Posts Tagged ‘Mystery’

Big Shoes Small Boards

June 19, 2016

carroll-focus

There are some queries that must be considered as the ultimate questions of the time. Is it really what it is? Do gentlemen really prefer brunettes? What is the sound of one hand clapping? Do Gs get to go to heaven? If you couldn’t see the sun rising off the shore of Thailand would you ride then if I wasn’t driving? Has We The Best Season returned? Are you new around here or something man?

In our current big-footwear era of skateboarding, one question goes like this: Do international shoe manufacturers prefer small board companies? You sort of wonder. As Palace and Adidas and Skate Mental and Nike respectively grow cuddlier in the process of producing product lines, fewer such efforts appear to invite the creative hive-minds powering the likes of Element, Flip, Plan B and Zoo York to apply their MS Paint sorcery to established shoe-wall sellers. Meanwhile, the fingerprints of publicly traded footwear conglomerates increasingly seem to smudge the smartphone screens of board-company team managers:

Jamie Thomas: we bent over backwards for trevor for years. all was good, but as we were working with him on his boards, we started hearing that Nike was encouraging him to ride for skate mental because supposedly it would help his situation at Nike; Even though his graphics were done and his pro board was scheduled to be released in 2 months, he hit me up and said thanks for everything, but I’m gonna ride for Skate Mental.

Mike Carroll: Remember with Karsten [Kleppan], when we put out the intro to Lakai video part and then a week later Karsten got on Nike? It’s just like, what the fuck. And then that (Nike) dude Kaspar hit up Sam [Lakai’s Team Manager] and was like, “I know that Karsten’s off of Lakai now, but we want to get him off of Element. We want to get him on a cool company, would you guys be down to sponsor him for Girl?” It’s like, are you that retarded?

Jenkem’s text-messaging theorist: Nike backing riders to ride for small board co’s or start up their own small start up’s to dilute the market with heaps of small brands so the main camps like crailtap, black box (now dwindle) can’t focus on their own shoe programs and have to put their time and resources into keeping their board co’s alive in an over saturated market. Leaving it to them, Cons and adidas which works perfectly because they all co-exist this way in every other sport.

Is ‘small board company’ the proper terminology tho? Of the current Nike skateboard team, about half (16/34) skate for what could be construed as a ‘small/startup’ board company. But it may be more instructive to examine multinational sporting gear manufacturers’ history when it comes to sponsoring dudes who skate for a board company that is affiliated with a ‘legacy’ skate shoe company. In 2007, Nike’s inaugural and unfairly maligned full-length ‘Nothing But the Truth’ included parts from six dudes (out of 22) whose deck sponsors also ran a competing shoe outfit. By the time 2011’s ‘SB Chronicles 1’ arrived, the number had declined to two out of eight; it was 2/7 for ‘Chronicles 2’ and Cory Kennedy was the only one in last year’s ‘Chronicles 3’. Of the 24 bros in ‘Away Days,’ one skates for a board company that also peddles shoes, and on the Converse skate team, it’s one of 13.

Why might a big giant shoe company like its skaters to promote smaller/newer/upstart board companies? The idea of Jenkem’s texting thinker has some logic to it, though the deck sponsor’s ‘marquee’ position as it relates to pros’ pocketbooks has long been on the wane relative to shoes, as former DNA Distribution ‘business guy’ Chris Carter pointed out five years ago. As far as resource drains go, at a time when Brian Wenning and Jereme Rogers are able to formulate heat-press ready artwork and online storefronts, while micro-brands such as Jim Greco’s Hammers and Jeremy Klein’s revived Hook-Ups are able to secure premium pricing on limited runs, the actual overhead of doing a board company could or should be relatively low, assuming that a generation of even top-drawer pros have become accustomed to slimmer signature-board paycheques.

Would encouraging pros away from board companies/distributorships that also run shoe companies make sense for the majors? The post-getting-on-Nike moves of Trevor Colden (Mystery –> Skate Mental) and Karsten Kleppan (Element –> Skate Mental) make you wonder, and of the current SB team, about one-third, from Paul Rodriguez to Koston/Guy to Gino Iannucci, have departed such board companies for startups with no affiliation over the years, for various reasons. A widening gap between the board sponsor and shoe sponsor as far as pay, travel capability and general influence would cement the shoe merchants’ first right of refusal when it comes to Instagram clips, tour edits and coveted under-deck sticker placement real estate, and enhance capabilities to promote uniform-like outfits readymade for sweeping up spilled popcorn after matinee showings of ‘Zootopia 2: Zoological Boogaloo.’

Or does all our convoluted and conspiracy-minded nail-gnawing overlook the razory principle of Occam, which in this case might be that upstart board companies are cooler now and, given board sponsors’ functional functions as image-drivers, asa shoe purveyour you’d want the dudes you sponsor to skate under a small company’s cooler halo? Would this suggest that international shoe enterprises are chipping away at some image-management role traditionally performed by agents, increasingly beloved of pro skaters thirsting for soda sponsorship dollaridoos, but a timeworn rival of sporting giants when contract negotiation time rolls around? Should sponsor-juggling skateboarders seek the council of Jay-Z, a wheelings-and-dealings man who has had a pro-model shoe for rapping, helped manage a team and wrangled deals for pro athletes, by signing up for his exclusive Tidal internet music streaming business? Could board companies take a page from shoe companies and start encouraging teamriders toward Tumblr- and BigCartel-empowered wheel groups? Does all this silly noise obscure the shadowy role of the premium-fit cotton t-shirt as the true and honest currency of the realm?

*Note: DC is considered affiliated with Plan B for our simple-minded purposes here

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We Fly These Asphalt Yachts On City Streets, Pain In Our Souls, We’re Eating

April 28, 2014

happy_jeezy

“Recession over!” arose the jubilant cry across American streets and by-ways these past days, as consumers cheered on trucks, trains and cargo ships plumped with exportable goods, steady gains in housing values and now, the most recent leading indicator: yung Trevor Colden, wearer of the beanie and holder of the 2011 Tampa Am belt, discussed emptying his savings account, to the tune of $15,000, for the pleasure of leaving Mystery ASAP for the presumably greener* pastures of Brad Staba’s Skate Mental imprint.

Trevor Colden offered his account of the career-minded balling in a Thrasher website interview shortly after a similarly themed Instagram posting set off questions about his spendthrift approach to contract management.

The graphic that people are probably talking about the most was the one with the check. What was that all about?
That check is the check I had to pay to buy my way out of my contract with Mystery.

So you had a contract and wanted to get out early to switch to Skate Mental?
Yeah, I tried to call Jamie a couple of times and he didn’t answer. I talked to Bobier and he knew the situation and they were going to find a way to solve it. Long story short, there was no way he was going to let me out of the contract, no matter what. He was asking people for a lot of money and they weren’t going to give it to him so I went ahead and said, “Fuck, he’s not going to let me out of my contract, I’ve got $15,000 in the bank.” He was asking for double that. So I called him and told him, “Hey, I know you’re really mad at me right now. I just really want to make some changes. I can offer you $15,000. That’s all I have. I’ll come down there tomorrow and give you a check.” He said, “Yes, I graciously accept your offer. I’ll have Bobier meet up with you.” Then I started thinking, “Fuck, that’s a lot of money! Taxes are right around the corner! Shit!” So I called him back and offered him $10,000. That was still more money than he owed me in my contract. I was hoping he’d go for it. But nope, he wasn’t down. So I went down there the next day and gave Bobier the check.

Computer bash files worldwide can testify to the numerous keystrokes and characters deployed on either side of this heated matter in the days since, though Jamie Thomas’ side remains untold. Was Trevor Colden, into whom Black Box/Mystery presumably had invested valuable U.S. dollars, time and transport fuel over the course of his amateur rise, now looking to play fast and loose with legal terms to which he had agreed in the not so distant past? Did Jamie Thomas, who recently touched on the hardgood industry’s struggles in his own Thrasher interview, play needless corporate hardball with a youngster who apparently really really didn’t want to represent Mystery any longer? Is Skate Mental, which one might reasonably assume would pick up part of the tab for this kind of personnel wheeling and/or dealing, grinning through Doritos-yellowed teeth at all this? Absent details on guarantees, prepaid incentives and otherwise, does the math described above make sense?

Such questions invariably amount to little more than smoke and mirrors obstructing the real debate here, which as ever must harken back to that one other time period when America was emerging from a recession and war in the Middle East, Nas was preparing to release an album called “Illmatic” and a person with the last name of Hawk was performing pressure flips: the early 1990s. In the matter of Trevor Colden and his $15,000 check, is the true question not “who was more Rocco?”

Steve Rocco’s daring feats of team-raiding, fueled in turns by rampant money-throwing and sheer gusto, remain the stuff of slurred legend and at times serious documentary filmmaking. Gazing out upon the Pacific from his opulent trailer home, the gold fronts of Steve Rocco’s inner Bryan “Baby” Williams no doubt would have cracked a smile at the thought of a kid nonchalantly cutting a check to take his destiny into his own hands, and then plastering it across the bottom of one of his debut pro models (even if Trevor Colden’s dealmaking remains decidedly amateur-level). Or, Ipad in hand, might Steve Rocco have half-smiled and nodded in the general vicinity of San Diego, recognizing the real in a company holding a itchy-footed teamrider to terms that both had agreed, while sending a signal regarding expectations to other riders future and present, and providing a roadmap to other company owners contemplating their own next moves when top-drawer talent, if Trevor Colden should so be called, abruptly announces its intention to fly the company coop?

How much, if any, of the previously-quoted dollar figure represented Trevor Colden’s footage for his Skate Mental debut part? Are the excellent frontside noseslide, backside smith grind backside 180 and switch backside tailslide line offset entirely by an ill-conceived choice involving skinny camos and colourful socks? Would pro-level negotiator Rob Dyrdek have counseled Trevor Colden to instead ride out his contract til the end, to avoid burning bridges and potentially to help stoke a broader bidding war for his frontside k-grinds? Relatedly, is Alien Workshop thousands of dollars richer in hamburgers and hair grease now that John Fitzgerald and Donovon Piscopo are off the team, as suggested by the AWS website?

*Correct, a weed leaf joke

AWS Giveaway Spotlights The Human Toll Of Mystery’s Old B&W Ad Campaign

December 13, 2011

Australian journeyman Dennis Durrant recently made blog-waves upon disclosing that he had jumped the Mystery ship for Skate Mental in part because the Kiss-inspired, baggier-pantsed Zero offshoot had ceased to pay him for a number of reasons. No bad blood, but the takeaway was something like “it’s tough all over, kid.”

As the market continues to mull just how many professionals and unpaid amateurs it can and will support this year, a sorrier story still plays out just beyond the edges of the car lots where luxury autos are sitting un-leased. Midwestern company Alien Workshop has affixed the stiff upper lip and gone ahead and announced a giveaway opportunity that reveals how tragedy has befallen new teamrider Gilbert Crockett. The one-size-only swag on offer is a drab spectrum of grays, blacks and whites, the only Crayolas that Crockett can pull out of the carton first try, his hollowed-out eyeballs the sad result of years spent toiling for Mystery under its famed black and white regime. Alien’s recent and radical attempt at “splicing his life” to correct his colorblindedness has failed even despite the rapid manual hops, channel kickflip and much-anticipated and much awesome footage of the bench/steps jump.

Mystery’s Color Theory may have come too late to save Crockett’s sense of sight and post-board career he confronts a difficult job market that will not allow him to pilot fighter planes, design interior home spaces or correctly assemble Christmas tree light strings, leaving few choices. For inspiration he may turn to the story of Moses Itkonen, whose eyes were similarly seared by DC’s 1990s black-white-and-helvetica campaign but reinvented himself as a Canadian clothing company magnate by hiring an intern to wield a red marker.

Higher Than Man, No Free Beats — White Powder Beats Vol. 4: Gangz Gunz N Gold Grillz Edition

March 8, 2011

Checking in again, briefly, to lob up one of my all-time favorite ads from when Brian Wenning’s ascendancy to East Coast legendhood was happening in the pages of magazines as opposed to Youtube entertainments and DC was continuing to experiment with color-schemes for what was at the time their fastest-selling model to date. Found this by happenstance tonight, searching for some unrelated magazine cover (no luck there btw). Kind of like thrusting your hand deep into the duffel bag of life and pulling out a long forgotten t-shirt that still fits, but is maybe musty and discolored. If I remember right, this appeared in a TWS that featured a 20-questions sort of feature with Wenning where he switch backside smith grinded a little handrail also. Think there was maybe a Rick McCrank article. I remember all this because naturally it is not among the seven or eight or ten boxes of skate magazines littering the basement/garage. Also love the light in this photo. To link this somehow to what’s currently happening we can draw a vague line to Tom Asta’s going-pro video that’s slated to go live on the Black Box website in about 23 minutes and chances are will include some form of switch heelflip at this same locale.

Loaded For Bear

April 26, 2010

Whereas a lot of the “name” gaps particularly on the west coast have become sites for caged-bird shoots in recent years, decked out with roll-ins and banner ads and a cast of thousands, the crankypants running the city of brotherly love have kept JFK Plaza off-limits, to the point of throwing DC’s briefcase full of c-notes out the window a few years back. The jam-format contest trappings don’t make a Carlsbad or a Wallenberg or that one handrail Moose 360’ed any less gnarly of course, and the danger of friendly fire in a shooting gallery environment adds a kind of delirious unpredictability to the proceedings, but there’s a certain type of man-versus-beast purity to Tom Asta’s recent switch trip down the famed Love Park fountain as he kicks his heels into the Mystery reboot. I mean there’s still cops and bloodthirsty rogues and autograph seekers and Brian Wenning legacy defenders* still running around this spot right? Regardless, awesome “form” on this and it’s made more forbidding by the way it looks like he’s got some backside drift going on, although maybe that’s just me.

*not like I’m not

What Does This New Mystery Clip Tell Us About The State Of The Galaxy?

March 31, 2010

Surely we live in tumultuous times. Obama is drilling for crude oil on the high seas, Conan O’Brien is unemployed and bearded, cats and dogs living together, and now this, color in the new Mystery Tom Asta clip. The Detroit Rock City-themed company was maybe due for some type of reboot after the high-profile departures of Crockett and Murphy, both making no bones about the fact that for them personally the bloom had gone off the monotone dipped decks. But color? Perhaps the face-ripping aliens from V already have infiltrated the Blackbox headquarters and peacefully convened an emergency brand management meeting, so jarring is the shift.

But was it inevitable. I’ve actually been sort of kind of anticipating this step since the early months of the Zero sister co, when it became apparent that black and white would be the way forward ad/graphic/video-wise for the time being, mostly because the whole thing recalled how inevitable it seemed when DC’s famed B&W ad campaign in the late 1990s eventually shifted into the rainbow realm. (DC of course now pursuing again a black/white/red scheme in their newer magazine ads.) On a similar note the recent wander through Emerica’s advertising archive revealed that they’ve been running the green theme for 13 years now, give or take, so maybe they pull a U-turn and do red for the, er, “Stay Gold” video. Disorganized ramblings aside Mystery’s hot crayola injection is pulled off well via the space-age technology that lets them color that one flatbar Berra yellow*, for instance, and Asta’s actual tricks are not shabby either – the bigspin backside tailslide flip-out works way better on video than in internet text form and for my money that bench/two-stair spot has enormous potential for cool tricks until somebody inevitably gets the idea to do something up it (which I guess may already have happened…)

*We would also accept Andy MacDonald T-shirt yellow

Debut of the Dazzler

September 10, 2009

marquisshades
“Yeah, whatever. I masturbate.”

Mystique is an amorphous, squishy thing, much like a color-changing cuttlefish or the nature of life itself. Yet if you can only attain it, the door stands open to early retirement, coasting on lifestyle ads and occasional blog photo appearances, minimal footage obligations if any and the giddy thrill of knowing that somewhere out there, an internet forum post is being crafted: “when is ___ gonna put out another part” translates to higher board sales than “does anybody know what’s up with ___ lately?” with both ranking above “anybody remember ___?” or the dreaded “___ denied parole again LOL”

Of course it is easier to establish said mystique if you’re some typa well-known 90s-bred style wizard (Iannucci, Stranger), a flagrant breaker of state or federal laws (Roy, Case) or generalized misfit weirdo (Martin, Alv). Far tougher if you’re some middling front-blunt-to-5-0er in black shoes w/white soles without bulimia or a nose tattoo.

Worse yet, you are a young flow-bro on the come-up in an age of instant judgment and sentencing via YouTube: message boards pore over the minutiae of park footage trick selection, SPoT profiles are tracked for sponsor switches and the Berrics transforms today’s pre-fab park hero into tomorrow’s factory-direct wunderkind. So basically by the time kids “go am”* they’re generally vets by the internet exposure benchmark.

Emerica’s Marquis Preston is one of these increasingly rare exceptions**, with a relatively small number of photos prior to this month’s Paul Rodriguez TSM appearance and paltry seconds’ worth of footage scattered across contest, demo and “Stay Gold” clips – the intro to his magazine interview directs people to this six-second clip as a starting point and it’s a slog from there, but indications are that some of the anticipation may be justified. Foot swag through the roof, as the fella says, there’s a few more tricks here on the off chance you haven’t seen all this shit already.

He gives a fairly good interview too:

So everybody had this funny idea to get porno mags from the liquor store. I got myself a mag and seen this hot-ass woman in it. She was seriously stuck in my head for hours. Like, I couldn’t even skate around without thinking about doing her or just being with her. So I decided to go rub one off in the van while everybody was skating. And it did the trick.

Jeff said you soiled one of Braydon’s mags?
Braydon had his own mag and I had mine. He seen my mag and he was like “oh, who got this one?” I was like “Oh shit.” I didn’t say it out loud but I already knew it was mine. I knew I fucking jacked off in it. I busted on her. I just wanted to wait for him to see for himself. So he was just looking through it and was like “What the fuck? No!” I was like “Hell yeah.”

*an actual expression I guess
**Ishod Wair may be nominated as another

Jimmy Carlin Wins Battle At the Berrics On His Day Off

August 27, 2009

dolphins
RIP John Hughes

Sometimes it seems SoCal wundergoon Jimmy Carlin is living out this unholy skateboard version of “Ferris Bueler’s Day Off.” As in, this sort of weird, spastic dorky dude busts various moves, gets the girl, the fancy car, triumphs over adversity and gets away with everything even though he probably shouldn’t. Or maybe he should? His personal brand tends to be rather in-your-face and proactive, but it seems to be working for him, and it wouldn’t be a huge stretch to walk outside and see him lipsyncing “Dream Police” aboard a festive parade float. He’s having a good time, like the Tiltmoders, and also like the Tiltmoders, enjoys the luxury of being stupid crazy fruity good without looking like he’s trying much at all. Which brings us to today’s feature, the “Flippity Flop Pit Stop,” which includes a handful of flatground maneuvers that I personally have conceived of only in my most fevered nightmares. On the plus side, he assigns them funny names.

You gotta wonder what the dude is gonna do for his next video part. Tim O’Connor has faced similar dilemmas. Is it all business with the party saved for the credit roll? Mix it up and hope for the best? Or perhaps… lifestyle hammers? Like it matters; the Jimmy Carlin experience is to trip on a gold ingot and fall into a pile of beautiful women who just ordered pizza. We Cameron Fryes of the world can only watch via VX3000.*

*Or whatever Panasonic camera they use for the HD

Big Gun

March 23, 2009

While we’re well past the era where I’d just as soon turn my nose up at some piece of mega-gnar skating, dismissing it as lowbrow gloryhounding, I was still kind of surprised how much this titanic Dan Murphy ollie shocked me. Footage here (via Platinum Seagulls); the switch frontside flip and nollie flip are monstrous in their own ways.

King of the Wild Frontier

March 9, 2009


Crank that Richmond

It’s probably not gonna be video part of the year or whatever, but the Black Box website a couple weeks ago put up this ripping part from BTO favorite Gilbert Crockett that features some stunning backside kickflips, a rollerblade cameo, sick line at what I think is probably Pulaski, and a ledge with this really sweet Mario Bros-themed paint job. The part comes out of a local Richmond VA video called Tomboman, named for a dead homie; you can watch all the parts here in a presumably legitimate fashion, and check Travis Pittman’s section for the sweet cephalopod-themed soundtrack. Note, I got all the way through this post without a stupid Clipse reference.