Maty’s Corner Issue # 6
Skate Rock San Jose- Steve Caballero and The Faction
The first incarnation of The Faction were Steve Caballero, Gavin O’Brien, Craig Bosch, and Russ Wright. This lineup only lasted through a couple of practices when Craig Bosch left to join local punk band The Unaware. Bosch was replaced by Adam Segal who also became the band’s de facto manager.
Starting on Halloween 1982 out of the streets, pools and ramps of San Jose California was The Faction! Though they only lasted 3 years to the day Halloween 1985.
They would forever set a blueprint for the entire skate punk scene which birthed the Warped tour and X Games. This wasn’t some bunch of posers, this was music by skaters for skaters. First off you had Steve “Cab” Caballero on bass then guitar. That’s right, the Bones Brigade legend and man behind the Vans half cab (a pair of which I’m rocking at the moment) as a founding member of this band.
Steve Caballero was known for so many insane air variations and tricks and even has many trick variations named by him. He’s also set a long standing record for highest air out of a pipe along with being Thrasher’s Skater of The Century. Though being born with scoliosis he never really suffered from other than a kink in his neck and head position, it has never been evidenced by his career in the legendary Bones Brigade.
Along with Steve Caballero you had vocalist Gavin O’Brien who could skate anything and was a heavy hitter in the local punk rock.and growing skate rock scene. Lead singer Gavin O’Brien was also a notable skateboarder, popular at local Winchester Skate Park.
Drummer Craig Bosch has a skateboard trick named after him, called “the Bosch” aka invert to blunt. Pro skater Jeff Kendall would play with The Faction during 1989.
Adam Bomb who was known for crazy high top Vans and being one of the first to do switch tricks. Rounding out the talent was Bosch who has a trick named after him which is an invert to blunt.
The Faction rocked as hard as they skated. Their music sounded like a fucking bomb going off. I’d imagine their shows felt like one. The Faction was the real deal for skate punks. An often judgmental scene that will call out a fake from a mile away! They’ve been the soundtrack to many a skate session with their biggest hit “Skate And Destroy” will go down in punk rock history. Faction will continue to be heard in garages and at back yard ramps as long as there are skateboarders.
Steve Caballero At Age 16. 30 years earlier than the photo below, amazing!
Their first album, the 7″ Yesterday Is Gone, was released on the band’s label IM Records in 1983. According to the band’s official bio, this generated a bit of resentment in the local punk scene. Some people thought The Faction’s popularity was only due to Steve Caballero’s status outside of the band. This would prove to be untrue, however, after embarking on a small summer tour of California. They quickly discovered that their album had reached a wider audience when they were greeted with much enthusiasm all through out the California large city arenas..
The band’s next album, No Hidden Messages, was also released in 1983. The song “Skate And Destroy” became wildly popular as background music at skate parks, pools, ramp sessions, and early skateboard videos. “Skate And Destroy” was also featured on the official soundtrack to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 video game. Proving the band’s staying ability through time, The song has long been considered the official “anthem” for skateboarding and skateboarders everywhere. As the band’s manager, producer, and head of IM Records, Adam went to work booking a national tour in support of No Hidden Messages during 1984. The tour was a success and saw them play the infamous punk club CBGB for the first time.
The next album, Dark Room, was released in 1985. The punk sound wasn’t gone but the heavier side of the band was very apparent. As its title suggests, Dark Room indeed had a dark feel to it. Thanks to a generous helping of metal infused punk resounding. Dark Room would be the last album before the band’s breakup. The band played their final show on October 22, 1985 at the Keystone in Palo Alto, California on Halloween.
The band’s final EP, Epitaph, recorded during the summer of 1985, was eventually released in 1986 on Thrash Records. A somewhat thrown together mix of songs, Epitaph does have a couple of standouts. Epitaph would be the last album for 10 years. A three word slogan on the back sleeve would prove quite prophetic, however. The slogan reads, “We’ll Be Back”.”
In 1989, for reasons even unknown to the band, they reunited and played two sold out shows at the Cactus Club in San Jose. Demand for the shows was so high that club owners had to turn away a crowd of approximately 300 waiting outside on the first night. This was after they filled the venue. The shows featured the band’s final lineup minus Adam Segal. Pro skater Jeff Kendall took over Adam’s spot. This reunion spawned a four song demo tape. Two songs, “Looking For You” and “Pet Squirrel”, appeared in the Santa Cruz Skateboards video, “A Reason For Living”. This reunion didn’t last much longer and the band again called things off.
The band recorded new material during the early part of the new millennium and four tracks surfaced. “The Whistler” on a split 7″ with J.F.A. released in 2003, “Cut It Out” on another compilation, “Aisle Seat” and “Who The Hell Do You Think You Are?” The last two were never officially released with “Aisle Seat” ending up on the band’s MySpace page. The Faction continued to play in and around California as a foursome.
The final four were Gavin, Cab, Ray, and Keith.