Posts Tagged ‘Peter Smolik’

And With Creature’s Sort-Of Update Of The Osiris G-Bag, Things Have Finally Come Full Circle

May 15, 2012

In the years before 2pac died, Norcal soothsayer E-40 occasionally spoke on the importance of timing, while rapping on open mics about industry hype. Fifteen years later everything and nothing has changed as we regard a landscape strewn about with the corpses of hard- and soft-goods brands loved and not, as well as passing specters that sometimes resemble our self-respect, long ago put in shallow graves by the energy drink dollar. The refugees of this once-noble subculture have naturally sought to subsist by eating our own collective tail, giving rise to a new/old breed of 80s ramp revivalists who represent a more innocent time via tattoos, stripey socks and macrobrew-scented breath.

When Creature rose from the dead a few years ago it had all the trappings of classic period Romero zombieism, an organic and fairly gnarly reflection of the times versus some cheesy wink-and-nudge job like that rewrite of “Pride and Prejudice” or the relaunch of Vision Street Wear*. Here you had some guys with a legit claim to the ramp dog way of life, driving around in a hearse, throwing vert jams, putting out graphics with a lot of monsters and urinating in public** versus some of the later, more hamfisted attempts to capture the Anti-Hero wave, like shoehorning bowl kids onto your picnic table/handrail squad.

Recent developments however suggest that longtime Creature mastermind Darren Navarette may have cooked too long in the sun of San Diego, a region of Southern California sometimes blamed for poisoning the autumn years of the 1990s with bulky rave footwear and tasteless technical tricks. Among the glowing product reviews posted at Skatedaily.net is a recent item highlighting Creature’s “Black Box cooler”, a toteable refrigeration unit the size of a sixpack that also offers speakers and a hookup for an Ipod or other digital music device. Fans of “the Storm” will immediately be transposed backward in time toward an era when the Federalz enlivened several sessions via the notorious Osiris G-Bag, which you may or may not know has evolved through the years recently into a unit known as the “Megatron” that earned its own review, and from a Canadian.

The pic on the Skatedaily review features a Van Halen album presumably blasting, but the use of an Ipod gives the came away. Can one credibly cool a sub-$5 sixer within this product? Will Peter Smolik, flush with Blitz cash flow and emboldened by Rob Dyrdek’s recent dealmaking, attempt to merge Sk8Mafia with Creature? Will the Federalz speak on the controversy on an upcoming mixtape? Would Hell Rell endorse this thing? Does this speaker-cooler-box represent a risk of serious eye injury because beers or soda could be shaken up to dangerous levels by heavy bass vibrations from the tunes?

*BTW, when is somebody going to float the idea of bringing back Prime?
**I’m assuming

Shorty’s Cooper Draper Pryce

March 29, 2012

Necessity is the mother of invention, goes the old saying. You can put lipstick on a pig, but you can’t stop him from eating the whole tube, goes another. Deceased Macho Man Randy Savage repeatedly shouted “oh yeah.” All of these phrases are different ways of expressing the idea that ever since the days when cavemen urinated on cave walls, mankind has yearned and urinated to express himself and develop a personal branding motif.

So it is with mounting hardware, that little-loved backwater of hardgoods commerce usually relegated to some lowly corner of the scratched-up glass merchandise case, forgotten between professionally colored trucks and expensive Black Label stickers autographed by Jub. Or is it? A detailed analysis of history reveals that hardware purveyours rank among the creamiest in skateboarding’s would-be crop of self-styled marketing necromancers.

The original baron of bolts must be known as Shorty’s Tony Buyalos, who swept aside faddish concerns such as “Bridgebolts” to zero in on an increasingly truthful fact of the world in the early 1990s, which was that mounting hardwares generally were too long and got sort of wavy from street skating*. At the height of its power, the Shorty’s empire commanded consumer loyalty not only to its nuts and bolts but to an array of multicolored bushings, bearings and even riser pads, a shocking twist of fate since the declining popularity of riser pads was what first helped to develop a thirst for Shorty’s bolts that were shorter. An unrelated line of snowboards came to be sold, Rosa became the industry’s diva of the 1990s** and the Muska was signed as an employee, skateboarding but also innovating new objects like the “short stacks.”

Today the hardware kingpin with the wealthiest fame must be Nick Tershay who built a profitable clothes company by starting with some difficult to use but heavily endorsed mounting hardwares bearing the Diamond brand. I never did see many people ever use Diamond hardware, but a knack for color schemes and a knowing of the right people bolstered Diamond’s standing to the point where one of its premium t-shirts may fetch near $100 in an open auction format. The company separately has Mike Carroll signature hardware currently on offer.

The expansive market share and well-loved logos nurtured in our time by hardware companies raises queries as to why bolt-makers have been able to capture valuable soft dollars while companies competing to sell “sexier” products such as footwear and boards have struggled to stay afloat in recent years. Seven-ply maple decks and minimalist suede shoes have steadily marched toward commoditization but selling nuts and bolts, basically a commodity to begin with, has birthed lucrative empires that have helped clothe rappers and introduced the world to the multifaceted talents of Peter Smolik. Are hardware sellers forced to hustle harder than the next outfit because they are starting with a humdrum product? Does a major corporate superpower like Nike or K-Mart or BNSF Railways possess the credibility to jump into the hardware fray? Could Torey Pudwill launch the next great mounting hardware dynasty? Is mounting hardware a right or a privilege?

*Not good wavy like “Coke Wave 2,” bad wavy like going to prison for 75 years
**Runner-up, Ricca Gentry?

5. Tyler Surrey – “Sk8Mafia Video”

December 26, 2011

Look how much can happen in 20 years — Bill Clinton, the Backstreet Boys and the Atkins diet all rose to power and faded, as did Peter Smolik and Tom Petty in their own respective ways. If you woulda told me about 20 years back that “Last Dance With Mary Jane” one day would be used in what I’m assuming is only a semi-ironic nature to soundtrack a skate part, my 1993 self would’ve sneered and spat, but here we are, Smolik cast as a Southern Californian kingpin of some description whose board company has managed to nurture some of the heaviest hitting kids to come up. Tyler Surrey’s been marinating away for a few years but officially blows doors at the end of this “Sk8Mafia Video” a few months back, putting to work a switch flip that looks of the same bloodline as Arto’s and Nick Jensen’s and Mike Mo’s. My favorite tricks in this part (which kinda looks like one long careless summer in Europe) are the switch flip nose manual on the slanty block, the nollie heelflip over the bench, that nollie backside noseblunt of course and the last trick which really is worthy of Smolik in all the best ways. Still sort of hate the Tom Petty but watching Tyler Surrey cruise is worth it.

Prodigal Spaniard

December 5, 2011

If anybody needed proof of the youtube-era truism that every kid these days can do every trick, the Sk8Mafia video does the job, where you’ll find a kids in freely rippling tee shirts mapping flip tricks out of nosegrinds and other once-unspeakable combos now rendered ABD in and around San Diego. All that puts a bigger premium on the curveball pickup of Javier Sarmiento, a dude who for this site’s phantom adbucks stood at the pinnacle of streetstyle about a decade back, probably peaking near the time of the still-quality Can’t Stop part and even today you don’t see that many folks nollie flipping out of f/s noseblunt slides (present company excluded).

Sarmiento’s hiring by Peter Smolik to endorse Sk8Mafia brand goods serves the planet by plucking the dude from the type of obscurity only achieved by a European pro whose link to the US hardgood media markets goes out in classic whimper fashion. But it’s a little bit topsy turvy also, like Howard Roark going to work for Peter Keating or lending your dad money to secure a boat loan. Perhaps Smolik’s greatest attribute is that he has never apologized for his role as the nucleus of “The Storm.” Sarmiento back then was working in refinements but in the years since “YeS” it seems like he’s clicked on maybe too few Pappalardo links and too many posted by, er, Sk8Mafia. Like nollie bigspin flipping or nollie kickflip 360’ing (?) out of crooked grinds, tricks that don’t seem worth the effort when you look at the way he can still crack a frontside flip over a bench, switch b/s tailslide backside flip out, edge off a frontside crooked grind in the middle of a ledge, or (have the vision to include a clip of Rodrigo TX blasting) a switch hardflip off a whoop-de-whoop in camouflage pants. It’s all mostly quibbling though with the main point that Javier Sarmiento’s still skating and still getting support after Es went into the can — Sk8Mafia’s posted the whole vid for free on their website.

8. Kellen James, “Jus Liv’n”

December 23, 2008

Time was, actual skating – the “putting in work” popularized by labor movement mavens Rob & Big – won you absolutely no career points in the pro skateboarding game, and keeping a low profile was an art best cultivated in darkened Los Angeles clubs or the occasional “rave party” (as the kids called them back then). The advent of the video age, coinciding with cash money once again pouring into skating, changed that, with the likes of Brad Staba (who’s successfully kept work-putting-in at bay for most of the last decade) bemoaning the unending pursuit of footage back in “Modus.” The distressing humanity of a Super 8 tour in the “Final Flare” documentary is enough to make me feel for the Carrolls and Howards and maybe even Marianos (who more or less perfected profiling-as-career) who are old enough to remember a time when every day wasn’t spent feverishly filming, and YouTube hadn’t yet reduced the shelf life of video parts to a matter of weeks.

But here we are. Kellen James is one of these young Turks with the energy and know-how to film a six minute part of retardedly hard tricks (switch f/s bluntslide, switch f/s smith grind, cabellerial b/s tailslide bigspin etc etc), and also confident enough the skating will hold people’s interest that he sets it all to a kind of tuneless Jay-Z mash-up. With everybody from Stefan Janoski to Jimmy Cao turning in multi-song parts maybe this is what you need to do to get peoples’ attention, but it helps that James has the firepower of a Sean Malto and a powerful beard to boot. To seal the deal, why not pump out another few minutes of tricks. Hardest working dude this year for sure, if you count skating for Peter Smolik as working and not some sort of bizarre daily pleasure cruise.