Posts Tagged ‘In Bloom’

Does Paul Rodriguez’s iTunes Video Part Deserve An Elusive 10.0 Rating?

November 24, 2010

A number of years back me and a buddy of mine engaged in an epic argument, spanning a few hours and two bars, over whether Paul Rodriguez was in “the top five” or not. Think this was post-“Yeah Right,” around the early days of Plan B. My whole thing was: this dude is heavily gifted skill-wise but not pushing the envelope in terms of innovation or doing things in new ways. The buddy’s view was that I was a fucking idiot. Years later I like to think we were both right.

Hangovers fade, winter turns into spring and injured feelings are soothed with the balm of liquor. But generally my feeling on Paul Rodriguez hasn’t shifted a great deal, as the video parts and corporate sponsorship deals have piled up. Here you have a dude who immediately attained Next Big Thing status upon his arrival on the rosters of super-teams and TWS vids, but even snagging milestones like designing the first among several disposable Nike SB pro-models and posing for the only TSM cover to make Dave Carnie feel like a child molestor, it seems like something on-board has been missing, sort of like he’s yet to really arrive.

Fairly or not P-Rod more than probably any other hot-shoe am has had to evolve under near-constant comparisons to/oversight of the legendary ones like Kareem Campbell, who ensured the rolling of more than a few eyes by purposely scoring the kid’s “Street Cinema” stepping-out to “Want You Back,” with all the subtlety of an “Enter The Pu-Tang” ad. Or, Eric Koston making a PRJr-shaped spot on Girl/Es/Four-star, which you can’t say he didn’t deserve, but set up a certain amount of backlash when he inevitably left to do his own thing.

Ten years after his switch heelflip inspired hushed wonder from Atiba Jefferson, and he’s got a beard and a kid and an ill-advised foray into acting under his belt, Paul Rodriguez apparently still is toiling under the same ol’ comparisons to the Kostons and Tony Hawks (see: new Transworld). Not that he seems to mind, and his ode to Ronnie Creager comes off endearingly genuine, but I look at somebody like a Chris Cole who’s got at least as much skill and achievements over a similar time frame, and people generally don’t present him through this spectrum of greats that’ve gone before.

Tony Hawk invented numerous tricks and named one after Madonna. Eric Koston ran with a decade-long string of blockbuster rail sorcery (nollie noseblunt-backside noseblunt-nollie heelflip noseslide-nollie backside noseblunt-360 flip noseblunt) that justified de-facto closer positioning in most of the big productions where he featured. Getting back to the epic bar argument, this is where you could draw a line between the crop’s very creamiest versus the pros that can just do every trick and add a couple more stairs or an extra kickflip.

Which all leads up to Paul Rodriguez’s $3 iTunes part with the Kanye West song, because amidst the usual ridiculous skills the guy displays there are a few — chiefly the switch b/s noseblunt, a real live cover worthy move at a name spot, but also the nollie flip 270 switch b/s tailslide* and the fakie varial heelflip nosegrind — that threaten to set up shop at that tip-top tier of ultimate board bros. Not sure if all this puts him on par with them what he gets compared to in interview intros or if he’s still next up, but switch backside noseblunting a sizable rail does go some way toward glossing over the whole Target deal and Nascar fitted.

*labeled properly dudes?

Rock and Hammer

September 14, 2009

king_kong
More are bound to suffer

A few weeks back I loaded up the Rocky Norton “Mag Minute” because I thought he had a funny-sounding name and his clip might be interesting, and it was, but first let’s flash back to 2002, when the wounds of September 11 were still raw, the presidency was just a twinkle in Sen. Barack Obama’s eye and future SOTY Chris Cole was leaping his way down the Love park fountain, into a tighter set of jeans and onto Zero. Late in the summer, on a night much like tonight, I remarked to a bro how I was kind of digging Chris Cole’s part in the TWS vid “In Bloom” but there was something I couldn’t put my finger on about it, and after a certain amount of blackberry brandy, it seemed as though that something was in fact the size of Chris Cole’s forearms, which at times seemed to resemble some type of heshed-out ape.

Flashing forward to 2009, that phrase is not one I would apply to Rocky Norton, mostly because I prefer not to take my pancake breakfasts through a straw and also I hope one day to teach my many, many awestruck grandchildren about the glory days of skateboard blogging in the early part of the century. Let’s try and think of a more noble analog for New Mexico’s Norton – he can have his pick of Popeye or Bluto – and draw a parallel to a 2007 video part, namely Fred Gall in “Inhabitants.” There’s some similar ideas going on in terms of tricks and terrain, yeah, but I’m thinking more about the construction digger machine gnawing into a brick wall, an image that fit Fred Gall, but now appears made for Rocky Norton. Same with Eric Koston’s trick in the Lakai intro, complete with soul scream.

In the ensuing weeks the Mag Minute footage remains on my mind, leading me to dig up some older parts* and consider this dude’s approach. In some ways it’s like Mike Vallely without all the beards and bands and bullshit, but then he’s nollie backside flip reverting and bashing walls and things, primed to tear apart phone books and put on some David Banner CDs. I think I’m pretty into the raw powerness of it all and will give the dude some elbow room; meanwhile I’m considering a belated apology to Chris Cole, before he becomes enraged and targets my face with a contest closer (2:41).

*also Daniel Lutheran, not bad