For those who dwelled and acted upon the era of the mighty dinosaur or throughout the Western European colonial push, the millennia pass and pile up with the unyielding weight of bargeloads freighted with rotting warhorses, their corpses bloated by rot and festooned with arrows of the legions that overran their slain riders. ‘Timeless’ often is unholstered as a descriptor for tricks or styles enduring across years, pants-fittings and upper padding materials; alternatively the adjective applies to semi-straddler Claude Van Damme’s century-hopping lawman and this Marky Numbers pic from the recent Omar Salazar TSM, in that the move featured and its boisterous presentation might’ve full-bled across some mid-1980s Thrasher or Transworld photo feature and anywhere in-betwixt.
Teenage angst is the eternally renewable fuel source upon which the skateboard industry may be said to rise and fall. As a power to be harnessed it can be as tender and benevolent as a caressing summer breeze, or as tormentous and destructive as the most esoterically named tropical swirly. Deck designers for decades have sought to sate teens’ hunger for scary skulls, subversive violence, conspiracy oddments and more recently easily recognizable Plan B logos; while Wet Willy and Flameboy once earned lucrative dollar bills from soccer-mom purses, such gateway graphics hooked several generations’ worth of minimum-wage paycheck earners who later would seek out socks emblazoned with weed leafs and several varieties of T-shirts that explain the veritable black holes of society from which the wearer, now more affluent and bejeweled, once had emerged.
With the notable exceptions of Rocco-sanctioned Wu-Tang album cover riffs, one-off series bowing to the continued influence of professional firepole navigators or the fleshy urethane peddled by the double entendring Hubba Wheels, lust is perhaps among the least-celebrated cardinal sin when set up against the various drill fights, junk-food odes, thirst for bling, militant anti-jealousy campaigns, and strategic piling-out plans, yet there may be plausible arguments that it or one of its derivatives underlies every ledge crooked and nearly all 360s flipped.
Does it reflect lingering prepubescent discomfits or fear of some phantom parent peering over our collective shoulder that Hook-Ups couldn’t make the post-millennial transition, that Stance magazine’s Maxim-aping spreads went unsubscribed to, that Big Brother bizarrely became more family-friendly under the watchful eye of Larry Flint? Are there alternative explanations for the general collar-tugging and furrowed brows prompted by the adult situations featured within Dylan Rieder’s wingtip commercial for Huf this month, which left some viewers breathless and others vaguely panicked, like being caught late at night surveying the more risque precincts of their parents’ vinyl collections?
Dylan Rieder makes a certain subset of his potential customer base self-conscious and frustrated, and rightly so. He has the luxury of turning in Street League runs that come off more like a half-demo, half-commentary on the point-stacking repertoires of Chaz Ortiz and Nyjah Huston; as transcribed within this spring’s immediate classic “Cherry,” his 360 flips, switch kickflips and backside smith grinds are worthy for consideration as works of art. Perhaps seeking inspiration within dog-eared months of Supreme’s early aughts calendars, Dylan Rieder with his shoe commercial seems to have redirected the rhetorical query to his railside admirer in “Cherry” toward the viewing populace at large, with one of the era’s great switch backside kickflips floated in place of a question mark.
Others unearth darker tones to these primal urges. Bronze Hardware Company already demonstrated globally that it owns computers capable of making the best video clips. Yet in Bronze’s latest offering, affectionately titled “Enrons,” Joseph Delgado’s latest Flushing ledge ticklers, an alternate take on the subway gap ollie and an obvious contender for video part of the year from hardflip lifter Jordan Trahan come spiced with smouldering gazes from hair-tossing and moistened vixens, simulated and/or animated mature acts as well as high definition video camera footage. It is obviously an exclusive video, yet Bronze also pays tribute to the wages of death and dismemberment explored in onetime movies made by clothing maker XYZ several decades ago.
Is the latest Bronze video file truly actually an elaborate metaphor the exhibitionism rampant in today’s extreme sporting industry, and the self-inflicted gunshot clip near the end a Ouija-like premonition of Pacific Vector Holdings’ game-over bankruptcy filing that was then yet to come? Is it solely a matter of days and/or weeks before Alex Olson ups the fleshy ante with clips of unclothed, poorly lit men festooning Bianca Chandon web promos? Would this be biting Pontus Alv’s post-Cliche time in the wilderness? Was Nelly right? Will the inevitable skate video parental rating system top out with 56K, and will Ian Reid ultimately mount a legal challenge that rises to the Supreme Court?
Big Punisher the rap singer famously weighed 700 pounds at the time of his untimely passing several centuries ago. This achievement, unequaled by rappers of his time or since then, made true the statement that this onetime government-named Christopher Rios had more heart than would-be rivals in the game because it later was revealed that his heart was three times the size of a normal human’s, a Grinch-like feat that alongside his body of work enshrined eternally Big Punisher’s non-player status.
Would Transworld Skateboarding have enjoyed similar canonization had the Tracker-birthed publication evaporated at the height of its Sears-catalogue engorgement? The future of the past unoccurred is but a shadow out of time and a colour out of space. However, a confluence of worldwide economic tightenings, growths within internet page browsing, and the collective lines of ethernet speed snorted by Youtube uploaders, hard/softgood manufacturers and Pro Spotlight-eligible pros themselves seems over the past decade to have exacted a fleshy toll upon the World’s Number One Skateboard Magazine*.
TWS has hovered slightly above the 100-page mark in recent months, roughly same for The Skateboard Mag. Days when colourful and pro-endorsed hair gels and the dairy industry trade group balled for position alongside Baker boards and decades-old urethane concerns seem to have faded, with some choosing instead to pursue unique clicks and views on Quartersnacks.com and the Slap message-boards, while a new vanguard of more-virtual board outfits slings merchandise straight off white-labeled web blog platforms. It is a departure from the heady days of 2003, when TWS’ 20th anniversary issue boasted four different covers enveloping 408 pages; ads for Seek, Artafact, Germ and Fuze; two separate spreads featuring Toan Nguyen and one with Anthony Pappalardo backside tailsliding a hubba.
In recent weeks, Palace made several ripples for having an ad in TWS at all — which when you think about it is an uneasy look, re: one of the better-selling (and better-conceived) board companies of the day sort of deigning to show up at the party. Elsewhere, magazine ads taken out by Supreme and Fucking Awesome similarly have been seen as a novelty. While the remaining big three mags experiment with placing print content online in various forms, recent jumps from print to digital for Skateboarder and Slap ominously withered on the vine.
Worse, print publications increasingly appear locked in a slow-burning battle against a posse of nimbler websites able to post clickbaitable content willy-nilly without regard for print deadlines, touring schedules and the lassoing of press-ready adverts. In a broadening competition for the thumb-scrolling consumer of skate-related text blocs, this corner of the pasture has earned some coups: Jamie Thomas last month confirmed to Jenkem Mag recent rumors that Zero and Fallen would move to Dwindle, about a week after the site put up a thoughtful interview with recently-out photog Sam Maguire and a few months after they got Paul Rodriguez to run down the model for his board company. EXPN.com some months back interviewed Ty Evans on his post-Crailtap plans and earlier this month got Chris Cole on the record about quitting Zero (though without bothering to call him on press-release linguistic exercises or his statements to the contrary a few months ago).
Transworld the other day did land Habitat treehugger-in-chief Joe Castrucci on the company’s future with a heartwarming video to boot, though Jenkem the same day posted an interview with rider-wrangler Brennan Conroy that featured a shade more industry laundry aired.
The websites do not offer products for sale to coax revenue from lucrative zones such as airport bookstores and the remaining Barnes & Nobles. But they seemingly hold an advantage in being able to regularly crank out buzz/worthy list items. They’re also able to occasionally capitalize on the print mags’ own content, such as Nyjah Huston’s comments regarding girls and skating, which subsequently were walked back. They can freely post up more-lengthy items that don’t readily lend themselves to photo-powered features, like Muckmouth’s endlessly entertaining and entertainingly endless ‘Back in the Spotlight’ series and Jenkem’s Big Brother-worthy interview with ‘Tyler’ the skated-in sock enthusiast, or the more meditative feature on Tony DaSilva’s post-Foundation pursuits.
TWS and TSM and Thrasher could move similarly and sometimes do; witness Transworld’s own recent scoop, catching up with a fresh-out messageboard darling Jereme Rogers. You’d imagine though that they’re more constrained with the machinations of producing an actual physical product every four weeks, the expenses that go alongside supporting staff photographers, designers, writers and ad-sales officials. It has rightly been said that print magazines’ role these days includes some gatekeeping, and that a photo or interview in a magazine means more and lingers longer in the collective consciousness, and they have maintained as the de-facto locales for hosting and posting serious ‘internet’ video parts. But one worries how long this persists when the every-four-years generational shift skews more and more toward informing itself via mobile phones and whatever vaporous, cloud-infused technology may lurk just over these brave and binary horizons, for instance a floating monocle that allows the wearer to surf a web and look at his or her phone through the other/opposite eye.
Thrasher remains relatively fat and seems kind of insulated to all of this, having harnessed its SOTY award as a magnet for exclusive campaigner video parts, shifting KOTR toward a WWW serial and generally tethering its fortunes to the same winds of extreme whimsy that have lifted the boats and market shares of Anti-Hero, Independent, Spitfire and Vans over the past half-decade. For better or worse, how many TWS or TSM logo shirts do you see on dudes outside the page that bears the subscriber postcards?
What does the ‘culture’ if it can still so be called lose without mags of record, available to impressionable groms as they wander their junior-high libraries and kill time while their moms peruse supermarkets? As the multinational footwear vacuums of Nike, Adidas and Converse briskly hoover up teamriders, should we similarly consider the vision of a future centered upon one or two print mags and a host of bootstrap-pulling, internet-based contenders? How have the dwindling number of skate magazine pages affected the photographer ranks, and will an honest living be makeable should the pendulum of publication shift squarely to the internet? How much do the board/shoe/etc companies themselves, nudging their teamriders toward cultivating flighty Instagram followings, bear responsibility for shifting eyeballs away from the printed page?
*Billed more recently as ‘Skateboarding’s Finest’
Hair-salon proprietor Willy Santos in his hot-shoe am days was regarded as the prototypical new-school tech kid, and his opening part in Birdhouse’s $1 million 16/35MM extravaganza ‘The End’ kept him in good standing as it pertained to the miniature picnic table set, cracking nollie pop-shove its and switch heelflips over that small can with some finesse, plus the rarely seen half-cab noseblunt back to fakie. Looking again at some of the tricks here though like the switch boardslide pop out, which may obligate the ‘could stand up today’ trope, as well as the kinked lipslides and boardslides, conjures flashes of clips to come from card-carrying gnar dogs such as Vincent Alvarez, Geoff Rowley and Dustin Dollin. The gently sun-faded footage here can be weirdly relaxing, probably because like the rest of ‘The End’ it’s backed by those clumsily dubbed-in sound effects that lull in a fashion similar to elevator music or a distant helicopter.
Is Brad Staba’s jaded/sarcastic persona an elaborate mask for a decade’s worth of bottled-up embarrassment and discomfort after perpetrating several high-profile backside salad grinds in the late 1990s and early 2000s? The answer undoubtedly is yes, though allowances must be made within a time period of hotly fermenting excess when Tum Yeto rode high upon the skate hog, selling decks emblazoned with nothing but Tod Swank’s juvenile and colourful scrawls and later embarking upon a plan to build a skateboard so large it would be an affront to God himself. ‘Nervous Breakdown’ was another chapter in Foundation’s by then established strategy of reinventing itself roughly every 18 months or so, introducing Daniel Shimizu and Omar Salazar and copping Ethan Fowler from atop various European contest-circuit podiums. Yet it was floppy-haired vintage tee shopper Brad Staba who closed the video, shuffling down monstrous handrails and cruising through dirt and occasionally flashing a grin that would later launch a thousand Skate Mental graphics of questionable moral standing. Brad Staba possessed one of the skating world’s best nollie frontside 180s around this time as well as a command of the kickflip backside 360, then a rare bird. The line at 1:07 bumps up the bar from the opening run in his Duty Now for the Future debut, where Brad Staba opened for future Latin American real-estate speculator Daniel Haney and horror movie budgeteer Jon West.
This video part showcases the freewheeling lackadaisically achievable solely through sporting xtra-large t-shirts and pants long of flapping denim leg. It’s a little bit of a challenge to buy into Transworld’s positioning of Biebel and Wenning as a summer buddy-pro duo, given that they skate none of the same spots here and indeed do not even seem to be on screen together, but there is enough common technical ground beneath those frayed cuffs to argue favorably for this part somewhere in the lower levels of the high temple of shared video parts, somewhere beneath your Hsu/Barletta, Carroll/Howard, Kirchart/Klein and Way/McKay. The Pier 7 blocks generally are some of the best backdrops for Brandon Biebel’s manualing prowess and he is known to have puffed out his big t-shirt at least eight dozen times over the course of recording these tricks. At this point in time Wenning still hovered near the height of his powers, his last line here worthy of bringing up in any conversation about the best lines within the Transworld video catalogue and notable too for featuring among the last colors of the original Lynx, which beyond all expectation or reason has since proven impossible for DC to revive without screwing up some major detail.
Some time back a series of summerish video parts was posted up onto this space while the world bided its time until the new Rick Ross CD arrived. To come are several more in a series curated so as to give appropriate glory to Rick Ross, his Wing Stop franchise poultry restaurants and summertime in general.
As far as second-wave Plan B riders go Pat Channita’s not talked about as much as Jeremy Wray or Rick McCrank or even Ronnie Bertino, but around the time he came out the crispiness of his flip tricks was regarded in certain circles as on a par with fellow World employees Daewon Song and Lavar McBride. Between the capacity for ambidextrous pushing, significant pop beneath the inward heelflips and that one backside heelflip over the bench Pat Channita represents a legitimate before-his-time contender, as well as the fact that he looks to have been 15 or 16 around the time he filmed all this, raising questions as to how or why he otherwise seems to have fallen through the cracks of message-board debates and where-are-they-now retrospecticuses — an obvious question to ponder is whether the fretful black slime from those Genetic shoe ads may have poisoned Pat Channita into a plotting supervillain bent on general chaos as well as ruining Peter Parker’s personal relationships. Irregardless, all the curbs, khaki shorts and Barack Obama presidential campaign tune make this an enjoyably breezy summer video part.
CARLSBAD, CALIFORNIA–(Marketwired – May 30, 2014) – Pacific Vector Holdings Inc. (TSX VENTURE:PVH) (the “Company”) is providing this corporate update and the bi-weekly Default Status Report in accordance with National Policy 12-203 – Cease Trade Orders for Continuous Defaults (“NP 12-203″). On May 1, 2014 the Company disclosed in the default notice (the “Default Notice”) that, for reasons disclosed in the Default Notice, there would be a delay in the filing of its annual financial statements, accompanying Management Discussion and Analysis and related CEO and CFO certifications of annual filings for the financial year ended January 7, 2014 (collectively, the “Required Filings”).
As a result of this delay in filing the Required Filings, a management cease trade order was granted to the Company. The MCTO restricts all trading on the securities of the Company, whether direct or indirect, by the Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Financial Officer of the Company until such time as the Required Filings have been filed by the Company. The MCTO does not affect the ability of all other shareholders who are insiders of the Corporation to trade their securities.
Below is the update on the status of the financing and a corporate update.
As announced on May 23, 2014, the Company was unable to obtain an immediate bridge of three hundred thousand dollars which would have allowed for the payment of current obligations. As a result, a first secured lender whose one million dollar loan was due April 17, 2014, has filed a notice of default. In addition, another secured lender, owed four hundred thousand dollars which matured on April 21, 2014 and an unsecured lender, owed one million dollars which matured on October 31, 2013 have filed notices of default. The Company is diligently working to cure the defaults.
As a result of the Company’s financial circumstances, its stock price has reacted negatively and its ability to complete the conversion of US$6,959,987 in debt to equity and its ability to raise additional equity or debt has been greatly inhibited.
The Company has continued to advance the sale of the assets of Reno Wilson Inc. (Gatorz Eyewear) to a third party for gross proceeds of approximately $1.2M which is subject to fluctuations based on the value of the inventory and accounts receivable. The purchaser has completed the first draft of the legal agreements but the documents and structure will need to change as a result of the notice of default from the secured lender.
On May 28(th) , the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary PVH DNA Inc. entered into a rescission agreement (the “Agreement”) with DNA LLC, which is the company that owns the Alien Workshop, Habitat and Reflex skateboard brands.
The Agreement rescinds PVH DNA’s 51% interest in DNA LLC and cancels the license that PVH DNA had to sell those brands.
Under the Agreement, the Company has 6 months to sell its current inventory of Alien Workshop, Habitat and Reflex skateboard branded products. In exchange Dyrdek Enterprises, the second largest shareholder which owned 46.5% of DNA LLC, has agreed to take over stewardship of DNA LLC and pay the final payroll for the PVH DNA employees.
The Company also closed its only retail location in New Mexico bringing the total number of retail locations closed since March to 19. The Company continues to have 15 retail locations in operation.
About Pacific Vector
Pacific Vector is a premier action sports retail and consumer brands company.
“Everyone is just totally winging it, all the time,” the Guardian smirkingly intoned this week, from Barack Obama on down, dudes are doing what they can in the moment to get by and talk the talk, if not necessarily walk the walk. “This realisation is alarming at first, but it’s ultimately deeply reassuring,” blogmeister Oliver Burkeman commentates as he posits the power-brokers of the world staggering from crisis to crisis and trying not to let us see them sweat.
Approaching a 20-stair handrail — never mind the gaggle of screaming girls marauding downtown Los Angeles* — Rob Dyrdek can’t buy himself a few seconds with which to make second guesses, by snugging down his beanie or flipping open his cellular telephone. He trusts his gut, charges it and rolls on to the next obstacle. In the skateboarding business Rob Dyrdek has gained renown as a master tactician and virile negotiator. To wit, eight months ago:
“The DNA Brands are in great hands,” said Rob Dyrdek who will continue as minority owner and team rider of DNA LLC. “Chad Foreman and Pacific Vector, together with the three founders, Chris Carter, Mike Hill and Joe Castrucci, have created the perfect partnership to grow and develop the DNA brands. With their combined expertise, talent, and drive, the possibilities are limitless.”
Limitless by design, even. Yet, there are financial tiger traps and jackal-like lenders lurking within this Jungle Book where Rob Dyrdek, who we imagine here in a loincloth as the fictional young boy character of Rowgli, passes his days skipping from deal to deal, handshake to endorsement. But there are cold nights in which them shadows transform that throng of hormonal tweens into a pack of bloodthirsty bondholders, nipping at the heels of precocious and carefree business ventures.
23 May 2014 20:50 EDT Press Release: Pacific Vector Holdings Inc. Provides Corporate Update
CARLSBAD, CALIFORNIA–(Marketwired – May 23, 2014) – Pacific Vector Holdings Inc. (TSX VENTURE:PVH) (the “Company”) is providing this corporate update.
As announced on May 15, 2014, the Company required an immediate bridge of three hundred thousand dollars which would have allowed for the payment of current obligations. The Company was unable to obtain the required bridge and as a result, a first secured lender whose one million dollar loan was due April 17, 2014, has filed a notice of default. In addition, another secured lender, owed four hundred thousand dollars which matured on April 21, 2014 and an unsecured lender, owed one million dollars which matured on October 31, 2013 have filed notices of default. The Company is diligently working to cure the defaults in the next five days.
About Pacific Vector
Pacific Vector is an action sports retail and consumer brands company.**
Earlier this year, in a candid bro-to-bro moment that involved defining a douchebag and ruminating on the import of being checked for prostate cancer so as to flourish and enjoy the various triumphs of Gulf War military commander Norman Schwartzkopf, Rob Dyrdek revealed what it is like to slam on the 20-stair M&A handrail.
“I grew up, the skateboard company I turned pro for, was from Dayton, Ohio. And 20 years after they started they sold to Burton Snowboards… and they were having a lot of trouble, and I went out and bought that thing. Because I was like the kid from Ohio, 20 years later, comes around and buys the company. And I got slapped across the face in reality of emotionally purchasing a company and being faced with a hornet’s nest on the inside of trying to turn it around and involve people that have been doing something for 20 years. It’s a brutal lesson I have learned this year that I will never face again.” (19:30)
Josh Kalis, who rode for AWS 12 years and seems to care about those dudes as deeply as anybody even after quitting a couple years ago, told Jenkem this year that he believed Dyrdek did the right thing selling DNA to Pacific Vector, despite doing so under some duress:
“Well to tell you the honest truth, Rob really seriously tried to keep that shit the way it needed to be. He gave the power to those pros, and was like, let’s make this right. Dyrdek was going broke keeping Alien Workshop afloat, that’s what people don’t know. As far as the impression I have, he was paying for every single thing out of his own pocket, to where, he was spending more money on Alien then he was bringing in from everything else and it was breaking him. He had to do something. That dude lost millions of dollars trying to keep it going. And he did that for the dudes, for the original owners, he did it for the current pros, he did it for all of us. It was just too much. Now, half of it is owned by this new company, which is being head up by Chad who helped build Blackbox with Jamie Thomas. So I look at it as it’s in good hands.”
Among the difficult things to understand about the apparent collapse of AWS is how a top-tier company with a globally recognized name and graphics and lore, years of consistent promotion by a certified TV star, regular video output, potentate pros, and decades-long ties to retailers and wholesalers and suppliers, can’t make it work. At a time when relatively small companies like Palace and Polar (spiritually indebted to the Sovereign Sect) are balling for position on shop racks, when Jereme Rogers and Brian Wenning and James Kelch and Alex Olson and seemingly anybody else with a couple dimes to rub together can up and start glossy or gritty board concerns that don’t immediately evaporate, when companies as far removed from their respective heydays as Santa Cruz, World Industries and Blind can persist, why not a company as storied and comparatively still-vital as Alien Workshop?
“It was just getting harder,” DNA’s self-identifying “business guy” Chris Carter remarked upon an IASC panel three years ago when outlining his reasons behind selling to snowgoods maker Burton in 2008. The global economic slowdown had something to do with it, he said; Europe was “tough” and DNA had missed its window to sink American dollars into a European distribution of its own back in the early ’00s when the company was flush. “The deck company used to be the marquee brand,” Carter said, name-checking to seven-ply titans of years gone by such as Vision, Sims and Powell. Some time ago shoes assumed that spot and “deck brands are getting pushed further and further down.”
Chris Carter mentions several times decks’ commoditization, as AWS and Habitat competed for wall space and parental plastic against an expanding range of shop boards, blank boards and smaller rivals with slimmer payrolls and less overhead. Josh Kalis in the Jenkem interview figured monthly board sales of his own models fell from 6,000 decks per month in the Year 2000 to 1,000 by 2004. Archival records indicate that during this period Josh Kalis was not imprisoned for crimes against humanity, did not vie for the title of “world’s worst person” and clubbed no baby seals.
By this point DNA, already bicoastal, considered itself a global deck merchant, as per Chris Carter. Kalis and Dyrdek’s Seek imprint, which seemed directionless early on and destined to rank alongside PJ’s Undapendent records and “Street Dreams” in the slam section of Rob Dyrdek’s business career, nevertheless reflected DNA’s ambitions to build an international team in the early 00’s. Lengthy European stays became de rigueur for top-shelf video parts and retaining occasionally destructive travelers such as Danny Renaud further padded expenses. In Dayton DNA supported a loyal employee base, one-third of which Chris Carter in his talk estimated had been there for a decade or longer by 2008, who deserved things like benefits and retirement plans.
“You can call it selling out, I call it selling in,” Chris Carter said of the Burton deal, which in three years would teach him more about running a company than he’d learned on his own over the prior ten, he said. Burton’s financial posse were a disciplined lot and transfixed by profit margins, forecasting, lending rates and tinkering with distribution networks; under Burlington’s watch, DNA grew for three years straight, according to Chris Carter. Yet even they were unable to tame fallout from the 2008 worldwide credit crunch, and in response to consumers’ diminished thirst for snowboards and coats, Burton trimmed its portfolio in 2012, pulled out of the skate shoe biz and offloaded the DNA unit to millionaire teamrider Rob Dyrdek, who reportedly gushed before the deal was even complete that he intended to own Alien Workshop forever.
Are Dyrdek Enterprise’s accounting darklords as sophisticated as Jake Burton’s? It is difficult for a person to know, but soon Dyrdek, Carter and Hill would venture onto a corporate path far afield from the frugal one Chris Carter charted in 1990, as described to the IASC audience: “We just saved our money. We actually financed it all ourselves …we started the company with $26,000. That was the startup capital. We were equal partners in the business. It was basically self-funded. We didn’t borrow any money. In fact, in the history of the company we never borrowed any money. We never took a bank loan. We never used a line of credit, not one time. We borrowed to buy a building and that was it. It was all self-funded. …We reinvested all the money back into the company.”
Amid the dark nights of soul Rob Dyrdek would later confide to Larry King, he determined to parlay DNA into a larger and more-diverse extreme sporting venture. About 18 months after cementing his DNA purchase, Rob Dyrdek in October 2013 sold it to Pacific Vector Holdings, for most of its lifetime a sunglasses company that in recent years had absorbed several extreme retail stores. Rob Dyrdek’s deal seemed to involve selling DNA for a stake in the enlarged company, for which he appeared to have a broader plan, since earlier that year the company licensed rights to develop “Street League” stores in return for royalty payments.
Pacific Vector aimed to expand given the sunglasses business appears not to have been a profitable one for the better part of a decade. It’s difficult to get the full picture from the financial statements filed by Pacific Vector via Canada’s SEDAR filing system, but they do show net annual losses each year going back from 2012 to 2005, ranging between $199,000 and $1.7 million, while annual sales were between $1.4 million and $2 million***. The jury remains out as far as 2013 results — at the beginning of May Pacific Vector notified investors that these couldn’t be filed on time because the company was still working on getting financing and couldn’t pay auditors to look over the numbers.****
Two weeks later the “Alien = done” topic materialized on the SLAP board; employees and team members were rumored to have been laid off, AWS mothballed, poignant malt-liquor photos posted to instagram accounts. The messageboards have Habitat architect Joe Castrucci retaining some intellectual property associated with the company and potentially replanting company and team beneath a different distributor, while posters rumor that Rob Dyrdek is considering a court battle for control of Alien, or the company potentially sold at auction.
For those with fond memories of skating the boards, rewinding the multicoloured videotapes, squinting for hidden messages in adverts and appreciating the gradual mind-warping at work, the options are not great ones. Alien could go away, perhaps not on its own terms, but with its legacy secure and on a respectable note as far as output, pro-personnel and stature; to some this is the preferred option. A Blueprint-like resuscitation seems a real and depressing possibility, given the nine lives that some shoe and clothing companies seem to have been imbued with in recent years. The moon-shot would be for Rob Dyrdek to again ride to the rescue and restore AWS in what would almost assuredly be some stripped-down fashion. Zen-stated wallride beltholder Jake Johnson for one has stated his intent to chill for a while and see whether AWS can work it out.
Could an Alien Workshop with a smaller team, scaled-back selection of t-shirts and hats and whatnot, and a sensible travel/video schedule be able to pay its HQ staff a living wage, cover Carter/Hill’s mortgages and not drain further dollars from Rob Dyrdek’s coffers? Does Rob Dyrdek have any more tricks yet up the sleeve of that DC Shoes varsity jacket? Have Carter and Hill dug out their basement-buried gold ingots yet? Will the retired Heath Kirchart return the favor and continue to consider a defunct Alien Workshop his board sponsor?
Alien Workshop’s passage into shadow, permanent or not, is worth pondering. It would seem the biggest board company to go out since Plan B, and casts a singular and long cultural shadow. For a lot of people it is deeply personal. Like Girl/Chocolate, Toy Machine, Zero, Black Label, Powell Peralta, Baker and maybe a few others Alien Workshop not only resided among the top tier of a fickle and trend-driven industry for many years, it changed and directed the conversation with graphics and videos that couldn’t have come from anywhere else and inspired various acolytes and copycats. This blogging web page from time to time has taken a critical way with Alien Workshop and Habitat, and that is because the people running them have produced work worth holding to very high standards. Among the several possible outcomes mentioned earlier Boil the ocean Weblog very much is pulling for #3. While we wait, wander through the Black Hole.
*They call Los Angeles the “City of Angels” according to the US movie “The Big Lebowski”
**Versus earlier press releases in which Pacific Vector billed itself as a “premier” action sports retail and consumer brands company yall.
***For perspective, DNA at the time Pacific Vector bought it had sold $7.5 million worth of boards and clothes and whatnot over the prior 12 months.
****Earlier in the year, Street League and Pacific Vector dropped their plan to build Street League stores.
“Recession over!” arose the jubilant cry across American streets and by-ways these past days, as consumers cheered on trucks, trains and cargo ships plumped with exportable goods, steady gains in housing values and now, the most recent leading indicator: yung Trevor Colden, wearer of the beanie and holder of the 2011 Tampa Am belt, discussed emptying his savings account, to the tune of $15,000, for the pleasure of leaving Mystery ASAP for the presumably greener* pastures of Brad Staba’s Skate Mental imprint.
Trevor Colden offered his account of the career-minded balling in a Thrasher website interview shortly after a similarly themed Instagram posting set off questions about his spendthrift approach to contract management.
The graphic that people are probably talking about the most was the one with the check. What was that all about?
That check is the check I had to pay to buy my way out of my contract with Mystery.
So you had a contract and wanted to get out early to switch to Skate Mental?
Yeah, I tried to call Jamie a couple of times and he didn’t answer. I talked to Bobier and he knew the situation and they were going to find a way to solve it. Long story short, there was no way he was going to let me out of the contract, no matter what. He was asking people for a lot of money and they weren’t going to give it to him so I went ahead and said, “Fuck, he’s not going to let me out of my contract, I’ve got $15,000 in the bank.” He was asking for double that. So I called him and told him, “Hey, I know you’re really mad at me right now. I just really want to make some changes. I can offer you $15,000. That’s all I have. I’ll come down there tomorrow and give you a check.” He said, “Yes, I graciously accept your offer. I’ll have Bobier meet up with you.” Then I started thinking, “Fuck, that’s a lot of money! Taxes are right around the corner! Shit!” So I called him back and offered him $10,000. That was still more money than he owed me in my contract. I was hoping he’d go for it. But nope, he wasn’t down. So I went down there the next day and gave Bobier the check.
Computer bash files worldwide can testify to the numerous keystrokes and characters deployed on either side of this heated matter in the days since, though Jamie Thomas’ side remains untold. Was Trevor Colden, into whom Black Box/Mystery presumably had invested valuable U.S. dollars, time and transport fuel over the course of his amateur rise, now looking to play fast and loose with legal terms to which he had agreed in the not so distant past? Did Jamie Thomas, who recently touched on the hardgood industry’s struggles in his own Thrasher interview, play needless corporate hardball with a youngster who apparently really really didn’t want to represent Mystery any longer? Is Skate Mental, which one might reasonably assume would pick up part of the tab for this kind of personnel wheeling and/or dealing, grinning through Doritos-yellowed teeth at all this? Absent details on guarantees, prepaid incentives and otherwise, does the math described above make sense?
Such questions invariably amount to little more than smoke and mirrors obstructing the real debate here, which as ever must harken back to that one other time period when America was emerging from a recession and war in the Middle East, Nas was preparing to release an album called “Illmatic” and a person with the last name of Hawk was performing pressure flips: the early 1990s. In the matter of Trevor Colden and his $15,000 check, is the true question not “who was more Rocco?”
Steve Rocco’s daring feats of team-raiding, fueled in turns by rampant money-throwing and sheer gusto, remain the stuff of slurred legend and at times serious documentary filmmaking. Gazing out upon the Pacific from his opulent trailer home, the gold fronts of Steve Rocco’s inner Bryan “Baby” Williams no doubt would have cracked a smile at the thought of a kid nonchalantly cutting a check to take his destiny into his own hands, and then plastering it across the bottom of one of his debut pro models (even if Trevor Colden’s dealmaking remains decidedly amateur-level). Or, Ipad in hand, might Steve Rocco have half-smiled and nodded in the general vicinity of San Diego, recognizing the real in a company holding a itchy-footed teamrider to terms that both had agreed, while sending a signal regarding expectations to other riders future and present, and providing a roadmap to other company owners contemplating their own next moves when top-drawer talent, if Trevor Colden should so be called, abruptly announces its intention to fly the company coop?
How much, if any, of the previously-quoted dollar figure represented Trevor Colden’s footage for his Skate Mental debut part? Are the excellent frontside noseslide, backside smith grind backside 180 and switch backside tailslide line offset entirely by an ill-conceived choice involving skinny camos and colourful socks? Would pro-level negotiator Rob Dyrdek have counseled Trevor Colden to instead ride out his contract til the end, to avoid burning bridges and potentially to help stoke a broader bidding war for his frontside k-grinds? Relatedly, is Alien Workshop thousands of dollars richer in hamburgers and hair grease now that John Fitzgerald and Donovon Piscopo are off the team, as suggested by the AWS website?
*Correct, a weed leaf joke