Posts Tagged ‘Deathwish’

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 men were men, 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 faith-based 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, 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

1. Antwuan Dixon, “Baker Deathwish”

December 30, 2008

Much has been said about Antwuan Dixon keeping skating “dangerous,” being the new Sean Sheffey, his poor luck with the law, his alternative lifestyle choices and so on. And these are all good points, especially as we gird ourselves for a generation of freshly scrubbed Zac Efron-styled park-bred trophy hunters. Without engaging in too much vicarious skatepark brawling or face tat exploitation (though they are amazing) it’s a relief to know there are top-flight working professionals who aggressively don’t give a shit, whereas peers call their sponsors to yank magazine interviews or complain that they aren’t getting their due adoration from the skateboarding public. Antwuan Dixon is out there laughing and erupting, wearing taco hats and skating like pretty much nobody else at all, flicking fakie flips like Kalis, catching half-cab flips the way he does, doing a massive switch frontside flip that looks like a switch frontside flip but not shitty. If that makes sense. Of course it’s part of the Baker genius that he’s able to parlay 2.5 minutes of footage into a five-minute closer section, complete with ice cream sandwich interlude and Red Lobster-ready theme song, but to me this was hands-down my favorite video part all year.

The gentle genius of Antwuan Dixon

May 5, 2008


occupation: skater

There’s been a lot of murmured Sean Sheffey comparisons bantered about Antwuan Dixon, which I guess are a product of his Tampa antics, “large” build (as per the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office) and carefree lifestyle. I see it, sort of, but whereas Sheffey was a beast the way he attacked shit on his board, Dixon is much more about sure-footed finesse. People like Pappalardo and Gino can keep their limbs quiet when they do tricks but it’s like Antwuan Dixon’s arms took a vow of silence. Or something. Either way he’s one of the very few skaters to come out in the last few years who doesn’t look like anybody else when he skates.

Between the steady diet of green and rumors of blasting rocks I can see why people might be concerned about a premature fade out for Dixon (another Sheffey comparison) but I think he’ll be okay. He’s got Reynolds to guide him. Time will tell of course, and if he shows up at Tampa in a couple years and strolls out to the middle of the park with a full six pack of beers, I may have to admit I’m wrong. But not until then.

Baker/Deathwish on Google video

Bless this mess

May 1, 2008


street hassle

Nieratko:After you see a video like Fully Flared, how does it change the way you approach the way you film or make videos?
Andrew Reynolds: It doesn’t change my approach at all. I stick to what I know. …I watch [Fully Flared] all the time, but my personal editing technique is to make it look like a piece of trash and then put it out.

It kind of impressed me when Reynolds said that, not because I expected him to suddenly enlist in the Ty Evans school of overproduction when it comes to Baker videos, but because he sounded totally confident in his “throw everything against the wall and see what sticks and what leaves greasy smears” approach to putting a video together. I don’t know if it’s because the ramped slow-mo and incessant profiling cutaways of Fully Flared are really starting to grate after five months of re-watching (more like after a week), or if it’s because Reynolds has nailed the Baker-Bootleg formula, but the Baker Deathwish promo* so far is the most fun and rewatchable video to come out of the Baker Boys camp since they stumbled onto the scene almost 10 years ago, and for me anyway it’s the best representation yet of the company and the dudes.

Reynolds should also get credit for not letting his personal issues fuck up the whole Baker vibe. When he and Greco cleaned up a few years ago it was up in the air what kind of impact that would have on the company’s beer/buds/bros deal, but the ads stayed wild and Baker 3 was the usual cocktail of transients, pissed security and stumbling drunks who also drop the requisite hammers and so on. Except instead of Reynolds tipping back a bottle of distilled spirits he’s rolling up with a handful of Starbucks. Shoutout to Barney Gumble.

If anything, the only issue with Baker 3 was that it was maybe too focused, with its intro-part-part-friends section-part-part-kids section-part part, etc. Baker Deathwish returns to the hazy, meandering pace of the original Baker Bootleg, except with a little tighter editing and way less slow-mo. And the way the video staggers from clowning in an apartment to Ellington running somebody’s board over to heckling Koston to Antwuan Dixon singing about his fucking shrimp, it does a way better job of showing a day in the life of the Baker squad than a million Ty Evans slow-motion dolly shots of the Lakai team kicking it at the ledge spot, or Guy Mariano pushing open garage doors while Band of Horses coos in the background. Baker Deathwish has Dixon in a taco hat. Think outside the bun, people…

*Can an hour and five minute-long video really be called a promo? Excess is one of Baker’s founding values.

Seven things I liked about Terry Kennedy’s Deathwish part

April 30, 2008

TK keeps progressing, sort of, though if I were him I’d stop hyping the fact that he only started skating in 2000 or whatever it was, because each part he puts out running basically the same tricks it gets less impressive and more obvious. But what am I saying here, a Terry Kennedy video part isn’t about tricks, or even skating really. It’s about being young and carefree and well-off and making rap songs in your living room and designing fashionable bulletproof vests. But I’m on TK’s side really. At this point he’s at least as cartoonish as your Jim Grecos and Chad Muskas, but the difference to me is that he seems to take himself a lot less serious. Uh, most of the time.

Anyway, the highlights of Terry Kennedy’s Deathwish part:

1. The wacky and possibly intoxicatory smile on his face when he comes out the door in his tank top and short shorts at the beginning there. Ha ha ha! What is he doing anyway. Crazy guy.

2. His little monologue in the basement with the ping-pong lady in the background. I’ve watched it at least a half-dozen times and I’m still not sure what it is he’s saying toward the end there. It sounds intense though. Is he talking about Lupe? If he was going for the Smack DVD angle he should’ve had Gorecki and the rest of the Ice Cream crew wearing bandannas over their faces and flashing guns. But keep the ping pong lady. It makes you look unpredictable and a little insane.

3. He lets Sammy Baca sit on his couch without even putting that plastic shit on it. I thought that was nice of him.

4. Fakie 5-0 down the white hubba. This was a good trick.

5. His rap song. TK’s producer, or homie, or cousin, or whatever website he downloaded the instrumental from seems to be improving at a marginal rate, much like TK himself on a skateboard. Some of this recent Fly Society material sounds like it could maybe stand on its own near the end of a 30-track Slick Pulla mixtape, which is saying something. TK’s lyrics are pretty standard fare as far as having fancy things and affirming his eternal hatred for snitches but he sounds pretty convincing to me. I wonder if he thinks up lyrics while he’s sliding down handrails, like “it would be hot if when I get into this b/s overcrook, I sing ‘got your wifey on my dizzick.'” Multi-tasking…

6. That last bar he f/s railslides looked like something Rowley would have tackled before he got old and started skating ditches all the time. Tall and beastly.

7. Finally, the bro-down session after his last trick reminded me of “Fulfill the Dream”… in a good way.

P.S. what’s with all the unicycles in this video? Kind of amazing…

Baker’s new blood

April 29, 2008


where the fuck was this trick

Like his frontside flips in recent years, Andrew Reynolds’ talent scouting is kind of hit and miss. He got a homerun with Spanky and knocked it out of the park with Brian Herman, not to mention Antwuan Dixon. Szafranksi I’m kind of lukewarm on and Terry Kennedy is a whole nother conversation, but then you’ve got Knox Godoy, who still hasn’t lived down his prepubescent Baker2G antics, and Evan Hernandez, who managed to get a board before everybody figured out he was boring as fuck.

Anyway in honor of the Baker/Deathwish video hitting the internet today I’m gonna do Deathwish week, unless another Andy Roy interview comes out or something. While we’re on the subject, how long will it be before Jackass World updates us on the Snuggle Bandit’s latest adventures? I’m sure it’s already in the works.

Anyway, there were a handful of newer kids in this video, so to officially welcome them to the skateboard industry let’s go ahead and judge them, shall we…

Theotis Beasley: He’s not much bigger than he was in Baker 3 but he’s looking better on his board and has a new batch of manual tricks–the fakie b/s heelflip manual down the bank has the boss arm style. The heelflip bigspin was a crusher and if he’s smart enough to be riding with Cam at 15 or whatever he’ll do fine, good shit. Where’s Rammy Issa?

Sammy Baca: Best intro in the whole video for sure, the lass in the white t-shirt looks about to wrench her friend’s arm off trying to escape, but you can’t really blame her. Having Baca’s arm snake around your neck is probably on the list of things you should get a tetanus shot for, or maybe consult with your priest. Reynolds is a known fan of UK skating and Baca looks/skates a little bit like Zarosh in the new Death video, with more of a street angle on shit. What he lacks in technical acumen he makes up for in enthusiasm, or stupidity, depending on how you look at things. The jump into the bank is nutty.

Brian Hansen: I’m not sure if he counts as new since he had a part in a Vox promo a few months back and probably elsewhere long before that, but I want to commend him for (I hope) finally dropping the “Slash” nickname. Not that many tricks but I was surprised how smooth of a skater he’s becoming, especially with his flip tricks. The b/s 180 nosegrind revert on Hubba was sick.

Furby: Cursed to resemble Chris Cole back in his World days. I’ve never been real impressed with Furby’s shit in the past but the nollie b/s tail to fakie at Wilshire was hot. Follow Brian Hansen, suck it up and go by your real and probably boring/hard-to-pronounce name. Or start beefing with Figgy.

Pat Pasquel: He can switch bluntslide rails (back to switch) and switch backside flip up 5 stairs but he can’t get his last name in the video? Bummer. At last he can make interesting sounds, which could land him a job as a stand-in for Sgt. Larvell Jones when they get around to remaking the Police Academy movies. Bomb of a switch heelflip over the rail.