits on the foundation's board of directors, wrote the lyrics to Rodney Mullen's favorite Harper song, "God Fearing Man," on a board ridden and signed by the skate legend.

"I've always felt that skateboards are one of the best canvases for art and noticed that wear and tear only made them look cooler," Harper said in the statement. "I was at Tony's place and saw a note that a friend of Tony's had written on a board that had been skated. And being a musician and a skater, it just seemed obvious."

Arguably the auction's centerpiece is a four-deck Bucky Lasek set featuring lyrics from "Bodhisattva Vow" on the Beastie Boys 1994 album, "Ill Communication," handwritten by Yauch. The American rapper, songwriter and human rights activist died from salivary gland cancer on May 4 at 47 years old.

The benefit also offers a signed Hawk deck with "Blackbird" lyrics penned and autographed by Paul McCartney, and a signed Mike Vallely deck with Tom Petty's autograph alongside lyrics from "I Won't Back Down."

"I've been involved with the Tony Hawk Foundation since day one and in my mind this is the best fundraising idea we've actualized," Valley said in the statement. "It's exciting for us, the skaters, to be collaborating with artists we love and to know that the end result is the funding of more skateparks."

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