Sometimes it is the unlikeliest of dudes who ignite controversies, and so it was that digital rumorings last week of Mikey ‘Mike’ Taylor’s potential exit from the Alien Workshop roster sent forth such as outpouring of nerve-bending jubilation and pent-up bile as to recall the declaration of celebrated armistices and the sacking of Professor Dolores Umbridge, so many centuries ago.
Does Mikey Taylor deserve such fearsome condemnation? That’s for industry tribunals to decide, but dogs and cats alike are agreed that his back-door entry to AWS via the untimely folding of the pre-MTV Rob Dyrdek vanity label Seek left this shaggy-haired student of the Socal schoolyard an increasingly odd man out as flavors and kindling skewed toward cigarettes, flood pants and mounting handrails from behind. A more recent embrace of tailored cords and Dinosaur Jr aside, the question of whether a dude whose keyword search for years included the words ‘nollie crooks’ ever merited a Mike Hill graphic will go on, but there are a handful of easily accessible arguments in favor of Mikey Taylor’s bag running a bit deeper and woollier than he’s otherwise given credit for.
Switch ollie, ‘Street Cinema’
The switch ollie occupies an odd space in the great and foggy hierarchy of tricks, not particularly technically difficult but also generally not thrown down the most thunderous of gaps where a regular-footed one is safer and probably about as impressive. Sometimes they look ugly, more often it seems they’re not bothered with at all, so it’s interesting and maybe telling when someone takes the time to film one. This is a good one, under the tutelage of that denim-clad Svengali Kareem Campbell and at the end of a still-respectable line.
Switch feeble grind 180 out, ‘Mind Field’
This was an example of one of those tricks where the footage was real good but the angle of the photo, replete with cast and which looked like it could’ve advertised Contracts in the Es heyday, was even better. The switch feeble grind is one that gathers power the deeper its dip, and this one was in there, with a quick, smooth frontside 180 out well in advance of the newspaper box.
Line that ends with the switch backside noseblunt, ‘A Time To Shine’
The switch backside noseblunt is top-drawer technical and not one you’d necessarily expect from a dude who came up doing several nollie frontside boardslides and the odd salad grind, but Mikey Taylor was cranking them out on the regular for a large chunk of the prior decade. Schoolyards and wife-beaters with newly Nike-rich Paul Rodriguez and pre-Casanova Jereme Rogers seems more Mikey Taylor’s element, but the cocktail of bluntslide tricks here would suit most any self-respecting video section.
Line with frontside bluntslide and switch frontside bluntslide, ‘411 #63/Mikey issue’
Squarely amid Mikey Taylor’s Jay-Z phase, and they weren’t just handing out 411 features to anybody, so things were clicking for him. Stringing together lines with the same trick regular and switch isn’t and wasn’t a new idea but the frontside bluntslide is a hard one, and then he reaches for bonus points. Schoolyard again.
Frontside shove-it frontside crooked grind, ‘Skate More’
When PJ Ladd came he forced everybody to think a little harder about what they were doing with all the ledges, and a few years later Mikey Taylor got off a good one with what otherwise might be a curious ender for what a lot of folks still regard as his best part, though ditching Jay-Z for some second-tier Britpop was in retrospect an ominous indicator. This is a trick that still isn’t seen very often.