Archive for September, 2018

Lory Vincent, Call Your Office: The Enduring Legacy of ‘Haulin Ass to Hall and Oates’

September 23, 2018

Birthdays in the maple-and-urethane sphere are volatile aftairs, equal parts euphoria at making it thus far in compiling a body of work, and trepidation at drawing side-eyes for being past the prime, ripe for replacement or worse yet, parody. Ten years in, Powell, Girl and World were near the height of their respective powers; at 20, it was a different story, with partners and prowess faded, half-joking talk of curses and financial sponsors pondering various asset combinations to recapture growth. Make it to 30 and you are entitled to coast on reissues, at 40, open your own museum.

For videos it’s different, as the internet age places years-ago classics and ahead-of-their-time overlookeds into constant combat with the daily deluge of parts, semi-lengths and tour clips. Here, the skate-culture snake or cobra or whatever nibbles at its own tail, occasionally taking a bite: Witness Pontus Alv’s overt callbacks to H-Street vids in Polars’ recent opuses, Bronze’s highly eroticized Adio and Alien Workshop pastiches, Girl’s wink toward a Cory Kennedy ‘Yeah Right’ part in 2015’s ‘Wet Dream.’ Marc Johnson, promoting a new deck-and-t-shirt concern Business & Co., this month unveiled a YouToob mashup featuring some regularly referenced Neil Blender and Sean Young footage, along with scenes from recent Habitat collabee ‘Twin Peaks’ to say… something.

To call the history of single-artist soundtracked skate videos patchy is to be charitable. Element’s ‘This Is My…’ full-length, sonically appointed by Odd Nosdam, reclines couchbound on the mostly-inoffensive-but-barely-there end of the spectrum; on the other pogos Flip’s ‘Xtremely Sorry,’ cast out of a poorly-attended Midwestern Warp Tour stop on general principle. ‘Haulin,’ as well as higher-profile but less-on-the-line efforts like DNA entrustung Mr. Dibbs to usher in Habitat’s inaugural offering for the ‘Photosynthesis’ midsection, suggest dudes may have been doing it wrong. Some twist on Bill Clinton’s ‘92 campaign-trail warhammer such as ‘it’s the songs, stupid,’ probably applies.

At the time of its 2008 publication, ‘Haulin Ass to Hall and Oates’ struck many as an unlikely combo. For many years, the Bronx’s Big Punisher stood as skateboarders’ primary musical idol, an individual of limited means who traded upon his skill, creativity and sheer force of will to amass fame and wealth and extreme physical mass. Those were the dreams of many tween skaters. And yet on the low, Hall and Oates potentially surpass Pun’s achievements, while aligning closely with the evolving skate-ethos. Daryl Hall’s multi-instrumental mastery carries weight in skating’s still-going ATV age, and his knowing way with women — at least in song — serves as a high-water mark for the confidence skateboarders require to manage personal brands in a new and virtually streamy media environment. Separately, John Oates’ moustache exemplifies today’s ‘send it bro’ spirit. As a team they are the best-selling musical duo in history and have achieved success selling t-shirts at above-market rates, a cornerstone of fiscal prowess in today’s skate game.

Released 10 years ago this year, Ian Shulman and Tom Carter’s most enduring contribution to the skate video canon mingles Hall’s and Oates’ glossy but oft-dark tales of late-’70s love on the rocks with that damp grittiness particular to the Pacific Northwest. At a time when jangling indie rock reigned supreme in vid soundtracks and Transworld’s fading video legacy fell back on incense-scented vinyl, Two Hawks Young switch bigspin boardslides one of the chunky Hendrix rails to ‘Baby Come Back;’ Mike de Leon rocks fat tongue Reeboks and launches a serious wallie, while Daryl Hall stands stoic awaiting ‘Maneater’s signature sax bleat and on-screen text deadpans, ‘Montage.’ A yung Matt Gottwig sails a gap to nosegrind, Owen Jones hardflips into a wallride to fakie, John Oates ice grills the camera and Ryan Strangland flicks a magical-looking heelflip backside tailslide to fakie.

Will ‘Haulin Ass to Hall and Oates’ ever attain its rightful place within the skate video pantheon, or will it primarily remain valued for helping clear skateshops of lingering and unworthy kids at closing time? Must Joey Johnson’s nollie noseblunt and other ledge tricks truly rank among the greatest post-‘Trilogy’ uses of the Gideon Choi pants? Do you agree that Chromeo looked sort of shook jamming with Daryl Hall at his house?

Got To Give It Up… But To Yog-Sothoth Dudes?

September 16, 2018

It has been a big month for Gershon Mosley, one of the unlikelier phrases one may expect to read in 2018, year of the dawg. But there he is, pumping footage on IG, pontificating on Mark Suciu and Chris Joslin and Jason Lee with Jenkem, chopping it up with the Nine Club on the factors and feelings behind his fade from the industry round about a decade back. To hear him tell it, leaving behind a professional career was a sacrifice worth making to keep his skating pure, and to loosen corporate reins chafing the soul of a spiritual wanderer:

GM: I left for multiple reasons. Part of it was my life. I couldn’t stay in San Jose when I left Santa Cruz. I couldn’t afford rent. Also, I wanted to get away from there because that’s where I spent so many years growing and the world is bigger.

I had to separate the art from the business. When people get mad, they’ll say, “Skateboarding sucks!” But it’s not skateboarding that sucks, it’s the business and politics of it that suck. We’re so self-centered and so lost in just wanting to do that thing, that we don’t see the bigger picture when we say that shit. I’ve heard so many people [say it] and they quit skating altogether. Some of them still have issues. They’re still ego based. But if nothing else, skateboarding should have destroyed the ego.

It’s nothing new to put the trick, the road trip, or even the after-hours lifestyle before one’s physical human body, or mental health, or academic pursuits. But the current adulting trend — positioning earthly pleasures, financial gains and even the proverbial good times with the hemmies behind skating’s fishscale purity, with sometimes a dash of careerism — remains in full swing. Two-thirds of the interviews in the October Thrasher extol the virtues of a sober lifestyle; cover man Brandon Westgate again details the rustic charms of his dirt-under-fingernails lifestyle on da cranberry bog, fixing machinery and popping mad crans. Across the Atlantic Ocean, over centuries renowned for its depth and waves, Max Geronzi, among this generation’s most naturally gifted Frenchmen, is putting a prime period of popsicle-shape filming to the side while he inexplicably engages in a longterm engagement with a retro shaped board that appears free of any concave but nonetheless capable of lofty kickflips.

For independent shops, it is financial sacrifice being considered, as Theories of Atlantis, DGK and Deluxe nudge purchasing managers to pony up a handful of additional wholesale dollars for decks that in some cases are also available online via companies’ own web-stores. Efforts to squeeze a bit more juice from the commoditized deck-berry are understood, given deck marketers’ unwillingness and/or failure to persuade the unflowed masses to pay more for their seven plies’ worth of maple over the past couple decades. But it remains unclear whether shops are paying for anything more than maintaining status-quo brand access.

All such trade-offs possess their own merits and potential pitfalls, ranging from limitless riches to spitting out scurvy-rotted molars while starving to death in gaol. Yet in Canada, a darker practice seems to have taken hold. A thick and putrid whiff of the occult emanates from this year’s Dime Glory Challenge, kicked off with what appeared to be a clique of berobed pagans toting a baby, which promptly was elevated up toward the warehouse ceiling in what can only be assume to have been a gnarly and unspeakable ritual geared toward hyping up Azathoth, Shub-Niggurath and various other Great Old Ones. None dare call it coincidence — that World Champion of Skateboarding Wade Desarmo casually slew one of his several minions just ahead of what was anticipated to be the strongest challenge ever to the belt by one Ishod Wair… who would unluckily roll his ankle on the Wallride ChallengeTM shortly before the most important game of SKATE of his lifetime.

Is human sacrifice what’s hot in the streets of Montreal? Will Miskatonic University replace real-estate speculation as the extracurricular path of choice for aging pros looking to augment on-board professional prospects? Did the Dime dudes get that baby down? Will skateboarding’s notoriously rapid generational churn soon spur a backlash against sober, thoughtful life choices, and bring about a new era of ‘hammer’ tricks, illegitimate children and unpaid debt?