Posts Tagged ‘Lizard King’

Daewon Song’s “Love Child” Recreation Exposes Vital Weaknesses That Our Enemies May Already Be Exploiting, Dudes

June 21, 2010

Former World Industries Man Daewon Song had the internet agog last week when he made the choice to re-film a few clips from his landmark “Love Child” section along with a heap of other zany moves that indicate his already freakish skills have only mutated bigger and more transition-savvy tentacles over the past couple decades. Daewon Song was roundly praised for his choices and we applaud him as well, except with the Zen-approved one hand’s worth of clapping because this seemingly fun exercise exposes a gaping weakness of modern skateboarders that puts the whole operation at risk.

Basically several generations’ worth of product upgrades and fashion cycles have seen our legs atrophy from the pinnacle of the early 90s, when miniscule wheels, sub-Abec 26 bearings and yards of cheaply dyed denim ensured a minimum five pushes between each trick. And on actual paved surfaces, as opposed to the custom-poured park surfaces of the current era. It’s no accident that among the most severe blows landed against the drill-bearing aggressor in Plan B’s early 90s document “Virtual Reality” were several beefy kicks. And similarly, unsurprising that no physical violence ended up transpiring between Mike Plumb and the shouty Baby Schizo the other weekend, as neither wanted to throw out the first feeble roundhouse attempt in a widely televised event.

The truth is that complacency has led us down this unhappy road, to a place where Will Smith’s child-star could whomp our collective behinds, where rollerbladers’ calves may be considerably more toned, where we stand little chance in grape-stomping contests or a race to the top of the Burj Khalifa. I think we can make this work again but it likely will require discipline, an aged/possibly alcoholic mentor and at least a couple training montages set to appropriately motivational tunes.

Boil the Ocean SOTY Short List 2009

October 11, 2009

busenitz_thunder
Just throw it in the bag

This year seems like last year, kind of, as far as there not being any type of clear front-runner for the most hallowed of skateboard awards that is not distributed in buckets by the Maloof brothers. There’s no Daewon or Danny Way or Arto Saari no-brainer, and while there are several semi-brainers (useful for commentors such as myself), the politics and squishy qualifications and completely opaque voting process makes it all the more interesting and fun to pointlessly speculate. And so we jump in.

Leo Romero: I kind of feel like if that Skateboarder cover had been a Thrasher we wouldn’t even be bloviating on this, but the uphill path of the inscrutable Leonard is part of his appeal – jumping ship from Baker to Toy Machine years after several former bloodsuckers headed headed the owner way and left Ed & co. with their hands in their pockets, alongside a general negative attitude that many have compared to Emerican elder Heath Kirchart. Leo has a potentially ground-shifting video part in store with “Stay Gold,” and while it will not drop this year, Phelps and his buddies have been known to move pre-emptively, and who doesn’t like to look smart?

Heath Kirchart: The buzz is that the Thrasher camp may not have enough love for the brooding bro with the red-carpet disses and vending machine business, but I don’t know. It’s not like the dude goes around handing out cookie bouquets to the other mags, and to a certain degree you could imagine the Thrasher powers that be digging a devil-may-care mode of operation. It would sorta be a safer pick too, since Heath K brought a show-stopper video part in 09 and potentially another one next year. Cons, he hasn’t done much for Thrasher and he skated to Morrissey.

Sean Malto: The teen heartthrob who lives his own reality show, baffling security guards with nollie frontside feeble grinds and shredding the Pacific Northwest with Julien Stranger. Green but his Thrasher cover was among the year’s gnarliest and the non-stop skateboard mission seems to always have room for a stop or shoutout to his beloved Kansas City; a pro model shoe is not far off and he’s had enough footage drizzled out here and there to mold a passable follow-up to “And Now,” but Malto’s 09 slow burn has yet to fully flare, and I’m not sure the cover, rowdy as it is, would get him over.

Dennis Busenitz: The current Slap Board messiah would seem to have SOTY at long last sewn up, with an internet-smashing video part, talked-about contest runs, many good photos and a pro shoe to boot.* He’s a Nor-Cal gnarler who can schralp transition and/or spit out switch 360 flips, he’s with the right companies. If there’s a downside I guess it’s the lack of any super-handrail heroism or mega-ramp fireworks or some type of singularly groundbreaking trick, but then again, maybe that plays to his advantage. In ten years a Busenitz SOTY win would probably come to be seen along the same lines as Chris Senn, which is to say those who know would know, the rest would be wondering “why not P-Rod” and there’d be a certain amount of “you had to be there”

Lizard King Mike Plumb: Let’s put him on the list. The zaniest Wallenberger with a stupider tattoo/carving every month, and he’s a decent interview. Kind of a long shot maybe but one could argue he’s fairly representative of where skating is these days, which is to say, both trick- and movement-wise.

Anthony Van Engelen: The odds might be stacked against him but to my mind the case has never been stronger for an AVESOTY and the brow-furrowing AWS decks it would probably produce. He has a couple magazine covers, a blazing video part, a harrowing comeback story, a bunch of tattoos and he wears Vans. As one who birthed the current fascination with speed and successfully fused hesh grime with precision tech skating he’s for sure a contender from the career standpoint and probably a SOTY everybody could agree with on some level.

Torey Pudwill: Just throwing it out there, Jake Phelps knows who he is and he’s given it to fresh-faced pros before. But, the lack of follow-through on the Wallenberg nollie flip might cost him precious support in the Yay area.

Zered Basset: the King of Zoo York coulda won it the year he made the “Vicious Cycle” part as far as we’re concerned but he nearly hit that mark again in the “State of Mind” video (still thinking the MOP was totally brilliant) and he has been on the Thrasher radar for some time. The drawback might be that he’s been kind of below the radar compared to some of the charge-happy spotlight grabbers like teammate Brandon Westgate, but an elder statesman might be the one to usher the tradition into the next decade.

It seems like there should be some kinda transition dude in here so, I don’t know, Lance Mountain. Insane as Bob’s mega-ramping has been, our view is that he’s a little bit too TWS/Fuel TV these days for Thrasher’s taste. While on the topic it seems like Justin Brock has whatever “rookie of the year” awards wrapped, unless Grant Taylor gets em.

*get it

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

Kill Yo Self

May 31, 2009


Third time’s the charge

If the rumors are true then I guess this weekend may go down as skateboarding’s parting barrage at SF’s Wallenberg Alternative High School, as officials stand poised to expand the Bulldogs’ kennels down the hallowed four-step, and dash the dreams of gap-minded amateur skateboarders (and razor scooterers, for what it’s worth). Trailblazers Gonz, Bucchieri, Gerwer and Manfre have secured spots in whatever history books keep track of this stuff, and in the end Chris Cole will probably be remembered as the big boss of the Berg, what with his tre-flip vengeance tale and the nonchalance with which he put down the big tricks yesterday. I was kind of shocked he didn’t bring out the switch frontside heelflip, but with all the nonsense exploding down the steps and out of Phelps’ megaphone, probably I would’ve sat down after one switch frontside flip trick too.

But Chris Cole’s quick-draw makes aside, the winner of this weekend’s big-jump hoedown was for sure skateboarding’s nappy boy, the schnozzed-out seventh son of a seventh son* known as Lizard “Mike Plumb” King. Not so much because he landed more tricks than anybody, which he did, but because he spent his 15 or so minutes in the SF air executing some grade-A dork material… and while it would probably be a stretch to hold up a world record backside 180 one-footer as high-level commentary on the whole get-tricks-or-die-trying affair, it added an amazing unpredictable gonzo element to an event so packed with hungry strivers and messageboard mavens checking off boxes on “most likely to be landed” spreadsheets.

Now, a lot of people find the slobbering pursuit of NBD’s that this type of contest produces rather gauche for understandable reasons, and Jake Phelps has taken plenty of heat in the last 24 hours for his usual self-aggrandizing antics, as well as the way he seemed to relish axing dudes and dashing poor Neil Smith’s nollie heelflip hopes. But fair’s fair and hand it to Thrasher for moving the best-trick format forward, and in the process creating one of the few contests that actual people who ride skateboards care about… another being the Berrics game of skate, which you could say has improved upon the don’t-fall-off-your-board-for-60-seconds format. Whereas the Berrics’ warehouse floor democratizes professional skateboarding competitions, Phelps & Co. have successfully set up camp on the other end of the spectrum with shit like the Wallenberg contests, Slaughter at the Opera and so on, don’t-try-this-at-home affairs where, yeah, there’s money, but a shot at a piece of history too.

There’s an argument that packing 11 groundbreaking tricks into one banner-splashed, frenetic afternoon cheapens what it is to do a trick down the Wallenberg stairs, which I can see, but then I think about the legendary Hubba Hideout. In its nth liberation you had dudes flying out to camp there twenty-four hours a day, and yeah it was cool to see Carroll schralp it on the cover of TSM for all the obvious reasons, but that came amid a million web clips, and even legitimately gnarly stuff like Matt Miller’s nollie noseblunt were eventually relegated to the last 60 seconds in that summer’s TWS vid. So, Wallenbergers, get it if you can, while it’s there, make it count, etc etc.

And if there was a best trick yesterday, I think Lindsey Robertson did it. Wow.

*it’s a Utah joke

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

Boil the Ocean’s SOTY Short List

October 31, 2008


Early and often

Dubious nomination process, predetermined winners and your vote doesn’t mean shit – sound familiar? It’s Skater of the Year season, and while you can spam Thrasher’s inbox with all the Busenitz ballots you want, but he’s not gonna win, and chances are Phelps already has a name rattling around his spectacled skull, sans any cares for what the rest of us think.

But for better or worse SOTY remains the only skateboard honor that means anything, and the winners, even those that hadn’t already bondo’ed their legend status, have proved the High Speed honchos prescient in the end. So pardon me while I throw out some wild guesses as to who’s in the running this year.

Silas Baxter Neal: An ad in every magazine and a video part for every finger on your hand over the last couple years. He’s a Thrasher cover-getting SF local with Pacific Northwest roots who made his big video debut in Rocket Science a few years back, but even though SBN is one of the steadily declining number of newly minted pros-cum-amateurs who can count his dues paid in full, career-wise, if he won he’d be greener than BA when he got Pen-and-Pixeled for the 1999 SOTY throne.

Billy Marks: Phelps has long been a Zero fan and has teased poor Billy with the SOTY/Tech Deck ad conundrum for years, and if Marks ever were to have a shot at it, this would be the year I guess. He has a big video part and a big Thrasher interview going for him, but other than that he’s been kind of quiet, unless you count the ping-pong videos. Plus if he won he’d have to produce another 10 pages of photos for the issue and he seems like a hopelessly lazy dude, ping-pong prowess notwithstanding.

Bobby Worrest: He skates for Deluxe companies, drinks shitty beer, has churned out boatloads of footage these last couple years and seems to possess a Thrasher-approved “who cares” attitude, as well as a sense of humor. On the other hand, like SBN his professional career is none too long in the tooth, and unless you count all his internet antics (which I certainly do) he hasn’t put out a legit part this year.

Guy Mariano: Thrasher likes to give SOTY to longtime legends recently (Daewon, Marc Johnson, Danny Way again) and Mariano is pretty much about as legend as they come, except perhaps for John Legend, or Robert Neville. He sets the high bar for street skating video parts and then comes back a decade later and does the same shit for comebacks, what the fuck? On the downside, aside from some of the first Flared-era photos, not much of his recent coverage has made it into Thrasher, and possibly worse for his SOTY candidacy, a lot of said coverage has been in TWS.

Rune Glifberg: This year’s dark horse candidate – representing one of the more SOTY-heavy squads at Flip and an old-guard transition titan who so far has avoided tarring himself with the X-Games brush, Rune turned in probably one of the best profiles of the year to date a few months ago in Thrasher. While Dyrdek’s UAV will turn into a pumpkin before the Flip video comes out this year Phelps has proven more than willing to hand out preemptive SOTY awards like so many Tomahawk cruise missles, as Rowley and Appleyard can attest.

Lizard King: I get the feeling the Thrasher bosses have a deep and abiding love for Michael Plumb, but a helping of hairball photos and a side-order video part (even if it is set to Killa) do not an SOTY make.

Ryan Sheckler: As much as nobody wants to think about it, I have a sad feeling that this is a real possibility, as Phelps’ determination to prove his don’t-give-a-fuckness combined with Sheckler’s boring win at the Thrasher handrail contest and the prospect of selling a metric ton of magazines are very real factors. I’d like to think that Ballard would tender his resignation should this event come to pass, and Thrasher has taken the occasional swipe at the golden boy from San Clemente, but Phelps’ recent comments that Sheckler is in the running haunt me in the wee hours of the night, even if he was joking. Not funny.

Vote for Barack Obama next week.