FOR what seems like an epoch, the city of San Jose has thrived as a skateboard mecca. People from all over the world have flocked here to congregate and shred. Folks like Steve Caballero and Rick Blackheart originally helped make the city's scene famous decades ago.
In 1999, a more recent legend, Tim "Beans" Brauch, passed away unexpectedly from a sudden cardiac arrest. Part of a new generation that preserved San Jose's rep as a skating capital, he was the best in the world when he died at 25, and he left a legacy that is only getting stronger as each year goes by.
Last year, filmmaker Pete Koff debuted a documentary on Brauch, titled, Supercharged: The Life and Times of Tim Brauch. It features numerous interviews with friends and family, unseen footage of Brauch skateboarding, stories of world travel and an exploration of the legend he left behind. The dude literally had friends across the globe.
Next Tuesday, a high-octane fundraising hoedown will explode at the Blank Club, an institution frequented by many of Brauch's fellow skaters and drinking friends. It will be a four-pronged assault on the senses: (1) Brand new footage from the upcoming DVD release will project on the wall for at least half an hour; (2) an art show including work by Jai Tanju, Lance Dalgart and Aaron Jones will grace the other walls; (3) Supercharged Eagle custom skateboards will be raffled off; and (4) a performance by RS2 Solid Sound will rock the house.
According to anyone who was close to Brauch, he made friends very easily. He was just an all-round likeable dude.
"As good as he was on the board, he was a thousand times better as a person and a friend," Tanju told me last year. "He had this infectious laugh and a slightly mischievous way to have a good time that made you want to jump on whatever boat he was on."
The stories are endless, as Brauch crisscrossed the globe and befriended skateboarders on several continents. His influence was long-lasting. There's even a pub in Australia with his personalized mug.
"He was always traveling to far-off places," Tanju said. "Germany for a demo, Japan for a contest, Spain for a tour, and so on. Towards the end, it seemed like he was always traveling alone, which he didn't mind because to him it was all an adventure. What would happen? Who would he meet this time? With every trip came stories and a lot of new-found friends. I still meet people from his travels who he made a huge impact on, not as a skater but more a component of fun and friendship."
Longtime San Jose musician and skater Ray Stevens II agreed: "Besides Tim being just an incredible skateboarder, he was just an incredible high-energy person that was just amazing," he said. "Anybody who crossed paths with him caught that. He was seriously the happiest guy I've ever known."
Along with his band RS2 Solid Sound, Stevens helped organize much of the music for Supercharged, including the theme song, which goes a little something like this: "Tim Brauch we'll remember to live each day like you did/ The smile on your face, your style and your grace/ The legacy you left we'll never forget."
All of the folks in RS2 Solid Sound were either friends of Tim's, they knew of him, or are skaters themselves. Other bands featured in the movie include local '80s skate punk heroes The Faction and Los Olvidados, plus more recent bands like the Shitkickers. "Basically, just a lot of the local music Tim liked," said Stevens.
In just the time since the film debuted last year, there have been new custom Supercharged decks, T-shirts and sweatshirts. The film went on to premiere in several other cities, with the DVD to be released in a few months.
"We just want to make sure people remember Tim," said Stevens. "And I just want to do everything I can, musicwise, to at least represent that. As much as this project was great to work on, it's also really sad because we miss him a lot. Hopefully this movie will end up on PBS or somewhere where kids can really learn about him. Pete went a long way to make sure there wasn't too much cussing or stories about partying or whatever. Because Tim is a legend. He really is."
SUPERCHARGED: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF TIM BRAUCH -DVD bonus footage screens Tuesday, April 13, at 8pm at the Blank Club, 44 S. Almaden Ave., San Jose. Tickets are $8; 408.29.BLANK.