Like the cellar door and the Jersey barrier, the miniature picnic tables native to Southern California practically encompass their own subgenre at this point. Across the past say, twenty-five years, you can pick and choose your peaks and choice practitioners — from the ’90s era take Sean Sheffey’s fakie ollie, Kareem Campbell’s 360 flip 5-0, Gino Iannucci’s last trick in “Trilogy,” Keenan Milton’s switch flip, Daewon Song from 1994 to 2000. New millennium you could put in there Justin Case’s switch backside noseblunt, flaring in his DC uniform for a Ghetto Child ad before burning out, later on Alex Olson’s sideways jump and maybe Torey Pudwill’s hardflip. Lucky contestant this decade is Norcaler Matt Miller with a heavier-than-most nollie 180 into a switch backside noseblunt revert. This would be one for the Police Informers or Chrome Balls to adjudicate, but I’m not even sure I’ve seen the more-common half-cab version on one of these lunch spots.
Posts Tagged ‘Kareem Campbell’
Whatever happened with the DGK video and the fortunes to be gained and lost peddling this generation’s version of the FUCT t-shirt line to rap singers and their suburban admirers, Stevie Williams cemented his position as a skate mogul by using his clout to help put out a video part that a certain segment of the populace had been waiting on for 15 years — a feat that apparently had eluded Kareem Campbell, Steve Rocco, Patrick O’Dell and possibly others. The continued fetishization of mid-90s attitudes and filming equipments can’t recreate the fit of the jeans or the sound of a k-grind across the Venice pit ledges, and Fabian Alomar’s nollie backside flip over the sand gap, the line at the white planters and the tricks off the bump at the end could have run in any of the greatest videos of that era. Tough luck that it took a personal tragedy for this footage to see the light of day, but it would be testing fate to overlook a gift pony internet sites such as this one have been requesting from Santa Claus for so long. DGK’s “Free Fabes” website is here.
Billions of burgers flipped by McDonald’s Corp., five decades’ worth of James Bond movies and the estimated $100 million net worth of Wayne “Mr. Entertainment” Newton bear witness to how consistency and a reliable product can command a loyal clientele and lucrative following, if not adoring devotion and the occasional soiled thong hurled upon a pockmarked Las Vegas stage. Jeron Wilson, Chico Brenes and Mike Carroll seem to understand that there is and likely always will be an audience for specialized heelflips, nollie heelflips and backside smith grinds, even while those such as Gino Iannucci and Anthony Pappalardo can’t seem to bring themselves to keep playing the hits year in and out.
Whereas technology setpieces of “Pretty Sweet” invested heavily in the wow factor, DGK’s full-length debut, arriving after a series of mixtape-like one-offs and features like Kayo’s “It’s Official,” offers few surprises. A DGK customer knows what he’s paying for — although the “Chocolate Tour” as reimagined by Harmony Korine storyline here heaps disdain upon paying for what otherwise can be racked or heisted — and Stevie Williams & co seem to have put years of work into delivering this, an overlong, guest-heavy, ready-made blockbuster willing to elbow aside wimpier videos for a spot as the successor to, if not the culmination of, vids such as “20-Shot Sequence,” “Tantrum,” “2nd To None,” “Ryde or Die Vol. 1″ and “Street Cinema.” When 2 Chainz comes on here it is more earnest than when used by dudes hopping bars in Queens wearing twill trousers.
For an hour, DGK’s “Parental Advisory” glories in loudmouth rap music, camouflage pants*, gunfire, cameos from skate-rap touchstones such as Kareem Campbell, Fabian Alomar, Steven Cales, DMX and Beanie Siegel, shoplifting, loose-fit denim, shiny chains and hat-tags fluttering in the breeze, wife beaters, small wheels, graffiti, and some jack moves. For those paying attention there are references to the Menace intro in “Trilogy,” the Bones Brigade in “Police Academy” and even a much-beloved pre-Slap message board pro-skater-dies meme.
No one will look to this video to register on the ATV meter but in the trick department DGK too delivers as promised: Josh Kalis and Stevie Williams skate Love Park; Josh Kalis unloads his monster 360 flip and Stevie Williams cracks some switch heelflips. Wade Desarmo, one of those Canadians who maybe fell a little too far in love with tall tees over the past decade, stacks heavy-lidded picnic-table tech including a hazed-out hardflip backside 5-0 and an alley-oop frontside flip that ranks among the best in a year when Andrew Reynolds put out a video. Marcus McBride turns in a full section that ought to make any pro with a board out for longer than 10 years sit up and prepare an excuse and Rodrigo TX, who has quietly been on a non-stop hustle these past five years, loudly reps the defunct Es shoes company and snaps a terrific looking switch kickflip over a rail. Some of these newer kids with all the “D” names blurred for me, but Keelan Dadd has poise and good runs like the one with the switch kickflip frontside boardslide. Lenny Rivas, who made a serious run at Knox Godoy status himself, has gone grown man and turns a couple new helicopters onto the handrails. My vote for best-dressed dude in the skate game Jack Curtin comes through late in the vid and wrecks shop with some incomprehensible tricks like a switch shove-it 5-0 on a rail up against a wall and his hairball switch backside lipslide down the Clipper ledge.
Probably there always will be like-minded dudes out there doing it like Brandon Biebel but the clarity of purpose Stevie Williams puts to “Parental Advisory” sometimes makes it seem like he’s carrying a whole subset of the 1990s on his back here — nods given to all these little-seen skaters and rappers, a lengthy skater-on-skater-crime narrative that picks up where the Menace video that would never come left off in “Trilogy,” even going so far earlier this year as to deliver a Fabian Alomar part time-capsuled in from 1996, and then achieving the seemingly impossible by getting Kareem Campbell to commit to a skate project**. Coming out a month after “Pretty Sweet” secured DGK an underdog status they probably relish, and the fact that every dude on the team managed to turn in more or less a full section can be read as an endorsement of any number of those motivational platitudes embroidered onto DGK baseball hats, but it’s probably too much to ask this company to cop to now-certified overachiever status.
*of several persuasions
**no knock on the work that went into that song but the Crailtap dudes might’ve just happened to catch him at the store
Quartersnacks the other day posted up this deep dive into Sect adherent Jake Johnson who sounds like he’s spent the better part of the last year pondering ponderous thoughts on a skate-oriented pilgrimage to Pittsburgh as part of a broader effort to reconnect with his inner dirtball. The idea wins kudos at this blog webpage, where such concepts are prized above sponsorship by big-box retail chains. One of Jake Johnson’s ponders involves the “message” that underlies skateboarding, a potent smoothie of rebellion, aggression, creativity, pain and escapism, some of which might be lost on a generation coming up with parks aplenty and tweet-ready reality idols straddling the primetime viewing hour. There’s a separate message though for which Jake Johnson feels more personal responsibility, transmogrifying his board into a ball-point pen and the streets to an 8.5×11″ piece of white printer paper:
“My sponsors give me a lot of freedom. For the most part, they understand that me developing a concept, message, and my style of skating is the most important thing for their company. They’re willing to do whatever it takes for me to skate my best, and they trust me that I know how to do that. A lot of companies don’t.”
Thinking back on “Mind Field” Jake Johnson from what I recall worked hard to root the footage in his working frame of reference which was mostly New York at the time, setting up kind of a contrast to Josh Kalis’ various beefs about Greg Hunt not incorporating enough of his Barcelona tricks, but whatever. The comment (and whole interview really) signal that Jake Johnson found an early grasp on what somebody can do with the career opportunity he was handed and seems to be thinking hard about what he wants to do with it.
Who else thinks in terms of this “message” thing? I think Leo Valls and the “Night Prowler” guys definitely have an aesthetic that they’re looking to promote with their skating, built on what Ricky Oyola and Bob Puleo developed, a sorta homesteading purity for the streets. When Jamie Thomas cued up that clip of himself skating over that bridge in Chicago at the beginning of his “Welcome To Hell” section I think he had an idea he wanted to get across, same with Jim Greco and Stevie Williams a couple years later. Jason Dill is a dude who you can imagine looks at his message as a malleable and mutating thing. Mike Vallely’s career arc cast him into a spot now where you could say that “message” is nearly all he puts out, versus skate tricks.
There’s some comments made in the (too) long-gestating “Epicly Later’d” on Menace along the lines that Pupecki, Valdes, Suriel et al were at the time some assortment of castoffs and misfits corralled by Kareem Campbell to fill out his allotted corner of the Rocco empire. Maybe that’s partly true, but you gotta think that the mastermind behind our still-beloved “mNc” star logo had his own type of message in mind, having to do with communicating through vaguely scary hand-signals and 360 flipping through sidewalk cafes. If all he wanted was some square pegs he could’ve got Adam McNatt and Ryan Fabry.
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.
Word, ya heard
Getting old is kind of a mixed bag. On the one hand you can buy alcohol and pull tabs with impunity, but at the same time you get bitter about certain things, like politics and bills and shit, and for some of us, the fact that for a whole generation of skateboarders, their first impression of Joey Suriel was some behind-the-wheel freestyling and bullshit funbox tricks. Most of his part in City Stars’ Street Cinema (7:20) wasn’t even that bad really, and not too far removed from his mid-90s peak (funbox tricks notwithstanding).
But aside from a couple cursory viewings to see what the old dudes on the message boards are all heated about, his clips in Trilogy, 20 Shot and Paco probably won’t have much of an impact on the goddamn youth of today. Which is too bad, because a good decade before he was slinging Odyssey backpacks and $50 Diamond t’s, Suriel had been hooked up by Stacy Peralta, anointed as pro by the Gonz and skated for a company that was repped by pros who weren’t even getting paid to wear the shirts. Meanwhile he filmed one of the hottest lines ever, containing a serious contender for the top 5 switch heelflips of all time (20 Shot, 7:00).
I just called the Menace Mastermind hotline and it’s disconnected, so until Kareem hooks it back up here’s the Joey Suriel interview on 48 Blocks, which is still pretty great:
You got to realize that Paulo was doing switch ollies and nollies over tables well before it was ever suppose to evolve to that… and I’m talking with authority too.. not just barely making it over. So to witness that and actually live it, to me, is hands down the illest ever, for that time.
Kareem Campbell was many things–legendary skater, mid-90s cultural architect, Peralta-caliber talent scout, semi-convincing skit actor–but the title of successful businessman continues to elude him, even with all those Tony Hawk Pro Skater appearances. Plenty of dudes have abandoned the board for the darkman role with varying degrees of success, but what made Kareem’s gradual exit from mags and videos suck so bad wasn’t the steady decline of his companies but how raw of a skater he was, even up to the point where he disappeared.
Crailtap linked to a clip from the last Axion footwear tour the other day, and in between Javier Nunez generally being underrated and Devine Calloway ripping all over the place there’s more than a few tricks from Kareem and he still had it, even half-assing it at demos (or full-assing it in the case of the switch hardflip). It’s probably way past the point to hope for any kind of comeback, and his unfortunate link-up with ATM and the supposed Axion revival really do not count. I’m talking more the kickflips over oil drums and the manhandled rail tricks. Those were some good years though. There’s another Kareem-related post in the works, so expect more half-bitter nostalgia to come. But meanwhile check out Devine’s switch hurricane. Jesus christ…