If you work for Contemporary Media Inc. (the Flyer's parent company) and you have kids, sooner or later those kids — affectionately known at 460 Tennessee Street as "cheap labor" — will appear as models in some special issue or advertisement in one (or quite possibly all) of CMI's fine publications. It's fun for the offspring, who get to feel like rock stars during the photo shoot. In one case, however, the kid in question actually grew up to become a rock star. In our April 11, 1996, issue, Andrew VanWyngarden, son of Flyer editor Bruce VanWyngarden, had his chance to pose for the cameras. It turned out to be good practice.
Andrew VanWyngarden, half of MGMT, the freak-rocking duo whose Oracular Spectacular was named best album of 2008 by the UK's NME magazine, had his photo taken to illustrate a fad that was (and still is) sweeping the nation: skateboarding.
"Skateboards have been around since the Beaver was a kid, but they're just as popular now as they were then," wrote Linda Willis, the Flyer's listings editor and "Kid Stuff" columnist. But the article in question wasn't really about skateboarding. It was about fashion: baggy pants, T-shirts, and shoes "specifically constructed to achieve maximum rail-slide and curb-flip results."
"Skateboarding will rip through regular shoes in two weeks," said Brad Jackson of the local skateboard emporium Cheapskates.
Anticipating criticism from all the armchair ombudsmen who will no doubt accuse the author of this column of currying favor with his boss, allow me to set the record straight: Do you have any idea how many teenaged girls will click through our website to see a photo of the rocker in his younger days? It's a hit!