Posts Tagged ‘Deathwish’

Was Jamie Foy’s Yellow-Shirted SOTY Surprise an Implicit Rebuke Of Overt Trophy Hunting or Gasoline for More?

December 11, 2017

In an age where fortunes are made and dashed again with the fateful tapping of a touchscreen or a practiced turn before the correct lens, does anything remain inevitable? The SOTY campaign, one of Thrasher’s sturdiest tentpoles in a domination of new media forms that other, older publications could learn from, is proving increasingly tough to pin down as potentate pros’ lust for the Rusty statue tilts video releases toward a year-end glut and dudes go all in with bones and ligaments as autumn shrivels the leaves to warmful tones.

Throughout much of 2017, a heavy whiff of inevitability trailed yung Louie Lopez, once derided among Flip 3.0’s crop of hard-to-watch tween pickups, now a fully formed ATV testing the limits of his considerable powers in all the correct venues. Even before his Spitfire part hit, rumblings could be sensed that this was Louie Lopez’s year (or major sponsors believed so), a concept that seemed more and more certain as he ripped the SPoT to pieces en route to first place, joined Jake Phelps and co. in a cobranded Thrasher and Spitfire trip, and bounded up and across massive walls and onto the mag’s cover*. Hash tags endorsing his candidacy piled up and in recent weeks, following his searing ‘West End’ part, he was positioned as an Arto Saari heir apparent, while an interviewer wondered about a post-SOTY life for Louie Lopez.

What happened? With a meaty thud, much is swept aside by a buzzer-beating trip down a double-digit sized stair set, same as the multi-kink hulk that Kyle Walker conquered to gazump Evan Smith last year. Fate opened a lane for Fred Gall-shaped Floridian Jamie Foy this year, dispening tickets to Thrasher’s KOTR and Am Scramble trips, and Jamie Foy pushed the pedal all the way down. It is difficult to remember or indeed, imagine a faster rise — getting on a board company at the start of the year, a pro board a few months later, and then Ty Evans’ ‘Flat Earth’ film, providing a ham-going fourth-quarter opportunity that Jamie Foy took once again, carving two notches into the famed El Toro set. If Skater of the Year campaigns are evolving into meticulously planned, months-long efforts to strategically release footage, get your guy onto the right trips and pump up the IG volume, is there a certain allure in getting behind the bowling ball barreling toward all the carefully set pins?

Is the speed of Jamie Foy’s ascent, from amateur to pro and SOTY the same year, a reflection of or reason behind the breakneck pace driving skate media these days? Will a starring turn on Thrasher’s Viceland series become a prime propulsion toward future SOTY titles, as Vice veers frighteningly close to MTV territory in terms of thirstily mining skating for TV fodder? Could the nod to Jamie Foy also serve as a quiet acknowledgement that it shoulda been Fred Gall one of those years? Do we, the slack-jawed viewer, remain the ultimate winners even as Skater of the Year campaigns grow more overt and assertive? Do all the stair counts and smoothly executed pop shove-it reverts fall by the wayside when considering the way another perennial contender, Tiago Lemos, forces the world to reimagine what is even possible?

*With The Skateboard Mag gone away, does Thrasher revert to the shorthand “the mag” again?

Flexin

May 2, 2013

wanted

It has been widely theorized that Mother Earth, known around some parts as GAIA or “Big Bloo,” periodically unleashes natural disasters to right global wrongs and remind her solar passengers who’s boss. Hurricanes, earthquakes and several Ja Rule albums have been attributed to nature correcting itself in a natural fashion. There is an unconfirmed science rumor that the comet which ended the dinosaurs’ reign was actually minding its own business when the earth, weary from hauling heavy lizard flesh around the sun for eons on end, intentionally floated out into the troublesome space-rock’s path.

Flash forward several years to when Girl and Chocolate released their high-def opus, “Pretty Sweet,” ostensibly like ODB for the children staffing the team. If Guy Mariano’s comeback section half a decade earlier in the Lakai video proved he still had it, closing out a production otherwise given over to hot shoes who hadn’t yet picked up a board by the time Guy Mariano was sprinkling LA confetti upon jubilant skid row dealers sounded a clarion call to old dudes everywhere, in the same way that Eric Koston’s part in “The Chocolate Tour” a decade earlier inspired the true life story of “Murderball.”

Even as winter’s unrelenting icy grip has punished would-be green shoots attempting to poke their buds aboveground this spring, so too have industry oldsters answered this call over the past month, refusing to yield to the current crop of handrailers and manualites. Transworld’s generally short-in-the-tooth production “Perpetual Motion” gave the curtains to the non-threatening hammers and gently shampooed hair-stylings of Julian Davidson, but at that point the trick of the video (50-50 handrail gap, also in the running for overall filmed achievement of the year) had already been performed by Silas Baxter-Neal, who in that lineup of uppers and comers counted as its vet, when you factor in his old-soulness and general SOTY gravitas.

Weeks later the security camera-laced Deathwish production launched with the breakout section recorded by probably the oldest or second-oldest dude on the squad, Jim Greco, he for whom 1,000 cattle have been slain to date in the ongoing search for a jacket that encapsulates just how feckless he is feeling at any given moment. Greco darkslides, across benches and from 360 flips and down handrails and switchstance, but amongst all that razzle-dazzle he appears to have cleaned out five years’ accumulated DV tapes worth of backside 360 lipslides down big handrails and certain big jumps. Jim Greco’s own post-sobriety turn in “Baker 3” always seemed to me kind of scattered after his angry energy in “Misled Youth” and that “Baker2G” part that birthed a whole subgenre, but this one came off like he really, really wanted to go for it, kaleidoscopic outfits be damned.

Now as socialists around the world unite to march for solidarity and universal health-care coverage and tax deductible bail payments for regular- and goofy-footed independent contractors alike, Jason Dill and Anthony Van Engelen take their turn to shock the industry, except this time by quitting their jobs rather than doing them. Yet the abrupt flying of a couple decades-deep dudes from their long-time coop — where millionaire boss Rob Dyrdek had effectively given them lordship over the springier chickens — already is seen by message-board plutocrats and industry pundits as a game-changing moment and perhaps the greatest identity crisis facing Alien Workshop since Lennie Kirk seriously devoted himself to armed robbery.

Will Jason Dill get on Palace? Is skating inherently a young man’s game, except for vert and the giant mega-ramp, where it’s a middle-schooler’s and middle-ager’s game that may reward you with an SUV? Is Mark Suciu actually a 40-year-old bro who had been quietly filming in various towns under assumed names over the past 15 years, and is the steady release of footage a sign that he may have died sometime early last year, leaving the executors of his estate to periodically drizzle out tapes to sponsors in a Tupac-like series of posthumous releases that will subsidize the multiple wives he secretly and illegally maintained in small towns across the U.S.?

The Continued Adventures Of A Misled Distribution President, Joint Venture Partner and Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year

April 21, 2013

Thrillho

Jon Dickson recently flipped Aaron Harrison’s 1997 ender backside as he ollied his way into Deathwish’s professional designation, but Jamie Thomas lately has been revisiting his own greatest hits catalogue, between an extended remix of his “Welcome to Hell” tree wallie in the recent TWS production and here, immortal technique on a spot ripped straight from a late-90s Zero video, or at least that gap to blue rail that Cairo Foster and Chris Senn approached in a similar fashion about 10 years back. Also worth a mention is a rarely utilized but probably underrated graphic/wheel color combo.

Separately: If somebody told you when the “Thrill of It All” promo came out that besides Jamie Thomas, the dude going the hardest 16 years later would be the one who landed 70% of his tricks in a 10-clip part, would you have believed it?

4. Neen Williams – “Chickenbonenowison”

December 27, 2011

The unscientific layman’s catchphrase known as the “law of averages” teaches us that random outliers become less frequent when spread out over a large enough sampling size. Projecting the 2007 estimate of 13 million U.S. skateboarders, then reported have grown at a 10% clip for each of the three previous years, to rise at a similar rate in an economic climate hostile to hockey equipment purchases puts us around a very rough 19 million today, a crowd that stands in constant danger of tipping into an echo chamber of stock kickflip flicks and natural-transition pivot fakies. For this reason handcrafted tricks like Neen Williams’ heelflips and backside tailslides and backside noseblunt slides (especially to fakie) stand out that much more from the din and Baker’s Deathwish imprint made the most of the dude’s focused mindset by using his awesome footage to anchor their Shake Junt video (Dustin Dollin made a pretty ripping return too). Extra bonus street points awarded for elevating the frontside pop-shove it to ender status, one of the bigger ones I can recall ever seeing. Neen Williams’ skating is well handled by the Baker Boys editing squad who get that really good tricks oftentimes look best without all that varnish and lacquer. Feel like the filming here in particular is on point, something I don’t notice all that much usually, or maybe it’s just how much this dude is killing it here and there.

Also noticing now that we’ve got three nollie varial flips in this list which certainly merits a really really long think piece all on its own.

Think Twice

February 15, 2010

From the Lizard King pro spotlight in this month’s Transworld – a simple case of no respect, or sparks aimed at the long-cooled Socal/Norcal tinderbox?

TWS: Do you ever think about how far you’ve come over the past four years? I mean, you used to ride for Think, and now you have some of the best sponsors out there.
LK: Yeah, exactly. It’s such a trip`, dude [laughs].

I mean, I don’t know who buys the boards either, but damn..

Flight of the Passion Fruit

August 2, 2009

lizard_mega
And thus we complete the mainstream print media triumvariate

A suspect quesadilla prompted a longer-than-anticipated sit-down this afternoon, in which an errant copy of “Outside” magazine was flipped through, uncovering a pretty in-depth profile on hemp farmer and Mega Ramp LLC co-owner Bob Burnquist who is described at one point as “prone to stoner speechifying about ‘fluidic rhythms.'” (Aren’t we all.) It’s a pretty by-the-numbers rundown of the Bob’s life and times as an X-Games superhero, multiple family man and amateur pilot but at one point they’re cooling out at the rancho and things take a turn for the surreal* when a certain Utahn comes scritch-scritch-scratching at his rancho door:

While I’m at the rancho, Bob’s friend and fellow pro Pierre-Luc Gagnon, or PLG, pops by with some fresh meat: a street skater known as Lizard King (Mike Plumb to his relatives), who’s wiry and abundantly tattooed, with a rapsy smoker’s voice and the bug eyes of a man who gets amped for a living.

Bob greets them in the driveway and tells PLG to take Lizard out to the ramp “just to see what he’s getting into.”

Minutes later, Lizard King comes back looking as if he’s seen a ghost. He can’t stop pacing. “I’m not even over there looking at it and I’m having a heart attack,” he says.

Bob plays the confident older brother, goosing the Lizard up, onto and eventually down the mega-slope.

Lizard King snatches a bag of pads from PLG’s Mercedes and comes back. “I’ve never been more intimidated by anything in my entire life,” he says, then exhales deeply.

“I wanna get you psyched,” Bob says. “I’ll go out there with you.”

Bob shows Plumb how to bail the jump and then does it sans pads.

Lizard King practically collapses. Here he is, terrified, and Bob has casually dropped in as if this were a backyard pool, wearing nothing but jeans and a T-shirt.

“Fuck it, dude,” Lizard yells, rolling toward the edge. “Live life.”

His first attempt isn’t pretty, but he has gusto. There are many whoops and hollers and “Holy shits!” as he rockets down the roll-in, up the launch, and through the air, dropping his board and flying along like someone leaping off a bridge into a lake. He lands awkwardly but safely on his knee pads and slides to the base of the quarterpipe.

“I love you, Bob!” he howls as Bob and I walk back toward the house. “This is the funnest thing I’ve ever done in my life! Thank you for building this!”

About an hour later, Bob’s phone buzzes. It’s a text from PLG: Lizard nailed it. “He’s got the right mentality,” Bob says. “Or the wrong one, depending how you look at it.”

Elsewhere there’s something of an “Xtremely Sorry” preview, which Bob Burnquist is apparently obsessing over “because (video parts) maintain his credibility in the skate world, which might otherwise regard him as a stunt guy who cashes in at the X Games once a year and then retreats to his ranch to roll around in flaxseed.”

In one sequence, he launches across the 50-foot gap, lands on the manual pad, kickflips his board 180 degrees while going 50 miles per hour, then drops in toward the quarterpipe – all without breaking rhythm.

So, what… manual backside flip? Frontside flip? Or just a “180 flip” into the landing from the manual pad? Meanwhile Bob’s organic restaurant has closed its doors, FYI.

*At least, surreal for those of us for whom Lizard King and “Outside” magazine exist in separate, non-overlapping worlds

Baker Boys of Summer

July 21, 2009

baker_tour_bed
It’s a wrap

Though it may not feel like it across most of the country, these allegedly are the dog days of the summer season, and the numerous and powerful corporate interests behind Boil the Ocean hope that you are enjoying them as such. With the high-contrast blare of “Debacle” faded a bit, the super-ams of Powell and Sk8Mafia entertaining new endorsement offers, Zoo York counting its Gatorade incentive cash (nice catch by YWS) and the Blind team again scattered to the four winds, we find ourselves in a lull before the next round of powerhouse productions from the likes of TWS, Zero, Flip and Emerica. Putting the pain of the Duffel/Howard BATB game out of mind, now is the season of bro-dom, in which we all ought to be out enjoying the summer weather* in the manner of your own choosing – skateboarding, shooting the breeze, learning tricks, taking slams and so on.

Video-wise, this heartfelt sentiment is best captured by the bro-love section of the Baker-Deathwish tour video documenting, ah, last summer – if you have the DVD it begins around the 26:19 mark. Antwuan Dixon demonstrates that beneath a fearsome façade of face tattoos and battle-ready knuckles there lurks a helpful domesticate who just wants to see his drug-addled buddies sleep comfortably. There’s mother-and-child-reunion high-fives, haircut goofs and a round of match-the-trick before Mike “Jim Morrison” Plumb gets another helping hand from Slash in achieving a world record grind. It gets no better, bros.

*Note, if you’re reading this from the southern hemisphere where it’s winter currently, get a real hemisphere

This Space For Rent

July 2, 2009

antwuan_thrasher

Perhaps explaining the lack of a Thrasher-sanctioned live webcam at last month’s Wallenberg hurl-a-thon, the publication most likely to be mistaken for Tattoo Magazine has apparently devoted this quarter’s technology budget to a true internet innovation: a zoomable, clickable, labeled guide to Antwuan Dixon’s body of work. On a scale of one to ten in don’t-give-a-fuckness, kindly rank the following:

-face tattoos
-curse-word face tattoos
-misspelled face tattoos
-tattoos that misspell your own name
-Andy Roy
-Rick Ross’s tattoo of Richard Pryor and Abraham Lincoln “pimping” the Statue of Liberty
the “Porcupine Racetrack” skit

Hey Guys, Antwuan Dixon Is Back On His Bullshit

May 17, 2009


Work hard, play hard

We can all probably agree that the recently premiered Baker/Deathwish tour video isn’t going to be any great shakes as far as real serious skating goes, but, it does portend to be heavy on the hi-jinks… which in 2009 basically means Antwuan Dixon’s ongoing police-antagonization show. But even so this Youtube clip gets meta re: bootlegs in a fashion that’s in keeping with the PD aesthetic and spoils a handful of pretty high-caliber tricks, including Antwuan Dixon switch heelflipping the continental divide (pictured above). It also appears as though they got a front-row seat for that notorious Las Vegas brouhaha. At this point you have to wonder whether Reynolds & Co. have considered appointing a team of cameramen to maintain round-the-clock Dixon video coverage, if not for the sake of Deathwish productions, then for legal reasons. Or if they might take a page from the other Slash’s autobiography and at least hire a goon to haul him home at the end of the night.

Lizard King Is Probably the T-Pain of Skateboarding

May 12, 2009


Not Lizard King or T-Pain, or even Billy Gibbons

Back in 2001, when George Bush Jr’s ratings rode high in the saddle, pro deck sales were still on the upswing and PJ Ladd was wrapping up a game-altering East Coast shop video part, plucky softgoods concern Planet Earth released the largely overlooked “F.O.R.E. and Friends,” a city-hopping video that brought together the likes of Kenny Anderson, Felix and a young Terry Kennedy to celebrate the rising star of Forrest Kirby, who at the time occupied a place in skateboarding where he basically was like everybody’s lovable little brother. Whether donning a doo-rag or skidding banger noseblunts, FORE was down with everybody and stood poised to take his place amongst top-ranked professional athletes everywhere, before stepping back to attend CCD and pen Christian memoirs.

As you can imagine we live in less innocent times nowadays. Usama bin Laden remains at large; 50 Cent is having problems selling CDs of his music and snitches roam the streets. Yet some things are not so different. Dustin Dollin remains a glorious mess for instance. Varial kickflips are still better left alone unless you are Brian Anderson. Whereas we once had Nate Dogg, we now obey the robot voice of Teddy Pendergrass, and while skateboarding once ruffled the hair of a towheaded kid from San Antonio, in 2009 everyone wants to be down with the Satan worshippin’, razorblade abusin’, crazy-eyed rail/gap/other killa Mike Plumb.

And just as T-Pain took the stage at the Grammy awards and beseeched award-winning artists everywhere to hit him on the hip for collaborative art pursuits, Lizard King seems eager to get down with anyone and everyone possible — his journey from a one-foot backside lipsliding amateur contest oddity sponsored by Think has brought him into the house of Reynolds, and more recently he’s spreading the endorsement love amongst entities including but not limited to Jake Brown and Sean Sheffey’s not-sure-if-it’s-real-or-not clothing venture “Laced” and, ah, DC Shoes? Lizard King’s three-ring circus is such that I’m not sure what to believe anymore, what is true and what is just bleary-eyed delusion.

Other traits shared with T-Pain: a nonsensical nickname, a penchant for outlandish behavior that might be really annoying in other people, a proficiency at getting laid despite goonish looks (I’m assuming), and they’re both friends with people who have tattoos on their face.

A healthy work ethic and the big-tent approach has worked for T-Pain, just as it has served Lizard King well. And despite the media ubiquity of both it’s hard not to root for them. They are too tirelessly and exuberantly weird to root against, neither seems to take hisself too serious, and for the most part it wouldn’t do any good anyway. In closing, if Mike Plumb contributes an autotune hook to a JR rap song you all owe me $1000.

*who had yet to learn bluntslides from Stevie Williams