Chuck Treece

30 Nov 2016


Chuck Treece, 2010 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.

"My overall purpose in music is to bring a sense of drive to the Philly music scene. I have worked diligently to stay vibrant in my career and never settle for less."

Chuck Treece (b. 1964) is known as a seasoned guitarist, bassist, drummer, vocalist, and, in many circles, a skateboarding legend. The first African-American youth in Philadelphia to become a sponsored skateboarder in 1982, Treece started his band McRad in the same year, and the group is still going strong 28 years later. Treece's music has evolved from its original punk-rock influence to a blend of contemporary genres, including punk, ska (a bass-heavy genre with roots in Caribbean music and rhythm and blues), dub (originally a subgenre of reggae music), and soul. His history of collaboration with other musicians and songwriters ranges from punk pioneers Bad Brains and contemporary R&B artist D'Angelo to Sting and Billy Joel.

In February 2013, Nike released a new shoe: The Nike SB McRad. The high-cut sneaker was designed by Treece in honor of his legendary skate punk band, McRad. The shoe design features a black, red, green, and yellow theme reminiscent of the May 1984 cover of Thrasher magazine, which featured Treece. He was first ever African-American to be featured on that publication's cover. Culture blog also posted a feature on Treece's involvement in the 1980s movement to inject punk rock with reggae, funk, and metal influences, writing, "It's always a good thing to see an icon and a true original get the respect they deserve."

Treece continues to create, perform, and produce music within a number of contexts. One of his current projects involves H.R., the storied vocalist from the hardcore band Bad Brains. Treece also continues to skate regularly at FDR Skatepark in Philadelphia.