Posts Tagged ‘the Muska’

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?

Title TK

June 22, 2011

Even without flipping it over and looking for the little logo you could probably tell skateboarding bears a “made in America” seal just because of the tendency towards overkill. Big pants/small wheels, goofy boys, paint-on pants, substance abuse, stair counts, ledge combos, the personas of Alva, Muska, Mike Plumb, et cetera. The mega ramp. You have your top dogs specific to a certain latitude/longitude as the pendulum swings this way or that, for instance Ron Knigge or Josh Kasper or Ray Underhill, and then what turn out to be the more longview types that might rise up during one era or another but don’t wind up being defined by it and find ways to roll with whatever’s going at the moment, say Carroll, Daewon Song, Jason Dill, Grant Taylor — Mark Gonzales. Like, there may be more technically skilled or bigger-balled dudes going at any one point, but if you’re watching “the Storm,” you’ve got Jerry Hsu on one hand and Scott Paezelt on another.

All of which is a typically long-winded way of coping with a melting of mind following a couple watches of Eli Reed’s entry in the X-Games “real street” competition, a minute-long clip that’s a little gratuitous as far as including a couple magazine cover clips and some of the more original (versus “creative”) tricks to come along in a good while. If I was, heaven forfend, a judge on “America’s Next Top Flow Bro” I would formulate some sound bite to the effect that Eli Reed has a “point of view.” Like, who’s doing nollie bonelesses on name hubbas? Switch backside 360 manual? I’m sure there are some “Forecast” seeds that have pulled similar 360-flip nosegrinds and switch bigspin flips but a key difference is that this dude’s method has that appealing stink on it. Switch k-grind for the 90s dudes and wise use of the big switch ollie, which also helped get me onboard with Mikey Taylor during the City Stars days. A minute long and this is easily one of the best sections all year, I hope he gets the $50k or whatever it is.

Greg Lutzka Wins The Dew Tour That Is This Earthly Life

January 13, 2009


One Toyota to rule them all

Like many others, my imagination was captivated this week with the revelation that frontside-favoring Milwaukeean Greg Lutzka completed an agreement with Toyota to produce a line of white cars with a drawing on the side. While it may have made more sense for Toyota to go with, say, valley boy Mikey Taylor for this honor given his fondness for street racing and, one can only assume, Tokyo drifting as well, you have to commend Lutzka for his business savvy and sheer ballsiness, managing to convince a struggling car company to adorn the side of a hatch-back with a funny-looking moustache dude pulling his pud.

(Notice to Madison Avenue: This is exactly the type of low-brow, bottom-of-the-barrel approach that I keep trying to tell you resonates with kids today. And this is why those kids are tomorrow’s today’s Toyota buyers.)

Wikipedia (where someone, possibly on the Lutzka payroll, keeps rather close tabs on his trophy-packed contest schedule), tells us that the Matrix is Toyota’s Debbie to the Black Debbie that is the Pontiac Vibe. It has received mixed reviews for safety, much like Greg Lutzka’s trick selection. Yet it also received solid marks for reliability, much like Greg Lutzka’s trick selection. Again, I refer you to the exhaustive Lutzkapedia contest compendium.

Now a lot of people poke fun at Greg Lutzka, or as he’s increasingly known, the Greg Lutzka. Though this is some true pot-kettle-black-calling shit, he does sometimes appear none too bright. There was that embarrassing month-long stint on Krooked, a partnership rumored to have come apart following the revelation that the GL adorned his bedroom walls with his own likeness in the form of Illennium ads or what have you. And one of my great regrets of last year was that I never devoted one of these none-too-precious postings to the kind of amazing Globe section, themed as it was with French techno music and some really sweet “Krazy Kings”-esque special effects.

But the Greg Lutzka’s earnest Midwestern cluelessness is deeply endearing, and puts his finger-snappin’, hat-wearin’, frontside flippin’ spinnin’ in the sort of perspective that you just can’t get when he strolls the club in a leather jacket. Why, just a few years ago the kid needed a sit-down* to learn the proper way to wipe his ass and discard the wasteful, shameful, hateful “tissue glove” method.

Now look at him. His name sparkles proudly on the side of a Toyota hatch-back. He knows Lil Jon and Ryan Sheckler. He sells his own hat made from the skin of synthetic frogs, developed in a secret laboratory owned by Oakley glasses. Australian footwear concern Globe recently approached him to design a shoe, which does closely resemble the Muska’s vaunted Sky-Top, but this is hardly a mark against the Greg Lutzka. As we all know it is nigh impossible to fade the Muska, and one can only hope to follow his lead. Which the GL wisely has done in this instance. So don’t try and tell me the kid hasn’t made it.

*from a Big Brother writer, no less