Posts Tagged ‘Rocco’

Chad Muska Pulls Ahead of Mike V In Race To Live Out 1989 ‘Barnyard’ Board Graphic

May 28, 2022

One of the biggest stories in pro sporting over the past couple years has been street poet Mike Vallely pulling up stakes and transplanting himself to Des Moines, Iowa, the heart of American ‘flyover country,’ knowed as a farming super-power, but a long ways from SoCal’s sun-bleached big boxes and the Superfund-glazed sludges of New Jersey’s industrial bayous. In this state, heavily regarded as one of the USA’s flattest, Mike Vallely has occupied himself with power vlogging, earnest nature runs, and operating his family businesses. This bucolic dimension represents a late-career oasis of peace for one of skating’s most enthusiastic reluctant warriors, a becalmed cul-de-sac along a winding road that has led Mike V through professional hockey rinks, wrestling wings, slam poetry exhibitions, Hollywood movie sets and certain other instances.

And yet, pinch-zooming out, Mike V’s long and winding road begins to look more akin to a wobbly circle when one considers how his newfound life in Iowa, a state that is home to more hogs than humans and produces more corn than any other, was foreshadowed more than three decades earlier. In those days, boards were shaped with stone axes and chieftans draped themselves in the the skins of their most hazardous kills. On the ‘9 Club’ podcast, Mike V tells the story of how he came to World Industries, nurtured the switchstance discipline under the dictats of Steve Rocco, and ultimately came out with the revolutionizing ‘Barnyard’ board. “At the time, I was a skater of consequence,” Mike V related on the pod cast. “So many energies came together for that board to be created,” he remarked.

Among these was the pen hand of Marc McKee, whose day-glo farm scene would reverberate across the ages like so many cattle stampeding through an outdoor rave. Flipping the notion of a farm as an aromatic manufacturing plant for bacon, eggs, honey-basted chicken strips and artisanal breads, McKee channeled Mike V’s newfound vegetarianism to present an ‘Animal Farm’ of livestock and poultry rebelling, sporting T-shirts and brazenly hanging out — not so different from the skaters of the day.

MV: It definitely looked different than anything I’d ever seen before, and I slowly came around, but I had two demands. One was that the top graphic be a continuation of the bottom scene with the quote worked into it, and the second was what I determined to be a vulgar and pointless image of a horse mounting another horse – the horse that was getting mounted is still on the board, you can see her smiling face peeking out from behind the barn. I wouldn’t approve the graphic otherwise.

Upon its mass production, Mike V collected months’ worth of $10K to $15K checks, as per various interviews, and inspired some fellow skaters to rethink their own guzzling of hogflesh, ground-up cattle pieces and processed chicken muscle tissue. Across the skating sphere, Marc McKee’s graphic inspired legions of parodies and tributes and reissues, and opened doors for a ‘rural’ skater archetype inhabited at various points by talents such as Chet Childress, Daniel Haney, Justin Brock and Jon Dickson.

But even among the tidelands of Iowa’s grainfields, no man is an island. As his personal orbit grows closer to the lifestyle portrayed in the ‘Barnyard’ graphic, Mike V finds himself locked in a race with an unlikely competitor: Chad ‘The Muska’ Muska. Around the turn of the century, Mike V and Chad Muska occupied opposite ends of pro skatingdom, the latter a handrail champ chased by throngs of chanting kids on some ‘Hard Day’s Night’ type Beatlemania, the former an 80s-bred purist who filmed himself driving cross-country, doing one-man demos in towns a few stoplights away from qualifying as backwaters. As their beards gray, both appear to respond to gravel’s crunch beneath their boots, and the low-tax environment offered by red state legislatures as they produce limited-run, hand-numbered deck drops.

This week, though, Chad Muska claimed the clear edge in the longtime street pros’ quest to immerse themselves in country livin, posting videographic content to Instagram that showcased his expanding poultry brood and elsewhere doing a 360 in a John Deere tractor. In recent weeks, Chad Muska has built chicken coops, battled destructive subterranean rodents, inhaled mass amounts of pesticides and weighed the merits of various types of agricultural equipment. “Although I love my @johndeere I’m also looking into @kubotausa right now because they have some good deals at a local dealership,” he mused at one point, on Insta Gram.com.

Is Chad Muska’s rural turn made even more counterintuitive by the fact that his fits of late have skewed more heavily toward the ‘Fulfill the Dream’ era, or does this all represent a vision seeded during the Shorty’s team adventures on horseback and pilgrimage to the Tea Bowls? Can Mike V reclaim the lead in this barnyard battle royale by expanding his Street Plant brand into an organic farm and tapping the market for agritourism? Is a MuskaStrumz album of front-porch finger-picking in the works, supported by an all-star cast of fiddlers and pedal steel players similar to how Ween did their country CD?

Active Ride Shop Attacks Bankruptcy Monster With +30 Sword of Discounts

March 26, 2009


Free shoelace belt, schadenfreude included with every order

Wherefore art thou, Active Erica lifestyle spin-off brand? Dark whispers surround the retail business these days and while the cynical among us may chuckle at the tumbling same-store comparisons of megamall corpo-goons, the Chapter 11 filing of Active Ride Shop, despite its generic clothing line and often clue-deprived layabout employees, hits a bit closer to home as a skateboarder-established business that has maintained at least one foot in the legit skateboard sphere, even while riding the web/mailorder blimp to untold riches during the boom years.

Ah yes. The boom years, when Brian Wenning leased a Bentley, filming video parts on American soil was tres gauche and a spacious suburban California home was just a shoe deal/zero-down mortgage away. In many ways it was a simpler time, free of the heated and conflicted emotions that troubled us in the aftermath of the Osiris video (embodied by the Aftermath Tour, and to a lesser extent Aftermath Records). My memory is not what it used to be, but I remember it more or less exactly like this.

What does a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing mean for Active? Jeff Harbaugh, an action sports industry consultant who I can imagine sporting a goatee, explains in 1500 or so words over at TWS Business. Now I’m no lawyer, though I served as an understudy for this kid who played one in a poorly received junior high play, but I will attempt the same feat in 150 words: Basically Active has four months to get their shit together, conferring with legal wizards and big suppliers (read: skateboard distributors) to figure out how best to keep the crazy blimp afloat, as in the current climate you can imagine no skate company is especially eager to see a major buyer of hard and soft goods snuff it.

(Only 57 words! Note, the remaining unused words I have divided into several tranches according to their relative risk, packaged as securities and sold the lot off to investment banks, where noisy professionals are already at work structuring complex debt instruments around them – a plan assured to reward everyone handsomely and forever.)

There have been convincing arguments made to separate Active out from the likes of Zumiez*, PacSun and even famed Steve Rocco flip-job CCS, but the fact remains that on-premises miniramps or not, those semi-monthly catalogs and website saw Active eat off the plate of many a local skateboard shop, in the US and elsewhere, who haven’t had an easy ride either. I can’t say if Active is more or less worthy as far as “giving back to skating,” whatever that means in 2009, but I suppose the coming months will determine whether it’s worthy as a commercial enterprise. You would imagine that it is, though maybe in slimmed-down form. If not, we’ll survive, yeah, but I can’t imagine things will be looking too hot for other entities on the brink of the abyss.

Regardless, people losing jobs is scary and not funny even when the economy isn’t in the toilet. Unless you’re one of those reptilian demons who bathes in kitten blood during your spare time. Because those guys are the total blurst.

*By the way, TWSB’s Josh Hunter earns a gold star for slogging through the Zumiez 10K filing