I think that was his only ad for Blind. I really wish I still had his Pro Spotlight from Feb. '93. He did shit like "opposite-footed" backside tailslide on a blank board with a Star of David on the bottom.
Was that him at the end of Salman's part in The Real Video?
At this point, one pretty much knows what to expect with a Habitat video: Some kind of environmentalist theme. homemade, organic animation for dudes to trip the fuck out on when they smoke a bowl and watch the vid. I appreciate that. Some tech, some semi-gnar skartist skating, and some Sixties "garage"-type music--you know, the genre they focus on here. Except this time around, Castrucci, or whoever performed Music Supervisor duties, included 2.5 Stones songs. "Can't You Hear Me Knockin' " in Kalis in Mono was inspired, but using almost three songs by the same artist is somewhat of a skate vid faux pas--like too many Kanye West songs in the Kayo vid. I mean, I can't drive to work without hearing at least 4 songs that I haven't heard before that make me think "that song would be fuckin' dope in a vid," if you see what I'm driving at. The only dude in any medium that can get away with using multiple Stones songs is Scorsese.
So, do you think Castrucci is amped about this film?
Truth be told, I, myself, am not. The reasons, based on the trailer, are the following:
1. The set list is predictable, yet baffling. "She Was Hot?" Are you fucking kidding me? Why not just fucking play "Undercover of the Night?" Actually, come to think of it, that song is fucking awesome.
2. The "special guests" are horrendous. The only entertaining element of the film seems to be when Mick calls Scorsese "Marty" the whole time--just like James Lipton. That reminds me--did anyone else ever skate the ledge at DeNiro's restaurant? It's your average foot-high black loading dock ledge. The thing is, it's fucking at DeNiro's restaurant, dude. One time the host or whoever kicked us out and we (jokingly, of course) said "Bob said we could skate here." We left, of course. Although, truth be told, it would have been funny if Mr. DeNiro came out and asked "Do we have a problem here?" or something to that effect. Good times--good times skating the DeNiro ledge.
Trees--the great Northwest. I get it. I make the connection. It's all starting to come together. Anyway, this dude does some mind-numbing shit here that is also aesthetically decent. For example, he has the two best tricks one can do, b/s tails on handrails and b/s noseblunts, wired. B/s nb slide on the pyramid ledges deserves particular wonderment because there's extremely minimal run-up. If one can do tre flips and those two tricks to death, no one can say you're not a good skater. To elaborate, when one starts skating, you try like every trick just for the sake of having in one's repertoire. Now, I realize that it's both more effective and fun to just wire a handful or tricks that feel good. That's just one perspective, though.
That's not to say Mr. Baxter-Neil does not display adeptness at an extremely wide variety of tricks. Truth be told, although I am not a huge fan of the wallride genre, the wallride-to-jump-over-the pipe thing tripped me the fuck out, as did his dual enders, which I will discuss in reverse order:
1) The fakie tre flip over that one Barcelona street gap--so much can go wrong there--like what if it flips 1.5 times and you land on the trucks instead of the bolts? What if it almost morphs into a 540 flip, but not quite, so you eat shit? However, my friends, we do not live in a world of "what if"'s.
2) the kickflip over the goddamn swiftly-flowing river is particularly evocative--good job, Mr. Castucci. The camera angle makes it seem like Baxter-Neil is flying into the sun like Icarus himself.
Now the transition into the artsy environmental film--and the theme statement:"inhabitants of a world in decline." I think it's safe to say that this environmentalist theme was previously covered in Now 'n Later, albeit in a more cut-and-paste late-80's video style. Which segues into
Hey--remember when this dude nollieflip n/s'd Hubba in Vita Natas's? Truth be told, that might be the most insane trick performed on that thing. Subsequently, he banged out arguably the best part in Mosaic, one that still rates up there on the "get amped to skate"-meter. The critical question here, though, is has the dude regressed or simply refined his shit? On one hand, you're not going to find any tre flip noseslides or nollie heel f/s nose on handrails. On the other hand, you would be hard-pressed to find a more casually executed nollie inside heel manual nollie heel out, or a more perfectly Californian line at the Hernandez ledges. Also, in a couple lines he seems to be actually skating "streets" in a naturalistic manner usually reserved for "GRITTY, RAW EAST COAST SKATING." This is a notable improvement over his previous two parts.
But fuck all that shit. Since Tim O'Connor, in his top fives in which he makes fun of dudes (such as his teammates) that pose with cameras and guitars to look all deep and shit, claimed Garcia is actually good at guitar, I wondered:
Does technical skating=technical guitar playing?
That is to say, because Garcia aspires to a certain degree of technicality in his skating, does the same aspiration apply to guitar? For example, when I was super into getting super good at guitar, I had a practice routine that went something like this:
1. warm-up exercises
2. pentatonic scales
3. diatonic scales
4. whatever mode I was trying to get good at at the time (i.e. phrygian, lydian, harmonic minor, etc.)
5. learn whatever song I was into at the time
6. jam along with records
I reiterate-this is only an example and should not be construed as the only way to become adept at the guitar. However, I think the most critical element is jamming along with records for hours on end.
Anyway, do technical skaters aspire to technical guitar playing, or is it cool enough to learn some 9th and major 7th chords and jam out on them on some flamenco shit? I will say, though, that tech skating and guitar playing share the following component: discipline. Although it's the lamest fucking word ever, there is no other word (besides Cardielian Mental Power) for the particular quality that facilitates trying a ledge trick over and over and over again until one wires it.
I would like to preface this section of the review by stating the following:
New Jersey is a nice place to live.
I reiterate: New Jersey is a nice place to live.
New Jersey has some of the best public schools in the world. It is not just one gigantic oil refinery. One is never more than an hour away from Phila.,NYC, the beach, or some natural mountain-type shit. There exists food and beverage besides beer, pizza, and pork roll, egg, and cheese sandwiches (although that's all you fucking need anyway). Every young lady is not an escort, stripper, or go-go dancer. Although, at my old job in Perth Amboy, my co-worker's girlfriend was, indeed, a dancer at this place called "Breathless" in Rahway. She was this super-hot blonde, Eastern European type--you know, the kind of girl that looks like she bleeds vodka. Kind of like a younger version of Mika Brzuznski from MSNBC. However, like most hot girls, she was also fucking crazy. For example, they would go out to lunch from time to time, and they would inevitably get in these huge blowout fights and she would strand him at Bennigans on Rt. 9 or wherever, then he'd be like 2.5 hours late getting back from lunch, which fucked everyone else at the job.
Circles, man--life fucking moves in circles.
So in terms of New Jersey, similar to how Springsteen gives life to his own personal vision of the place through the imagery in his songs, so does Gall through his video parts and other assorted coverage. One of the best things about about the old World vids was how they created their own universe where all those infamous spots--Beryl, Ramona, Lockwood, the World Park, Santa Monica ledges/sand gaps--coexisted seemingly around the corner from each other. Similarly, in Gall's New Jersey, around every corner lurks a bombed-out, abandoned factory/hotel with some crazy bank/ledge setup, next to a bank-to-wall, right next to an abandoned pool in the fuckin' woods.
I often (well, not that often) wonder what caused Gall's paradigm shift from the shockingly-ahead-of-its-time gorilla on ledgeism of the Sub Zero video to his current subgenre. Indeed, if one consolidates that part his footage from Eastern Exposure 2, and his 411 Wheels of Fortune from #11, one has the blueprint for East Coast tech that was in place pretty much until the tight pants era. It's almost as if there was nowhere else for him to go, nothing else for him to accomplish in that particular realm. No one was really fucking with anything on that level besides the elite Pulaski dudes (and some New York dudes such as Keith Harrison). The thing about that footage is that, when one watches it now, skating was so seemingly dead that there was pretty much no one in the background at Love/City Hall except for the same five dudes. Oddly enough, I thought about going up there back then but with Pulaski so seemingly close, it was like "why bother?" Looking back, it seems insane that we just accepted these epic, perfect spots as if they would always be there.
Like someone else from NJ told me once, "Spots come and go, life moves on."
ps. Oddly enough, no one has yet mined the Sabbath Dio years for skate vid soundtrack material
"The kid's good." I'm not going to include a lengthy dissertation here--just a dude from California with good style. On Royal so he must not be a kook.
Oh yeah--beautiful backside 360 off the FF bump; feet do not leave board.
The kid's bad--as in fucking badass. Is he related to that dude that was in Lurkers 2? In any event, what we have here is a new interpretation of the Tom Penny sleepy style, with some mid-Nineties Anthony Correa influence--perhaps by osmosis. The one trick that stuck out in my mind was the overturned b/s noeblunt revert--or is that a "farside" bs ng-- on that bank. Remember when "farside" tricks were supposed to be, like, the future? This started approximately the time of the Peter Smolik ad featuring the first recorded b/s 180 to sw f/s crooked grind.
"Ladies and gentlemen, it's skateboarding's funnyman, Tim O'Connor!"
Although, I , for one, prefer the dry, subtle humor of a Sal Barbier, some of the shit O'Connor says is admittedly humorous. It's like baseball - three out of ten and you're a superstar. Besides, most dudes that get "interviewed" are about as charismatic and engaging as cigar store Indians.
And now, the skateboarding part of this review installment. Truth be told, I intentionally ignored the Element saga of O'Connor's career. Do I even have to say why? The way I see it, he appears to have internalized the right influences (Carroll, Lotti--especially in the fakie bigspin flip herein) and comes out with some semi-progressive shit but somehow never sets the world on fire. Those shove-it 5/0 variations he does are sick, though--no one's really fucking with those except Jean-Baptiste. However, the pressure flip manual should have been relegated to the cutting room floor, leaving the nollie cab flip over that hip (the same one that Charles Lamb nollie cab heeled over like 5 years ago) as the ender. What's wrong with that?
Shortly after that one Skateboarder cover:
, I went on a secret spy mission to the spot and tripped the fuck out at how rough it is.
The masonry is nowhere near the quality of the small banks. In addition, it's impossible to hit it head-on a la said banks; one must carve down the teeth-rattling hill and hit it on the upswing, so to speak.Along those lines, how fucking skilled were the masons that created the Brooklyn banks? You couldn't fit piece of notebook paper between those shits.
This spot, however, feels like someone built a 19th century cobblestoone street onto the side of a hill. This makes the truck executed on the above cover (thank you, Source Interlink Companies, Inc.! ) all the more incomprehensible. One of the local rippers insisted that a moped assisted in this. Some large, soft wheels might not have hurt, either.
My point to all this is that sometimes a video part, imcluding the editing decisions made therein, is not an accurate reflection of how sick a dude is.
Generic white dude. Wait--that's unfair. He does have a beard in some of this part, so I guess he's not that generic after all. NOTE TO WHITE DUDES: if you ever want to be less generic, grow a beard. It will make you a spiritual dude, like a Rabbi pondering the mystical wisdom of the Torah. Skating: the sw 180 heel over the Russian gold rail is impressive, although not as intense as Maurice's in 20 Shot. The dude is also fucking with the Gino trick (270 nollie to sw bs tail) to regular, which I haven't seen before. Then again, I'm not one of these dudes that sees every frame of every vid that comes out, so it might be being fucked with on a much larger scale than I'm aware of.
If the hype is real, this dude and Jake Johnson are the next wave of East Coast Jedis, most definitely. Best trippy environmental intro and best part. The manufacturing jobs might have fled New Jersey for China and Mexico decades ago, but whatever toxins remained and seeped into the water supply have mutated to create the most dominant strain of East Coast Tech-ism. Think Wenning with MORE POWER and slightly better posture. If one consolidates his part in Static III and this part, one has perhaps one of the most devastating debuts since ...well...Wenning's blitzkrieg in Photosynthesis. Sw heel f/s bluntslide will haunt the mind's eye for quite some time. WARNING: all those fakie crooked and fakie b/s 5/0 variations can bruise the fuck out of your foot if you fuck up.
Another dude that never switched, ever since the Faiman's section in 411 #?. Although there is some Barcelona, Getz seems to be skating PHILA street shit for the most part, as if to bitterly mutter under his breath "fuck this place, I'll just skate whatever's here until I fucking die. I refuse to travel beyond a 20 mile radius of my home." This is an admirable stance, and preferable to flying to China to skate some pristine marble ledge. And despite my previous statements about the usage of Stones songs, "Monkey Man" is extremely effective here, especially the edit with the frontside 360 and that "Messianic...Satanic" line.
This dude Burton that used to be on Zoo once told the tale, allegedly related to him by Dill, of an "industry handbook" of sorts that advised dudes to be super cognizant of what they wore when getting coverage. Maybe this would account for the fact that, if you put a gun to my head, I could not tell the difference, in my minds eye nor in a police lineup, between Raymond Molinar, Omar Salazar, and Dylan Reider. This dude is sick, though. Super fucking good kf fs tail. I spent the majority of my first viewing trying to determine when he was skating switch and when reg., and it used up a lot of brain power.
I get the vibe that a lot of dudes are psyched on this dude. Indeed, he seems to have upped the "cruising down the street" factor from the Mosaic part, while still focusing on the core material of sw flip and sw nosegrind, branching outward and upward. However, I know music isn’t that much of a big deal, but the twee Kinks song detracts from the epicness of this part. The furor over the FF soundtrack, in my opinion, was overblown. Skate vid music supervision should be a zen thing, like whatever is in the atmosphere. If that happens to be the contents of Ty Evans iPod, so be it. However, musical selection can affect a part's standing on the psyched-to-skate quantitative scale, as illustrated on the below Powerpoint slide:
Anyway, despite said tweeness, the epicness doth flow: fast as hell, effortless sw backside flip over an SF channel, butterknifed nollie 180 sw ng revert, and ledge nbd in 1920’s flapper hat.
Wait, is that the famous white walls of my hometown? Nah must be somewhere else.
To reuse the guitar metaphor, I would compare this dude to a John Petrucci--technically mind-numbing, yet goofy in the best, nerdiest kind of way (note: the solo at 7:23 of that clip is my favorite solo by him ever). Mind-numbing ender meets contemporary standards of ender mind-numbingness.
Hopefully the fallout from the recent buyout won't affect Habitat detrimentally. Although, their latest ad was of the "here are all our decks!" variety, which was disheartening. When it started, as an East Coast offshoot of Workshop, Habitat had an understood statement of purpose: "This is our Habitat: The East Coast of North America." Indeed, while not being a life-changer, Inhabitants retains the stoner company ethos while proving its thesis. Hopefully the aforementioned inhabitants (especially Durante) can avoid cannibalization by the declining world they inhabit.
ps. During the composition of this review, Sirius featured an all-Rolling Stones channel, presumably to coincide with the release of Shine a Light. And I must admit, I listened to it quite frequently, especially while going skating. It felt like I was in a fucking Scorsese-directed Habitat video.
In Norse mythology, Valkyries like this bitch right here would scoop your dead body up from the field of battle and give you a ride to Valhalla, where they would hook you up with a hornful of mead. This is the role played in today’s world by the Red Bull girls. They can’t just be doing this in Richmond, can they? Do the Red Bull girls visit skate spots all over the world, promoting an “energy drink” owned by some mysterious Austrian dude?
This is how it happened—I was actually having a decent day of skating. Landing shit. kids were ripping, when someone yelled “RED BULL” and everyone ran into the parking lot. There, two young ladies pulled up in one of these
and gave everyone Red Bull. It was fucking weird---It pushed an already decent day to the point where I felt like this dude from Woodstock:
I assumed that this was one of there regular stops, because one of the locals asked them “where’s Roxanne?”
I see—first-name basis.
Then I did some half-assed internet research and I saw that the Red Bull corporation does a shitload of shit with skating. Like that “seek and destroy” shit from a couple years ago that is always on Comcast OnDemand. Canadians might remember that deal when they drove some skaters around Montreal in limos. Oddly enough, the whole Red Bull marketing campaign is reminiscent of olde-tyme ads for Coca-Cola, etc.—in the good olde days when it still contained cocaine:
The ad copy is basically the same. I believe very strongly that if there were olde tyme skaters in the 1880’s, they would have pounded “coca wine” before jumping down that wooden set of stairs at the olde town hall. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
However, they sponsor Joey Brzynski, who is one of the most progressive dudes out there. They also apparently throw garbage bags filled with $100 bills at anything skating-related, like that deal where dudes rode around Montreal in limos and that “Red Bull Seek & Destroy” thing from few years ago that pops up on Comcast OnDemand every now and then. My extremely rudimentary internet research including the official Red Bull Skateboarding Web Site, which I couldn’t tolerate for long. Not only do I prefer Nineties skating and music, I like Nineties web site design as well--very basic html, with plain text—preferably Times New Roman.
So anyway, the Red Bull girls succeeded in getting me to drink their beverage. They were both attractive, but one was seriously a 10. If I were to apply the Beautiful Girls three-point rubric of body/face/personality, she would rate a 10/9/?. I didn’t get to pick her brain. She was definitely attractive enough to be a pharmaceutical sales rep. Truth be told, pharmaceutical sales reps are probably, on average, hotter than strippers. I wonder if this young lady really dug skaters or was just climbing the “sales” ladder until she got to be a pharmaceutical sales rep.
Of course, the group of kooks at the park that stand around, smoke cigs, and drink energy drinks all day were psyched. It’s weird. I still don’t know how I feel about some kooky beverage company owned by some weird Austrian dude dumping dump trucks full of cash into everything related to skating. Then I started to wonder, why don’t skaters just fucking start getting sponsored by beer companies? I don't think I would be remiss in stating that skaters like to drink alcoholic beverages now and then. The answer, I subsequently figured, relates to demographics. The target consumers of NASCAR, for example, are older dudes and redneck sluts. These gentlemen and ladies guzzle beer morning, noon, and night. What is the target consumer of both energy drink retailing and action sports retailing? Dudes age 11-16. See how it’s all connected? Like this dude
would say, "That's some cynical politics right there."
First, the shoe itself. It is reminiscent of a half cab or a vans Carroll, with the "vulcan" sole that all the kids are into these days. I gotta tell ya, I was never a big half-cab loyalist. They always felt like the soles were like 1/8" thick. I was always more partial to soles that approximated the zig-zag pattern of the adidas superstar, like in the first e's Muska or whatever the fuck. The "all-over print" video grab deal is printed on this shiny full-grain leather type stuff. Like the box, I will probably trip out on it when I'm drunk. Truth be told, this is the only "all-over print" item in my entire wardrobe. The other residents of my house, on the other hand, have a shitload:
sample of the all-over print craze. note handmade all-over print Thomas the Tank Engine quilt.
. And now the dvd.
The dvd is divided into 4 sections: "1990-2", "Daly City to EMB", "Paul's Ramp", and "The Anatomy of a Line" (I think). The "Daly City to EMB" section is probably the most interesting, because it breaks down in an hour-by-hour basis, not unlike Ulysses, a typical day of skating in 90-91, including almost getting in fights with old dudes in 1977 Cutlass Supremes. The commentary is typical self-depricating Carroll fare, including matter-of-fact discussion of the first time he did ecstasy. NOTE: it seems like the goofiest drug ever now, but at the time it was kind of progressive.
(By the way:does anyone even do ecstasy anymore? It seems like it has been overtaken in popularity by Oxycontin, vic's and percs. Coke, on the other hand, is as popular as ever. Very consistent drug, in terms of popularity, if you don't count the late 80's crack craze. It never switched. )
In terms of the skating herein, you get evidence of how insanely progressive Carroll was without really thinking about it. Case in point: fakie tre over a double-sided curb in 1990 and a trick that Lee Smith performed in an ad like 2 months ago. Oh yeah, he also admits that the ns nollie heel out in Questionable was not, in actuality, a legit nollie heel, but rather a bastardized pressure flip kinda thing. If that kind of admission trips you out, you might possibly appreciate this shoe/dvd.
"The kid's good," as they say.
Even though it's not my favored genre of skating, I am amped to see the Fallen video if only to see which Seventies classic rock/hard rock songs are included in the soundtrack. You know, the kind of shit they play here.
I was thinking, what was the previous most technical trick I have ever seen in person? Maybe Torres nollieflip crooked grind 10 years ago, or f/s ng nollieflip out around the same time. I was in another zone of the banks when Kalis sw bs heeled over the wall--missed that one. I heard it though--heard dudes freaking out. That's when you know you're adept your profession--when you make dudes lose their shit.
That doesn't really happen in other professions--like lawyers in the same firm don't bro out and shit when one of them fucking nails a cross-examination, do they? I wouldn't know; maybe some lawyers do. That would be rad.
"dude--you totally fucking nailed that pre-trial motion!!"