Thursday, December 24, 2009

Lars Fredrickson as Santa

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."

Here's a link to the story in SFGate - Link

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