Teens get gnarly Christmas
Lars Fredriksen’s life was not pretty before he rose to success with the punk band Rancid.
He battled alcohol and drug addictions, and even lived on the street for a time.
And before that, there were his teen years growing up near San Jose, when his single mother scrambled to do a lot with a little.
Fredriksen hasn’t forgotten what it was to be a kid doing without in the land of plenty, and this Christmas he did a 360, striking out in search of needy kids, bearing wheeled gifts.
Rancid guitarist treats teens to skateboards
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
There are probably people who look less like Santa Claus than Lars Frederiksen, but they don’t come to mind immediately. A guitarist and vocalist for the punk band Rancid, Frederiksen battled through some hardscrabble years growing up near San Jose, then worked his way through rock ‘n’ roll hell.
“I’m lucky I’m not dead,” Frederiksen said. “I struggled with drug and alcohol addictions and I was homeless for a period of time.”
So what was he doing handing out free skateboards to teenagers at the new 10th and Mission Family Housing Apartments on Monday afternoon? It begins with a friendship with San Francisco’s homeless policy director, Dariush Kayhan, who invited him to attend Project Homeless Connect this month.
“It was emotional,” said Frederiksen, who says he was reminded of his mother’s struggles as a single parent. “But I was thinking that when people donate toys, it is always the teenagers that get left out. That’s when I got Tony Hawk on the phone.”
Rancid played for Hawk’s wedding – not the reception, the actual wedding – and Hawk helped to donate skateboards for some of the teens in the family shelter.
“You never forget where you came from,” Frederiksen said. “I remember eating Raisin Bran for Christmas dinner. But some of these kids have it a lot worse than I ever did.”
Photo: Lars Frederiksen (right, with blond hair) helps Steven Asencio peel the plastic wrapper from his new Tony Hawk skateboard at the shelter.
From: The San Francisco Chronicle