Black Box impresario and fervent Iron Maiden fan Jamie Thomas has been alternately worshiped and decried in his couple decades of skateboard industry involvement/shaping, noted as an extreme games champion, extreme motivator, follower of Jesus, and budding maestro of consumer and business products and services by Big Four auditor Ernst & Young, who chose five years ago to enshrine JT for perpetuity in their hall of fame which can be visited during normal business hours. Got to thinking the other day, watching the Tom Asta debut pro video and musing on Jamie Thomas’ musings on Josh Kalis’ early years of sponsorship, about the way his brain works.
In the Kalis “Epicly Latered” the direct line Jamie Thomas draws between the raw vein tapped by both Lennie Kirk and Alex “Trainwreck” Gall for instance is one that my own slow-witted thought process hadn’t mapped out, but is fairly on point and could be extended maybe in both directions, back to the street-brawling style of previously noted Thomas favorite Sean Sheffey and then also Zeroites like Eric Ellington or the early years of Jim Greco, with the way he used to ollie way down onto the rail for tricks. In the past I’ve sometimes thought that Lennie Kirk shares some trick selection and freedom-of-arm movements with new Fallen signee Jackson Curtin but that prompted an argument I think — whatever the case, the period-jumping view into Alex Gall’s career via a look at Lennie Kirk’s quick burn in the context of a Kalis retrospective brought my browser to this reconsideration of Trainwreck’s tenure on Zero a decade back, of which I was a pretty major fan, touched off by his sudden Zero ad takeover and this 411 section:
All the easy jokes aside re: Alex Gall’s post-career body mass fluctuations, what’s worth celebrating is his visceral approach to landing tricks and occasionally skewed selection of moves (switch Japan air down stairs, lots of fakie ollies onto rails), highlighted here by the way Jamie Thomas would put together the old Zero videos — super quick cuts to tricks just before the dude snaps the ollie, translating to a lot of short parts, 80s guitar music, jeans, big jumps, etc. It didn’t seem real outlandish back then but making videos this way seems so far removed from the current practice of ramping the slow mo when a bro gets onto a trick, letting him slide and then ramping it up again for the landing, to the point where it’s hard to get any fix on what it would’ve looked like in real life.
In that respect it’s too bad Jamie Thomas doesn’t exert total control of the dual VCRs anymore, but as E&Y long ago recognized he has this expanding business empire to look after. The announcement in January that Chris Cole was being brought in as an equity partner in Zero seemed a sort of ingenious response to the DC pickup* and possibly the final step toward creating what could be a totally vertically integrated skateboard company — nearly all bases covered across the hardgoods/softgoods spectrum (including the all-powerful revenue generator of shoes, and a bargain-priced deck lineup), production at <a href = http://business.transworld.net/5059/uncategorized/offshore-manufacturing-alternative-black-box-has-found-a-way-to-lower-costs-without-going/>the Cinco Maderas plant in Mexico</a>, distribution, online store and <a href = http://www.crossroads-show.com/>trade show</a>, with rumors also on the hoof that Jamie Thomas has secured a venture capital investment from Bigfoot to acquire large swaths of Great Lakes-region forests, as well as a stableful of aging horses. Now with its marquee pros fully vested in the company’s expansion and a warehouse staffing/housing potential amateur talent, the circle nearly is complete.
As for Asta, currently enjoying a sort of “roadblock” campaign on the Black Box site linked to his pro debut (with boards immediately available in the online shop) — I support this dude’s judicious mix of do-it-all tech with more straightforward tricks like the half-cab over the sphere or the big frontside feeble grind, and you can tell he’s really going for it on some of these clips, like the big boost put onto that one backside flip. One of the best things about “This Time Tomorrow” was seeing Asta and a slew of other dudes reviving some of the classic Love Park/downtown Philadelphia street spots, and the ender-ender here is a nice bookend to Asta-backer Cole’s contribution to the fountain gap back in that TWS vid.
*Speaking of, I have a hard time believing that somebody at the company that cooked up the mega-ramp and the EuroSuperTour couldn’t construct better press-relations campaign for the Cole signing other than “good opportunity” — you almost feel bad for the dude after reading the fifth or sixth interview where they repeatedly hint at some giant novelty check signed by the brothers Way