Posts Tagged ‘Stevie Williams’

Term Limited

September 24, 2016

old_muppets

Aging may be the great skate industry adventure of the ’10s, as grizzled pros test the tolerance of weathered ligaments and brittling bones in an ongoing quest to avoid that unholy wyrm, the Real World, and its most loathsome prison, the Day Job. There are a few who two decades ago may have seemed obvious candidates if one were to choose a moon-shotter capable of stretching a pro career into a third decade, like Eric Koston or Daewon Song or Marc Johnson. There are are others whose misadventures with substances and the US legal system made them less obvious picks, such as Jeff Grosso and Fred Gall and Guy Mariano. Yet here we are.

Jason Dill, a veteran who never really warmed to half-measures when it came to things like video part construction, socks height or New York City nightlife, appears to have embraced old age as lustily as any slot-playing, shuffleboard-pushing thee-time divorcee. Witness his silver fox persona, his grayed and thinned hair, his floral shirts, the Britannicesque recollections of days gone past and concepts ripe for resurrection. As he raises a brood of young street urchins with life partner Anthony Van Engelen, Jason Dill also has honed an ability to emotionally wound that appears as needle-eager as any sourpuss granny. From his recent Playboy interview:

I’m now past my third year of FA. I’m proud of what we’ve done. If you are a company making stuff, you need to have it in the back of your head that, hey, I might have to kill this thing one day for the greater good so it doesn’t look like a bunch of bullshit. Imagine if Mark Gonzales got to end his skate company, Blind. How would we look at it today? Imagine if Mark had made some deal with Steve Rocco, the owner of his distributor, early on, like, “I’ll totally do this, but when I think it’s time that this is done, I get to put out an ad that says, ‘It’s done. We killed it. It’s over. Thank you.

Jason Dill didn’t have to take it there. For skateboarders ‘of a certain age,’ Blind’s last 15 years or so as a stable for a Canada-heavy lineup resembling a Digital Video Magazine board team will always take a back seat to the ‘Video Days’ lineup and, later, the Ronnie Creager and Lavar McBride-led ’Trilogy’ generation. Nowadays, you’re hard-pressed to place your hand on a Blind board outside the Tech Deck assortments cradled within the boxy bosom of Walmart. In fact, they’re outlawed. But with his reminder that Blind’s heyday now lies a beagle’s lifetime in the past, Jason Dill’s prodding of old sores is an exercise in discomfort matched only by grouchy grandmothers’ bitter questions over the fate of hand-knitted blankets long ago vomited upon, washed and relegated to life’s basement closets.

Time’s grinding passage has yet to reveal whether Jason Dill or Pontus Alv — another long-in-the-tooth owner of an insurgent board company that lies under his control, and who has expressed similar sentiments — will avail themselves of a Hunter S. Thompson exit strategy, rather than some much-later forced transfer to a mall store-ready nursing home. Do they possess the financial and testicular fortitude? The skating mind seems wired for Quixotic pursuits that can batter the body, plague the mind and sometimes, sear the soul — literally throwing one’s self down a set of stairs over and over again, sometimes for days on end. Quitting while one is ahead, whether in the sense of a sound body or arrest-free permanent record, may not pay dividends in the form of shoe contracts and soda-pop endorsements. For every Heath Kirchart and Scott Johnston showing themselves the door rather than be escorted out by younger, abler-bodied teammates, there are multiples of beloved pros whose ratio of video footage minutes to pro deck graphics looks increasingly lopsided.

Can pros turned board company proprietors be relied upon to serve as judges and executioners weighing the street cred of their own enterprises? Should company owners freely discuss the concept of forced euthanasia, for will this only perplex the Dutch? Does Darren Harper’s trick-trying persistence make him more likely to seek revenge for a five years-old board to the head, or vice versa?

8. Stevie Williams – “Parental Advisory”

December 24, 2012

stevie

Stevie Williams to me never really exuded rap-star decadence, but maybe I’m looking at it all wrong — here he is, tapping spots across three continents for a relatively slim three-minute part, stopping through the old Philadelphia stomping grounds because he knows how a far a couple tossed-off tricks will carry. It seems like Stevie Williams isn’t regularly mentioned among the all-time style slayers, even though his old Chocolate commercial inevitably bubbles up in any meaningful discussion of the best lines ever done, but his first run through the Barcelona blocks here reminds of a gap when he’s not out skating. The fakie hardflip, white tees, waist-high switch frontside noseslides and switch heelflips remain in effect but he still seems to be making an effort when it comes to clips like the switch front blunt and the switch varial flip nosegrind revert (a new spin on one of the all-time Lockwood classics). He keeps his ledge combos Satva and Lucas tasteful and finds a couple angles on the MACBA ledges that I haven’t seen before. Between the show-closer status, heavy Jay-Z tune and his first full part in years Stevie Williams sorta has this section tracking towards a ‘moment’ but does himself a favor by not overextending it toward the five-minute/two-song zone, whether by judicious editing or lack of actual tricks filmed.

9. Fabian Alomar – “Free Fabes”

December 23, 2012

Whatever happened with the DGK video and the fortunes to be gained and lost peddling this generation’s version of the FUCT t-shirt line to rap singers and their suburban admirers, Stevie Williams cemented his position as a skate mogul by using his clout to help put out a video part that a certain segment of the populace had been waiting on for 15 years — a feat that apparently had eluded Kareem Campbell, Steve Rocco, Patrick O’Dell and possibly others. The continued fetishization of mid-90s attitudes and filming equipments can’t recreate the fit of the jeans or the sound of a k-grind across the Venice pit ledges, and Fabian Alomar’s nollie backside flip over the sand gap, the line at the white planters and the tricks off the bump at the end could have run in any of the greatest videos of that era. Tough luck that it took a personal tragedy for this footage to see the light of day, but it would be testing fate to overlook a gift pony internet sites such as this one have been requesting from Santa Claus for so long. DGK’s “Free Fabes” website is here.

Kids

December 17, 2012

knox

Billions of burgers flipped by McDonald’s Corp., five decades’ worth of James Bond movies and the estimated $100 million net worth of Wayne “Mr. Entertainment” Newton bear witness to how consistency and a reliable product can command a loyal clientele and lucrative following, if not adoring devotion and the occasional soiled thong hurled upon a pockmarked Las Vegas stage. Jeron Wilson, Chico Brenes and Mike Carroll seem to understand that there is and likely always will be an audience for specialized heelflips, nollie heelflips and backside smith grinds, even while those such as Gino Iannucci and Anthony Pappalardo can’t seem to bring themselves to keep playing the hits year in and out.

Whereas technology setpieces of “Pretty Sweet” invested heavily in the wow factor, DGK’s full-length debut, arriving after a series of mixtape-like one-offs and features like Kayo’s “It’s Official,” offers few surprises. A DGK customer knows what he’s paying for — although the “Chocolate Tour” as reimagined by Harmony Korine storyline here heaps disdain upon paying for what otherwise can be racked or heisted — and Stevie Williams & co seem to have put years of work into delivering this, an overlong, guest-heavy, ready-made blockbuster willing to elbow aside wimpier videos for a spot as the successor to, if not the culmination of, vids such as “20-Shot Sequence,” “Tantrum,” “2nd To None,” “Ryde or Die Vol. 1” and “Street Cinema.” When 2 Chainz comes on here it is more earnest than when used by dudes hopping bars in Queens wearing twill trousers.

For an hour, DGK’s “Parental Advisory” glories in loudmouth rap music, camouflage pants*, gunfire, cameos from skate-rap touchstones such as Kareem Campbell, Fabian Alomar, Steven Cales, DMX and Beanie Siegel, shoplifting, loose-fit denim, shiny chains and hat-tags fluttering in the breeze, wife beaters, small wheels, graffiti, and some jack moves. For those paying attention there are references to the Menace intro in “Trilogy,” the Bones Brigade in “Police Academy” and even a much-beloved pre-Slap message board pro-skater-dies meme.

No one will look to this video to register on the ATV meter but in the trick department DGK too delivers as promised: Josh Kalis and Stevie Williams skate Love Park; Josh Kalis unloads his monster 360 flip and Stevie Williams cracks some switch heelflips. Wade Desarmo, one of those Canadians who maybe fell a little too far in love with tall tees over the past decade, stacks heavy-lidded picnic-table tech including a hazed-out hardflip backside 5-0 and an alley-oop frontside flip that ranks among the best in a year when Andrew Reynolds put out a video. Marcus McBride turns in a full section that ought to make any pro with a board out for longer than 10 years sit up and prepare an excuse and Rodrigo TX, who has quietly been on a non-stop hustle these past five years, loudly reps the defunct Es shoes company and snaps a terrific looking switch kickflip over a rail. Some of these newer kids with all the “D” names blurred for me, but Keelan Dadd has poise and good runs like the one with the switch kickflip frontside boardslide. Lenny Rivas, who made a serious run at Knox Godoy status himself, has gone grown man and turns a couple new helicopters onto the handrails. My vote for best-dressed dude in the skate game Jack Curtin comes through late in the vid and wrecks shop with some incomprehensible tricks like a switch shove-it 5-0 on a rail up against a wall and his hairball switch backside lipslide down the Clipper ledge.

Probably there always will be like-minded dudes out there doing it like Brandon Biebel but the clarity of purpose Stevie Williams puts to “Parental Advisory” sometimes makes it seem like he’s carrying a whole subset of the 1990s on his back here — nods given to all these little-seen skaters and rappers, a lengthy skater-on-skater-crime narrative that picks up where the Menace video that would never come left off in “Trilogy,” even going so far earlier this year as to deliver a Fabian Alomar part time-capsuled in from 1996, and then achieving the seemingly impossible by getting Kareem Campbell to commit to a skate project**. Coming out a month after “Pretty Sweet” secured DGK an underdog status they probably relish, and the fact that every dude on the team managed to turn in more or less a full section can be read as an endorsement of any number of those motivational platitudes embroidered onto DGK baseball hats, but it’s probably too much to ask this company to cop to now-certified overachiever status.

*of several persuasions
**no knock on the work that went into that song but the Crailtap dudes might’ve just happened to catch him at the store

Supra Has Stevie Williams Riding The Bench

July 29, 2012

Incendiary click-bait topic title aside, not a great deal to see here other than a much fantastic photo of Stevie Williams in this ad for his Supra signature model footwear. Enjoy that this photo doesn’t clonk you over the head with a big fisheye angle showing how high the bench is, kinda like Stevie Williams’ strictly basics attire here, the whole idea seems to be take it or leave it. A dude cracking an awesome trick as he goes down the sidewalk, on his way to wherever. The Hollywood squares sidewalk kind of threw me at first but this is a worthwhile entry in this internet site’s long-running love affair with the switch frontside noseslide and from a veteran practitioner. There are plenty pro-types whose off-board months and years carry the whiff of wasted time but Stevie Williams always has seemed to be genuinely operating in the background, to whatever end, and really looking forward to his section in this long-discussed DGK video.

Stevie Williams: Feels Nothing For You, Enjoys Southern Rock

April 9, 2010


How do you like me now?

Beyond a masterful switch heelflipper and dodger of Ivory Spring as a youth in Philadelphia, Stevie Williams is an entrepreneur. Similar to business leaders including Howard Hughes, H. Ross Perot and Scrooge McDuck, William’s singular vision, expressed through cartoonish t-shirts and deadstock Reeboks, has made him by definition a man apart — different from the rest of us whose ventures are limited to the occasional sale of a gently used deck or running confused blog sites.

So it comes as little surprise to find that Stevie Williams’ odyssey into the skateboard business zone has left him feeling adrift, bereft of role models and disconnected from his fellow man. More interesting is that, possibly due to his taking up residence in Atlanta, he has found solace in southern-fried radio anthems. All three revelations are contained within the new Daewon TWS where he offers up these “Last Words” among others:

LAST Person You Looked Up To:
I don’t look up to people too much anymore.

LAST Time You Felt Empathy For Someone Else:
I don’t really feel empathetic no more.

LAST Song You Listened To:
“Closer” by Kings Of Leon.

Kings of Leon play southern and blues influenced songs that have caught on in the U.K. But owing to his new home in the seat of the peach-tree state and certified outsider status, you have to imagine that Stevie Williams eventually will (or maybe already has begun to) gravitate toward the brawny stadium-swagger of Toby Keith. A rough-around-the-edges maverick who plays by his own rules and isn’t afraid to show it, Keith and Williams are startlingly similar. According to a pretty long Wikipedia page, Toby Keith also found his calling at a young age, grew up on the outskirts of society* and is almost 50 (even though Stevie Williams is 30 he sometimes seems a lot older/wiser). Sample this Toby Keith lyric if you would.

It ain’t no thang, I already know how it feels
Same ol’ pain, a different deal
So if it looks like rain, I’m gonna let it rain
‘Cause I know , it ain’t no thang

Another Toby Keith song here:

The implications for the DGK video in my opinion are far-ranging and out of focus but worth pondering, at length, in darkened bars while being haunted by memories past. But as long as a man has a cold beer, a few companions and a healthy sense of self, it’s hard to keep him down. See below video clip for ultimate reference.

*Oklahoma FYI

Fat Lady Sings

September 22, 2009

kalisstevie
Techneat

Well, I suppose we’re obligated to ramble on a little bit more on the Kalis/DGK/Alien situation, but believe it or not, I’m kind of at a loss* since this whole deal seems like it should be a bigger issue than it is. Maybe it’s team-hop hangover from Koston-Nike, or maybe it’s like Kalis himself implied in the EXPN interview – he saw it coming, Alien saw it coming, nobody was too broken up over the whole thing. There is a vague end-of-an-era feeling I guess, but AWS has moved a space pun-worthy light year or two from where they were back in 1995 (throwback graphics notwithstanding), whereas Kalis, bless his heart, hasn’t changed his approach too much (brown cords and Rolling Stones notwithstanding).

There’s been talk of unused Spanish footage collecting dust on Greg Hunt’s cutting room floor, the stunted career ambitions of one Marquise Henry**, and the increasingly divergent path of Alien Workshop from its hallowed backpack rap roots, which was one of the things that perhaps made Kalis a more interesting part of the mix in “Mind Field” than “Photo” and for sure “Time Code.” Is it ‘better’ that Josh Kalis reclaim his gold link-wearing past and steer clear of stretch denim and coloured-frame Wayfarers, probably yes. It is a bit sad though, since one of AWS’s great strengths was bridging the gap between the weird, cerebral shit the Ohio brain-trust had going on, and the dudes cracking tricks and fighting bums in the piss and dirt at the Brooklyn Banks. I thought Josh Kalis’s section in “Mind Field” was one of the proverbial fresh-air breaths with its abrasive rap music and baggy jeans, but as long as they hold onto Jake Johnson and Grant Taylor, they should be good riding the Dyrdek/Berra reality TV revenue into Jake Burton’s good graces.

As far as DGK goes we’ll stick with yesterday’s headline, in that there are far cheesier and more cold-blooded mercenary moves to be made than joining an old buddy and putting your remaining video footage and photo output toward promoting an independent outfit. Despite coming up in the golden age of profiling Kalis has never really stopped producing, and DGK could probably benefit from his focus as they gear up for a new video. You know Stevie Williams in particular is psyched to have him on. Old compadres back in the saddle again, etc, plus reports have the DGK chieftan forgoing his next multi-zero shoe deal in favor of filming the best section of his career, a tall order on or off Philadelphia public space.

Far more interesting than any of this is that Jackson Curtain is rumored to be sitting on an alleged 30+ minutes of video footage for the DGK project, raising the possibility of a Marc Johnson-esque reign of terror set to a suite of Just Blaze instrumentals… or maybe a Daniel Dumile approach that would see him parcel out multiple parts over the course of a year in a bid for SOTY status or Nike pro shoedom.

*I know, I know
**who’s good and all but should thank his stars he has powerful people watching out for him

A Family Affair

June 18, 2009


This preemptive Father’s Day post brought to you by the Wilt Chamberlain Genealogy Foundation

The whole mainstreaming thing that’s gone down the last decade or so hasn’t just put Cristal on the table and Aston Martins in the garage of your favoritest pros, it’s caught the attention of soccer moms and hockey dads the nation over, board by board and blown-out shoe by shoe. Probably a mixed bag in general, with each heartwarming father-son backyard ramp building session matched by EXPN-wise would-be momagers quizzing hapless team managers at demos, demanding a roadmap to Shecklerdom. Was it like this in the 80s? Surely Christian Hosoi could provide a longwinded answer that would save souls in the process, but I can offer only run-on sentences and Ace of Base references.

It’s easy to tot up the often lame/annoying/embarrassing aspects of increased parental involvement – at least one blogging skateboarder has a mom that still asks why he doesn’t wear a helmet, after nearly two decades of this nonsense – but this Philadelphia Weekly story on Love Park casts skateboard parents in a new role, namely defenders against (alleged) police brutality:

That’s precisely why 37-year-old Jen Chattin plans on attending this year’s [Go Skateboarding Day] with her sons. “I’ll even skateboard,” says the single mother of four boys. She’s fired up and ready to raise hell about the fact that a cop put his hands on her son.

It’s hard to say whether this type of thing will galvanize moms and dads as to the legitimacy of skating spots (as opposed to parks) but it’ll be interesting to see how things develop in the next decade or so, as this type of situation comes up more often, and the ranks of parents who skate themselves gradually expands. Aside from a clunky description of skate action at Love and heavy reliance on an internet message board as a source, it’s a good article, you should check it out if you’re bored in work/class. See if you can spot the paraphrased Stevie Williams quote.

Bonus: This sort of amazing quote from one of the few cops that talked for the story…

“It’s illegal for a reason,” contends Wilson. “They’ve broken those blocks [on the floor of the park] and popped them up so they can use them as ramps. They grind all that marble [sic] to shame. If they were just kids who rolled through and didn’t do any damage, that would be one thing, but they’re not.” 


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

This Is Our Land/We Got A Right

March 5, 2009

Oh you better believe this is required viewing around these parts. I wonder what else he’s got.