A discrete plea to crowdsource a Dennis Busenitz You-Tube link: In the way one can be struck by a sudden craving for a Burger King Whopper or a grape-flavored cigarillo, midweek brought an overpowering urge to cue up the footage for what onetime Thrasher ledge-lord Josh Kalis declared to be the best manual trick performed ever at the pier. This ad came around 2007 and apparently before Busenitz made the hop to Adidas. The clip wasn’t filmed in time to make “Roll Forever,” was too far on the left side of the Western hemisphere for inclusion in “Diagonal” and my first guess, Volcom’s “Let’s Live,” wasn’t right. Sifting Real’s “Kitchen Sink” odds-n-ends video didn’t turn it up. The desire remains strong to the point reviewing various Thrasher and TWS video montages remains under consideration.
In these topsy-turvy times a bro can be forgiven for wondering if we are witnessing some wholesale collapse of ‘the industry.’ One day it’s Jason Dill and AVE leaving Alien Workshop, the next it is rumored to be Grant Taylor, then the Holy See that is the Slap board would have Austyn Gillette, Brian Anderson and Alex Olson all flying their respective coops en route to greener pastures and possibly other mixed metaphors further afield. Meanwhile footwear developers have uniformly failed to achieve, leaving no alternative for Chaz Ortiz to secure sponsorship suitable for his skills than a new shoe company invented by Lil Wayne*. Perhaps most confounding is the news, reported last week by Quartersnacks, that Fred Gall got married (believed to be pictured above, with wedding party).
As we cast about for certainty and stability we look not to flighty teamriders or faddish deck technologies or the shifting cuts of cotton t-shirts, but to the graphic designs crafted to withstand the ravages of time and various silk-screen appliques. Faced with chaos and corporate identity crises, the beleaguered consumer still can safely plunk down funds for hard and soft-goods bearing a Ripper, Oval, Bighead, Flare, or OG of the Blind or Girl persuasion. So it is with Habitat’s famed and beloved ‘Pod’ logo, winner of the best new graphical design by a deck concern for the year 1999; however, a close review demonstrates a subtle shift over the past 13 years. Harken back to the original iteration of the Habitat logo, pictured herewith.
In the winter of 1999-2000 the planet was similarly on the cusp of change. Yellow shirts were commonplace and a presidential election approached a fine froth in the U.S., while computer scientists stayed up late searching for a digital harpoon with enough 1s and 0s to slay the fearsome Y2K bug. The Habitat logo as then envisioned offered safety and security, calmly explaining that Habitat was issued under the Sovereign Sect and that the company was focused on coexistence. The hand, leaf/wave and buildings represent ancient hobo hieroglyphs used by Fred Gall to indicate places of safety and prices for lap dances at certain New Jersey strip clubs.
If we skip ahead several chapters to the year 2013 much has changed, and the Pod logo no longer is adorned with horizontal lines and explanatory dialogue. What the Pod has gained in versatility, now shot through with camo, plaid and other patterns, it has shorn off in complexity, occasionally leaving off the H part on the left altogether and just having the circle and leaf thing. The viewer in such instances may be left to fend for his or herself, squinting and gritting teeth to recall aeroplane series, Mr. Dibbs instrumentals and the follow angle on Brian Wenning’s switch backside smith grind at Love Park. With so much now in question across the industry, should Habitat consider adding back some hot new glyph action to the logo? Have companies generally simplified their logos to shave weight from t-shirts and hopefully secure more X-Games medallions? Is Habitat only following the minimalist trek of technology hardware developers, rumored to be developing a new mouse with one button that does not click or connect to any computer?
*Perhaps more troubling is the growing realization that Trukfit and Spectre could ultimately dilute the already-established market for Hot Boy Wear.
“As I look up at the sky, my mind starts tripping, a tear drops my eye.”
“Pumping on my chest and I’m screaming, I stop breathing, damn I see demons.”
“I think it’s too late for praying, hold up.”
“A voice spoke to me and it slowly started saying, ‘Bring your lifestyle to me, I’ll make it better.’”
“So relax your soul, let me take control. Close your eyes my son.”
“I’m fresh up out my coma.”
“I get fronted some keys to get back on my feet.”
“I bought my Momma a Benz, and bought my boo boo a Jag, and now I’m rolling in a nine trizzay El Dorad.”
“Cuz when you start set tripping, that ass is mine.”
“Shackled from head to toe, twenty-five with an izzel, with nowhere to gizzo.”
“Red jumpsuit with two braids in my hair.”
“Cuz you can’t tell what’s next. My little homey baby boo took a pencil in his neck, and he probably won’t make it to see twenty-two. I put that on my Momma.”
It has been widely theorized that Mother Earth, known around some parts as GAIA or “Big Bloo,” periodically unleashes natural disasters to right global wrongs and remind her solar passengers who’s boss. Hurricanes, earthquakes and several Ja Rule albums have been attributed to nature correcting itself in a natural fashion. There is an unconfirmed science rumor that the comet which ended the dinosaurs’ reign was actually minding its own business when the earth, weary from hauling heavy lizard flesh around the sun for eons on end, intentionally floated out into the troublesome space-rock’s path.
Flash forward several years to when Girl and Chocolate released their high-def opus, “Pretty Sweet,” ostensibly like ODB for the children staffing the team. If Guy Mariano’s comeback section half a decade earlier in the Lakai video proved he still had it, closing out a production otherwise given over to hot shoes who hadn’t yet picked up a board by the time Guy Mariano was sprinkling LA confetti upon jubilant skid row dealers sounded a clarion call to old dudes everywhere, in the same way that Eric Koston’s part in “The Chocolate Tour” a decade earlier inspired the true life story of “Murderball.”
Even as winter’s unrelenting icy grip has punished would-be green shoots attempting to poke their buds aboveground this spring, so too have industry oldsters answered this call over the past month, refusing to yield to the current crop of handrailers and manualites. Transworld’s generally short-in-the-tooth production “Perpetual Motion” gave the curtains to the non-threatening hammers and gently shampooed hair-stylings of Julian Davidson, but at that point the trick of the video (50-50 handrail gap, also in the running for overall filmed achievement of the year) had already been performed by Silas Baxter-Neal, who in that lineup of uppers and comers counted as its vet, when you factor in his old-soulness and general SOTY gravitas.
Weeks later the security camera-laced Deathwish production launched with the breakout section recorded by probably the oldest or second-oldest dude on the squad, Jim Greco, he for whom 1,000 cattle have been slain to date in the ongoing search for a jacket that encapsulates just how feckless he is feeling at any given moment. Greco darkslides, across benches and from 360 flips and down handrails and switchstance, but amongst all that razzle-dazzle he appears to have cleaned out five years’ accumulated DV tapes worth of backside 360 lipslides down big handrails and certain big jumps. Jim Greco’s own post-sobriety turn in “Baker 3″ always seemed to me kind of scattered after his angry energy in “Misled Youth” and that “Baker2G” part that birthed a whole subgenre, but this one came off like he really, really wanted to go for it, kaleidoscopic outfits be damned.
Now as socialists around the world unite to march for solidarity and universal health-care coverage and tax deductible bail payments for regular- and goofy-footed independent contractors alike, Jason Dill and Anthony Van Engelen take their turn to shock the industry, except this time by quitting their jobs rather than doing them. Yet the abrupt flying of a couple decades-deep dudes from their long-time coop — where millionaire boss Rob Dyrdek had effectively given them lordship over the springier chickens — already is seen by message-board plutocrats and industry pundits as a game-changing moment and perhaps the greatest identity crisis facing Alien Workshop since Lennie Kirk seriously devoted himself to armed robbery.
Will Jason Dill get on Palace? Is skating inherently a young man’s game, except for vert and the giant mega-ramp, where it’s a middle-schooler’s and middle-ager’s game that may reward you with an SUV? Is Mark Suciu actually a 40-year-old bro who had been quietly filming in various towns under assumed names over the past 15 years, and is the steady release of footage a sign that he may have died sometime early last year, leaving the executors of his estate to periodically drizzle out tapes to sponsors in a Tupac-like series of posthumous releases that will subsidize the multiple wives he secretly and illegally maintained in small towns across the U.S.?
The Continued Adventures Of A Misled Distribution President, Joint Venture Partner and Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the YearApril 21, 2013
Jon Dickson recently flipped Aaron Harrison’s 1997 ender backside as he ollied his way into Deathwish’s professional designation, but Jamie Thomas lately has been revisiting his own greatest hits catalogue, between an extended remix of his “Welcome to Hell” tree wallie in the recent TWS production and here, immortal technique on a spot ripped straight from a late-90s Zero video, or at least that gap to blue rail that Cairo Foster and Chris Senn approached in a similar fashion about 10 years back. Also worth a mention is a rarely utilized but probably underrated graphic/wheel color combo.
Separately: If somebody told you when the “Thrill of It All” promo came out that besides Jamie Thomas, the dude going the hardest 16 years later would be the one who landed 70% of his tricks in a 10-clip part, would you have believed it?
Bryan Herman’s Genes Yearn For Him To Join The Redneck Yacht Club, But At What Cost To His Immortal Soul?April 13, 2013
In its most crude and base form, skateboarding is the business of fulfilling dreams. Warrior-poet Marc Johnson once opined in a Transworld vid that, one’s deck sturdily underfoot, “you can take something that was pure thought and make it reality.” Under the half-lidded stewardship of the Muska, Shorty’s called their inaugural video offering “Fulfill the Dream.” But what happens when such dreams go “to far”?
Jason Dill’s personal dream of dockside labor is a dream deferred. But even with yesteryear’s billowing pants and flapping tees put aside, and wife beaters snugly tucked, Dill and fellow world-weary coffee sipper Dylan Rieder seem blind to the apparent kidnapping of mutual teammate and Oregonian bigspin flipper Tyler Bledsoe, quietly displaced for Easter Egg hunting and footage gathering by Bryan Herman in last week’s TF clip celebrating Jesus Christ’s 2013th resurrection anniversary and the healing power of black denim.
Across the desert sand, Bryan Herman boils and sweats through the night. Once a stringy-haired Spanky understudy with a reliable frontside boardslide, he wandered through his late teenage years as an eyebrowless Bowie disciple before his persona gradually cleansed itself in a vat of Cash Money mixtapes and purple kush, revealing his true nature. Now piloting a pickup truck, hunkered down in a countryside home stocked with firearms, has has become possessed of the redneck lifestyle, incenting him to pursue beer sponsorships, study the switchstance techniques of lapsed Habitaters Brian Wenning and Steve Durante and now, worse. A damnable quest to achieve Lake Havasu spring break glory can only have fermented an obsession to claim this for-sale boat and all the fleshy amenities its seller promises, so much so that Bryan Herman has stooped to secretly impersonating Tyler Bledsoe in an apparent effort to double-dip in the tobacco pouch of pro sponsorship checks.
Tyler Bledsoe’s present status remains unknown but presumed bound and gagged somewhere on Bryan Herman’s arid and junker-strewn estate. Will Bryan Herman’s lust for boating be slaked, allowing Bledsoe his freedom to pursue happyness and kickflip out of super-long backside tailslides? Was Tunechi’s recent seizure fright a “wake-up call” for the industry? Is it possible to enter the redneck skater hall of fame without owning tracts of rural land or owning a dump truck?
It is either fate or some higher-level commentary on the state of the culture that a supernatural-themed company that was itself brought back from the dead has been going around re-animating tricks and concepts forgotten to the annals of time, but here we are. Creature rider and reputed EDM aficionado Ryan Reyes gained gnar levels last year for innovating what is now known as a “railie,” including tickling the muse of Guy Mariano, whose career enjoyed its own second coming. Elsewhere Creature breathed blasphemous new life into that “Storm” era Smolik accessory, the Osiris G-Bag, reimagined as a giant beer koozie.
Now, after rumors of so-called “coping dancing” have percolated among musty corners of the internet for several years, Creature’s re-animator in chief Darren Navarrette in this month’s new “CSFU” project whips the white sheet off a potentially new creation, a combo handplant. As a strict adherent to the straight-and-narrow, meaning generally sidewalks and schoolyards, I’m hard-pressed to brandish the NBD acronym in the transition neighborhood, but the last vert wristwork I recall on this level was perhaps Tony Hawk’s double board spin in “The End.” Does anybody know what Navarrette’s trick is called, and if it already existed before this?
It has been observed that the skateboarding industry is like high school, replete with jocks, nerds, overachievers, fashion victims, would-be authority figures, substance enthusiasts and vengeful, scheming captains of the water polo team who drive tricked-out jeeps and are partial to ripped jeans. Sticking with the analogy, last week we saw a long-running couple, recently broken up, each show up to the prom with new dates. Here was Blueprint, determined to pick up the shards of its spray-heart logo and shake off an ignominious dumping last fall, escorted by a half-dozen unknowns from the Southwest, and Mike York, who I like to imagine wearing a seersucker suit and white corsage. And then the former Blueprint squad, trotting out a sleek new name and logo spotlighting their Old World roots, ready to move on.
Look at Blueprint, chin out in an ill-fitting getup, dudes with blond dreads and Canadian management, trying at some kind of statement setting its team makeover clip to “Coming to America” (presumably by way of Quebec). As the would-be masterminds behind Ice Cream Shoes will attest it’s not easy to pull a Kareem Campbell when it comes to plucking unknown ams from the skatepark ether, and the pressure may be giving their filmer a case of tremors. Yet the former Blueprinters, offering pedigreed graphics and a trimmer team, may have the harder path. The stakes may be lower without this company having carried the UK on its back through the late-90s universe expansion, but it still arrives from some of the dudes who made all those legendary videos, and with no Canadian owners in the wings it’s all on them this go-round.
Both companies have an obvious fixation on America, economic or otherwise, and it is not difficult to see opportunities for them to jointly tap into American’s long-running love affair with familial turmoil and fractured relationships. Could a grudge match demo-tour produce 411 “Road Trip”-worthy highlights as each squad looks to one-up the other? Is there a potential sequel to last season’s “One in a Million” pressure-cooker meltdown to be had by confining the two teams to a “Big Brother” style condo to chew one another’s limbs off over British skate lore and whoever drank the last beer?
The respective team pages are telling. Are seeds of internal strife already germinating within Isle? A solid two-thirds of the team lists some variation of “green” as their favorite color, while boss figure Paul Shier stakes out the other side of the color wheel with “orange” and Nick Jensen boldly declares “not green.” Can they stand against the newly united Blueprint group, which have no history but seem to be on the same page when it comes to cuisine, roundly backing Mexican and BBQ variations? And will Isle continue to stick with the British spelling of words like “colour”? For that matter, will Blueprint?
They say history is written by the victors, and when it comes to rewriting certain chapters, or revitalizing them for the purposes of revivalism, maybe we say the past is best remembered by those popping bottles and making it rain in the club at any given point in time. Current bottle-popper and kickflip backside noseblunter Lucien Clarke remains among the hottest ‘boarders out of London and as an employee of Palace possesses the subcultural capital to deploy for the purposes of making his mark on the scene, whatever it and that may be. So it is that this meaty clip released last week by Krew clothes documents his daring decision to get behind the bucket-hat, that vestige of late 1990s fashion long since wadded up in the fist of time and used to clobber some smaller, clumsier dimension for forgetting to stoke the rescue fire.
A Palace-branded white button-up that a waiter or Dylan Rieder might wear commands a $200 asking price on Ebay, giving the company and its team-riders gravitas in the accessorizing game, and doubling down on the bucket-hat is in keeping with prior Menace-aping efforts. But are Lucien Clarke’s shoulders broad enough to pick up and carry forward the bucket hat’s noble legacy? Here is a look back at some of its esteemed practitioners throughout the hat’s golden age.
Andrew Reynolds: The Boss is an obvious influence on Lucien Clarke’s massive nollie backside kickflips, and during his Birdhouse-moppet era a bucket-hat held down Reynolds’ locks as he launched himself down gaps and rails in “The End.” The fact that his hairdo looked sort of like a bowl cut only adds to the mystique and credibility of the hat.
Jason Dill: Probably run more as a novelty item that completed a Dr. Hunter S Thompson ensemble for a brief juice-sipping clip that featured in TWS’ “Feedback”, Dill’s foray came early in his deep dive into alternative fashion that would lead many an impressionable youngster down the proverbial garden path throughout the ’00s. You get the sense that Jason Dill probably was not that invested in the hat necessarily, but it’s interesting to ponder how he currently views its place in the world, and whether he agrees with Lucien Clarke that it is ripe for revisiting.
Chad Fernandez: Even before Chad Fernandez was drawn into a verbal sparring match with an unpaid tween amateur he gave the impression that he had something more to prove than other pros, which is maybe why in retrospect he seemed more invested in the hat when rewatching clips like his part in Osiris’ “The Storm.” A decade later Chad Fernandez has shifted to beanies for this 2011 part that features some genuinely out of hand stuff like the ollie up to crooked grind at the beloved bench-to-stair spot, a nosegrind on the rail recently wooed by Sean Malto in the Girl/Chocolate video and a high-speed one footer.
Ronnie Creager: The lord of positive vibrations was an equal opportunity endorser of headware in videos such as Es’ “Menikmati”, in which Ronnie Creager managed not to succumb to the pressure of conceptualizing a lengthy, autobiographical intro that may have featured costumes. Of all those mentioned on this brief list, the desert-dwelling Creager may today have the most legit claim to wearing a bucket-hat in the course of his current day to day, which could also involve golf and checking in on Easter Egg packages that may lie around the Southern California region unclaimed for fifteen years.