U. S. Bombs

Published on January 1st, 2018

When you’re a self-proclaimed “Master of Disaster,” disaster sometimes masters you. For Duane Peters, this was increasingly the case. A skateboarding pioneer who invented numerous tricks and techniques, Peters was one of the first recognizable skaters to embrace punk rock. He helped push skate culture from its sunny, surfy origins into a more antagonistic stance.

As a musician, he is best known for U.S. Bombs, which he formed with longtime friend Kerry Martinez in 1993. Embodying a ’77 style with street punk leanings, U.S. Bombs developed a rock ’n’ roll sound containing flourishes of Southern California melodic punk. A sizable catalog of albums, singles and EPs followed, while Peters also tended to his professional skateboarding career and musical side projects including Die’ Hunns and the DP Gunfight.

But roadblocks cropped up to disrupt Peters’ aggressive schedule of touring, performing and skating, and his life of late is in sharp contrast to his SoCal skater boy idylls. In 2007, his 21-year-old son Chelsea Peters was killed in a car accident. Peters  and U.S. Bombs carried on, but evolving personal and professional differences, and the scattering of bandmates across the country, prompted them to call it quits in 2013.

In 2014, Peters was sentenced to five years’ probation and counseling for domestic violence. What followed were health crises, financial hardship, reports of drug abuse, strings of bizarre and accusatory social media posts, and doubts about Peters’ mental stability. “Duane Peters is Going Bat Shit Crazy on Instagram … and Probably IRL” is how one hometown paper, OC Weekly, put it in 2016.

This past spring, after ostensibly getting his affairs in order, Peters announced a new U.S. Bombs lineup — the first without Martinez — and a tour in support of new material. His Instagram remains bizarre (“Check’n Out Cathy O’Brien Ratt’n out Hildabeast Clinton along with Aid’s Ridden Hubby ‘Billy da berg’ FagLands of the Nowaday’s Millineul Deranged !”) but the hope is that the Master of Disaster has figured himself out enough to uphold his musical legacy.

U.S. Bombs with Killed By Florida, Death Lottery and Armageddon Man on January 14 at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach.
~ Abel Folgar

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