Tony Salador of Hood Rats

Chances are, if you’ve been around the Punk rock scene in Montreal, you’ve heard of Tony Salador. Maybe not by name, however, but one of the many bands he’s rocked in, surely.

In that time, I’ve seen Salador play guitar in Tainted Youth and Road Bones. The bass for English Oi legends The Blood. And the drums, while singing, with the Hood Rats. Each time I see a flyer for a band that Salador is a part of, I think to myself, what instrument will he be playing this time? He’s the kind of guy that could pop up on stage, playing saxophone for Less Than Jake – and nobody would be surprised.

Tony Salador on Tony Hawk's vert ramp // Photo : Kieron Yates
Tony Salador on Tony Hawk’s vert ramp // Photo : Kieron Yates


“Learning new instruments isn’t easy” explains Salador. “It takes years of practice.” Some people take to music naturally. Then there’s the age old saying that it takes ten thousand hours of practice to become good at any given skill. “It defiantly helps if you’re having fun. That way you don’t realize you’re practicing. I tried to play violin for a bit but the sound of my off-key notes were so brutal. I was over it almost immediately.” So then, are there any other instruments in the pipe line? “All I want to do now is learn how to get massive air on my skateboard. I don’t need to learn how to play any other instruments.”

The Blood

Another example I could offer up, is the time I drove to Ottawa for a gig. The legendary Oi band, The Blood, were kicking off their first tour in decades. And their first show was to be in Ottawa. So we arrive after a two hour drive, in a busted up Dodge Neon. Secure ourselves some ice cold ciders – and there’s Tony. Bass guitar in hand. Gearing up to play his first gig with The Blood. He really does pop up everywhere.

“Some members of The Blood got held up at the Canadian boarder” said Salador. “The promoter asked around town if anybody could learn their entire set in a day, luckily my name came up.” While the opening bands were doing their thing on stage, and we were sliding ciders down our throats – Salador was outside in his car. He somehow learned an entire sets worth of bass licks in that time. By the time he stepped onto the stage, he sounded as competent as the rest of the band. As if he had been their touring bassist for years.

See Also : Colin Smith of The Blood Interview

“When I got the call I happily agreed and left my busboy job” said Salador. The tour would take Salador and The Blood on several Canadian dates, into the United States and into South America. But touring life isn’t always roses. “I learned on that tour to never lose my passport” said Salador. “I couldn’t stay in a hostel or anything without ID. They thought I was an ex-con or serial killer” laughs Salador. “I had to sleep on night buses, in movie theaters, and did the whole beach bum thing for almost a week.”

It used to be common to see punk bands also skating but that trend faded towards the end of the 1990s. However, trends are for the weak and the followers. Skateboarding will always be connected to Punk rock. And musicians like Salador are still ripping up ramps whenever possible.

“If I wasn’t skating I’d probably be dead” says Salador in a suddenly serious tone. “I was heavy into drugs and getting wasted. I was the Michael Jordan of blacking out in my 20’s, I had to change up my lifestyle.” Skating was his salvation. And we’re not talking about those long board things either. “I had so much free time and energy that I began skating in parks at 27. I was like a dinosaur kook next to these kids. Just like punk rock. It’s great for letting out my all my anger and frustration, I’m as aggressive on my board as I am on my guitar.”

“I was heavy into drugs and getting wasted. I was the Michael Jordan of blacking out”

When the words Punk rock and skateboarding come up in the same conversation, one band springs to everybody’s mind. Suicidal Tendencies. The kings of skating swimming pools. Just check out their music videos.

Tony Salador and Hood Rats while opening for D.O.A // Photo : Kieron Yates
Tony Salador and Hood Rats while opening for D.O.A // Photo : Kieron Yates

“I met Mike Muir at Punk Rock Bowling in Vegas this year” beams Salador. “Dogtown skates had set up a booth to sell their skateboards. I went to buy a board because they’re so dope and nobody rides them in Montreal. As it turns out, his brother, Jim “Red dog” Muir owns Dogtown Skates. And Mike (Muir) was there with him. I was freaking out. Luckily my girlfriend Kate reminded me to stay cool because I was totally being weird. I’m such a fanboy sometimes – I would have had security guards escort me from the festival if it wasn’t for her.”

Jackalope festival

The Hood Rats will playing the Jackalope festival this year. An extreme sport festival that focuses largely on skateboarding. Legends of the discipline have skated at Jackalope. Including Bob Burnquist and Bucky Lasek. Kevin Staab and the man himself – vert master Tony Hawk. That means a monster sized Vert ramp. You can bet that you’ll find Tony Salador on stage and the ramp. Like I said, the previous year, while waiting for Hawk to hit the ramp – there was Salador. Although the massive vert ramp was a little too intimidating for him.

“We didn’t have any ramps that big in Montreal to practice on so I bought a plane ticket to LA. I lived out of a sketchy hostel in South Central for a month and had a blast. Went to the biggest bowls I could find and got more comfortable each day until the fear was gone. I was even lucky enough to skate with Steve Caballero, Lance Mountain and Mike McGill at the Combi bowl. It was unreal. I’m looking forward to skating at Jackalope this year, but I have a feeling Hood Rats set will be even more fun than the mega ramp.”

Hood Rats are about to release their new album

As far as the Hood Rats go – they have a new record about to drop. And from what I’ve heard, its going to be something special. “This time I’m playing every instrument on the record. 40 Oz. Of Fury is all about the big riffs and the killer guitar tones I grew up listening to.”

“My favorite part about this album is that seven out of the eleven tracks are under two minutes long, no room for bullshit. The whole thing was recorded in three days with my old band mate Ryan Battistuzzi (Death Boat). He’s a fantastic engineer and a damn cool dude. I record demos at home all winter long. It’s important to feel comfortable while you record so you can be creative, have fun and get weird. In springtime I take the best tunes to an actual studio and the result this year was 40 Oz. Of Fury.

The record drops on August 28th, 2019.