Are We As A Subculture Strong Enough To Stick Together As Mike Carroll Goes Gray?

This web blog sometimes veers around and near topics including ageism, the arrow of time, and futuristic battlefields littered with the limbs of damaged ‘mechs, some brought down by SRMs aimed at the groin. One can try and mentally prepare for the unknowable, spinning curveballs that life places upon you, but only so much. So it was that longtime watchers of Mike Carroll encountered several surprises in recent months — one, hints and several suggestions of gray hairs along the sides of his head during the Eric Koston Epicly Later’ds. The second was a revelation that he had not long ago been diagnosed with that feral-sounding disorder that brought down J Dilla, lupus.

On the cusp of this new decade’s full-length offering from the Crailtap camp the hype cycle is unsurprisingly focused on any potential star turn from the reinvigorated Guy Mariano and whether this may be enough to achieve a magazine trophy, some limb-risking efforts on behalf of this crop of would-be torch-picker-uppers such as Elijah Berle, the length of Marc Johnson’s video section and whether an allegedly more relaxed filming schedule might manifest itself in a movie that doesn’t carry the weight of the world in terms of production effects and moody techno sounds. I have not heard a great deal about Koston. And though there have been offstage mutterings to the effect of ‘this is really the last hurrah for some of these dudes’ you have to wonder in the year 2012 whether it is really the last hurrah for some of these dudes.

Versus the clockwork-like recording of NBDs that Eric Koston has been able to turn in over the past two decades, Carroll’s career has always been a subtler affair with less fussing involved, that synthesizes the EMB cool-guy envelope-pushing with the self-deprecating launch ramp antics that Girl got into along with some rap CDs and crew cuts and sometimes a rave event. But if one or the other retires effectively upon publication of the “Pretty Sweet” video project, which would deal the heavier blow to an industry already disenchanted with slowing board sales, widespread pants debates and the twin career flame-outs of Pappalardo and Wenning?

Has Mike Carroll ever made a bad video part, over what is almost a quarter of a century now? Recently he issues the same sort of weary commentary as Gino Iannucci around any further footage being largely given over to recycling old tricks at new spots, but when it comes to those frontside flips and backside tailslides, should that matter? Eric Koston’s Epicly Later’d series suggested that his pro career represents a rare bird that continues to peak, but what of Mike Carroll’s — across the Plan B and Girl catalogues, is there any easily identifiable high point?

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27 Responses to “Are We As A Subculture Strong Enough To Stick Together As Mike Carroll Goes Gray?”

  1. andre Says:

    Carroll doesn’t peak, he IS at the peak

  2. art hellman Says:

    one high-point, often alluded to on BTO, completely unrelated to anyone’s level of skating, was when the girl/choco camp actually started skating again (i.e. skating for all to see (i.e. coverage)). there was a point when you didn’t see much of them.

    many will argue that this also marked the point of the watering down of both camps, particularly chocolate, when both teams refreshed their rosters with the likes of McCrank, Anderson, Eldridge, yada yada yada.

    anyways, the answer is no. there is no easily definable high point in the career of one, Mike Carroll.

  3. tyler bledsowowo Says:

    MC will have an ad or photo in Thrasher/TSM a decade from now, and people (the ones that matter anyway) are going to lose their shit. Long live Yung MC

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Carroll has no easily identifiable high point, it’s all just been consistently excellent. In a weird way even though we all love him, he feels underrated. I still would like to know what the apple trick is though.

  5. george Says:

    Forget grey, bring on the male pattern baldness pros.

  6. jo123 Says:

    Mark johnson, chet childress, abd

  7. BarcelonaCEO Says:

    I’d say fully flared, and I have not seen pretty sweet but I guess it will be a even more watchable part. Come on guys dont pretend bs smith impossibles out isnt a peak trick for your viewing pleasure

  8. Unsubscribe Says:

    Always the most anticipated part in any video, for me anyway. Hopefully there will be some mini-ramp in the new part too.

  9. Ghosts Says:

    im sorry, back smith impossibles look stupid. you can live your lie though.

    mike carroll peaked during questionable and peaked again at yeah right. the rest of his stuff is “just” good buoyed by his somewhat mysterious yet fun and interesting personality.

    i think skateboarding’s going to be just fine, some people need to learn to move on from the past and embrace whats in front of you, i know mike carroll has.

  10. Cos Says:

    No – but only if there has to be one then:
    the ‘Modus Operandi’ opening line…

  11. thecarbonite Says:

    do you think carroll cares about #dying ? (via “Virtual” credits)

  12. recession_nowison Says:

    my favourite carroll peak was whatever year the howard 4s came out. and yes i know i might as well just admit i’m in my early 20s and be tarred and feathered.

  13. DanH Says:

    As someone whose favorite part ever is still Rick and Mike’s in Penal Code, I have to admit that Modus may have been a peak.

  14. djtwit Says:

    Nice post – some food for thought!
    From someone growing up during the 90s, Koston was always jaw-droppingly good – but Carroll was the one everyone wanted to skate like (well, before the peaked beanie era).
    Regardless of ideas about ‘progressive’ skating, the skate world will be a colder place when Carroll ceases to put out footage,
    “no doubt about that one”

  15. outhouse Says:

    I would like to see the sketch/es from The Chocolate Tour remade when they really are senior citizens. Can you hear me Spike?

  16. t.a. Says:

    I wasn’t around for the EMB or Questionable eras, so Carroll has always seemed very ‘too-cool-for-school’ to me, which makes it harder to see the appeal. When it comes down to it, I’d go with Modus. That time period is right around the turning point of videos of inspiration vs. videos of obligation.

    Also, I’d like to second George up there. Though most of the guys, shave their heads completely or rock a hat far too often.

  17. Familia Chepesent Says:

    Carroll’s legacy is the effortlessness genetically embedded in his style. He is a natural. Even more so, he is naturally cool. He was/is an innovator in trick selection and has always worked hard to be on the forefront of skateboarding (which other stylers like Gino couldn’t handle), but to me the essence of Carroll is the nonchalantness of his flick, the ease of control. Even that nollie flip over the picnic table in Yeah Right (where he hits it) he still lands bolts.

  18. Jaysus Says:

    Sort of related, I saw the ad for ‘Hot Chocolate’ today and was reminded how much I don’t appreciate a lot of what I’m assuming is Spike Jones’ direction (not all, but a fair amount). Your mom could have come up with the idea that everyone put on white shirts and skate in a circle.. The last few times I watch ‘Yeah, Right’ I had to skip the invisible boards section (turns out I like seeing the skateboard in footage). As good as Mouse is, the intro seems pretty pointless and is just cute. Having said that I do like the FF intro and Howard skating the forest.

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