Posts Tagged ‘Fred Gall’

Were Things Better When Habitat’s Logo Was Busier?

May 15, 2013

stuck truck

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.

old_hab

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.

habitat_vinyl_decal

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.

Big Anthony Speaks The Magic Words, And The SOTY Pot Begins To Bubble

October 20, 2011

More or less on schedule with the arrival of shittier weather and the autumn crop of video premieres, Boil the ocean internet blog spot/space examines potential and plausible candidates for Thrasher’s 2011 skater of the year, known as the only award without several zeroes behind it that matters in the streets.

Dennis Busenitz
If it ain’t this year then probably it never will be for the dude, and these younger guns toting heavier hammers and rumors of Jake Phelps remaining cool on him further slim the odds. Drawing the curtains on this year’s most recent Real production was another stripe up on Busenitz’s arm and from over here his big win in Tampa (SOTY of contests?) bought one of the year’s more culture-affirming moments, but kinda still see him getting passed over again — which in the long run will probably rank him with Muska and Jamie Thomas, since aside from Bob Puleo and Marc Johnson it’s tough to think of many dudes exerting more influence on the ‘modern scene.’

Torey Pudwill
Pro footwear, his own week on the Thrasher website and dating an internet meme of ridiculous proportions, Torey Pudwill has made strides since parting ways with his Alien flow packages. But was his midsummer Thrasher web dominance more like a marriage of convenience targeting unique page views than a lasting love affair? Calculated shot at SOTY status or not you’d be hard pressed to match the combos and waist-high ledge get-ups in terms of fireworks power, among both web one-offs and still-to-DVD productions alike. Pudwill would be a strong entry in a race that some years seems to go to the consensus candidate in lieu of a dominant MJ, Rowley, Arto or Daewon.

Grant Taylor
A favorite skater’s favorite skater type and for the past year-plus the recipient of many a slobbery, deep-throated photo caption via Thrasher and with fairly good reason. Grant Taylor possibly tops Leo Romero in attitude negativity and also is an ATV mold-breaker. Meanwhile he’s managed to run an impressive and Heath Kirchart-like streak of non-communication that’s admirable in our Instagram laundry-airing era. No video part yet but I like how he’s got good footage embedded in any number of crusty tour clips.

Brandon Westgate
Not letting up the bumps-to-bars pummeling he brought toward the end of last year, Brandon Westgate in 2011 also offered us a regular-joe turn in “Epicly Later’d” that sported a blue collar motif kinda at odds with the Marc Ecko corporate umbrella, but well loved by the canned beer/hair by Wahl set. Setting up shop on the San Francisco hills wins Nor-Cal points and he backside smith grinded up a handrail, Brandon Westgate is on his level.

Nyjah Huston
A 16-year-old kid who’s closing in on a million dollars’ worth of soda-pop contest prizes (this year) and yet somehow being packaged as a comeback story. For the purposes of Xcel autosumming stair counts and degree rotations onto handrails Nyjah Huston could probably claim the little SOTY statuette on the basis of Street League points, and he generously gave a week’s worth of photos and a humdrum interview to Thrasher not long ago. Together with a to-come internet video part this kid figures as a contender but even without the tween dreadlocks look there’s not a lot dramatic about his tricks.

Justin Brock
Every self-respecting blog list needs a dark-horse entry that makes some kind of rational sense, and for our purposes Justin Brock fits the bill. He is a southern beer swiller and a sometime loudmouth, he recorded a rollicking two-song section for the Real vid that peaked with a triumph over security, he jumped aboard KOTR mainly I think to support his bros and swill beers (and lose). Has there ever been a glasses-wearing skater of the year?

Fred Gall
Good internet lists designed to create arguments and draw precious web hits also often include a darker-horse entry that is controversial. Fred Gall in 2011 courted controversy by taking off his clothes (again), going to jail (again), and wallriding a moving bus. There is a ponderous blog post maybe to be written as a compare/contrast of Fred Gall and Sean Sheffey’s careers and legal trespasses and their shared inclination toward switchstance skating, but for the purposes of this one, I guess Sheffey never won SOTY either.

Off Parole/As The Three-Striped Tentacle Turns

September 27, 2011

Around this particular corner of the internet a virtual candle remains lit for the skate career of Danny Renaud, filthy Floridian, and any signal that he is back aboard in whatever capacity is welcome. In recent decades Fred Gall has helped bring many great things into the world, including top-tier sponsorship deals for Steve Durante and the mid-90s catchphrase “skuhhh!,” and his Domestics clothes blog this month offers up a web clip that mostly features Paul DeOliveira but surprises with a Renaud cameo at the end that finds the dude not looking too much worse for some pretty serious wear. Any waft of this dude’s brand of swaggering grime is welcome, however fleeting.

Elsewhere in Florida, you could say fleeting to talk about PJ Ladd’s footage output these past eight or nine years, a minute or two here and there and a lot of it in pretty antiseptic park environments devoid of the kid-flipping-his-board-down-the-street soul that jazzed his Coliseum arrival. But there’s a gem now and then and if you look past the is-he-or-ain’t-he footwear choice in this Orlando demo clip that went up a couple weeks ago there are some. The kickflip noseslide shove-it rewound in my head for a day or two after first seeing this clip, partly because it’s the type of unassuming tech move that made his old footage so fun to watch, and maybe too because it’s a trick that tons of other people would make look like shit. Cool to see the bluntslide too.

Fred Gall Attempts To Wallride Heavy Machinery While Under The Influence Of Being Fred Gall

August 28, 2011

Serial New Jerseyan and IRS scofflaw Fred Gall long ago cemented his status as one of the most compelling magazine featurees with his legendary interview in Strength. There, he discussed courting police brutality at Ozzfest, fighting in Ohio, going to jail abroad and Lenny Kirk. Fred Gall has been an odds-on favorite to pile out at any given moment for more than a decade now and he continues to surprise us, so maybe it shouldn’t have caught me so off guard when flipping through the new Skateboard Mag there is an account of Fred Gall applying his classic dunderhead approach to what sounds like it would be one of the more jaw-dropping tricks all year and maybe of all time.

When we got to the “spot” the first evening, it became apparent that traffic was moving way too fast for him to … Oh my god! He just jumped on that bus. Well, with the first attempt out of the way and the bus going 30 or so, Fred, who was spun around in the gutter laughing and slightly spooked, looked up and said, “I think that’s too fast, ha ha!” He is a maniac. Everyone was thinking, “We’re going to watch Fred die here and now. Wonderful.” He dusted himself off, grabbed his board, and set up for the next one. You see you have to wait for the right bus with the smooth back end. Maybe one out of every five was the right kind and maybe one out of every twelve was the right speed (anywhere from ten to twenty miles an hour). Needless to say, for the next two nights we spent a lot of time at this spot.

The full-bleed photo on the opposite side is pretty ridiculous, not only for what Fred Gall’s aiming to do, but also that there is a dude A. about two decades deep into his career B. willing to work several nights straight trying this particular move C. at risk of significant bodily harm D. and arrest E. in a foreign country and F. laugh about it. After mulling it over a while I was reminded of the opening seconds of this part where Fred Gall had a brief cameo and pondered the tribute angle, but I’m guessing this was all weighted more toward for the fuck of it. Or fully paying off the federales.

Rock and Hammer

September 14, 2009

king_kong
More are bound to suffer

A few weeks back I loaded up the Rocky Norton “Mag Minute” because I thought he had a funny-sounding name and his clip might be interesting, and it was, but first let’s flash back to 2002, when the wounds of September 11 were still raw, the presidency was just a twinkle in Sen. Barack Obama’s eye and future SOTY Chris Cole was leaping his way down the Love park fountain, into a tighter set of jeans and onto Zero. Late in the summer, on a night much like tonight, I remarked to a bro how I was kind of digging Chris Cole’s part in the TWS vid “In Bloom” but there was something I couldn’t put my finger on about it, and after a certain amount of blackberry brandy, it seemed as though that something was in fact the size of Chris Cole’s forearms, which at times seemed to resemble some type of heshed-out ape.

Flashing forward to 2009, that phrase is not one I would apply to Rocky Norton, mostly because I prefer not to take my pancake breakfasts through a straw and also I hope one day to teach my many, many awestruck grandchildren about the glory days of skateboard blogging in the early part of the century. Let’s try and think of a more noble analog for New Mexico’s Norton – he can have his pick of Popeye or Bluto – and draw a parallel to a 2007 video part, namely Fred Gall in “Inhabitants.” There’s some similar ideas going on in terms of tricks and terrain, yeah, but I’m thinking more about the construction digger machine gnawing into a brick wall, an image that fit Fred Gall, but now appears made for Rocky Norton. Same with Eric Koston’s trick in the Lakai intro, complete with soul scream.

In the ensuing weeks the Mag Minute footage remains on my mind, leading me to dig up some older parts* and consider this dude’s approach. In some ways it’s like Mike Vallely without all the beards and bands and bullshit, but then he’s nollie backside flip reverting and bashing walls and things, primed to tear apart phone books and put on some David Banner CDs. I think I’m pretty into the raw powerness of it all and will give the dude some elbow room; meanwhile I’m considering a belated apology to Chris Cole, before he becomes enraged and targets my face with a contest closer (2:41).

*also Daniel Lutheran, not bad

Bobby Worrest: Time to Die

August 8, 2009

stop_or_my_mom_will_shoot
Bobby Worrest had buddies who died face-down in the muck so that you and I can enjoy this internet blog website

Not so long ago, I went a-shopping and came up on a copy of the old PitCrew video “Where I’m From” being offered for the princely sum of $5, so I figured, what the fuck–pretty awesome DC effort with parts from Jake Rupp and Darren Harper, not as good as “Pack a Lunch,” but what is. What hit me most about this vid was that Bobby Worrest was in full-on snotnosed fashion, a skinny little kickflippin’ handrailin’ SOB that I barely recognized, accustomed as I am to the macrobrew-swilling tattoo merchant nowadays beloved by the Gonz and strippers alike. It was sort of like wandering into the corner bar in your hometown and seeing the little neighbor kid all puffed up and red-faced, nursing a tequila sunrise, except if you were in the nation’s capital and possessed a functional time machine along with some flannel.

The modern day Bobby Worrest has many advantages. He can dress. You know, he’s got that tech ability but there’s restraint too, when you talk about taking the switch 360 flip to noseslide back to regular. The dude has an eye for overlooked ledge tricks (b/s 180 to switch k-grind), skates at night a lot and has balls enough to do a fakie hardflip on flat, and not even the Bryan Herman-approved kind of hardflip which is all the rage these days. Old(er) school rap is becoming kind of a safe move for skate parts these last couple years but it’s a good look here as there’s a lot of actual street skating in this part, by which we mean longer lines than you’d normally see, which stray beyond the generally accepted format of b/s tailslide 270 shove-it, nollie 360 flip, front blunt bigspin or whatever the Forecast generation’s version of the b/s tail-nollie flip-nosegrind 411 line may be.

Sort of like Silas Baxter Neal, probably Bobby Worrest is at some point in his career where he can keep cranking out parts like this and be good for years, as long as he stays away from those chicken-scratcher grinds on banks. It’s hard to guess at what his ultimate motivation might be. If it’s strippers and beer and weed then his longevity may be secure, as it seems to have worked wonders for Fred Gall, who is rich and famed and well-beloved, in addition to being from New Jersey. Hopefully Worrest’s sponsors will steer his career around stereotype potholes filled with Coors Light and Rambo and shit, but God knows it’s a tough economy out there.

Industry Meta-Post

July 7, 2009


“It’s on”

So: in the last few weeks, JR Blastoff retired to the tune of a logo graphic, Nike scooped Koston, Heath Kirchart channeled Joaquin Phoenix on the TWS red carpet and Brewce Martin clung to life following a freak accident with a tire mounting machine. Strictly speaking yall can be forgiven if you didn’t notice that the yellow, coned wheels are coming off the skateboard business, while the powers that be do their damnedest to hold it all together, up to and including pro model shoes for Kyle Leeper and Shuriken Shannon. Perhaps it is time for a collective Bad Boys 2 moment.

First there was the nasty fight over who would be the lucky duck to nurse Active Mailorder back to health… because sometimes, “buy-two-clearance-items-get-one-free” deals just can’t get the bros buying flame graphic boardshorts again. Zumiez made a play with designs toward creating some sort of unholy mall-shop monstrosity, but couldn’t close the deal. The ultimate winners of the $5.2 million Active auction chose to remain nameless for reasons that remain their own (think they’re from Florida) but remember, you cannot put a price on the personal brand of Active Erica, though many have tried.

In a similar battle for a skate brand nobody cares about, Kareem Campbell issued a big “nuh uh” Tweet towards Circa, regarding the latter’s claimed ownership of the storied Axion footwear trademark. It’s hard to think who’d do better by this company, which had little going for it in its heyday besides the Guy Mariano model, a hot team and Kevin Taylor’s stab at a running shoe. As far as I know they’re currently counting on Brian Wenning to lead the charge back into the mosh pit that is the skate shoe market, which seems like the type of crazy-like-a-fox move the post-MNC Kareem would green-light, so maybe there’s room for the two parties to get together on this.

Elsewhere, Jamie Thomas’s Black Box distribution recruited Frank Messman, a known wizard with powers to conjure profits from skateboard sales. His brief is said to include constructing elaborate financial hedges against the shifting prices of Canadian hard-rock maple, urethane and black leather dye. Messman is familiar to some as the dude who “turned World around,” if that gives you any idea as to his credentials, but considering Messman’s rumored supernatural powers this actually could have been a back-door Trojan Horse power move by the Chief to head off competition in the past through time travel. (Terminator part 4 release this summer only a coincidence?) Regardless these are tough times indeed. Jamie Thomas famously tests the work ethic of his flow kids in the trenches of the Black Box warehouse; could traveling sales rep responsibilities await willing amateurs? Highly paid pros set to work devising a comeback strategy for Monster Trucks?

One idea to get the industry back on the rails that’s been floated by multiple “industry leaders is that old chestnut, the Olympics. This would “Grow the Sport” while simultaneously putting skateboarders alongside soccer and basketball players, thus earning them the respect of overweight middle-Americans that they so richly deserve. A similar gambit in the late 1980s resurrected the ping-pong industry, which had been all but dead after star paddleman Jerry Rogerman quit the sport to focus on a career in hair rock.

We at Boil the Ocean tend to believe that skateboarding in the Olympics is a bad idea, not because of any evil intentions by the IOC or the IASC or even Tony Iommi, all of whom are upstanding persons with nothing but the purest of intentions for athletic pursuits of all varieties. More problematic is the still-fresh memory of poor Bode Miller, pilloried in the press for his love of the bottle, and to make it plain I fear the same thing might happen to the gentle Fred Gall. Also certain sectors may object to putting professional skateboard riders in close proximity with teen girls in tights.

A better plan, of course, was already dreamed up by the wits at K-Swiss, who stunned the skate industry and rational thinkers everywhere by naming none other than Greg Lutzka “creative director.” Video evidence follows, if you somehow haven’t seen it already, it’s amazing.

BTO votes we put Billy Rohan in charge of everything. View his platform here around the 1:00 minute mark.

Last of a dirty breed

September 18, 2008


Hit your burglar alarms

I got Joe Perrin’s heater of a video “Last of the Mohicans” a while back and after a couple weeks of watching it I’m basically left with a bunch of questions: Is Fred Gall the grindingest dude over 25 in the skateboard realm? Is he the grindingest dude period? Did Steve Durante skate to a Blues Traveler instrumental? Why do people film James Frankhouse? How did Josh Dowd roll away from the last switch wallride in his part? How come so many of these Florida dudes wear beards?

Because I mean, there’s East Coast grime yeah, and then there’s Florida grime… sweaty, mossy, crushed glass and dead brown rat grime. And haze. I used to think it was just fogged up cameras but after watching “The Good Life” a billion times along with the older Statics I have come to understand that the air in Florida literally sweats, creating a sort of light fog. This is known to meteorologists as the Gershon effect.

In spite of my usual “too long” complaint, which in this instance I will amend to “just a little bit too long,” the “Mohicans” video knocks on pretty much all levels. The lineup has familiar dirts (Danny Renaud, Jon Newport, Jimmy Lannon, Joel Meinholz), lesser-known dirts (Dowd, 80s Joe, Ross Norman who skates sort of like Andy Honen) and a generous sprinkling of random others such as Durante, Jack Sabback and Todd Jordan, as well as Al Davis and Dave Caddo, those Cincinnati dudes who can’t hold jobs.

Skating-wise it’s along the same lines as Josh Stewart’s “Static” stuff, with maybe less cellar doors and more manuals I suppose. Also less reverence for mouldering brick structures. Highlights: Fred Gall’s meaty switch wallie in his opening line…Al Davis’ b/s 180 switch frontside crooked grind revert…Durante’s seen-it-before-but-bigger-this-time switch backside tailslide switch heelflip…Caddo’s frontside 180 switch crooked grind…Ed Selego’s towering nosegrind…80s’ masterful switch heelflip over the gap…Renaud’s entire section as usual but most especially the backside noseblunt revert. Man.

It builds to a sweaty, bearded crescendo, Josh Dowd’s closer part, which is pretty much one shocking switch move after the other. Switch backside lipslide to switch backside 5-0, that kind of shit. The switch frontside crooked grind up above. A big switch 360 flip at the end of a line. Hopefully somebody puts him on, he’s got serious wacky type shit going on.

So right, this is one of the best videos of the year. I knew it would be too. Besides Josh Dowd it also features a lot of beer drinking, night skating and occasional gunfire. Buy it from Killa Tapes so Perrin can film Dango’s antics in HD next time.

Killa season

May 10, 2008

Joe Perrin’s Killa Tapes put up a new trailer for his new video “Last of the Mohicans” about a week ago and I’ve been meaning to post about it. From what I can tell the lineup’s really expanded since I first heard about it, which is to say, it’s gotten much more awesomer. Who knows how many tricks the big names will actually put into this, but either way, Perrin always gets the best Florida dudes and he has a way of putting videos together where there’s enough bullshit to keep things entertaining, but (usually) the pace of the thing doesn’t get all bogged down.

Sober or not, Fred Gall is on some kind of mission these last couple years, and footage from Jimmy Lannon/Al Butters/Dave Caddo/Steve Durante will kick off the summer pretty good, provided this production actually comes out in June. In the parlance of skate videos we can probably interpret that to mean August, and since we know how they do down in Florida, maybe back it up to November. At that point why not just wait for Xmas? Also Perrin seems to be sitting on some Danny Renaud footage, which tends to age like fine wine. Maybe he should just sit on it for another 40 years and put it all out when he feels like retiring. If people are paying thousands for old 80s decks on Ebay right now, who knows how much fresh Renaud footage could fetch in 2050. Don’t forget to factor in inflation and $125/barrel oil.

Preaching about certain things

April 14, 2008

So I guess Fred Gall started a blog to promote Domestics and whatever weirdness he has going on in New Jersey. So far it’s mainly a load of photos and the odd video. That’s all well and good, but I was sort of hoping he’d include some of his amazing stories, a few of which were detailed in a pretty classic Strength magazine interview (I think it was Strength). To wit:

In San Francisco once, me and my friend Louis went down to the laundromat to do our laundry. We were staying with Mike Daher. And Lennie Kirk, he’s christian right. So we go to the laundromat and we’re skating out front and Lennie comes up on his bike and we were like “Hey what’s up, Lennie, how you doing?” And he started preaching to us about certain things. And a black ghetto-ish kid comes rolling up. And me and Lou are just chilling and Lennie just starts staring him down, like just looking at him all hard. And the kid goes “What the fuck you looking at whiteboy?” And he got in Lennie’s face and Lennie goes “Go home and get your gun” and started saying all this stupid shit to him for no reason. And the kid was like “I’ll be back”. And we were like “What? Why’d you do that? What’s wrong with you?” Thought he was supposed to be, all pleasant, or whatever. So the kid comes back a little while later, we’re up the street, he comes back with a pipe, a big ass pipe. Me and Louis are skating and Lennie is on the sidewalk, on his bike, and the kid comes charging up with his pipe and starts swinging. Hits Lennie in the arm one time real bad and he’s about to start kneeing him. Me and Lou ran over and started swinging our boards at him a bit. And then Lennie jetted and we were trying to fight the kid, but he had a big ass pipe and was quicker or whatever. So he swung at us, he caught Lou in the back. We were like “Fuck this, let’s just jet on him.” So we jetted on him and the kid, we couldn’t shake him for blocks. He kept following us and we thought it was cool and then he comes flying up on the bike and we lost him by bombing some crazy hill. He couldn’t catch us. We went back to Mike’s house and Lennie’s arm was like fractured and shit, pretty fucked up.

Is it too much to hope for a Lennie Kirk blog? The answer is probably yes, unfortunately…


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