Posts Tagged ‘Tom Asta’

The Mind of Jamie Thomas

March 13, 2011

Black Box impresario and fervent Iron Maiden fan Jamie Thomas has been alternately worshiped and decried in his couple decades of skateboard industry involvement/shaping, noted as an extreme games champion, extreme motivator, follower of Jesus, and budding maestro of consumer and business products and services by Big Four auditor Ernst & Young, who chose five years ago to enshrine JT for perpetuity in their hall of fame which can be visited during normal business hours. Got to thinking the other day, watching the Tom Asta debut pro video and musing on Jamie Thomas’ musings on Josh Kalis’ early years of sponsorship, about the way his brain works.

In the Kalis “Epicly Latered” the direct line Jamie Thomas draws between the raw vein tapped by both Lennie Kirk and Alex “Trainwreck” Gall for instance is one that my own slow-witted thought process hadn’t mapped out, but is fairly on point and could be extended maybe in both directions, back to the street-brawling style of previously noted Thomas favorite Sean Sheffey and then also Zeroites like Eric Ellington or the early years of Jim Greco, with the way he used to ollie way down onto the rail for tricks. In the past I’ve sometimes thought that Lennie Kirk shares some trick selection and freedom-of-arm movements with new Fallen signee Jackson Curtin but that prompted an argument I think — whatever the case, the period-jumping view into Alex Gall’s career via a look at Lennie Kirk’s quick burn in the context of a Kalis retrospective brought my browser to this reconsideration of Trainwreck’s tenure on Zero a decade back, of which I was a pretty major fan, touched off by his sudden Zero ad takeover and this 411 section:

All the easy jokes aside re: Alex Gall’s post-career body mass fluctuations, what’s worth celebrating is his visceral approach to landing tricks and occasionally skewed selection of moves (switch Japan air down stairs, lots of fakie ollies onto rails), highlighted here by the way Jamie Thomas would put together the old Zero videos — super quick cuts to tricks just before the dude snaps the ollie, translating to a lot of short parts, 80s guitar music, jeans, big jumps, etc. It didn’t seem real outlandish back then but making videos this way seems so far removed from the current practice of ramping the slow mo when a bro gets onto a trick, letting him slide and then ramping it up again for the landing, to the point where it’s hard to get any fix on what it would’ve looked like in real life.

In that respect it’s too bad Jamie Thomas doesn’t exert total control of the dual VCRs anymore, but as E&Y long ago recognized he has this expanding business empire to look after. The announcement in January that Chris Cole was being brought in as an equity partner in Zero seemed a sort of ingenious response to the DC pickup* and possibly the final step toward creating what could be a totally vertically integrated skateboard company — nearly all bases covered across the hardgoods/softgoods spectrum (including the all-powerful revenue generator of shoes, and a bargain-priced deck lineup), production at <a href = http://business.transworld.net/5059/uncategorized/offshore-manufacturing-alternative-black-box-has-found-a-way-to-lower-costs-without-going/>the Cinco Maderas plant in Mexico</a>, distribution, online store and <a href = http://www.crossroads-show.com/>trade show</a>, with rumors also on the hoof that Jamie Thomas has secured a venture capital investment from Bigfoot to acquire large swaths of Great Lakes-region forests, as well as a stableful of aging horses. Now with its marquee pros fully vested in the company’s expansion and a warehouse staffing/housing potential amateur talent, the circle nearly is complete.

As for Asta, currently enjoying a sort of “roadblock” campaign on the Black Box site linked to his pro debut (with boards immediately available in the online shop) — I support this dude’s judicious mix of do-it-all tech with more straightforward tricks like the half-cab over the sphere or the big frontside feeble grind, and you can tell he’s really going for it on some of these clips, like the big boost put onto that one backside flip. One of the best things about “This Time Tomorrow” was seeing Asta and a slew of other dudes reviving some of the classic Love Park/downtown Philadelphia street spots, and the ender-ender here is a nice bookend to Asta-backer Cole’s contribution to the fountain gap back in that TWS vid.

*Speaking of, I have a hard time believing that somebody at the company that cooked up the mega-ramp and the EuroSuperTour couldn’t construct better press-relations campaign for the Cole signing other than “good opportunity” — you almost feel bad for the dude after reading the fifth or sixth interview where they repeatedly hint at some giant novelty check signed by the brothers Way

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

The Great Shark Hunt

December 15, 2009


James Brockman, Elissa Steamer, Chris Cole/Tom Asta, Tommy Sandoval and Sheldon Meleshinski on the set of Zero’s “Strange World.” Not pictured: Young Jeezy, Richard Nixon and the interns from “Mythbusters”

Bringing it all the way around, we shall now contemplate whether the Snowman-powered Chris Cole/Tom Asta section is meant to characterize Zero’s “Strange World” in the same way that Ally McBeal’s torrid affair with Jon Bon Jovi came to characterize the final years of FOX’s “Single Female Lawyer.” There is the combination of old and new in Cole and Asta themselfs, Young Jeezy on a Soulja Boy instrumental indicating the continued dominance of the South and Atlanta in particular, and this time around, nobody gets smacked in the face when Chris Cole does his cab frontside blunt on the handrail. It is a section of contrasts that also features a manly nollie heelflip backside lipslide from young Asta, who has morphed from a rail-centered pipsqueak in his OIAM days to a pipsqueak who has time to kickflip into and out of the same backside tailslide if the desire so moves him.

There are other pipsqueaks at work here, suggesting that Jamie Thomas may actually have been bummed that Zero already burned through the “New Blood” title a ways back: Donovan Piscopo brings kind of an Austyn Gillette update to the Bobier part in “Misled Youth” and stocky Canadian Jamie Tancowny* runs roughshod over a good deal of different terrains in the curtain-bringer-downer, karate kicking his varial heelflips and f/s reverting out of a stock k-grind which is a more interesting take than I’ve seen for a while on a handrail. The awesome clipper backside flip is there, with perhaps a brief view of the disappearing sequence-ruiner, as well as a giant switch backside 180 and frontside heelflip, and the Thrasher bigspin cover that came out super good. At 20 or whatever he is who knows whether he’ll get any taller, but aside from shit like the kickflip noseslide Tancowny’s generally safe from the trappings of lil-kid style.

Elsewise the likes of Garrett Hill and James Brockman come off better in this video than in some past appearances, with Hill looking kinda more polished and Brockman executing some pretty major moves that are hard to cast aside, though we have not been huge fans in the past. It would’ve been cool to see more footage of Rattray, whose street stuff seemed more invigorated than in recent years, and the same with Ben Gilley’s southern caveman act, which has somehow become more entertaining and bracing as years go by. It’s like he’s got more to lose by throwing what looks like a sizable frame onto those railings, maybe. One-eyed Sheldon Meleshinski has one of the best tricks in the whole video with a bigspin backside tailslide that’s spun straight into the camera and looks all ridiculous. This posting would also be remiss if it didn’t mention Dane Berman’s ollie into the channel bank as one of the scarier-looking feats in recent memory.

This video was actually more anticipated around the BTO play-yard than the past few Zero vids in part because of the hallucinatory stylistic change-up. It kind of reminded me of the mid-90s, when Nine Inch Nails kept heading further down the spiral and you wondered eventually whether he’d have to just off himself to keep things headed to their natural thematic conclusion. Zero had taken the skulls/death motif to a pretty minimal end in “New Blood” so the fresh bad-trip approach was welcome, but it’s interesting too how closely some of the editing and whatnot stayed to the “Thrill of it All”/”Misled Youth” era – thinking here of Gilley’s 50-50 attempts/accomplishment, Garrett Hill’s fumbling 50-50 transfer at the beginning of his section, the overall pretty enjoyable soundtrack and the tight 30-minute runtime. Zero makes these videos cheap nowadays and both this and the Slave one are worthwhile.

*whose “Lil Fucky” nickname is I think one of the best ones out in a while