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TO SEE ALL

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LAKAI LIMITED FOOTWEAR / The Shoes We Skate 955 Francisco Street, Torrance, CA 90502 / Photo by Reda www.supradistribution.com www.lakai.com www.crailtap.com

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Off in the On season.

wordsby mike christie photosby gordon nicholas

T

he whole thing about bringing the horse to water but not being able to make him drink is a really apt analogy for the skateboard trip. The desire to throw yourself off something is surprisingly difficult to force, combine that with a hangover, sleep deprivation and a set of dead-numb car legs and things can get downright brutal. The number of amazing spots I have personally been driven to, only to roll up on a few times and say “I would totally skate this… if I felt like it” and then went cowering back to the van has to be in triple digits. And the weird thing about it is that the better the spot, the less I actually feel like skating it. Psychologists have invented a whole personality disorder to describe kids who display this kind of behavior. Kids who test limits or tell the coach to beat it. Partly what drew me to skating at a young age was the lack of coaches – whom I loathed – or anybody else telling me how to do something, and I suspect the same goes for most skateboarders.

And I’m still like this. It’s the same reason I’ve never had fun on New Years, the combination of expectation and frantic effort to generate epic fun make me uncomfortable. If you want to make sure I won’t do something just tell me I’m supposed to do it, or that now is the perfect time for me to do it, and then watch the sparks fly. In the winter I long for summer, swear I’ll go skate every single day to take full advantage of every thrashable minute. Come spring, I’m out of the gates stoked, scrubbing my tricks clean of their winter rust. As the days stretch out and actual summer rolls around, my stoke dwindles, the cloudless days blend together and I find myself taking them as much for granted as I do clean tap water or the use of my arms. Maybe I find it hard to skate in the summer simply because summer really does seem like it will last forever, and in forever there will be plenty of time to learn all the tricks I want, so what’s the hurry? And to be honest, summer is when you are supposed to skate, and who the hell wants 8

5.4

to do that? This usually lasts until the day the first whiff of fall smell snaps me out of my daze and I realize there are only a few months left until the rain comes and I hit the streets with renewed fervor. For this reason, fall skating is always my favourite because it’s urgent, desperate even, it’s the season

test run to Guy Mariano’s self imposed hiatus to Mike Carroll who once said he could only skate a rail if there was something wrong with it to PJ Ladd who continues to refuse to try when he skates demos, the spirit of defiance is alive and kicking. Why? Because of the fact that not doing what you

313.81 OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER Diagnostic Features: Negativistic and defiant behaviors are expressed by persistent stubbornness, resistance to directions, and unwillingness to compromise, give in, or negotiate with adults or peers. Defiance may also include deliberate or persistent testing of limits, usually by ignoring orders, arguing, and failing to accept blame for misdeeds. Hostility can be directed at adults or peers and is shown by deliberately annoying others or by verbal aggression. From the DSM-IV Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition published by the American Psychiatric Association.

of a few last tries, of sweatshirts and less than ideal conditions. I’m not alone in this. From the time Neil Blender spray-painted a wall during his con-

are supposed to will always be one of the more fun things to do. I’m not saying it’s always a good thing, but I see it as one of the only ways to retain control, to preserve the fun, and to keep from feeling like a trick

monkey who people just drive around in a van to let loose and do their bidding. In this way, hating and blowing it are the only things that separate us from being stuntmen – or stuntpersons – a legion of spineless Andy Mac’s, which I think is an extremely important thing to avoid. In the spirit of embracing good times and shirking responsibility, the Kitsch team recently went on a trip to Vancouver Island and came back only with some chilling photos and smiles on their faces. I don’t know if they skated or not and frankly who cares. All of these dudes are obviously really good skateboarders and sometimes, even at the height of summer, it’s more fun to just chill with your buds than to jump off shit. Somebody call a psychiatrist, these kids are out of control. all photos shot on vancouver island with the kitsch skateboards team, june 30th - july 4th, 2007


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COVER: Heavily inspired after an epic session of skating, Jeff Halliday promptly whipped up this drawing as a last minute shirt graphic for the (can I say legendary?) skate-rock band, S.T.R.E.E.T.S. They printed maybe a dozen or so that night, but you would be lucky to spot one—although threadbare and well worn. During these uncertain times in the identity of skateboarding, it only seems appropriate to resurrect this image and set it out to the public. Take it as a reminder for what it’s all about. And lets not take ourselves too seriously. Drop in, hang up.

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contents5.4


54

MATERIAL CONFESSIONS. BLAME CANADA. SKATE TEES. jeff comber offers his insight for what you can’t forget when traveling.

60

by andrew norton new york’s renowned 5boro team visits the big smoke.

68

a group of skateboardings most prolific artists and graphic designers discuss the importance of the ‘skate tee’ and what it means to them.

76

SPENCER HAMILTON. C1RCA, TOUR DE SMASH. the right of passage: approved.

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despite all odds, a group of 17— including both the american and canadian c1rca shoes teams, ripped across canada producing shitloads of photos!

114

THE RITA.

violent people are attracted to harsh noise music... we think you’ll like it.

ALEX GAVIN nosepick, montreal [ o ] mathieu.

departments. 8 iNTRO, 10 CoNTENTS, 14 MASTHEAD, 16 INSPiRATION BOuND 22 PRoDUCT TOSS, 26 FaCES N’ SPACES, 28 SHoW, 30 ANThRAX 36 ARTiSAN, 42 CMYK, 48 CiTY, 52 CONTEST, 117 FOTOFeATURE 134 LAST NiTe, 136 SOUND CHEQUe, 138 TRAiLER, 142 OVeR & OUT

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Committed to Skateboarding. www.C1RCA.ca


Alist guest typographer

Allister Lee is a Toronto-based artist whose work was first exposed to us in New York’s Reed Space gallery. He lived in London, England for 3 years, travelled to Paris, China, San Francisco and slowed down to stop in and say hello to you fine folks out there who read this. He’s done work for Nike Asia, Stussy, Goodfoot, and is to launch a line of boards and shirts with Manik Skateboards. This issue he took us back a decade or two and came up with the throw-back typeface that compliments what you might call the “new rave” movement going on everywhere. ENTERTHEALIST.COM

Andrew Norton contributing photographer

Andrew is a 50-year-old man stuck in a 21-year-old’s body. While the first clue should be his excessive height, don’t let his passion for all things skateboarding fool you. When not out on the streets of Toronto obsessing behind the lens, perfecting the science of stoke, Andrew can be found listening to talk radio at a moderate volume, drinking herbal tea or baking banana bread with his girlfriend. So when this maniac rolls into your town- lock up your vegan baking ingredients! He hung out with the 5boro team (p.60), quizzing them on their knowledge of all things Canadian.

Jeff Comber contributing photographer

From the deep woods of rural Ontario came a man we know only by “Combs”. He now resides in Toronto where he frantically searches for knowledge, people to skate with and things to photograph before he follows through with his destiny to return to the forests where he can find plenty of tree-sap to adhere the moss that grows freely on his upper lip to other parts of his face. Jeff travelled to Spain, hot on the heels of everyone else who gives a shit about skateboarding. And you can read what he learned there on page 54. JEFFCOMBER.COM

Chris Nieratko contributing writer CHRISNIERATKO.COM

SANDRO GRISON DYLAN DOUBT

editor / creative director sandro@colormagazine.ca

photo editor

dylandoubt@colormagazine.ca

ALLISTER LEE NICHOLAS BROWN

guest typographer enterthealist.com

arts editor

nbrown@colormagazine.ca

CRAIG ROSVOLD SAELAN TWERDY

advertising director

craig@colormagazine.ca

music editor

music@colormagazine.ca

BEN TOUR STAFF WRITERS illustratior

tour@colormagazine.ca

JENNIFER MACLEOD circulation

jmacleod@colormagazine.ca

mike christie

mchristie@colormagazine.ca

matthew meadows

mmeadows@colormagazine.ca

MILA FRANOVIC STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER fashion

mfranovic@colormagazine.ca

gordon nicholas

gordon@colormagazine.ca

CHRIS BARIL RHIANON BADER web

baril@colormagazine.ca

copy editor

rbader@colormagazine.ca

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS andrew norton, arkan zakharov, brian caissie, dan mathieu, dan zaslavsky, david broach, felix faucher, fiona garden, gordon nicholas, grant brittain, jeff comber, jeff delong, jeff thorburn, johnathan mehring, judah oakes, kathy lo, luke ramsey, mikendo stanfield, rich odam, scott pommier, sean coner, shawn o’keefe, tadashi yamaoda

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS scott lyon, roger allen, quinn omori, nathan ripley, mark e. rich, julie colero, joni murphy, jeff comber, forest kirby, felix faucher, chris nieratko, brock thiessen, andrew norton

CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS roger allen, niall mcclelland, jeff halliday, dustin koop, david ko, aaron winters

INTERNSHIPS colleen keith, joel dufresne newstands: disticor.com | magamall.com

Publications mail agreement No. 40843627 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: fourcornerpublishinginc. 321 RAILWAY STREET, STUDIO 105 VANCOUVER, BC V6A 1A4 CANADA p.604 873 6699 f.604 873 6619 DISCLAIMER: the views and opinions expressed here are not neccessarily shared by fourcorner publishing inc. or Color Magazine, but by the author credited. Color Magazine reserves the right to make mistakes and will do so on a bi-monthly cycle without liability. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form [print or electronic] without permission from the publisher. The publisher of Color Magazine is not responsible for errors or omissions printed and retains the right to edit all copy. The opinions expressed in the content of this magazine do not necessarily reflect the views of Color Magazine. Color Magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any advertising matter which may reflect negatively on the integrity of the magazine.

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masthead.

Color welcomes submissions for Photo and Editorial content, but is not responsible for unsolicited material or liable for any lost and/or damaged material. Please provide a return envelope with postage with your submissions. Color Magazine is published by fourcorner publishing inc., printed four times yearly and distributed direct to retailers throughout Canada and to newstands by Disticor Distribution. Subscriptions can may be ordered individually or in bulk by retailers for resale. Subscribe: 6 issues for $39.99 in Canada, $59.99 CND in the United States, $89.99 CND for all other countries. Contact Color Magazine with any subscription inquiries or visit us online: www.colormagazine.ca Printed in Canada


JESUS’ SON

denis johnson Please read this book. It’s good. It’s a book of short stories about a guy who drifts around the American Midwest doing drugs, committing petty crimes, and finally landing himself in a mental hospital. Many people (including me) think that it’s one of the best works of fiction written in the past 20 years. It’s short, entertaining, hilarious, and sad. Even if you don’t read very much, it’s the perfect place to start. The title is borrowed from a Velvet Underground lyric and it was unfortunately made into a movie that you should never, ever see because it sucks. But read this book. You won’t regret it. Fuck Harry Potter. He’ll never save you.

ACNE PAPER issue 4 (acne) For those of you that only know Acne as the blemishes you had in high school, think again. Produced in conjunction with all facets of ACNE, Acne Paper is a bi-annual publication from Sweden. Through a mix of portrait, art, and fashion photography, alongside interviews and editorials, Acne Paper creates an artistic theme that works to unite all facets of culture, past and present. Such icons to be featured include Amanda Lear, Iris Apfel, Ryan McGinley, and Grace Kelly. Complemented with stunning, oversize photographs, Acne Paper truly encompasses the best of contemporary and past art practice —gordon nicholas

—mike christie

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NOBODY LIVING CAN EVER MAKE ME TURN BACK

ACNEPAPER.COM

ed templeton (emerica)

HAMBURGER EYES Issue 011 (burgerworld media) Six years into the dominance of this awesome SF-based triannual mag, and you can still count on total consistency every time. All black and white, no captions, no articles, just wall-to-wall photos for 100 pages. This issue is “Hamburger Ears”, so all the photos are music-related in some way, but true to their stated aims of being a photo diary for the contributors, it’s not just a collection of concert photos and press shots, it’s a document of musical culture from photographers of wide-ranging ages and experiences. Crowds, fans, styles, and scenes all rub elbows in a fun game of “spot the band, name the era”: there’s a young Johnny Rotten, Lee Perry when he was still (possibly) sane, Daniel Johnston scribbling at a desk, James Brown in a limo, Jay-Z with his bodyguards, and enough buskers, bars, beer, blood, and Black Sabbath graffiti to out-nostalgia even the most grizzled and pensive roadie. Photos by Ray Potes, Boogie, Ed Templeton, Angela Boatwright, and lots, lots more. As always, a must-have. —saelan twerdy HAMBURGEREYES.COM

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inspirationbound.

Motorcycles are more popular than god. And why shouldn’t they be? There is no finer way to travel, and as awful as it sounds, nothing comes as close to freedom as two wheels and an engine. For a few years now, Emerica has tapped into this, and gotten wild across the great frontier of the states. Despite sore asses and wind burned faces, they even manage to muster up the energy to turn it into a legit skateboard tour, and speaking from experience, the road legs are no joke. This year’s trip from Denver to Chicago, Ed Templeton found himself cozily traveling along in a sidecar (or was it a trailer), his little light capturing box beside him the whole way. The results are contained within the pages of this book. Ed has done a helluva job documenting not only the team, but the America that inspires such a trip. One must take care when looking at such a book, to keep your cool, otherwise you may just find yourself quitting your job, financing a Harley Davidson, tying a bandana around your faces, and never turning back. Good times. Good times indeed… —dylan doubt EMERICASKATE.COM

HUG THE GRAY

mat o’brien (seems) I got in a heated arguement with a good friend of mine over this book. You see, this friend of mine, although I love her, she is painfully stupid. She couldn’t understand why this book would exisist and it was beyond her that I would speak highly of it. I started to explain to her that the illustrations are anecdotal commentaries on everyday things and that’s what made them so great that they were bound into this wonderfully put together book. I think it’s the hand written prose, or collage elements that strike the dim minded like Felicia the wrong way. So that’s when I decided to hit her with the book... literally. I’ve fucking had it with her. This book is fantastic and so is my frizbee forehand. —brad rotter

SEEMSBOOKS.COM


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denim.


left to right denim / shoes

TOY MACHINE ruffian / OSIRIS chino RVCA lizzy / DC chelsea APRIL77 joey colordrive / DC x NEW ERA volcano se REASON knicker blocker / ADIDAS forum low CASETTE skinny / SUPRA vulk low FOURSTAR gonz chino / VANS half cab CIRCA select / Emerica reynolds 3 DC legging plumeria / LAKAI mj select RVCA olive twiggy / NIKE trainer dunk hi INDEPENDENT tt salvage 121 / FALLEN rising sun se SMALLTOWN camaro / DC volcano lux BILLABONG mona / VANS era

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Super Champion, ‘the new skateboarding?’

wordsby rhianon bader photosby dylan doubt

For someone who has never had a “real job” in his whole life, professional snowboarder/artist Tyler Lepore’s decision to open a track-specific bicycle shop, located in one of North America’s most overtly crime-ridden and tragic neighbourhoods, is a risk that many wouldn’t take.

The shop has been almost two years in the making. The first obstacle Lepore had was finding a location that was central, but also affordable. He finally found a place in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where drug addiction, mental illness, prostitution and theft are the day-to-day existence for many.

As a longtime skateboarder, Lepore points out that a significant portion of the people picking up on track/fixed gear bikes lately are also skaters. Not surprisingly, Super Champion’s only other employee, Trevor Dunnet, is also a shredder.

That said, anybody who has ever ridden a bicycle with no brakes in Vancouver traffic knows that this embracement of uncertainty is part of what makes life worth living.

“It’s like I’m the visitor here, you know… I’m in their neighbourhood,” says Lepore, adding that since fixing up the space he’s gotten positive feedback from residents who are happy to see a new business in a part of town that is full of empty shopfronts.

“People always ask [what the attraction is] and I say it’s a purist thing. It’s not for everyone. Riding a bike with no brakes, to me, is extremely therapeutic. I don’t think of anything else when I’m on my bike,” explains Lepore, sitting amid invoices, tools and old bicycle posters behind the counter of his shop Super Champion.

Track bikes are becoming an almost mainstream trend in big cities around the world and Lepore recognizes the hipfactor of his shop. Instead of taking on a negative skepticism towards people jumping on the bandwagon, he says “trend or not, there’s nothing wrong with people getting on a bicycle.”

“I didn’t open the shop to make a million bucks. I opened a shop so that I could meet good people and give them a fuckin’ rad place to go,” he says, adding that Super Champion may be the only track-specific shop in Canada.

Track bikes are a study in simplicity. Because of the fixed-gear system, where the rider is always pedaling and must lock their legs up to stop, the bikes are lightweight and technically minimal – which is often made up for with striking, individualist accessorizing. “I wanted a shop that mimicked track bikes, so I wanted it to look clean – I didn’t want to have 8000 things hanging all over the wall. I wanted the frames to look like they were floating…” 26

facesnspaces.

His customers so far range from messengers who come by on thrashed bikes, graphic designers and recreational riders mostly interested in the aesthetics, through to those who actually ride their bikes at the track. “It’s kinda like skateboarding… some kids just do ledges and some dudes skate bowls – well, [on track bikes] some dudes cruise around the streets, some dudes just ride in the velodrome, and some kids get track bikes and straight up do tricks all day long.”

Though he admits that subcultures are often ruined as they become more popular, Lepore is not all that worried. “There’s still always gonna be that aspect where you’re riding a bike with no brakes. Anything that’s really good is hard – like skateboarding.” Super Champion carries frames by Bridgestone, Vivalo, Giro, Soma, Bare Knuckle, Samson and more. The shop also has Re-Load bags (Seattle), SAG bags (Tokyo), Cadence clothing and a large selection of components.

SUPERCHAMPIONSHOP.COM


STICKERS@TIMEBOMB.BB.CA

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Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait a film by Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno. wordsby joni murphy

For a contemporary art event, this audience is a bit unusual. Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno – the two artists who created the film – are not exactly known for making crowd-pleasing work. One of Gordon’s emblematic pieces, for example, is a 24-hour long silent revision of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. In it, a character can take ten minutes just to open a door. Strangely beautiful and kind of hypnotic? Yes. A fun summer spectacle? Not so much. From the description alone, Zidane also sounds like a film that might be nice to look at for awhile but not necessarily a blockbuster. As the lights go down I wonder if this audience is prepared for boredom. Like a worthwhile game, the film is based on some rules that are exact enough to be a challenge, but loose enough for creative maneuvering. The filmmakers created a film that considers the game of soccer through the lens of just one player, the idolized and criticized French-Algerian star Zinadine Zidane. It also becomes the study of this one man through the lens of his game. They limited themselves to footage taken from one game on one day, Real Madrid vs. Villareal, April 23rd 2005.They decided to train their 17 cameras just on Zidane. His actions determined the style and scope of the film (it lasts almost 90 minutes, ending when he gets a red card). Often Zidane is the only thing in a shot, giving a feeling that he is alone on the field and in his mind. He 28

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“the event is not

fills the screen with his pacing and pausing, sprinting and assessing, always deep in mental and physical concentration. At every moment he seems to be watching for invisible spaces of opportunity to open up. While their subject determines much of the film, Gordon and Parreno play elegantly with the possibilities film offers. At some points, they shoot Zidane from so far away he’s just a spot of white, almost engulfed by the glowing stadium and dark night. Then the camera zooms so close each drop of sweat shimmers distinctly. The sound editing, like the visual choices, furthers this exploration of proximity and distance. Zidane’s breathing is sometimes as powerful as the roar of 80,000 fans. More than just the form, Zidane defines a tone for the film. He is famous for his impenetrable expression and unadorned playing style and this translates into clean, bold images that get at the philosophic elements of the game rather than the theatrical or purely physical aspects. Every fiber of his being is fixated on the matterof-fact yet fantastically difficult work of the game. He betrays almost no emotion in the face of success or failure. Fans chant and scream, teammates gallop by, digital screens circling the field flash ads for multinational companies, but all this is merely a background. All this organized yet chaotic action only serves to highlight his reserve and control.

There are very few words in the film, just a few instances of Zidane’s impressionistic reflections on his state of mind on the field taken from interviews the filmmakers conducted. Sounds seem more vivid, he says, action unfolds at different speeds. But of all the quotes, there is one statement that stands out; worth noting because it seems to call in to question the film and the very nature of Zidane’s profession. “The event,” he states, “is not necessary.” What a funny thing to hear from a man famous for pulling off virtuosic physical acts before roaring crowds – interesting to consider while sitting in a packed movie theater. Of course there are countless arguments one could make to refute this claim. The desire to experience an event pervades almost every aspect of life. Why do we go to movies, watch sports, or look at art, if not to be part of an event? However rather than this being a random, tossed off statement, it points to the exciting tension at the core of the film. More than a portrait of a mythologized athlete, Zidane is a close look at a man at work. Gordon and Parreno shift our focus away from the game’s spectacular moments and towards Zidane’s sustained effort. Effort that is at once banal and astounding for its constancy. At the game’s halftime, in the middle of the film, focus shifts from the stadium in order to show some other events taking place on April 23, 2005, that “average day”. Over

necessary”

image courtesy of Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery.

It’s a humid summer twilight, and the line of people waiting to see Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait snakes around the block. Toronto’s Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery could not have chosen a better time or better neighborhood to present this art/sport documentary, with Canada ten days into its first time hosting the FIFA under-20 world cup tournament. Within a ten-block radius of the movie theater, there are dozens of Portuguese barbeque joints, Italian cafés, and sports bars all flickering with televised soccer. In line are kids in jerseys, grandmothers, exuberant cadres of young guys, along-side art event regulars. It’s quite possible more than one person in the crowd is sporting a “Soccer is Life” t-shirt. Once inside the packed theater, a few start chanting, “Zi-dane! Zi-dane!” and amid the whispers and squeak of seats comes the occasional aluminum click of someone opening a beer.

news footage from that day a subtitle notes that the ivory-billed woodpecker, thought to be extinct since 1920, was spotted in the United States. Another subtitle tells us Gordon’s son had a fever that day. We also see the disturbing and disturbingly familiar sight of an Iraqi car bomb that exploded, killing nine people. The filmmakers freeze this footage just long enough to draw attention to a kid who appears to be running from the camera and towards the smoking blast. He is wearing a Zidane jersey, a provocative little collision of disparate realities. But the filmmakers don’t press the point. As soon as half-time ends we are back to the game. A game always exists in imaginary space as well as physical space. The same could be said for art. In these imaginary spaces people try to make sense of real events, real possibilities. The interchange between the two is a realm of constant debate and interpretation. In both spaces there are boring games and exceptional ones, predictable wins and inspired losses. Great players have defining moments and off days. What is most important though is how devoted one is to playing. At the end of Zidane, after the lights have come up and the audience streams onto the street I try to divine what people thought of it, but people’s faces are difficult to read. I imagine many thought it boring. And the film is, I guess, but only in that richly detailed, stop-start, inconclusive way that life is boring.


30 YEARS OF RADNESS DC and SE Racing are joining forces to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original P.K. Ripper bike. The main component of this multi-faceted project is the re-release of 150 replica P.K. Rippers that have been updated with modern components. Each bike has a numbered custom plate on the seat tube and is finished in a gunmetal matte black with black and silver gloss numbered plates.

WINNERS!

GIRL/CHOCOLATE PRIZE PACK WINNING ENTRY The winner of our package(ing) contest is Brennan Christopher Black from Edmonton, AB. The dress-up tape has supplied everyone in the office with countless hours of fun, except when it got stuck in the tape player. It was only then that we re-read Brennan’s note and saw that there was nothing on it because his lazy, skateboarding buddy Liam didn’t get around to putting any footage on it. Just for that maybe Brennan won’t share any of his prizes from Girl and Chocolate with him.

Another limited release aspect of the anniversary project is the DC/P.K. Gatsby shoe. 1500 pairs of shoes featuring SE wings embroidered on the side, a P.K. Ripper heel tab, packaged in a unique, custom, foil print box, lined with tissue paper, printed with the schematic blueprint of the bike are going to be snapped up by collectors and fans. DCSHOES.COM

YOU’RE MY DADDY! Jason Grainger of Saskatoon, SK won a free deck from Father Skateboards. All he had to do was be the first person to add us as a friend to his Facebook and Myspace page. Done and done.

RE-FRESHED JIVE These are four tees from Freshjive’s Resurgent Series. The graphics of some familiar items are from some of the first t-shirts put out by the brand. Keep an eye out in a store near you. FRESHJIVE.COM 30

anthrax.

CAN I BUM A BEARING? Cliché has come up with some innovative packaging for their bearings. Starting with the Abec 3’s, little dudes get little setups to stoke them on the ride home to set them up. The 5s come in a metal casing resembling a 8mm film canister — right down to the subtle detail of the cardboard it comes with, this is smart packaging! Then the swiss-made precision Abec 7s are the big cheese in the pile. Lastly, the Titaniums are aptly packaged like cigarettes — probably because these bearings could kill the weak or inexperienced skater. And they won’t just send you buzzing the first time you skate them either, these suckers are durable enough to keep kicking your ass if you aren’t carefull. They come with a Teflon lube tube and speed rings. CLICHESKATE.COM

HOWARD SELECTS x FOURSTAR These shoes and tee are a collabo project that chronicles past Fourstar logos. Can you remember when each one was produced and released?

REMEMBER SHANE AND SMILE! Blind has produced this deck in honour of the memory of Shane Cross. It exemplifies the late skater’s positive attitude and is a constant reminder from him to live your life to the fullest. All proceeds from the board are going to the Cross family. SHANECROSS.NET


TIMEBOMB DIST.: 604.251.1097

A

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2

M THE ARTO 2. DESIGNED, TESTED AND APPROVED BY ARTO SAARI FOR BOARD FEEL, GRIP AND HEEL PROTECTION. ETNIESSKATE.CO


RIP ROB PIONTEK.

NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH

SHOOT TO THRILL - SUPER 8 COMPETITION Last year the Shoot to Thrill teams faced nasty Vancouver weather and still managed to produce some killer tricks and photographs. This year the pressure is on the filmers. They have been called upon to build their teams and get the job done. From September 7-9 the Shoot to Thrill teams are working hard to get the best Super 8 footage and photographs possible. The teams are after the $3000.00 cash prize and the title of Shoot to Thrill Champions. Each team consists of a filmer, photographer, and 1-3 skaters who will produce and edit down their footage into a 3-minute clip that will be used in the final contest montage of tricks, spots, and general debauchery. Photos from the 3 days will be published in our next issue. Keep your eye on the website for updates or join the Shoot to Thrill group on Facebook. COLORMAGAZINE.CA

OUR TYPICAL SUBSCRIBER We got this email from a subscriber. It was an answer to the question “where did you hear about Color?” I think he fits right in. “hey there..before i get to this tale ..here’s another piece..of ...i recently purchased “when i die”..hunter s.thompson doc. (from wayne ewing).....perhaps......any way...they wanted to know how i found out about them...long ..drawn out..heavy winded..much like this..blah blah blah...the person making info request..her name was...but not as in clan macleod..as in is this the person to whom i am addressing??so i thot.. whoa..far out man..or should that be farrr out..man.??any way the jest of it is..i was checking out heroin and saw the blurrrb..checked you out..went away..came back later.. realeyes..hey ya dumb old fuck..like rayne..skull..etc..local.. support this...like.. and i get to you this convoluted bit of mystory.....so jen mac...internet..heroin...i am a 55 year old single parent, skate real bad.hurt real good..(on and offa boards for ..jeeesus mre tan 40..).etc..low income ,long hair....i like cool stuff...”

This Fall, in 10 cities around the world, Nike is premiering their first ever skate ‘film’. This long time coming production took over 3 years to shoot and involves more then the usual skate tricks and travel shots. The company is keeping the concept of the film pretty close to their chest and even those involved in the making of it are still not really sure what its all about. You can view bits and pieces of it on the website where you’ll get a glimpse of a house on wheels, rolling through a creepy, abandoned desert town, set to eerie someone’s-about-to-be-slaughtered horror movie music. Look for the entire Nike team to test out their acting chops in this one. But don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of skating too. NIKESKATEBOARDING.COM

SLAVE SKATEBOARDS Someone at Black Box distribution is certainly good at keeping secrets. When Slave dropped it was much to the surprise of us all, including many of the Black Box family. I wouldn’t be surprised if pros Matt Mumford and Jon Allie still don’t know anything about it. Joining those two fellas are Joe Goemann, Anthony Schultz, Pat Burke, and Irish schralper, Conhuir Lynn. This is a bit of a shot in the dark, but we’re guessing that Zero art director and RVCA pal, Ben Horton is the genius behind this splash of colour in a world predominantly dominated by the black and the white.

Just a few short hours before this issue went to press, we received the sad news that Toronto’s Rob Piontek was killed in a hit and run. The details at this point are hazy, so instead of dwelling on what may or may not have happened, we just want to take the time to remember what an amazing person Rob was. Outside of being an incredible skater, Rob was a really good friend to a lot us. He was the guy that everyone wanted to be around — he had an incredible love for skating and life that was contagious. You couldn’t be around Rob without laughing and smiling, which is what we’ll all miss the most. Our condolences to Rob’s family and friends. We’ll miss you, bud.

ZOO YORK x KID KOALA Zoo York Canada and DJ Kid Koala got together to produce this one-of-a-kind track bike. There is an illustration of “Skid”, a re-occurring character from Kid Koala’s graphic novels on the custom paint “Cadillac Escalade Pearl” frame. As for the origin of the idea for the bike, one of the creators, Paul Labonte says, “I secretly think everybody wants to see me get wasted on a bike with no gears or breaks.”

WORLDWIDESLAVE.COM

NEW ERA OPENS IN TORONTO

Adding to their flagship stores in New York, London (UK), and Buffalo, New Era has opened their latest and largest flagship shop. The Toronto store features lots of collaborative efforts, Toronto exclusives, and crossover caps. With 3000 sq. feet and hats lining every wall, from kids to collectors, there’s something for everyone. 202 Queen Street, T.O.

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www.supradistribution.com


Lavendar Flag, carpet on board (4’ x 5’), 2007

Les Ramsay. words bynicholas brown

V

ancouver’s dramatic transformation in preparation for the Olympics in 2010 has seen countless buildings bulldozed, facades ripped and remade, and streets repaved in a bid to make the city appear ultramodern before the world’s gaze. While it would be natural to lament what amounts to an ongoing destruction

of history, there are those who have used these developments for their own creative pursuits. For Les Ramsay, hoarded scrap wood and carpet from Vancouver home renovation sites become materials with which to create a nostalgic vision that powerfully contradicts the ideology of newness that is everywhere around him. These discarded refuse objects are not only rich in formal properties, but bring with them existing aesthetic principles that act as catalysts for the artist’s investigations. The aesthetics of home décor, such as era-specific colour combinations, patterns and materials, not only guide Ramsay’s process, but imbue the finished products with a sense of nostalgia. That these works so often resemble flags and pennants is all the more relevant to the context of the upcoming Olympics – their reference to nationhood provides alternative to the sterilized, ahistorical vision of concrete and glass that continues to dominate Vancouver’s urban transformation.

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artisan.


Mike Mo Capaldi fakie 360 kickflip www.royalskateboardtruck.com / www.supradistribution.com

daryl angel / mike mo capaldi / mike carroll / justin eldridge / danny garcia / andre genovesi / kerry getz / austyn gillette / jerry hsu / raymond molinar / cale nuske / jose rojo / brad staba / kevin taylor canada / jai ball / carl labelle / devin morrison


For a long time now we’ve been given the tools to look hard with dark imagery and very ‘safe’ hardgoods design. If the summer wasn’t enough to loosen up your repertoire — loosen your trucks this fall and let it all ride... 5BORO NYC Big Apple A Day SHORTY’S Doh-Doh bushings

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SKATE MENTAL Urban Delight PLAN B Pat Duffy Axe SPITFIRE s3 core Kevin Long 52 PLAN B Axe

CHOCOLATE Justin Eldridge, Chex Series VENTURE Rasta Low

ELEMENT Chad Tim Tim, Test Pattern ZERO Green Stipes

ZERO Allie, 80s Eyeball POWELL Thin Ribs


Almost Daewon, Swirly ELEMENT Atchley Animals ROYAL Evo ROYAL Logo Wrap Evolution

ZOO YORK Artist Series Razauno MOSAIC The Motivator DGK Splatter RICTA Super Crystals in Crystal Purple KRUX III Streetplant Pink THUNDER Lil’Pinky

THUNDER Shockers .producttoss

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PETER RAMONDETTA backside wallride [ o ] faucher.

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RYAN BLAXALL kickflip nosegrind nollie flip

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comber.


JOHN WHITE halfcab flip

caissie.

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LEE YANKOU frontside ollie wallride

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FORREST KIRBY kickflip backside tailslide [ o ] cronan.

miami, florida.

words byforrest kirby

photosby kathy lo

Welcome to Miami, the most tropical place in America. I call it home, and others call it party central. It is one of those places that when you say: “hey, I am going to Miami,” or, “dude, I was in Miami…” it rings a certain bell in most peoples heads. Those who have experienced a vacation here definitely have a story from their visit. Whether or not the story will end in a positive note is unknown to all but the traveler. My first memories were horrible, but there is something about this place that brings me back every time. It’s been my home for 6 years now, and I have a few helpful hints that will steer you in the direction of an amazing trip. All of these tips are exclusive insights to bring you joy in one of the brightest cities on the east coast. Enjoy, and proceed with caution. —F.O.R.E. Leave the white suit at home.

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EATS. La Sandwicherie 229 14th st, miami beach Check it out for lunch, dinner, or after tha club. Open all the time. Outdoor seating, and i know you’ll love this classic spot. Nemo 100 collins ave For an amazing dining experience, try Nemo. Nice atmosphere, and tasty grub. My favorite restaurant on the beach. It gets busy, so you might want to make a reservation. Athens Juice Bar 214 washington ave A little something for the health nuts. They have smoothies and snacks. Get the coconut milk... It’s to die for. Daves Cafe lincoln rd and meridian

Order the cafe con leche. Grab a coffee, and post up for some people watching. Warning: this coffee is highly addictive! aka liquid crack... It will assure you a load of energy to party to the wee hours of the night.

CHILL. Second St. Beach Hanging out here is a must. You will see: locals, topless sun bathing women, party goers (usually wasted from beer, and unbelievably sun burned), and an array of beautiful people. This is a good spot to be to see cruise ships leaving for sunset

Check this place for local live talent.

SHRALPS.

cruises. Chill here till the sun is down. Nikki Beach 1 ocean dr Head here after the beach for some evening refreshments. Walk up the access path from the beach. Standard Hotel 40 island ave Nice place to chill. They have a cool bar, good food, and it is amazing place to see the sunset.

PARTY. Depending on what night you are trying to party there is something for everyone. Buck 15 1661 meridian ave Mansion 1235 washington ave Moki on 23rd street across from the museum The Room 100 collins ave Purdy Lounge 1811 purdy ave For a sunday night classic party hosted by miami’s finest joel mienholz. Jazid 1342 washington ave.

Ghetto Banks And White Spot Some of my skatespots are too gangsta to reveal. Meaning you must be down with some of the locals to ride. Epic spots none the less. Mlk ledges Was the spot of all spots, but now skate proofed. Downtown, lurking around, and finding things on your own is part of the adventure. You will see the skate history unfold. Skate utopia no doubt.

WARM UP SPOT.

42 Nd street and alton road in south beach. Other than that go cruise around downtown, or find some locals to guide you in the direction your heart desires.

CHOPPING. M.I.A. Skateshop 229 9th st miami beach Holla at ya boyz.

LOC’ Ozzy, lil paul, paul diaz, you know the M.I.A. crew, son.

SCARFACE QUOTE. Say hello to my little friend.

WHY MIAMI? The ocean, the air, the attitude, and the cafe con leches.

Nautilius Middle School

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photo by sandro, t-shirt by david ko, hand modeling by dylan doubt

Create the next classic skate tee. Design a graphic for a tee shirt that will stand the test of time and gain legendary status like the tees shown in Skate Tees (p68). Send in something that in 20 years will be a collectors item, cause feelings of nostalgia and make people say ‘remember that…’

One graphic will be selected, produced and sold on the Color Magazine website. The top 5 entries will also get a free subscription to Color. The only rule is that you must include the title “Color” somewhere within the design. The winner will be paid for their design and promoted through the magazine. They will probably be sent a fruit basket or something too. *note: entries should not already applied to a shirt - as pictured. Entries will be judged on concept, originality, and overall appeal. Mail in your original illustration to fourcorner publishing inc., 105-321 Railway St, Vancouver, BC, V6A 1A4 or email a jpg of your entry to contest@colormagazine.ca

DEADLINE: November 10, 2007

All submissions will not be returned and are considered the property of Color Magazine. Color reserves the right to use the graphic in future print and online projects.


Items that can make and break your trip. words and photosby jeff comber

Y

our ticket is bought and paid for. Your friends all have their tickets too and the accommodations are lined up. All you can think about now is all the new spots, new people, and the good times headed your way. The things that get overlooked in these situations are a supporting cast of inanimate objects that will make your trip a blast or a bust. Some of these objects are a must to make sure that you arrive at your destination in the first place. Losing or forgetting your Passport, ID, or plane/train tickets can fuck up your plans in the worst way. The last thing you want to do when all your friends have gone off to see what the new city has to offer is make the trip to the Canadian consulate to prove that you are in fact yourself and need a new passport.

Jesse Landen had to block out screaming sirens, amateur graffiti, and the fact that a dog pissed on the ledge to get this kickflip backside 5-0. Nice one “White Devil�.

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.materialconfessions

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Ryan Machan packed a duffle bag full of wifebeaters for this trip. He ripped hard the whole time, beating down gnarly tricks instead of spouses. 5-0 grind 270 revert.

It can be pretty interesting seeing the variety of objects that skaters will bring. They usually have one thing in common; the possession makes them feel like they are at home despite being far from it. The guy who brought his own hypo-allergenic memory foam pillow to the hotel might catch some flack for looking like a pussy but you know that he is probably getting the best sleep. Then there’s the type that can’t even roll if their kit doesn’t match their shoes… So precious bag space is sacrificed to bring their entire hat collection or further. And if a dude is on a vitamin supplement program be prepared to hear the rattle of pill bottles as they proceed to set up their own personal GNC vitamin and minerals outlet in the room. Other items are needed to distract and entertain you on those long travel times or when hanging out in a random hotel. Books, ipods, and portable games easily do the trick but sometimes this object could take the form of a bottle, flask, or pipe. This can cause problems at times, especially when a run-in with the law occurs – if your skateboard trip is at all decent you will have one of these.

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You know the old saying “Objects were made to be broken” or something like that? Anyway, shit happens. Things are going to break while on your voyage. Sometimes by accident and sometimes on purpose. And sometimes it’s others belongings. The satisfying smash sound can bring a tear to your eye from how funny it is or how devastating it is. Skate spots, bars, and hotels will not be stoked on the path of destruction that will follow on your heels. So before you take your next trip think carefully about the items that you are bringing. What possession would help you make sense of a strange land? What unusual item have you become dependent on and can’t afford to leave behind? Whatever it may be, don’t take these materials for granted. Good or bad, they will determine the experiences that you will return home with. But take solace because even the bad trips will get funnier as the years go by.


Get it on.

the authorized dealer list:

Here are some of our favorite shops authorized to sell Color. Next time you need to pick up the the current issue, pay a visit to one of these independent retailers.

Berkley 501 Skateboarding 2500 Telegraph Ave Boston Orchard 2500 Telegraph Ave Brooklyn KCDC 90 North 11th St Calgary Group Seven 203-2115 4 Street SW Halifax Pro Skates 5222 Blowers St Los Angeles Brooklyn Projects 7664 Melrose Ave. New York aNYthing 51 Hester St.

Ottawa Top of the World 158 Rideau St Sacramento FTC 1006 J street San Francisco Huf 816 Sutter St. Saskatchewan The Tiki Room 2323 11th Ave Seattle Goods 1112 Pike St Toronto Livestock 116 Spadina unit G1 Vancouver Antisocial 2425 Main St Winnipeg Sk8 225-1 Forks Market Rd

fourcornerpublishinginc. 321 RAILWAY STREET, STUDIO 105 VANCOUVER, BC V6A 1A4 CANADA


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tor o n t o .

Despite staying in one of Toronto’s most unique and culturally diverse neighborhoods, Falla could never pass up the ‘south-of-the-border’ taste of Taco Bell. One night, that meant braving the drive-thru with a van full of seven guys who all had separate, special orders. Luckily, Danny Falla cruised through this 180 up Switch Bigspin Manual in half the time it took us to get our fries supremes. “Hold the sour cream!”

words and photosby andrew norton

Let’s be honest, the difference between the United States and Canada in terms of day-to-day life is almost indistinguishable. Obviously there are a few major political and geographic differences, but for the most part you could take any red blooded Yankee and plunk them down on Canadian soil and they would be able to function just as easily. Maybe that’s why the dudes from 5boro feel so at home in Toronto. It’s like ‘New York Lite’. It has the same east coast flavour as their native metropolis but it’s a bit more laid back. Of course for most skaters it doesn’t take much to feel at home, all they need are some fresh spots and a place on the floor to crash. So as I toured these visitors around my hometown, I not only tried to show them all the best spots the city had to offer, I also tried to brush them up on some of the finer subtleties that make our great land different from our superpower neighbour to the south.

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Chris Trembley was telling me about a gnarly slam he took while in California. Broke all these bones, hit his head, the whole nine. I asked the obvious question about his hospital visit. I was shocked when he told me he didn’t go in because he doesn’t have insurance. Damn! They may have more snack food down there, but I’ll take universal health care any day. Good thing Trembley told me that story after he did this Wallride, otherwise I couldn’t bear to watch him hurl his un-insured carcass over the gap. backside wallride

What began as an icebreaker and turned into sheer habit, every chance I got I would ask “do they have _____ in the States?” Whether it be food, personal hygiene products or even traffic laws, if the answer was no, well then dammit I had to show them what they were missing. All of a sudden all the mundane things around the city were cast in a new light for me as I showed the guys the wonders that make Toronto unique. Much like Canadian skaters flocking to Waffle Houses, Harvey’s became our location of choice when fine dining was required. “Hey do you guys know what ‘Frings’ are? No?!” I even had poutine again for the first time in years. Whether it was a sense of nationalistic pride or simply plaque collecting in my arteries, I couldn’t help but feel something special inside as I gulped down that last bit of cheese curd and fry. While I was showing them how we live up in Canada, the guys gave me a taste of how things work down in New York. I would meet them every morning at noon, which for

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starters is pretty much the 6 a.m. of the skate world. As I wandered through Adrift skateshop where Lyndsey Westfall was nice enough to house seven sweaty dudes on the floor for five days, the crew would slowly arise. As they awoke, stories would slowly trickle out about the previous night. “Hey man, I got hit in the face with a 40 bottle last night,” Ed Driscoll said to me as if it happens everyday. “Oh man, are you still skating today?” I asked as I examined the marks on his face. “Yeah, man,” he replied. Sure enough he was in the van and ready to rip after a few Advils. The same thing went on every day I went to skate with them: I was regaled with stories from the night before. Cops, angry scenesters, pedophiles or 40 bottles, whatever the tale was the boys were out and ready to rip earlier than most skaters are even waking up. As our two cultures continued to bond, the running joke of the trip seemed to be sarcastic questions to each other about our home countries. Most of the time they would laugh as I made up some joke about how Canadians use reusable condoms to help meet the Kyoto accord. Unfortunately, this


I had heard rumors that Americans don’t have Aero or Kit-Kat bars. After talking to the guys, it became clear that they are in fact deprived of the chocolaty wonder of these fine confections. I guess America is light years ahead with their chocolaty snacks, anyways. Fortunately Ed Driscoll already has the lightness of air bubbles and the crispy snap required to get into this backside nosegrind.

became more like Rick Mercer’s “Talking to Americans” segment than an innocent joke. I soon realized I could tell these guys just about anything and they would believe me. “Well, that’s what you get for visiting during Canada’s rainy season,” I said when a freak storm ripped through the city on the last day. Obviously all these comments were in good fun until one night when Joe Toomanian casually asked me “What is Canada anyway?” “What?” I asked. “I mean… it’s not a country… what is it?” I stared at him, not sure whether I should laugh or continue the conversation. “How do you mean?” I continued. “You know… that South Park song from the movie.” Obviously the next thing I knew I burst into laughter. But upon looking at his face, instead of seeing the joy of a dude who just cracked a joke, I saw nervous laughter. A joke taken too far or an honest mistake? Either way, the theme of the whole trip suddenly became blatantly obvious as the famous South Park song rang in my ears: “Blame Canada.”

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words byquinn omori illustration byben tour

“I

wish there were more hours in the day,” exclaims Nick Catchdubs (born Nick Barat) when I reach him by phone. The N.Y.C. based DJ and producer just left his ‘day job’ as an editor at Fader Magazine a week earlier, but he’s already found more than enough to fill his plate. Together with the equally busy A-Trak – who moonlights as Kanye West’s live DJ between his own gigs – he’s adding ‘record label exec’ to his already impressive resume. The pair of tastemakers has teamed up to bring the world some of their favourite new sounds via their new imprint, Fool’s Gold Records. The two musical minds first met while DJing at a party that New York promoter Roxy was putting on and it went from there. “We’d talk about artists that we knew or knew of and about projects that weren’t really handled right – ‘this label should have done this’ or ‘what if this producer worked with this guy’ – like this kind of label fantasy camp,” says A-Trak, who was ready to move on from his previous label project, Audio Research. “We had this music that was great, that I just wanted to start getting to people. So, it was basically to the point where I wanted to put out a Kid Sister single,” explains A-Trak, referring to what would become Fool’s Gold’s first release. “Me and my brother [Chromeo’s Dave1] were thinking if we should revive Audio Research or if I should just start something. It was ten years down for Audio Research, and Nick [Catchdubs] and I had already been talking about trying to start something together. That became the perfect pretext to wrap up the old label and start something new.” With some help from Dave1 and visual artist Dust La Rock that “something new” soon produced its first release, Kid Sister’s “Control” 12 inch.

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“It seemed like a cool opportunity at the time to really put our stamp on the kind of music that we were playing and the music that was emerging from this scene that we were a part of,” says Catchdubs, explaining the community aspect that underpins the label. “I really think the thing that makes the label cool is this sort of strength in numbers aspect. We’re working with people that we respect creatively and also care about as friends. It’s great. It’s a really fulfilling role to have.” Fool’s Gold extends far beyond friends helping friends, however. Like any great label, the focus is on the music.

“In every city there’s a handful of DJs that play this bootleg-inspired, sometimes-rap, sometimes-electronic music and we wanted to crystallize that.”

“You can understand it as part of a context and know that [Kid Sister] came up along with Flosstradamus, but we’re looking for artists that can stand on their own,” says A-Trak. While Kid Sister is only one example, the idea that an artist should transcend their local scene is something that characterizes all of their signings. “The Cool Kids is sort of straight rap, but still they sound fresh,” he notes of one of the label’s upcoming releases. Other forthcoming records include singles by the Bay Area’s Trackademics (“He’s a really talented producer and MC that has this new wave/R&B approach,” says Catchdubs), Boston DJ/ producer Sammy Bananas, French electro artist Kavinsky, and select cuts from A-Trak’s recent rap-meets-electro mixtape, Dirty South Dance. They’re quickly building a roster that could be celebrated for its diversity, but there’s a common thread that runs through the Fool’s Gold family: they can all rock a party. “In our first little label bio I was name checking stuff like Sleeping Bag [Records] and Nervous Records; older, kind of, DJ-friendly record labels that put out a lot of different music that all kind of made sense,” says Catchdubs of Fool’s Gold’s focus on club anthems of any genre. “In every city there’s a handful of DJs that play this bootleginspired, sometimes-rap, sometimes-electronic music and we wanted to crystallize that,” adds A-Trak, speaking to the ahead-of-the-curve scenes that they’re tapping into. The pair’s forward-looking approach to music also extends into the business side of things. “I want to do as much word of mouth growth as possible,” explains Catchdubs. “Obviously people are going to want to come in and take it to places that we can’t do on our own, but I think that the spirit of discovery is crucial to the label.” Embracing that spirit of discovery includes taking a rather liberal approach to the internet. “Every label has to deal with [illegal downloading]. Once people know that they can get music for free they want it for free. But ultimately, everyone I know that downloads music spends more on music than they did before – it’s just more music total,” he notes, before confidently adding, “We’re not trying to put out disposable music.” MYSPACE.COM/FOOLSGOLDRECS

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a dialogue with skateboarding’s leading artists and trend setters:

Craig Metzger | Andrew Pommier | PD | Geoff McFetridge | Andy Jenkins | Matt Irving | Andy Howell by roger allen

Who were the artists that inspired you to create art for skateboard companies? CM: I was very inspired by the early Santa Cruz [Jim Phillips] graphics. I was also inspired by early Powell Peralta [VCJ] graphics. In terms of more recent artists I would say Don [Pendleton] when he was at Alien Workshop and Evan Hecox at Chocolate. AP: I have the stock answer for that question. I can’t ignore the influence of people like Mark Gonzales, Neil Blender and Natas [Kaupas]. A few kinda randoms are Chris Miller and Tod Swank and in some weird way I’d have to say GSD. Those were the guys that I could get a handle on as far as their art style, someone like VCJ was too mind blowing for me to ever think there was room for me to ever do stuff for skate companies. I guess I could relate more to the pros who drew and did graphics instead of those behind the scenes (who at that time never received much attention.) AJ: Well, I was into Neil Blender back before I did any skateboard related graphics... I liked the idea that he did his own stuff—and I liked his drawing style and humour. Andy Takakjian, the artist who did the first Mark Gonzales graphic for Vision. I also really liked Tod Swank’s sketchy style when he was doing the Justin Lovely stuff.

What are the quintessential skate -t’s? PD: 70s Sims tees and jerseys, anything ripped, dirty and bloody. CM: Any Bones Brigade tee and the Screaming Hand 68

skatees.

graphic. The reason I liked Santa Cruz graphics so much was that the graphic was an evolution of a previous graphic. For example the Rob Roskopp graphics. I also liked how the graphics were sort of dark and tough even though they could be considered cartoonish. Jim Phillips was the inspiration behind the graphic direction of Instant Winner. MI: To be honest, I think the huge graphic shirts from the late 80s best sum up the quintessential skate tee. It’s sort of an iconic style that we helped create, but it’s also due to surfing. Everything that has happened since follows a formula similar to regular t-shirts. AP: For me, it’s the Animal Chin era t-shirts being produced by Powell Peralta that are quintessential tees. I had my first real introduction to the skate world through the Animal Chin video and I wanted to have a part of it. There were some really nice simple things being done at the time, back and front graphics were pretty hot. So with a lot of the Powell Peralta stuff you got two for one (in a sense). GM: Independent Built to Grind. I think mainly you see guys in Duall-y trucks wearing those though. Girl bathroom logo tee. Thrasher logo shirt (although this is Dually territory again), and Prevent This Tragedy shirt. Batman shirt a la Steve Caballero. Any t-shirt where you cut off the sleeves and use them for head gaskets and wristbands.

How do you describe your style? How has it changed over time? PD: Bold and simple, representative of the way we live... I don’t think it’s changed much.

GM: I like to be content-driven. Even in the simple things I do I like the simplicity to be about the idea being clear. How do you describe your process? How has it changed over time? AJ: It hasn’t really changed much at all. I sketch stuff out in a sketch book, then, when I think it’s clean enough, I’ll go to the computer. The only difference between then and now is the use of a scanner and computer. Back in the day it was rubylithe and Exacto knives with spec-ed out colour. As far as the idea process goes, it’s more likely than not to be a collaborative thing—an idea that comes out of a funny lunch meeting or some similar gathering of kooks.

Copyrighted characters and logos, otherwise known as “rip-off graphics” were huge in the 90s, what do you think of this era? MI: I loved it and I really wish I had more shirts from back in those days. I think this is something skateboarding helped push to the masses, the parody logo shirt that is ever so popular today. I remember having a Black Label John Cardiel shirt that was a rip-off of the Ford oval logo; I still have a New Deal John Montesi hoody with “G.I.JOHN” embroidered on it like “G.I.JOE”. In high-school drafting class we got to design and print our own t-shirts, so I made a fake Black Label shirt that said “K-Matt” in the “K-Mart” logo. It was rad, I think I still have a paper test sheet of it somewhere.


(left) Crailtap Owns You, by bob kronbauer.

“Without roots the tree won’t grow” statement from a skate t-shirt by Pervert Clothing

A poignant quote since culture grows similar to a tree – building on its roots and branching into subcultures that reference each other. What people wear can reflect and define a subculture throughout its many changes and time periods. When choosing what to wear a skater not only wants to be recognised as a skateboarder, but also wants to show where their interests lie. In 2007, an individual has an infinite amount of choices when deciding what to reflect, from skateboarding’s corporate involvement to exclusive, limited edition t-shirts. One must decide wisely when selecting what branch to hang their shirt on.

GM: I think it was a very natural part of the skate industry growing up. I see it as designers and companies looking to put quality and content back into the things they were making. The logos and characters that got ripped off got there because they were well designed. They also had history, and connections to the people that were ripping them off. So when all the rip-off stuff dried up companies naturally said to themselves, “this stuff we were ripping off was so great, so lets make our own great stuff.” Skateboarding started to move from a punk model to a corporate/pro sports model. Why rip-off the Lakers logo when you can BE the Lakers, or UPS or whatever. When you study painting you go to the Met and copy the great masters. We copied Herb Lubalin, Saul Bass, and Paul Rand. PD: In skating if you don’t make up a move then you take someone else’s and make it your own... I think graphic samples mimic this. Also I like the idea of taking a massive corporate image and deflating it by changing its meaning, it’s reclamation and I find that to be interesting and appealing. AJ: A few of the things I did for Rocco back then got cease and desist letters in the early 90s.

What era of skate tees are most important to you, and why? CM: The 80s were the most important to me. The main reason was my parents never bought me skate tees (it was too pricey) and when I got one I would cherish it. I would wear it until the neck separated from the body. Before the big mall stores diluted skateboarding the tees and product meant so

much more. If you saw another kid wearing a Cab shirt or a H-Street tee you shared this common bond that was like a secret society. You didn’t have to say any word to the kid. You would both look at each other and acknowledge the secret society we belonged to: skateboarding. Now the shit is blown out and companies turn over tee graphics every four months. It’s no longer cherished like it used to be. AP: There is no way to duplicate the excitement of seeing new images/ideas and seeing something you want to have. I can remember how much I wanted those tees in 1986/87. So that excitement is the most crucial to me and the one I would ascribe importance to. GM: I guess the early 80s when I first was exposed to skating. I have a Capitola Classic tee, and a Del Mar Skate Ranch tee that represent a great era where skating was pretty much dead to the world, but was thriving with urethane, Protecs, Rectors and wide boards. The graphics were still surf related but also sort of reaching out and evolving. My first skate tee was a Vision tee with Vision written over a triangle with a checkerboard in it. It was a real “Gator” style tee, not punk, more like Punky. AJ: You know, honestly, none of the eras are any more important than any other. They’re just t-shirts - it’s important to keep a perspective.

or the all-over print phenomenon that was fun at first and is now at a state of being brutally annoying. Maybe it’s just all been done and it’s time to go back to the basics. I think the best tee out there right now is the all white tee with a small red Chocolate logo on the left breast. AP: It depends how broad you want to cast that net. I have to say mostly skate shirts are pretty dull. Logos seem to be what everybody wants so the brand sells the tee not much else. To my eyes there isn’t much art in skate tees, just fashion. I have to say on the other hand, the nice thing about todays tee market is there seems too be more room for artist-based t-shirts. A company like RVCA has as part of its mandate to create art signature designs and similarly but to a lesser degree Volcom, and there are a lot of small street brands that are artist-owned like Delphi or Fighting and they do interesting and challenging stuff. So now there is more room for interesting work but with more room comes more people to water it down and jump on the train. For me, I like to wear my shirts inside out so I go more on the feeling of the material, some shirts are so light and soft now. In short I would describe today’s skate tees as soft and light.

What’s your best artist vs. industry story? How would you describe where skate-t’s are at now? PD: Cannibalistic pabulum. MI: I don’t really have a lot of love for skate tees right now. It’s either the front-and-center logo, the ironic statement,

AH: Me, Paul Schmitt and Steve Douglas breaking all our contracts with Vision, dissolving Schmitt stix and starting New Deal with Ed Temp and a sick team. We got checks from Vision for six months while we secretly built our company, then by the time we came out with our skater-owned .skatees

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[ o ] DOLLY

As the OG art director in skateboarding, Jim Phillips is a pioneer in terms of creating a cohesive, appealing and never-before-seen “look” that skaters could instantly recognize and associate with. His artwork was first published in surfing publications beginning in the 60s and since then he has designed a plethora of decks, tees, stickers and ads. Throughout the 70s and 80s Phillips was art director for Santa Cruz skateboards, creating some of the most iconic skateboard graphics in existence. He is also a prolific designer of rock posters, and in the 90s became art director of Family Dog and Maritime Hall in San Francisco. He has published three art books.

interviewby roger allen

jim phillips

What where your own memories regarding the subject matter of Dogtown compared to Powell? I immediately recall noting the professional quality of VCJ’s work for Powell. The two companies had a hammerlock on two of the most powerful symbols that exist, the cross and the skull, leaving other artists including myself to search the universe for anything else the least bit iconic. If you pin me down to a direct critique, I would say Dogtown graphics were unashamedly predictable while Powell at least offered a variety of species’ bones and skulls. Who were the artists that inspired you to create art for skateboard companies? Skateboard art for me began soon after the invention of the urethane wheel, which revolutionized the sport. Since skateboarding was fairly dormant until then, there wasn’t much established in skate art, and most that did exist was centered on surfing, so when I was called to create a t-shirt design for the new wheels, there was a blank slate. That was a mixed blessing, because although it opened up artistic possibilities, the company I worked for was hesitant to explore them. As for artistic influences, it’s my belief that artists develop their style during their formative years, which is to say childhood and teenage years. That’s where my inspiration was nurtured and probably includes a hundred artists from George 70

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Herriman (Krazy Kat, universally acclaimed as the best comic strip), Pat Sullivan (Felix the Cat, first televised cartoon), and Disney Studios, to the stable of artists at EC Comics (1950s) including Bill Elder, Wally Wood, and many others. But during the late 70s it could be said that artists like Wes Humpston of Dogtown opened the doors for deck art, at least to me, when the market for art was expanded with full-deck graphics and the company I worked for followed suit. And along the way, great artists like VC Johnson indirectly influenced me, for instance to develop something else besides a diet of bones and skulls. What are the quintessential skate tees? The pure concentrated essence of skateboard t-shirts don’t seem to have much to do with a graphic representation of the core activity, but rather an identity with images of rebellion, which I associate with society’s historic vast rejection towards the participants, along with the inherent dangers. An artist must sometimes use icons to express an attitude, like an assignment to draw a skateboarder in the background of his work, I would say nine times out of ten the artist’s choice of graphics on his t-shirt world be a skull and crossbones, and ten times out of ten he would be drawn to a t-shirt with a graphic. The skateboarder chooses icons to express his identity much in the same way.

How do you describe your style? How has it changed over time? Styles are constrained by techniques, and techniques are constrained by expense. That was true also of the publishing industry, where the system was on display and emulated by interested young artists. My first pen and bottle of India Ink came in at less that a dollar, and with those tools an artist could draw everything in the world by employing optical graphic tricks to fool the eye into believing that lines are form. Now that computers exist, those techniques are generally considered “old world” and relegated to artists whose work will be silk screened on items such as t-shirts and skateboard decks. How do you describe your process? How has it changed over time? Most of an artist’s creativity happens in a relatively short time during the pencil sketch. That’s where the idea is worked out, and the creative flow is intense. It’s also the part that I enjoy the most, seeing an idea develop in front of your eyes, which are connected to your brain, which is connected to your fingers. The suspense drives the art, the artist wants to see more, and discover what the drawing will become. Inking will consume 90 per cent of the job if it is precise and thus appealing. It is a mechanical process which takes effort to cleanly and carefully infuse more creativity. Most often, the inking details can only be truly appreciated by other artists. An artist could save tons of time by drawing for the general public, sort of the way limited animation took over classic 24 frame animation. It goes back to art constrained by expense. Copyrighted characters and logos were huge in the 90s, what do you think of this era? Roger, there’s a saying in publishing, if it’s created it’s copyrighted. In my case, I was mostly an independent contractor, and the copyrights legally fall to the artist who is the author. But that doesn’t prevent the artist from being abused and having his works appropriated over the years, because corporations are so powerful, and have the resources to extort unfair profits from a humble artist. As for the 90s, I was left out of the action while millions were made on my work. What era of skate tees are most important to you, and why? The area that is the most important to me is the era where I was most responsible for creating them, of course. This spans the time between 1975 and 1990. As for your question why, I think that would be obvious to anyone. How would you describe where skate tees are at now?

Messy and sloppy art sells so well that it gets limited to three inches and is printed under the arm pit. What’s your best artist vs. industry story? That was the time I held out for the highest quality art and most creative and efficient delivery system and got fired for it. It was sundown, and there was a showdown. I whipped out my pen and they pulled out a cannon, and then hauled my carcass up to Boot Hill. Then fifteen years later Dr. Matt French, armed with a regeneration serum called Dorian Gray, exhumed my body and attached some gnarly electrode cables to my nipples, and voila, we are on the cusp of a series of new skate tees for Pocket Pistols that will be hitting stores in a few weeks. What are your memories regarding how people reacted to the subject matter of your graphics? Musicians get applause. Artists just sit at their drawing table wondering if anyone cared. However, it may have taken years, but one indication that is quite rewarding is receiving letters from young artists around the world who say that I inspired them to draw. That is one legacy that I’m very grateful to be able to leave behind. The subject matter in the 80s and 90s seem much more menacing than today. I like the idea that art can be considered a menace. But if there is a menace today, I think it is the proliferation of “overchoice”, to quote a term from Alvin Toffler’s book, Future Shock. There are so many more skateboard companies churning out graphics at break-neck speed, that no single graphic can gain anything close to icon status. And there are so many artists cranking them out that no one artist can gain a foothold in the genre and thus survive. What is the best thing about a skate-t? It’s all about art, and often about humor. For the artist, there’s a blank canvas, whether it’s a one-off, hand airbrushed, or mass produced for maximum profitability. For the viewer, it is entertainment in an unimaginative and jaded world. For the skater, it’s individuality and identity. For the mom, it’s clothing for an economical twenty bucks.

Check out his new book “Skateboard Art of Jim Phillips”, by Schiffer Books.


“It was very much a despised activity in my small town community. No one from the mainstream culture would have anything to do with anything remotely resembling skate apparel, so wearing a skate shirt was pretty much a badge by which you could easily identify other skateboarders. Those days are long gone now, unfortunately, with all sorts of non-skating clowns buying into the image at all the supposedly mall “counter-culture” stores.”—Sean Cliver

run and art style, we became #3 in the market in the first three months. GM: I was showing my portfolio to Andy Jenkins years ago, around 1993. I had smoked pot the night before, possibly two days before, which was a really rare thing for me. Probably at that point I had smoked pot maybe five times in my life. I was really nervous showing him my work, and suddenly, I was completely stoned. Someone explained to me later that pot can store in your fat, and then when you burn off the fat that can happen. It was gnarly. Limited edition shirts are a huge aspect of “street” culture today. How do you see this in comparison to mass produced shirts. AH: It’s fun to do them, and certain collectors like them. They never reach the actual young kids who are the core of the skate market, but for industry heads and sneaker pimps they are great.

When Vernon Courtland Johnson began creating actual graphics as opposed to logos for Powell Peralta skateboards in the early 80s, it was only natural that the same graphics would appear on Powell shirts. The rebellious underworld aesthetic of skeletons and dragons of early Powell graphics were some of the first to take skateboarding in a new direction, away from surf culture and thus beginning the growth of a distinctive skateboard culture. The time came, though, when Powell Peralta’s graphics were at odds with the squeaky clean image of their team skaters. Companies that appeared to be more hardcore and whose skaters better matched the brand image quickly gained acceptance with skateboarding’s popularity explosion in the 80s. Companies like Dogtown and Zorlac continued to define the era by using artists such as Pushead to create graphics that pushed the limits of parent and school acceptance. T-shirt slogans like “Shut Up and Skate”, “Possessed to Skate” and “Bones Brigade”, quickly defined two similar but very different appearances for skateboarders.

GM: I don’t think I really have. Seeing pros wear my shirts was super exciting for sure. There are so many people who have dedicated their lives to shaping the industry though. My most memorable moments are really getting to work with people like Andy Jenkins who are so pivotal in shaping what skate culture looks like. AP: Truth be told I don’t see that I have had any impact on skate tee culture. Someone like FOS and Reynolds or Jamie Thomas are more taste makers than the artists. For the most part it’s the art directors that set the pace or a popular icon like Paris Hilton or Diddy or Jay-Z or Timberlake or someone of that ilk. As far as popular culture I was once sent a photo with Damon Wayans wearing one of my t-shirt designs for some award show. That was pretty funny, even though Damon rarely is.

What is the best thing about a skate tee? Has there been a moment where you realized your impact on skate culture through your shirt graphics, if so what was it?

CM: It’s the flag of our secret society. AH: It is disposable after a session and there are always more where that came from. Neil Blender, nose manual, Vancouver c.86 photo by brittain.

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The early 90s saw T-shirt graphics retain a menacing style, while rebelling against its own punk image. Skateboard companies became savvy to the fact that the bottom of a skateboard did not see nearly as much exposure as a double sided t-shirt. Popular cartoon characters and re-workings of corporate logos in unlikely situations flooded the market. T-shirts became collectable because the graphics would often only be available for a short period of time before the graphics depicting copyrighted characters and logos would be pulled from shelves. Graphics on shirts became very cynical, often mocking the outside culture which was profiting from skaters. World Industries pioneered and led this aesthetic and went on to create their own characters – Flameboy, Wet Willy and the Reaper are likely the most identifiable icons in skateboard graphics of the 90s. Struggling to stay afloat, companies paddled forward in an attempt to find their place in the marketplace. The adoption of styles from unrelated corporate companies during the late 90s was a fresh device when wanting to appear financially secure or established. Clean new logos, technical fabrics and muted colour combinations became the norm as skaters tried to shake the ill-fitting clothing that was so popular just a few seasons prior. Skateboard companies were becoming popular

based on their approach. Girl, Chocolate, and Alien Workshop began producing design-conscious images with stark lines and stylized characteristics. Companies like DC, RDS, Spitfire and Plan B took skateboarding seriously and the clean, bold and rarely altered corporate-inspired logos distinguished the artists from the stuntmen. Companies became popular for their identifiable branding shared between all aspects of the company. Today the target market is not easily definable – many companies utilize artists to reflect an understanding of art, design, music and pop culture both from the past and the present in their skate tee designs. Overexposure and mainstream interest can cause aesthetics to quickly become gimmicks when overdone. Today it’s possible to find a garment by a brand definable as a skateboard company in both liquidation stores and upscale boutiques. The acceptance that was once protested for, devours the nutrients skateboarding needs in order to be expressive. Skate tees have and will continue to grow and branch out to reflect the era. But no matter how old or new, what defines a skate tee is the memories it holds in every remaining thread.

“Skateboard companies have established their own copyrighted characters and logos that are being knocked off now.”—bob kronbauer

“In 1998 when the industry and brands like DC Shoes started going mainstream. It was pretty crazy to see all my logos slapped all over everyone.” —dave kinsey Mark Gonzales, boneless, Gemco photo by brittain.

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todd francis interviewby roger allen

For the past 15 years Todd Francis has been designing graphics for some of the biggest brands in skateboarding. After moving from L.A. to S.F. in 1993, Francis began working on graphics for Real and Stereo. A couple years later Antihero started up and he began doing their artwork, including the Eagle logo that you’re still bound to see on the board wall or find some kid wearing on his shirt at the skatepark. Since 1999 he has been designing clothing and board graphics for Element. His work has been shown in galleries internationally, published in magazines, and can also be found on various album covers and show posters. Who were the artists that inspired you to create art for skateboard companies? I always really loved Courtland Johnson’s work for Powell back in the early 80s, as a kid I was just obsessed with the detail that went into his linework. Plus, you know.... skulls are gnarly. What are the quintessential skate tees? Totally depends upon your age. I’d say it’s whatever you saw when you were like 12 years old, being worn by someone older and badder than you were. For me it was SMA, Powell and Dogtown tees. For all I know, people today might say the same thing about those retarded Big Dog tees. How do you describe your style? How has it changed over time? I guess my style would be described as “drawn.” Or maybe comic book-y or something, I don’t know. I guess over the years I’ve gotten better at working in different styles and media. The graphics I create for Element now require a lot of different things, from custom lettering to textures to illustration, so I’ve had to get better at faking it.

How do you describe your process? How has it changed over time? Nothing magical about my process. In fact, I get sickened reading about artist’s process and crap like that, as if there’s some magic to what we do. You can either execute good ideas or not, nothing too otherworldly about that. Wake up, eat a balanced breakfast, turn on the satellite radio, pick up a pen and get to work.

because this recent era has been paying my mortgage.

Copyrighted characters and logos were huge in the 90s, what do you think of this era? Well, I guess I appreciate the subversion and the cease-and-desist angle on those, but I wasn’t crazy about the Warner Bros. character boards. The bastardization of logos I can appreciate a little more, especially if your jabbing at mega-corporations, like the golden arches or something.

What’s your best artist vs. industry story? While I was working for Antihero, Julien Stranger and I did a board graphic with just a big drawing of Richard Nixon’s stubbly face real huge, it was hilarious. It got scuttled just before getting printed, and never was released... something about the skate industry dons and their political allegiances. By the way, George W has made Richard Nixon look like Franklin Delano Roosevelt... Saddam Hussein would’ve made a better American President than Bush. Wow.

What era of skate tees is most important to you, and why? Because of the boom in artistic content, printing techniques, alternative inks, tee fabrics and organic materials, I’d say the last ten to fifteen years have been the most important to me. Though maybe its

How would you describe where skate tees are at now? I’ll tell you where they are: on the backs of every poser goon in the country. That, or being sold in posh little couture boutiques for $70 a piece like they’re dipped in gold... What a joke.

Limited edition shirts are a huge aspect of skate culture today. How do you see this in comparison to mass produced shirts.

Well, I guess they’re a necessary evil. Necessary because they enable companies to mark up tees to a ridiculous level and make a bunch of money in the name of “art” (and considering how sophisticated and artistic tee graphics have become in recent years, the difference between artsy and standard run tees is pretty blurry). That said, they do help artists get their names out there and all that, so its fairly symbiotic. And I can’t be too mocking of it, since I’ve done it myself. Has there been a moment where you realized your impact on skate culture through your shirt graphics? That’s not really for me to say... I’m still waiting for some sort of indicator, even just a little ripple on the surface. Give me a hollar if you see anything, okay? What is the best thing about a skate tee? The old tee has holes in it and stains and crap, but you keep it at the bottom of your drawer because of the stubborn memories it still holds.

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Michael Sieben is part of that ambitious breed within skateboarding’s art community who seem to dabble in – and be really damn talented at – a bit of everything. The Austin, Texas, based artist has had his work shown internationally and featured in a range of publications. His current occupations include writer and illustrator for Thrasher, creative director for Bueno skateboards, and freelance project dude with the Volcom Art Loft. Sieben’s work is perhaps most often distinguished by his charming little characters with the tired-looking eyes. For kicks he likes to paint, skate, ride bikes with his wife, and hang out at the river.

michael sieben

interviewby roger allen

Who were the artists that inspired you to create art for skateboard companies? Jim Phillips, Pushead, VCJ, Neil Blender. The usuals. What are the quintessential skate tees? I used to have a Bad Boy Club shirt with a cartoon drawing of Bill Danforth doing a wallride on it. His neck was all stretched out and his head was really huge in proportion to his body. That’s probably about as rad as it gets. How do you describe your style? How has it changed over time? I like to use the term “softcore gore.” I think a lot of my ideas are gross but I try to draw them in such a way that they’re endearing. As far as an evolution of my style, I don’t really know. I just try to grow as an artist (and a person) and try not to rest on my laurels. Hopefully that shines through.

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How do you describe your process? How has it changed over time? The only change that has occurred in the past 10 years is that I’ve learned how to use a computer. But my process is still relatively the same. I hand draw everything and just use the computer to add in colors and background elements. But I still prefer hand drawing imagery versus creating it on the computer. Copyrighted characters and logos were huge in the nineties, what do you think of this era? I think Sean Cliver and Marc Mckee are bad asses. What era of skate tees are most important to you, and why? I don’t really see any era being more important than another. It’s all skateboarding which means it’s all awesome. No matter how ridiculous it may appear in hindsight.

“Do you think all-over prints are going to look funny to us in a few years?” How would you describe where skate tees are at now? Do you think all-over prints are going to look funny to us in a few years? What’s your best artist vs. industry story? It starts with a young man from Texas flying to San Francisco for a job and it ends with a young man flying back to Texas with a box of product instead of a job. It’s kind of personal and it involves a little bit of crying. Limited edition shirts are a huge aspect of skate culture today. How do you see this in comparison to mass produced shirts. I see it as a clever phrase to use when marketing a mass produced shirt. Has there been a moment where you realized your impact on skate culture through your shirt graphics, if so what was it?

I don’t feel like I’ve had that big of an impact in the grand scheme of things. But I also feel like I’m just getting started. What is the best thing about a skate tee? You can’t buy them in the mall! Oh wait, you totally can.


In an industry where the artist’s personal style is more often sought after than suppressed (or so we’d like to hope, anyways), West Virginia’s Don Pendleton is indeed one of those guys whose work could be no one else’s. As a long-time skateboarder, he had a brief dance with sponsors and contests before ending up as art director at Alien Workshop in 1998. He has since been in many shows and become art director for Element skateboards. He does freelance artwork and puts any spare time into his brand Darkroom.

Who were the artists that inspired you to create art for skateboard companies? I’d say anything by Neil Blender... from the Coffee Break design to the ‘Pow Pow Pow’ guy with the gun. Of course you’d have to have the Screaming Hand and an OJ2 Wheels tee in there. I think it really depends on the era when you were skating and you were young. For me it was those. Any of VCJ’s Powell Peralta stuff was mandatory too when I was growing up. What are the quintessential skate tees? Definitely the first ones were Neil Blender and John Grigley and probably GSD. There was other stuff that I really liked as a kid but these two were the ones that made me want to try to do it myself. How do you describe your style? How has it changed over time? Quick and dirty or conversely, simple and clean. Over time it hasn’t changed too much. What skaters want has changed but my approach has pretty much remained the same. I don’t like getting too bored with one approach so I’ll use a different medium and that sometimes dictates what the style is. I’ve always been a fan of simple stuff so my designs don’t really get too complicated. How do you describe your process? How has it changed over time? For a shirt, I just try to do something that I think I’d be stoked to wear that kind of stands out against other non-skateboarding t-shirts. I’ve never been one to try to anticipate trends or anything in skating but if I can do something that I’m into a little bit, chances are someone else will be into it. Maybe not everyone, but hopefully there are kids out there that can relate to the images

or style. I’ve tried to maintain that approach over time. I know that most companies now just look for what works and try to duplicate that... Gucci patterns, skulls, money symbols, diamonds. I try to steer as clear as possible from those things. What era of skate tees are most important to you, and why? Definitely the mid to late 80s. Because I was still an impressionable kid that looked up to the industry and what they produced. It was creative, it was new ground in a lot of ways and most importantly, companies were more concerned about making something fun, cool and original than chasing the almighty dollar. Go to a skate shop or pick up a catalog... what you see now is logo driven stuff peppered with knocked off ideas and the bottom line is ‘sell, sell, sell.’ How could it get any more abysmal? A lot of companies have fallen into the corporate scam where nothing matters but the bottom line and as a result, there isn’t a lot of originality in the products or the industry. And that’s what sets apart this era of skateboard t-shirts from the earlier era. How would you describe where skatetees are at now? For the most part, at that questionable stage where many companies are trying to just please the vendors. Because if the vendors don’t like it, you may not sell enough to make it matter. So the companies try to give the vendors/distributors/chain shops what they want because of their buying power… everyone is selling to the same outlets and they all want the same things because those are the trends that sell. It creates this cycle of a vacuum that sucks the creativity and individuality out of the entire process.

don pendleton interviewby roger allen

So you may find 20 t-shirts with dollar bill patterns or all over newspaper print tees, 100% logo t-shirts with a distress treatment, skulls, Louis Vuitton patterns...that kind of thing. Over and over, ad nauseum. Kind of bleak when you consider creativity and what is possible when you do your own thing and the history of the skate tee. What’s your best artist vs. industry story? Oh, God. I can’t touch this one. I have stories that would curl your hair but I’m saving those for a book. Limited edition shirts are a huge aspect of skate culture today. How do you see this in comparison to mass produced shirts. It’s a joke. Another marketing ploy. And ‘marketing’ really overtook ‘creativity’ when it comes to skateboard imagery in many respects. Most ‘limited’ shirts are produced in the same number or higher than ‘mass’ produced tees but make someone think it’s exclusive and they’ll buy into it. It’s been that way for eons. It just finally became something that was marketable to a certain group since the phenomena of ‘street culture.’ Whatever that is. Has there been a moment where you realized your impact on skate culture through your shirt graphics, if so what was it? No, but I’m not too bothered by it. Just like any other kind of niche, collectors need to have things organized and laid out for them. I get stoked sometimes if I see a kid or skater wearing a shirt that I created because on some level, we’ve made this unspoken connection. As far as an impact on skate culture, I never really shot for that.

I just wanted to do something that I love and hopefully other skaters could relate to or enjoy. What is the best thing about a skate tee? It keeps you from getting your nipples scraped up when you fall down? I don’t know anymore. Look at skateboard company t-shirts and then look at surf or band t-shirts of ‘street wear’ brands. There isn’t much of difference anymore, is there? I think that’s a sign that things need to change. As long as companies keep chasing each others’ tails, skate t-shirts are going to be just like any other t-shirts that they sit beside of in a shop. I do think there are some good things being done out there currently, but it seems like that stuff is the least popular. You can never make kids want different or original art...they have to decide that for themselves. And unfortunately with the inundation of advertisements, culture, music and all that stuff....there seems to be more singular thought than there used to be. It’s all cycles and I think the cycle will come back in where skaters will want to buy what THEY feel is cool and original and not what they’re told they NEED to wear. There’s a huge difference there. Most kids think they’re being an individual by buying certain clothes or products, when in fact they’re part of a corporate commercial target market. I don’t even think they realize it yet but that will change. Just like the 90s when the knock-off logo was the call of the day, there will be a turning of the tide when skaters start to demand a bit more out of what they buy and won’t want to look exactly just the kid that sits across from them in study hall who doesn’t even own a skateboard. .skatees

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words bymatthew meadows

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Upanayanam, sometimes known as, “sacred thread ceremony�, is the Hindu ritual that denotes a boy’s rite-of-passage. Traditionally, the ceremony was performed to mark the point at which male children began their formal education. I am betting that this fakie heelflip fakie 5-0 in Berkley was entirely self-taught.


[ o ] YAMAODA

I was thinking about the migration patterns of birds like Canada Geese. These birds fly south for the winter then North for the summer. I always find it amazing how they instinctively know when it is time to move on. I recently had to make a trip back to my home of Ottawa, Ontario. As I prepared for my flight I was unsure what to make of the place I called home all those years ago. When I arrived I checked out the parks and the local talent. It was then that I began to make the connection between

birds and skaters. Ottawa, albeit beautiful, can only cater to a skateboarder’s needs to a certain point. Spencer Hamilton realized early in life that it was time to move on. Sacrificing it all (family, school, and a home) at 16 years old, Spencer is making his own way through life the best way he knows how. Hearing things such as “How do you do that?” is commonplace for Spencer. He’s one of those rare individuals who appears to have skateboarding in his veins. He is sure of himself, his

place in the world and is more than comfortable on a skateboard. Sleeping in closets and gaining knowledge from the older skaters around him is proving to shape quite a distinct individual. The thunder roared from downstairs. Since I had been home I had discovered some things will and do change. Staying with your parents at twenty-eight can be a little difficult at times. My dad had just bought a home entertainment system that would make any movie theater company green with envy. .spencerhamilton

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[ o ] ODAM

In many Native American tribes boys go on a vision quest to become a man. Here they may encounter elders or find power in nature. Can a kickflip frontside crooked grind to fakie be considered a spirit animal?

The ridiculous level that the volume was set made the whole house shake as he watched the battle scenes from Return Of The Jedi. It made it nearly impossible to think. Not to mention I was on a deadline and I have always had a hard time being creative on a deadline. No, can’t go watch the battle at Endore, I have to get this done, I thought. I began to pour over the pages of transcripts from the interview I had done with Spencer before leaving Vancouver. There are often many obstacles that come into play when interviewing a young kid. Number one, they don’t have a lot of life experience. Number two, they don’t want to offend anyone, and their parents will probably read it, so they are left with little to say. I knew that Spencer grew up in Manor Park, Ottawa. This area is about ten minutes from down-

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town. It’s your typical residential suburb. Life has been quite normal for him. He lived with his parents and his two older brothers. Yep, for this typical white kid, who at times has been mistaken for black (usually by sketchy drunk girls), life was pretty average. But as many of us know growing up in a suburb like that, one can only imagine the trouble he got into as a kid. As I re-read the transcripts while scanning for incriminating evidence I noticed a quote, “To be honest, I started smoking weed, drinking and smoking cigarettes when I was really fucking young… like elementary school. Everyone parties in Ottawa. Small town vibes and everyone gets a little crazy. I have been through all that shit so when I got here [Vancouver], I was like ‘fuck all that other shit’.” Sure, he says he is responsible now but Ottawa has an interesting effect on young adolescent boys that are willing


to take the trip over to Hull (Ottawa’s sister city in Québec where they measure the drinking age by your height and facial hair). I was sure that Spencer must have been there at least once or twice. Knowing from our conversation that he himself did not speak French but very much did enjoy visiting the province, I ipped through the pages. “ o, when I was fifteen though, I went to a strip club in Québec with my brothers and copped a lap dance. Implants and shit [laughs]. You can do whatever you want there, any age, they don’t give a fuck. I went to a club at fourteen!” There we go, I thought. That is what readers want to know! But even as I type these words I can imagine Spencer ipping through this issue and cussing me out. I can see him now, sitting on the stoop at his new place with Fyfe, Trep and his crew calling me a jackass for painting him as a kid who does nothing but drink and hit up strip clubs. Yeah, he’s right, I thought. That is nothing like him. e definitely was not super passionate about the party. After all, this was a kid who was responsible enough to move out of his parents’ house still as a minor and saved enough money to chase a dream across the country. He was someone who found an interest in cooking shows and became so dedicated to learning about sauces that he would get up before school to watch cooking shows in order to write down the recipes. It’s true, Spencer was old at a young age. He may not be so much into sauces anymore now that he is trying to live with “wine taste on a beer budget,” as he puts it, but he still does become passionate about other things outside skateboarding.

tion in particular. The best way to describe it was a display of energetic, thoughtful discourse. Having become an avid documentary watcher and amateur political scientist, Spencer began to tell me facts about our health care system and America’s role on the world stage. It is no secret that many people feel that 9-11 was caused from the inside. In fact, Spencer even mentioned a film called Loose Change which attempts to prove that the film’s been circulating on the internet and Spencer has watched it a number of times. But, he was most passionate when it came to the actions America’s been taking on

of millions of people in the States already. Which, I don’t know, Condoleezza Rice and them call themselves a democracy but the U.S. is fucked. Total bullshit. Their whole democratic set up is bullshit. So I would re-establish all that. But I could never be president because of their system. Presidents I understood his sadness, but I had to ask aren’t elected they are selected. But I would what would you really change? It was as if he start off with health care for the States. Basihad been planning his strategy out for years, cally I feel that if someone else [other than he quickly stood up to attention and said, Bush] were president a lot of the problems “So we establish a health care system for all would be over. But George Bush is president of the States. Everyone is treated fairly, which and then another fucking dude is going to will relieve so much stress off the backs be president and he is gonna be bad too. the world stage. He said “I feel pretty fucked about it. I try not to think about it, you know. It’s because I feel really strongly about it. There is really nothing that any of us can really do right now. But that is where I stand… It sucks that it has to be like that.”

In the United States you become a man when you can vote and buy a gun. I don’t think Spencer did either the last time he was in Sacramento. It appears he was preoccupied with frontside halfcab flips off wedges. Zaslavsky photo.

One of the main things I do remember about our talk was him having a pretty good grasp on world politics. This, at the time, struck me as rather interesting, since Spencer had dropped out of school. He mentioned that his parents weren’t even pissed at him, which seemed really foreign to me. “They were always telling me that you gotta stay in school and go to university and get a job. Just as skating progressed, I did get sponsored at a young age, and they were like ‘you like this’. I played a bunch of other sports but they all faded away…. I never quit [school] because I did not like it. I could get my GED hella fast. But skateboarding is just something I gotta do right now. I would be down to take some classes though. Maybe a culinary class – I could cook some shit up.” As much as he enjoyed cooking shows it doesn’t come close to politics. I think being from the nation’s capital you are born with politics running rapid. Although he dropped out of school, I will never forget the enthusiasm that fell over him when I asked him what he thought about the state of the world, and what he thought about the Bush administra.spencerhamilton

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[ o ] CAISSIE

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In the Jewish faith, the passage into manhood in celebrated in festive ceremony, called a Bar Mitzvah. The young man is doted on, and showered with gifts and money. Similar actions were made after Spencer first got this frontside flip. (The writing’s on the wall.)

[ o ] ZASLAVSKY [ o ] CAISSIE

It’s been said you don’t know where you are going unless you know where you have been. It would seem that Spencer definitely knows where he’s been. He has partied and found that despite all his efforts he left it behind. He has begun to understand the world he lives in. He is able to see injustice in the world and can differentiate the maladies of the American system from the Canadian one in which he takes pride. He also made his decisions about god, his spiritual and cultural beliefs. But what was now in the future for him? What if skateboarding all fell through for him and what once was his dream became an empty reality, without his high profile sponsors like Expedition and Supra, sponsorless and without money? “I would pick up my board and go skateboarding” he replied, “ I love it, I skate for me… basically, if I didn’t want photos, then I wouldn’t go shoot ‘em. I skate because I love to, everything else is gravy.” I supposed it was true. Spencer did not seem to have to worry too much. His life was good. He had a job he enjoyed, working at Underworld with his friends. He was taking an ongoing role as one of the flagship skaters for Nomis and with the help of his fellow teammates was going to begin designing the skate clothing line. He also has more coverage now than he ever has before. It seems that everything is on the up and up for him. He left Ottawa a big fish in a small pond. Now in an ocean of skaters he is becoming a fast growing predator. Like a shark that is going to forge his own way in uncharted waters.

As a rite of passage, Australian Aboriginals, when coming of age go on “walkabout”. This long personal quest may last up to six months. On Spencer’s first walkabout he found himself in San Francisco. Fakie 5-0 transfer. Zaslavsky photo

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[ o ] ODAM

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DVS-GIRLS.COM to see all the colorways go to

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Nathan wears crack pocket shirt by ORISUE layered over MATIX foreman l/s thermal, paired with grim pants by ELEMENT. Xylia has on the marathon 212 tank top by PEGLEG rolled shorty for wide leg roslin trouser by ELEMENT with DC manteca 3 hi shoes. Dani: electric blue Wellington snork jersey jacket by DC, over the citrus master piece cardigan by VOLCOM with MATIX fuzzy triangle tee tucked into andy longrise DENIM BIRDS black coated jeans. All accessories courtesy of stylist.

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PHOTOGRAPHYFIONA GARDEN for nobasura

MAKEUPCAITLIN CALLAHAN

for nobasura w/ m.a.c. and zinka HAIRTANIA BECKER of liz bell agency MODELS DANI myspace.com/themakeoutpresents NATHAN & CHRISTINE richards models XYLIA & BOBBY liz bell agency

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Dani wears MATIX the bomb hat, LRG grass roots windbreaker over DVS wild cats t-shirt tucked into an AMERICAN APPAREL neon green pencil skirt dazed off with 1490 core classic DOC MARTEN boots, necklace by CLYDE. Bobby is wearing a matchbox embroidered crew neck sweatshirt by PEGLEG with jamie thomas FALLEN cord pants.

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Nathan’s striped shirt by FALLEN, inclined fig cord pant by VOLCOM, gloves by KROOKED, channel strike force special edition shoes by LAKAI. Christine has on SANTA CRUZ hat, agnesa black dress and/ or jacket by MATIX, long sleeve layer by AMERICAN APPAREL, bubble animal planet skirt by VOLCOM and blue tobin KEEP shoes available at Livestock.

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Xylia wears kane striped reservoir tip hat by LAKAI, cobra removable hood sweatshirt by FALLEN, matigirl stretch slim pants by MATIX, volcano se girls shoes by DC. Christine has on a giraffe print zoe hoody by EZEKIEL, black toni pant by MATIX, vibrant chelsea shoes by DC. both shirts underneath by AMERICAN APPAREL.

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Bobby has on the fat lace crew by DC, purple LRG grass roots layered hood, AMERICAN APPAREL shorts with banana hammock and yellow PUMA clyde shoes. Nathan: grey grass roots zip up hood by LRG, keep watch sweater by MISHKA, belt stylist’s own, 2x4 cord pant by VOLCOM, m574 shoes by NEW BALANCE.

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THE ARTIST AS FAILURE

Jon Sasaki Won’t Help Me And He Won’t Help You. words bynicholas brown

Installation view, The Artist’s First Painting, Bronzed. 2007 Fireworks, 2006, HDV, 2:05 Installation view, Ladder Climb, 2006, HDV, 1:50

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Detail, The Artist’s Best Friendship, 2007, Sterling silver, unlimited edition multiple. Produced for Gallery TPW

Since when did it become a necessity for artists to help people? Looking back at the last two decades of art practice, particularly in Europe and North America, we begin to understand why it has become the norm to see artists as benevolent figures, distributing goods and services for the greater benefit of humanity. While it can be nice to sit down to a plate of free food, have your bike tuned up, or join a parade of gallery-goers around the city, there comes a point where art begins to suffer from social fatigue. It’s here that we turn to artists like Jon Sasaki, a Toronto-based artist whose recent body of work insists upon destabilizing the impulse towards community-minded, convivial exchanges in favour of awkwardness, discomfort and downright selfishness. His recent exhibition, Wishing For Three More Wishes, which opened recently at Gallery TPW in Toronto, examines themes of futility directed at social transformation and self-improvement, offering instead a fresh perspective on the supposed fusion of art and life. Sasaki’s critique of the social contract in artistic practice may be best exemplified in his series of multiples entitled The Artist’s Best Friendship (2006—ongoing), which appropriates a concept that grandmothers everywhere adore – the heart charm that breaks in half to be shared by two people as a symbol of their enduring companionship. The series promises friendship to anyone who purchases a necklace, exemplified in the artist’s willingness to wear the complimentary half on an ever-growing necklace of his own. On display at TPW, this necklace – now bulging with an impressive collection of heart-halves – may tell us more about the ridiculousness of attempts to frame relationships in such explicit terms. “The gesture is meant to be loving and sincere – like a contract,” Sasaki suggests with a twinkle in his eye. “It’s ongoing, so I’m hoping in three years it will be completely unwieldy. This way it will talk about the impossibility of maintaining these friendships regardless of whether I want to or not.” Indeed, he is already being forced to renege on the original promise to wear the necklace forever. Having placed it on display for the full duration of the show, Sasaki has thus prioritized visibility of the work over his commitment to honour relationships bought with hard-earned cash. His neck is, gratefully, free of the shackles of friendship, at least until the show comes down. While the Best Friendship series can be read as alternately socially generous, opportunistic, or cynical, it offers up a critique of the increasingly prevalent trend of publicly displaying and categorizing social connections. One need only look to social networking services like Myspace and Facebook to see the relevance of such a project. “There is this idea of exchange, which I think any kind of relationship has,” Sasaki explains. “In the case of the Best Friendship piece it’s this monetary exchange that formalizes the friendship. It’s shifting the frame a little bit. Some people read the piece as an insincere gesture, that I can’t really have thirty best friends, and there’s no filtering process – I didn’t audition these

people.” Such formalities, reduced to the status of easily obtainable, cheaply reproduced objects, celebrate qualities that are simultaneously vulgar and practical for the purposes of community building. This form of containment, the artist implies, is necessary, particularly in close-knit communities where words like “friend” are watered down by sheer numbers. How do we justify certain relationships as somehow more special than others? Often by turning to hierarchies of “best friends,” “old friends” (where duration is a measure of value), and “top tens” (a Myspace staple). The Best Friendship project participates by formalizing relations while inverting their logic, allowing the purchaser to slip in the back door – an instant best friend at a modest fee. This practice of rarefying abstract concepts in cheap, sentimental trinkets is similarly explored in The Artist’s First Painting, Bronzed (2007), which gives the baby shoe treatment to a painting Sasaki produced when he was 15. Taking solipsism to new heights, the artist treats his first artistic accomplishment to the ultimate act of loving preservation. But where a bronzed pair of baby shoes might exist to remind family and friends of the size of little Jonny’s feet at age two, the bronzed painting effaces all but the most vaguely apparent gestures of the young artist’s hand. To produce the piece, Sasaki went to a bronzer, who was understandably mystified at his task, reportedly attempting to talk the artist into removing the painting and bronzing only the frame (an added layer of irony since the frame was originally gilded). The absurdity was, of course, the point: the act of preservation – one all too familiar to museum conservators and archivists – became, in this context, the act of destruction. Sasaki explains, “I love the notion of bronzing a baby’s first pacifier, which renders it toxic… it never goes back in the mouth. Or the notion of trying to put on bronze shoes, this idea of preservation where something gets lost in the process. You’re memorializing it, but at the same time eradicating it.”

The notion of containment and its power to stifle objects and events is an ongoing point of inquiry for Sasaki and it culminates in Fireworks (2006). Here, the artist appears on video, lights up a roman candle, places it under a typical museum display case, and leaves the frame as the fiery stick emits flames and smoke within its tiny glass housing. Taken out of its normal context – fireworks in the night sky – the result is uncanny. We’ve seen countless objects contained in display cases, as have we seen innumerable outdoor fireworks displays, but to observe both simultaneously is at once claustrophobic and oddly appealing. The early sparks and wisps, visible under the plexiglass housing, are almost immediately engulfed in smoke that fills its container and threatens to conceal the whole show. As if in response to this oppressive containment – the kind museums have been performing since their inception in the mid-19th century – sparks begin to leak out of the edges of the case. The whole thing is over in two minutes, and what’s left is a powerful critique of the notion that objects and events which function in the “real world” can somehow transcend their confinement in a gallery setting. Sasaki explains, “when you’re talking about art that is socially engaged, somehow it doesn’t translate into museums – an analogy might be a sports hall of fame, where you see the ball that somebody pitched a game with, and it stands in for some action that happened years ago. The artwork is done, it was an event that happened at a certain date, and the artifacts are all that’s left over.” As a further reminder, Sasaki chose to house the mannequin that displays The Artist’s Best Friendship within a case identical to that of the Fireworks piece. The only difference this time around is that, had he used the same one featured in the video, the necklace would be invisible beneath the ashy stains left behind. This ability to simultaneously dislocate real-world events and relationships by containing them within a gallery, combined with a penchant for rarefying

the detritus of such activities into objects of discrete aesthetic pleasure, puts Sasaki in the role of the artist as failure. This is not to be confused with the failed artist, but rather the artist who absorbs the concept of failure into an operating framework that allows us to question the values we place on individuals, institutions, and objects. Works such as Fireworks and Bronzed manage to fail both contexts of the gallery and the everyday – they fail to respect the proper place of fireworks in the sky, rendering the gallery an alienating, stifling place, and leaving behind ephemera that threatens to devalue the status of other art objects. Failure is also at the core of the persona Sasaki has constructed for himself, as we see in video works such as Ladder Climb (2006). Placed in the window of TPW, the piece provides an introduction to Sasaki the perennial underachiever, who strives endlessly to improve himself with diminishing returns. Here, the artist repeatedly attempts to climb an unsupported ladder (the kind you would prop against a wall), each time falling to his feet and trying again. That the scene unfolds in front of the Better Living Centre is both a hackneyed joke and a challenge to the artist to strive beyond mediocrity. This is a challenge Sasaki seems determined to lose because, in spite of his steady improvement – at one point, he is one rung away from the top – the scene suddenly fades to black and loops to the beginning. In the hands of Sasaki the video editor, the character remains static, the scenario tragic. “It’s using that language of a sitcom character that’s never going to change,” Sasaki explains. “There might be a small narrative arc within the thirty minutes, but at the end of the episode he’s back to where he was in the first place”. We continue to hold our breaths, imagining what success would look like were it ever to materialize. But all we are left with is repetition that mocks success as much as it does the notion that an artist should offer hope for a better world. This artist can’t even get to the top of the ladder. Rather than depressing us, these failures remind us that aesthetic experiences don’t have to rest on utopian visions of collective harmony and personal gain through struggle. Some of the best art encounters might be the ones where our values are mocked, our priorities deflated. But Sasaki’s work succeeds in its playfulness, its refusal to viciously denounce the optimism of so much social activity in contemporary art. It succeeds by making the very promises so much contemporary art earnestly .jonsasaki

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The waiting game is a constant while traveling in large groups. This photo was shot from the 19th floor of an hotel in Toronto. Soon after, I was left behind while the whole crew headed to the airport to leave for Halifax, leaving me without cameras, luggage, a phone or money. Birdseye view almost made me miss the flight. by felix faucher

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’m in Halifax, once again. A Canadian tour should always end up on the East Coast. Steve-O-Reno’s coffee: best cappuccino of the trip. As it was for Buster Keaton in Railrodder (1965), the journey through the continent is over once the Maritimes are reached – the ocean is here again and it’s time to walk back home. Mother nature is finally giving us a break after pouring snow and rain on our sorry asses.

DENNIS DURRANT switch frontside nosegrind 180, vancouver [ o ] pommier.

It’s been two weeks of flying with some of the most recognizable faces in skateboarding. The kids attending the demos had surprisingly respectful manners. Maybe it’s because of the pros. Having talented amateurs destroying your local skatepark doesn’t have the same impact as seeing a legend you’ve witnessed a thousand times on paper and screens doing so. These kids must have felt as if they were dreaming. They were not asking for stickers and boards like a flock of hungry seagulls. Instead, they politely requested an autograph and were shy to stand by the pro for a portrait together. 100

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grant.

broach.

dennis.

PETER RAMONDETTA kickflip, vancouver [ o ] broach.

Since bad weather was the norm for the whole trip, the demos were the main time when skating took place. This is a bad thing for photos but a good setting to get to know the people around you. Aside from Grant Patterson, I didn’t know any of the individuals composing the squad of 10-plus world-recognized skaters we rolled with. I knew even less about the people traveling with the skaters that brought our crew to a total of 17 – an obscenely large number of people to be traveling together, especially as far as skateboard tours go. An hour into the tour, which began in Vancouver, we hit the first

street spot and Scott Pommier, who I knew was going to be there for the first day or two, rolls up without any camera gear. There are two filmers and a skinny guy is carrying two rolling bags. Photo equipment! Pommier talks with the photo equipment guy, who starts setting up flashes and even starts doing flash tests and angle-finding with a digital camera. “Holy crap! Pommier’s got an assistant!” I thought to myself. “And one that carries his gear, sets up the lights, does the testing and even finds the angle!” 101


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The Avenue is a skatepark built into an old cinema. The place has deep bowls and a screen that is still being used for projections. David Reyes shows he can apply his handrail skills to pool coping through repetitive backside smithgrinds.

I was expecting the “assistant” to set up a mattress for Mr. Pommier to relax on next. Turns out he wasn’t an assistant but Thrasher’s own David Broach, as well as Circa Footwear’s Staff Photographer. Weird. Three photographers can be very productive if you split into different crews who know all the spots and each group goes in a different direction with a filmer. Tours don’t work that way though. We usually have one local guiding us from handrail to handrail, willing to see the pros destroy their local terrain. The few skaters in the mood to attack a piece of metal will skate and the rest just chill. Of course, this is Circa, so more than the average number of skaters do skate big stuff, but even the rawest sometimes need some rest in between flights and demos. So basically, there is only one trick to shoot at any given time on a tour, and if there are three photographers and two filmers, chances are you’re not getting anything original out of the fuss. If a single documenter moves

SIERRA FELLERS kickflip 50-50 edmonton [ o ] broach. .tourdesmash .runningfooter

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Halifax. We has saved the best for last. Sun, barbeque, and an amazing skate park. Tony Tave escapes a cloud of ribs with the ol’ nollie inward heel.

in with a fisheye then good luck cropping him out in hope of getting a “natural” looking photograph. A skateboarder in his environment alone, conquering the city’s architecture, is the most difficult thing to capture when you are trying to get photos on a tour. I didn’t get to talk much with Pommier, perhaps I feared he would use me as his assistant. Needless to say I was by far the junior of photographers. These two guys are institutions in the industry, while I am this semi-unknown Frenchie-Latino guy back from eight months of volunteering in South America. I got to know Broach though. He was kind enough to let me use a piece of equipment I needed. Although the “competition for shots” situation was awkward, we had a lot to talk about and definite respect for each other. I suspect tour manager Ryan Reis to be responsible for this multiple-photographer situation, but I had a blast watching him try to keep control of the kids while simultaneously being the wildest of them all. Not only did he get smoking-in-non-smoking-room charges at every hotel, he also had to pay for the artifacts that melted under his cigarettes when he fell asleep in his room. Digital technology has definitely brought a huge mass of amateurs into photography. I’ve never seen so many kids with SLR cameras and hand-held flashes at demos. Here at least four colleagues show perfect synchronicity in the immobilization of Tave’s hefty backside 180, much to the pleasure of the flash poacher inside me.

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Filthy McNasty in Edmonton turned out to be the place were I got to “really” meet the unfamiliar members. Huge amounts of alcohol and a bar crowd reminiscent of the Jim Rose Circus is a good formula to loosen everyone up in order to tighten the links in a group. The older boys were raving on the


Winnipeg at night. Down the street from the “windiest� corner in Canada, Magnus Hanson hammers out two feeble grinds in a row. No lights, no problems.

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A tour for me is always better when Jason Crolly is around. He is always down to skate and is a born entertainer. Heelflip Crooked Grind, with a home field advantage. The plaza on the forks, Winnipeg, MB.

horror movies being played whereas the younger dudes played beer pong until total destruction. Nate Roline escaped the madness of his own town by sleeping at home. After a couple of nights surviving rainstorms with the help of McNasty’s therapia it became clear that snow and rain could break our bones but beers were not going to hurt us (until the next morning at least.) In Winnipeg, Ryan DeCenzo’s good friend Magnus Hanson showed up. From there late night and 6 a.m. skate missions replaced partying. During one after-hours shoot on

the corner of the famous McDermott street a random guy missed his bus to watch Magnus roll away from a gap to backside feeble grind. While I was packing my gear I saw Magnus talking with the guy. Turns out he was a filmmaker, a good contrast with the usual drunks one usually runs into late at night in the ‘Peg. My attention was later caught by a film poster from Brand Upon the Brain!, Guy Maddin’s latest flick (he also did The Saddest Music in the World). Up until that point I was unaware that the city that has given Canada Jason Crolly and half of the skate industry heads is also hot for its filmmaking scene.

JON ALLIE lipslide, halifax [ o ] broach. .canada

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I also knew Crolly thanks to my previous handicap-bus adventures with the Under Attack Tour. It was great to hang out again with Mike Wilson, Zev Klymochko (who are both Circa reps) and Sheldon Meleshinski. As for the skaters I got to meet for the first time, it was hard not to be struck by Peter Ramondetta’s presence, in particular. He is one with skateboarding. Anything, anytime, he’ll try, get it done and have fun doing so. As Crolly put it, “The guy’s got heart”.

The cappuccino is done. Time to go home with new images in mind. Have you noticed how some songs or albums are attached to precise memories? While chilling at the hotel one night, Circa Canada’s Elliot Heintzman noticed a music menu on the table. He ordered Neil Young’s Decade double album from the front desk and I was introduced to the music of an artist I had heard much about but never really listened to. Now every time Young’s guitar and voice reverberates I get immersed in images from the Tour De Smash.

ed pos son, t ex d mos Davi . ’s N an da ana w. Juli onto, O C f r ne o eye vie e in To o e ay b bird’s luntslid b ks m the ban to get ontside e m o re of a fr d a y r k s ’s e The s, but it pectiv s t spo tal per n a fro

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This wave in Halifax is one of the hardest things to skate. Magnus Hanson demonstrates the “pre” and “post” difficulties that lie in the execution of a stylish treflip to fakie. faucher photo

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The Rita’s harsh noise obsession. How has your music evolved since you started?

words bysaelan twerdy

illustration byniall mcclelland

whiff of like, pork, and I pulled it out and it was half a pig’s

Noise music is all about obsession — just ask Sam When I first started out, I wanted my music to be really face – like, a jowl – and the tape was screwed into the jowl McKinlay. This Vancouver native has been driven by violent, with things crashing and stuff, but when I went through the tape holes. And they had it in a plastic bag the quest for the perfect, all-consuming noise for back to school, I took a break from noise and concentrat- and they’d filled it with dirt and maggots. My dad was like, over a decade. Not everyone has the kind of taste ed solely on minimalist sculpture and landscape works. “What the fuck is that?!” So I think that’s the craziest packfor extremity that leads them to create and seek out And I started to get a really keen eye for painters like Ad aging I’ve ever seen. And I’ve gotten other MSBR stuff, like extremely limited releases of utterly harsh feedback Reinhardt and hard-edged minimalist painters like Ells- a 7-inch that came on a little stage with a spring, but that and static, but those that do are the sort of people worth Kelly and sculptors like Richard Serra, but after one is hands-down the craziest. that pursue their interests with uncompromising school was done, friends were asking me what was going single-mindedness. McKinlay, for instance, is a fan Changing the subject a bit, what’s your association on with the noise. When I got back into it, I found that after of Creature from the Black Lagoon. His apartment hearing some works by Richard Ramirez and his side proj- with the Barrier Kult? is packed with figurines and pictures of the mov- ects, I wanted to focus on figuring out exactly what I liked Um, I’ve seen those guys around. From what I’ve heard, ie’s gill-man monster, and the name he’s adopted they do a focused and obsessed minimalization of skateabout crunched-out, crumbling tones, and I wanted to look for his noise projects, The Rita, is borrowed from boarding. Like, a powerful statement against commercial into the airy spaces between each snapping crackle and I the barge in the movie that ferried scientists up really tried to concentrate on that with more and more pow- values in skateboarding by tearing it down to a primal thing, the Amazon. Likewise, McKinlay is into sharks, but almost like a ritual. I’ve skated with them a few times, but it erful schemes. This was always my favourite thing about not just in the way that, as a kid, you or I might say, harsh noise and I wanted to personally find out why and always gets a little sketchy, and I just leave. “Yeah, sharks are cool.” McKinlay took a vacation then outwardly establish it as a harsh noise entity. How about the ritual quality of a lot of noise music? to Guadalupe to go cage-diving with Great Whites, It seems to share a lot of iconography with black metal. and he used sound recordings from the trip for a What did you discover? 2006 album called Thousands of Dead Gods. McKin- I found out that it can indeed be a harsh noise entity. Well, there’s definitely a lot of black metal fans in noise music, myself included, but I just got into it because I was lay is also a trained painter and minimalist sculptor, I guess the most comparative thing is that I go to drag races but his most well-known non-musical project is un- a lot, and I went to an NHRA nitro meet about a year ago, into thrash, so it was a natural progression. But yeah, I think that might come from the more extremist views that both doubtedly Black Gloves and Razors, a highly sought- and one of the cars just started up and my brother was genres share. There’s black metal bands like Beherit and after DVD compilation of murder scenes drawn filming a special about it, so I got to be right up there in the from the lurid and violent subgenre of 70s Italian pit. And I always loved dragsters as a kid, and when they fi- Mystifier that really, really pare what they’re doing down. Mystifier is obscene, they’re like a mystic cult, and when thrillers known as “giallo” films. It’s a harrow- nally started it up and it snapped down the track, it was the you’re listening to it, you’re like, “Yeah, these guys have ing tribute to McKinlay’s mania for Italian cinema, most thundering overload-snapping-crumbling-avalanche which turned out to be consuming enough that it — jet-engine, almost — it was like an epiphany. It was like, really abstracted this to the point where it’s more of a ritual than it is music.” I think they’re doing a lot of the same had to filter into his music, too: The Rita’s 2005 disc “This is it! I love that sound.” There’s no reason why I can’t Bodies Bear Traces of Carnal Violence takes some make the equivalent and just love that sound and be ob- things that a harsh noise artist will do with sound. of the better scenes from Black Gloves and Razors sessed with that and make it the sole power of my music. I know a lot of people that are really into metal or realas its raw sound sources. Being an avid skater and ly into horror films or something, but in their personal What do you think attracts you to that sound? moving in such extreme circles, McKinlay also inlives, they’re the nicest, most laid-back people. They It’s almost like a primitive thing. People say that a beat is evitably made contact with the Northwest’s most just have this intense psychological interest in these primitive, like a techno beat, but when you hear something shadowy skateboarding collective, the Barrier Kult, that’s really loud — not abrasive, but like a rumbling force — things. who conscripted him to provide sounds for their it really does something to you. And at a proper noise show, That could be, but I have met, especially journeying through Horde video. Sam recently took the time to sit down the states, a lot of guys that are into harsh noise, and they’re with a really massive PA, when somebody hits a tone like with Color and explain what harsh noise music is violent dudes. And for every one of those guys, there’s guys that, it crushes you. It’s like a rollercoaster ride. You feel all about. that use it as an escape. There’s a lot of harsh-noise guys Color: So, how long have you been into harsh noise? The Rita: I’ve been into harsh noise for maybe 11 or 12 years. When I was growing up, I read a big thing about Steve Albini and Big Black in Thrasher — I still have the issue — saying how he was just the harshest thing ever, just pure grinding noise. So of course, I ran out and grabbed all the Big Black I could find right away and I was totally hooked. Before then I was more of a straightedge hardcore dude and I was just into that. But then, of course, Albini started to work with KK Null and Zeni Geva, and when I finally heard KK Null solo, which is just straight noise... I had some friends who were in a noise group called Vote Robot, and their album was out on Scratch Records, so they had a hook-up and if I wanted to hear more like that, I could get whatever. I got my first Merzbow album – I think it was Noise Embryo — and it was just over for me. It was fucking perfect. What do you use to make noise? There’s a bunch of options when you’re starting out: you can use feedback loops, which is the more synthy-sounding stuff, or you can use actual old synths, but I chose to go straight into microphone feedback and trash-abuse and mic abuse.

it all through you, you fall to your knees. It’s almost like a trance. You’ll have a whole crowd of zombies.

Do you find that, among fans and producers of noise music, there are certain traits that you have in common? Yeah, it’s kind of scary. Most of the guys I’ve hung out with are pretty agreeable, but when I was at a festival once and talking seriously with a bunch of guys, it came up that every one of us had OCD [Obsessive Compulsive Disorder]. It was like, “Whoa, you too?” It seems like obsession is kind of a necessary thing in noise music. And a lot of guys I’ve played with use their harsh noise sets as kind of an outlet, so I’ve seen some really, really personal things go down at shows, especially in Japan. Packaging and presentation can be a really huge thing in the noise scene. What’s the craziest package you’ve ever seen? Well, MSBR from Japan, I’d say he’s probably the king. One time I ordered an MSBR tape and it arrived at my house — it was a long time ago, so it was still my parent’s house — in this big box, and my dad and I are on the couch and I’m opening up this box and I get kind of a

and power-electronics guys that are so focused on their release through S&M and sex and whatever that they actually live it. And that’s what made the old days a lot more interesting, too, because it was like when you’d read old Bananafish magazines and be like, “Wow, these guys are fucking heavy.” This just isn’t some hipster thing that’s happening because they’re doing it for a attention. It’s dudes that live this. I guess that’s a lot of the appeal, if you’re tired of music that’s just whatever: all image, or not really committed to anything. But then, once you get into it, you find out it’s not just all about being crazy. Do you have any releases on the way? Yeah, I have another CD on Troniks in the planning stages. It’s going to be based around spaghetti western samples, like from gunfights and everything. BAKURITA.BLOGSPOT.COM

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JORDAN HOFFART smith grind [ o ] caissie

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COLIN LAMBERT lipslide [ o ] doubt

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JOEY WILLIAMS nollie into bank [ o ] doubt

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JOSH CLARK frontside bluntslide [ o ] delong

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JASON CROLLY switch lipslide [ o ] doubt

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CHRIS BISHOP kickflip [ o ] zakharov

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photos byjudah oakes

FINDING TACOS lifted research group goes skateboarding.

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“PREDATOR”… it’s almost too easy. Adelmo Jr. brings the frontside hurricane to Leeside’s not-so-gentle curves.

Rob G knows a taco when he sees one. Alley-oop, fiver… extra hot sauce.

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veryone knows that Vancouver weather can never be counted on. Despite that, the LRG team left sunny southern California, braved the odds and chose this rainy city as their destination for Go Skateboarding day. Chico Brenes, Rob Gonzales, Adelmo Jr., Karl Watson, Jackson Curtain, Gailea Momolu, and Kelly Heart were all in town rolling with Chad Dickson who was skating his way through a couple broken ribs.

They were just another bunch of kids as they joined the masses, taking over the streets, stopping traffic, defying security guards, and blowing up overcrowded spots, but they did get in a couple mellow sessions. When weather wasn’t cooperating there was always the antisocial mini ramp and the growing concrete party that is Leeside. I am not sure that the search for Canadian tacos was ever fully realized, but Jackson claims that Red Burrito hosts the best burrito north of San Francisco and it sounds like team manager Tyrone Romero made sure that the green tacos were being rolled up on the regs.

“Vancouver: a city with some of the best skaters on earth yet some of the hardest spots to skate.”—karl watson .goskateboarding

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I know what you are thinking. Is it weird that a Canadian would be searching for a taco in his homeland? Maybe. Gailea Momolu nollie heelflips behind a hotel that serves alcohol to minors.

A xenophobe he is not, Jackson Curtin switch nosegrinds, on the crowded canvas that is “Go Skateboarding day”.

I know that every day should be Go Skateboarding day, but it’s nice to have a day where it’s expected that you will blow off work to roll around the streets. The LRG team made the best of it, and managed to stretch Go Skateboarding day into a week. A thousand thank-yous go out to Timebomb distribution for bringing them up, Judah “Judahcris” Oakes for tour guiding and Tony Ferguson for just plain being awesome.

“An unforgettable trip is made upon the memories and good times spent. Vancouver was like that, the team was really connected and every minute of this trip was special. Respect!”—adelmo jr. 132

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a celebration for one year of Islands Fold. words byben tour

photos byluke ramsey andshawn o’keefe

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Islands Fold is an artist residency and independent publisher located on Pender Island, BC. It was started by Luke Ramsey and Angela Conley to support artists and promote collaborations on art and ‘zine making, which Luke has been doing extensively for some time now. Many Canadian and international artists have made the trek out to Pender to hang out in the creative environment that Luke and Angela have created, including folks like Other, Marco Zamora, Justin B. Williams to name just a few, as well as their current resident, Jim Stoten all the way from England.

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To celebrate the past year of success, Islands Fold had a one year celebration party this past July 6th, with friends being invited to hang out and camp at the Islands Fold house, go swimming at nearby Magic Lake, eat from the incredible pot luck feast and enjoy the live performance of Portland’s own Hooliganship who killed it with a full-on interactive 3D animated stage show – keep an eye out for these guys for sure. Fun was had by all and frosty cold beers went around accordingly. You can support Islands Fold by purchasing their books, zines and other products online. Cheers, and looking forward to next year.

12. 1. ryan of anteism.com prepares for the hooliganship live performance with islands folds’ own angela. 2. hooliganship killing it! 3. friends hold it down. 4. the crowd prepares for the hooliganship 3d performance! 5. shawn o’keefe couldn’t find the bullseye sauce for his rack of ribs! 6. benny tour wiped out at magic lake after one too many nat shermans the night before. 7. mr. or mrs. sealpup? 8. islands fold kingpin luke ramsey and resident artist jim stoten from merry old england. 9. magic lake. 10. niall mclelland of fighting. 11. tour and dawn. 12. beach thugs: andrew pommier and niall mclelland. ISLANDSFOLD.COM


HIGH ON FIRE

Death Is this Communion (relapse)

BISON

Earthbound (forest)

This latest release from the burgeoning burly rock scene in East Van may be one of my favourites. As always, that has a lot to do with personal prejudice. Anything that reminds me of Old Man Gloom and The Melvins without resorting to ripping off riffs in hope that the audience won’t notice is pretty much bound to earn my respect. And what riffs these are, designed to curl your upper lip and your girlfriend’s pubic hair. At only half an hour, this EP still has enough heaviness and songcraft to gain these guys a foothold in the world of animal-named bands. Now that Goatsblood seems to have vanished from the streets of Vancouver, it’s nice to have some guys to fill the guttural, low-end gap they left behind. —nathan ripley

BLACK LIPS

Good Bad Not Evil (vice)

Here’s an aptly titled album. With their mythic history of drunken, bloody, pisssoaked antics, it would be hard to say that the Black Lips are the good guys. They can barely cross a state line without getting banned from somewhere. But even if they’re bad kids, they sure as hell aren’t a bad band: they play bluesy, psychedelic garage rock better than almost anybody on the planet, and they’re that good because they’ve got heart, soul, and ten years of experience under their belts, even though most of them are barely 25. Good Bad Not Evil is another greasy slab of fucked-up Stones/Sonics perfection from these Atlanta natives, and it’s a fitting sequel to the masterpiece that was Let It Bloom. They try out a few new tricks, like the Byrds-y country rock of “How Do You Tell A Child (That Someone Has Died)”, and with tunes 136

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like “Katrina” and “Transcendental Light”, it seems like they might be trying to tackle heavier subject matter, but they still fly at everything with the same crazy grin on their faces and their tongues in their cheeks, like they’d say, “I love you man,” and follow it up by puking on your jeans. —saelan twerdy

CARIBOU Andorra (merge)

Say what you will about Dan Snaith, but you have to give him this: Dude is not one to repeat himself. This artist formerly known as Manitoba and now Caribou has reinvented himself at every turn, jumping from blips and bleeps to hazy shoegaze to Can-inspired krautrock. And with his new record, Andorra, he’s done it again – this time opting for sun-soaked Zombies-esque psychedelia, making his move to indiepowerhouse Merge Records much more understandable. From start to finish, the album offers a blissed-out collection of sugary harmonies, fluttering orchestration and sophisticated guitar lines, with electronic textures and the beat of the drum still chief in the foreground. And this overall sonic shift is perhaps his most drastic. Yet surprisingly, it’s unlikely to alienate any Caribou followers. At its psych-pop core, Andorra contains what all Snaith’s work has: choice songs that hit their mark each and every time. —brock thiessen

FOG

Ditherer (lex)

Shortly after Fog’s first album came out, I went to check out their live show and, instead of the low-key turntable pop of their recordings, I heard a much more ambitious and interesting kind of art-rock that totally floored me. But with every release since,

Andrew Broder and his associates have never quite lived up to their promise. Until now, that is. Broder’s problem has always been that he’s a talented guy who’s into too many different things (hip-hop, classic rock, techno, black metal, chart pop, weird noises) to really find his own voice. But with Ditherer, Fog seems to have finally solidified into a three-piece and achieved the stunningly original rock album that I always hoped they had in them. Broder’s vocals are more confident, his bandmates turn in riffage and rhythmic syncopation that’s alternately anthemic and convulsively proggy, and the whole affair is continuously shot through with omnipresent background noise and spontaneous eruptions of strings and samples. There’s also an army of guest musicians (Dosh, Why?, Phil Elverum, Andrew Bird, and Low’s Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker), but they blend in so seamlessly that you hardly notice they’re there. This is somewhere near Radiohead or Wilco on the ambition scale, making it easily one of the most interesting and original indie-rock albums of the year, so don’t sleep on it. —saelan twerdy

You know that crusty old dude who, whenever someone puts on heavy metal at a party, loudly proclaims, “Yeah, I guess it’s alright, but nothing will ever be heavier than Sabbath, man. EVER.” Well, High on Fire’s new disc, Death is this Communion, should shut up that guy once and for all. My guess is you’d throw this on and he’d try to resist at first, then his body would get all herkyjerky, his head moving all fast-like, and then his head would just straight up explode. And nobody would really miss him, because he never brought his own booze and always monopolized the most comfortable chair at the party. Ozzy can kick back and relax – the torch has officially been passed. High on Fire are heading out on tour as you read this, so bring a neck brace and a change of clothes in case “that guy” shows up. —scott lyon

MARLIN

Happy Face Math (self-released)

GALLOWS

Orchestra of Wolves (epitaph)

By the middle of this decade, post-hardcore was pretty much a dead scene. Refused broke up in ‘98, Fugazi was basically over, At the Drive-In split into Sparta and the Mars Volta, and the list goes on. Hot Snakes stuck it out until pretty recently, but even they’ve thrown in the towel now. So, in a modern punk scene dominated by metalcore, mall-punk, and mascara-ed emo-pop, and at a time when many fans of heavy music have turned to the thriving metal underground to satisfy their cravings, Gallows are a real shot in the arm. Hailing from Watford, England, this five-piece resurrects every element of the classic post-hardcore sound: knotty, complex rhythms, furiously catchy and anthemic riffs, and song structures that break out of the fast, loud, gang-vocal straitjacket of hardcore while retaining all of the genre’s conviction and aggression. They haven’t yet mastered the sonic diversity or weighty lyrics that propelled forbears like Orchid or Refused, but they’ve got promising muscle, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve got a future classic in them somewhere. —saelan twerdy

There’s a number of artists out working in the sunflower fields of trippy downtempo beatmaking, blending programmed drums with acoustic melodies for the pleasure of children and adults everywhere, but almost every one of them has been sadly slept on by the general public. I’m thinking of Black Moth Super Rainbow, The Octopus Project, and most of all, Marlin (aka Marlin Calrizio), a native of Point Roberts on British Columbia’s scenic west coast. His latest disc, Happy Face Math, is a collaboration with Mike Swaney, a member of the Humanfive Collective, based on a set of digital collages they made together. Most of the elements of Happy Face Math will be familiar to fans of Boards of Canada, Prefuse 73, and Tommy Guerrero: shuffling hip-hop beats, acoustic guitars, chopped-up vocals, warm whooshes of moog, and a pleasant sense of wistful nostalgia that conjures images of sepia-tinted home videos and kids wishing on puffs of dandelion seeds. Marlin does this sound better than just about anyone these days, but like his other three albums, Happy Face Math is self-released, so head over to his myspace if you want to cop. — saelan twerdy


M.I.A. Kala (xl)

This album is so awesome that it will make you feel like you are skydiving or going off a drop on a rollercoaster or something, like when you feel pressure in your lungs and tears start squeezing out of the sides of your eyes because there is that much wind on your face. Maya Arulpragasam is back like she’s got something to prove and coming on like she’s got the whole third world behind her. That her (molotov) cocktail of dancehall, grime, bhangra, and electro sounds even better without Diplo goes to show that he probably didn’t have as much of a hand in her first album as people generally assumed – Switch, Blaqstarr, and Timbaland are the only producers helping out on this disc. From opening the album with lyrics ripped from the Modern Lovers to replicating The Knife’s sci-fi disco on “$20” to rapping about counterfeiting passports on a Yeah Yeah Yeahs-style power ballad to guest spots by a gang of Indian kids doing an imitation of the Yin Yang Twins’ whisper-crunk, Kala is the smartest, heaviest, most advanced pop-music collage happening anywhere, even in our era of the omnipresent mashup. —saelan twerdy

PHARAOH MONCH Desire (universal)

THREE INCHES OF BLOOD

None Shall Pass (def jux)

Aesop Rock is a divisive rapper, especially for hip-hop purists. His sour tongue spits surrealistic fables so dense and convoluted that you might need a whole semester and the supervision of an English professor to make any sense of them. It’s no surprise then that he often gets branded as “college rap,” street music for educated white kids who get uncomfortable listening to Pac and Biggie. Aesop has a social conscience, for sure – you won’t hear any rhymes about hustlin’ or pimpin’ on his discs – but like most of the Def Jux roster, he’s not pushing a message, he’s trying to push hip-hop forward as an art form, and when he’s at his best (as he is for almost all of None Shall Pass), there’s nothing like him. Bazooka Tooth was a letdown, too smart and abrasive for its own good, but with this disc, Ace is back on top with his most catchy, diverse and upbeat batch of songs to date. Usual suspects like Blockhead, El-P, and Rob Sonic drop in for production and verses, but the real surprise is Mountain Goats frontman John Darnielle, who closes the album with some soul singing so tough that you’d swear he was Shirley Bassey. —saelan twerdy

SUNBURNED HAND OF THE MAN Fire Escape (smalltown supersound)

It’s been 16 years since Monch’s original group, Organized Konfusion, dropped one of the greatest hip hop records of all time and it’s been eight years since his debut solo album and “Simon Says”, the almost-massive track that nearly put him back on top (until sample clearance issues stopped the song dead in its track). Monch hasn’t done much since, other than guest on a few records here and there, but the man has not been slackin’ as is evident on Desire. A lot has changed in the rap game since the early 90s but one constant is that Pharoah Monch remains one of the most verbally adept MCs to have ever graced the mic. He switches from club bangers (“Free”) to neo soul (“Body Baby”) and even a hip-hopera (“Trilogy”), and all without sounding disingenuous. Thanks to underground buzz and major label distro, this may finally be the album to break Monch out of the underground and well past the cookie cutter Lil’s and Young’s that dominate the airwaves.

sic. —saelan twerdy

—mark e. rich

AESOP ROCK

Less a band than a mutating collective of hippies, jazzbos, psychonauts, and experimentalists of various stripes, Sunburned Hand of the Man’s output has been freeform and lo-fi to the point where their releases generally feel like excerpts from one neverending jam. For Fire Escape, though, they’re guided and directed by Kieran Hebden (a.k.a. Four Tet) who’s credited with producing, mixing, editing, and “envisioning” the album, as well as playing piano and drum machine. As such, the album is nicely polished and well-conceived. The usual underwater bass, acid-fuzz guitar, and shamanistic percussion are all still here, but Hebden trims the fat and works in his own taste for off-kilter hip-hop and electronic sounds, making this a mostly-instrumental smorgasbord of avant-garde groove music that falls somewhere between Bitches Brew and more blissed-out Boredoms (whose frontman, EYE, did the cover art). Weirdly enough, it works great as background mu-

MIRACLE FORTRESS Five Roses (secret city)

Fire Up the Blades (roadrunner)

About two minutes into the new Three Inches of Blood CD, Fire up the Blades, I had sported about four inches of wood (that’s right, ladies!) While the massive blood loss would have caused mere mortals to faint, I managed to press on, for I am a 9th level paladin with 18 constitution points! And thank god I pulled through, because Three Inches of Blood have nullified the sophomore slump that was Advance and Vanquish. Injecting elements of Deep Purple and Thin Lizzy alongside their trademark Priest/Maiden hybrid, with a dash of black metal for good measure, 3IOB have evolved their sound to great effect. The band prove with this disc that they are no one-spell mage. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch Eragon on mute with this CD in the background. Just to see if it does the whole “Dark Side of the Rainbow” thing. —scott lyon

TOMAHAWK

Miracle Fortress is the solo project of Graham Van Pelt (keyboardist for Montreal’s Think About Life), and it’s a pop wonder. No matter whether you’re on your first or fiftieth listen, you’re guaranteed to notice some new and enchanting detail hidden in the mix of wired-up and washed-out guitars and synths. After that fiftieth listen, you might be ready to focus on Van Pelt’s heartfelt lyrics, which will keep you busy for another long while. Van Pelt quite unabashedly pilfers his inspiration from sweeter sounding musical times long gone, but judging by his nomination for this year’s Polaris Prize (Canada’s equivalent of the U.K.’s Mercury Prize), I’m not the only one that thinks he’s perfect for right now. Choose a song at random from this album and add it to your next courting mix-tape, and success is as good as goldenly guaranteed. No nubile young person could possibly resist the densely-textured allure of Van Pelt’s music, and if they can, you don’t want them anyways. - julie colero

Anonymous (ipecac)

IRON & WINE The Shepherd’s Dog (Sub-Pop) Mike Patton has been as busy as ever lately, if a little duller than usual. But then this disc came out to prove that he’s not sinking into some middle-aged musical complacency. Which is nice, seeing as how he’s still in his early thirties (Epic was a long time ago, yeah, but he was 19 then). Tomahawk is his most band-ish of bands, the one project he’s got going now that sounds like a collaborative unit, not a Mike-dominated team of crack musicians. Duane “Jesus Lizard” Denison and John Stanier of Helmet and the lately-popular Battles seem to have come up with most of this music – most of the arrangements, that is – Patton overdubbed vocals and samples afterwards. Weirdly enough, this entire album is comprised of covers of anonymously-written Native American tunes. Patton’s vocal arsenal is used to its fullest as he replicates mass chants and eerie melodies, sounding almost like a frontier version of his Fantomas-self. These ancient songs become solid rock music in what must be one of the strangest mixes of North American genre music ever made. —nathan ripley

Since when does Iron & Wine sound so big? From the muted softness of country-tinged The Creek Drank the Cradle, Sam Beam has been busy bulking up his sound and, thankfully, figuring out how to bring his gorgeous voice to the forefront. The Shepherd’s Dog may well be his finest release to date, taking a firm stride away, musically, from country ramblings, whilst holding on to the storytelling conceits that have helped Beam gain widespread indie-kid adoration. Here, Beam makes use of layered vocals, piano lines to die for, beefy drums and bass lines, and his tried-and-true slide guitar. On “Wolves”, he even goes so far as to adopt a dub style, which works wonders and creates one of the strongest tracks on the album. Beam’s lyrics remain ambiguous, weaving Southern Gothic narratives into allegorical delights. If you’re looking to lose yourself in someone else’s sweet, sad life, this is the right music to do so to. - julie colero

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FAMILIA

bang chong I learned something while watching this oddly titled but surprisingly refreshing video: South Africa has a skate scene. Not only that, it has a skate scene that seems pretty rad. Part of its radness is no doubt attributable to Famila, a South African company started by Adrian Day and Gavin Morgan who also do some fine skateboarding in this video. I also learned I would much rather watch a video of friends skating and getting stoked in a place I’ve never been than watch most videos that come out these days. There’s some Barcelona in there but most of the footage is of ‘Jozi’ – short for Johannesburg – which is not the capital of South Africa, Cape Town is (thanks internet). I also learned an already stylish and solid video part from Gavin Morgan can be made even better if you use Sonic Youth’s “Schizophrenia” – one of my alltime favorite songs – even if you insist on cutting off the wicked jam-out at the end. My only complaints are that there is such thing as too much Brian Jonestown Massacre and that some of the clips were seemingly filmed by someone who was shaking the camera like a martini. But overall, this video is awesome, it actually made me feel like skating, which is the point of these things. Good job dudes. I mean my bru’s. —mike christie

DEBUNKER

“the time is at hand the time is now let new ideas (as incomprehensible as they may seem) take precedence over all for the past and its ideas are past and the future is a time for drastic change those not willing to strive for the new will be lost with the old” So starts, the SMA Debunker video, well, that and a nuclear explosion. Mixed in among found footage of Vietnam, the war on drugs, Martin Luther King, crack heads, shootings, cops, Hitler, George Bush, the KKK, crop circles, midget wrestling (an incredible face slide), kittens, ritualistic piercings, and aliens galore, we find some pretty epic shralping. Keep in mind that this is a time when a lot of the shuvits are late or don’t leave the ground, the front foot was often kicked out, and half-inch rail bonks were slowed to a painful rate. There is a 19-year old Alan Peterson hip gap at the Seylynn park that still seems incomprehensible. Corey Chrysler and Nick Foster share a part that seems like it may have influenced the early Zero videos. Karma Tsocheff finishes off this relatively short video with an absolutely ripping part. The dated soundtrack is no less ripping. It includes Operation Ivy, Bad Religion, Consolidated, Fugazi, Nomeansno, Lard, and Mudhoney. It should come as no surprise to find Thomas Campbell’s name all over the credits. “those who say, ‘just say no’ profit… profit… profit!” —dylan doubt

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videoreviews.

FLOORWORK

santa monica airlines c.1990

jeremy elkin

Floorwork is a Montreal-based film, produced over the past two years by Jeremy Elkin. Presented by Zoo York, Osiris, Color Magazine and Platinum. It features full parts from Collin Hale, Nate Belanger, Jo Daraiche, Phil Knechtel, Seb Labbe, Andrew Mcgraw, Charles Rivard and Pierre-Yves Gauthier. With guest appearances from Manny Santiago, Antoine Asselin, Carl Labelle, Luis Tolentino, Ryan Decenzo, Dave Abair, Jai Ball, James Reres, Mike Fyfe, Tommy Wisdom, and Magnus Hanson. We sponsored it, so obviously we back it! —adam henry

THE SEQUEL hoon wheels

Fed Ex shows up with a package from Element Skateboards. “Yes!” I am thinking. “I was waiting for a package of clothes from them”. ‘Turns out to be This Is My Element. “Oh well back to work I guess” I thought to myself. I go skating after work, get home — nothing on TV. “I guess I will throw in this video... Damn!”, out of nowhere this shit is good! You must check it out and be sure to grab a sandwich before you start as this thing is a whopping 50 minutes long. The whole Element team is represented here. Nyjah Huston opens it up. I’ve never been a fan of kids skating, but he jumps down some shit with fantastic maneuvers. Yes, The Muska is in here with the unmistakable Muska style. I swear he does everything first try. Brent Atchley skates nothing but transition and it’s sick. Levi Brown has some serious pop, Tosh is so good and I bet you forgot that. But by far the standout has to be Darrell Stanton. I don’t know why this guy has been on so many teams but he kills it. Skating a sweet variety of obstacles with moves you are gonna love. You tell me, is the switch bs 360 better than the regular one? —craig rosvold

BLACK AND WHITE mystery skateboards

Chet Childress is a funny funny man. The video opens with luda crooks graffiti, so you know that there is no getting around the automatic “thumbs up”. Talking about a “big” American pro is an awful way to start a review about an Australian wheel video, but really there are few people that can hold a table like Chet. Matt Mumford, Jake Duncombe, Javier Mendizabal, Mike Peterson, Andrew Currie, Dorfus, and a handful of friends are all along for this 25 minute long beer-soaked mustachioed journey. There is even some decent street schralping that slides in between all the oververt disasters, nose grab backside airs, dirty slams, stale fishes, foot plants and inverted carves. Throw in the first Hoon video, Hoon run, that is hiding somewhere in the bonus section, and you have yourself a hell of a deal. Get a tent, get dirty, and don’t be afraid of a good slam. —dylan doubt

What’s black and white and red all over? I know: a thousand possible answers. It’s late at night, I am alternating Newcastle brown ale with cups of strong coffee, and I am going to tell you about how awesome the new (make that the first ever) full-length Mystery video is. I will say that it’s nice to see someone following Dan Wolfe’s footsteps in making a video that doesn’t discriminate against those with “color deficiencies”. Dyschromatopsia is a bitch. The whole team holds it down, but I will tell you that Ryan Smith is one of my favourites. He is a pure schralper, picking his battles and knocking them out of the park. Gilbert Crockett comes out of with an impressive introductory part – maybe the banger of the video. And the fact that you can still see a tiny bit of that dirty little kid in glasses jumping off the Tampa vert ramp in every trick that Lindsey Robertson does has him running away with a most stoke-worthy part. —dylan doubt


[ o ] MEHRING

“I was disorderly.” wordsby chris nieratko

Fred Gall is a skateboarder’s skateboarder. That’s really all there is to it. The dude has killed it forever, been pro more than 10 years and still lays it down. I could be cute or fancy with words to describe Freddy but all I need to say is that his raw, mean, muscle-y way of skating will always be one of my favourites. And it should be yours too. 1. When you think of New Jersey what comes to mind? I think of home, first off, but then I think of Jersey scum; my friends and whatnot. And oil refineries actually. When I’m home I get up, I go to the skateshop, maybe go skate, depending on the weather go swimming. If I’m not skating I lounge back. I think everyone is pretty tweaked from Jersey. In a good way. 2. What’s your most memorable tour story? There’s a lot of them, man. I guess the most memorable one would be breaking down in Alco, Nevada. It happened not only once but twice. And it’s the middle of Nevada, 300 miles from anything. The tiniest hick town. I broke down once with Lou Metal driving to San Francisco a couple years ago and we were stranded for a week waiting to get the car part. Then it just so happened that we were driving through there for King Of the Road and I was telling the story about being stuck there for a week and our tire blew out just as we were passing the same exact exit. We got out of there that day, the second time, but I lost two hundred bucks in an hour at the casino playing blackjack. That place sucks. Do you normally do good when you gamble? It’s hit or miss, you know. I like to think I do good but it doesn’t always work that way. The most I’ve ever won is probably like $1500. I’ve been up pretty big, bigger than that but I don’t know how to quit. I’ve lost a lot. I’ve been up four Gs and then lost it and withdrawn all the money I could, cash advance, even maxed out my credit cards to get cash advances to try and win it back. You know you get that hot and then you start betting $500 at a time, telling yourself, “If I get to 10Gs then I’ll quit, I’ll be chilling.” But it doesn’t always work that way. 3. I’ve known you a long time and I don’t think I’ve ever been as proud of you as I have in recent years. You’ve really become a workhorse and are banging out footage and photos. What’s the new motivation? I don’t know, man. I got sick of sitting around. I’m 28, I still have a lot of years but I want to do it while I can. Try and make it happen and so I’ve been working non-stop. Trying to produce a lot. I got this shoe coming out soon for Ipath so I just want to get kids psyched. 4. You had a pro model shoe once that you never got a pair of. How do you feel about finally getting a real shoe? That shoe was on a company called Recs and it pretty much wrecked my life for a couple years. I rode for DC and I 140

tatteredten.

had some court problems and I needed a lot of money quick and they couldn’t pay me as much as I need so I quit to get paid a whole lot and get a pro model shoe for this company that didn’t last but six or eight months. My shoe came out and they went out of business and apparently they sold them all over the Internet in Germany and I never got a dime. So now I can’t wait. The Ipath shoe drops in September with the new Habitat DVD too, so a lot is gonna happen at once. I’m excited. A lot of people say it should have happened for me years ago but I know I fucked that up with that whole Recs deal. But what can you do? 5. That’s something else I wanted to ask you. Do you have any regrets over the years? I don’t like to have regrets but I know I could have done more when there was a whole lot more money in skateboarding but instead I was just chilling a lot. But I don’t have any regrets. It was all fun. Even with the DC Shoes thing, I would have ended up quitting them anyway because I’m not psyched on everything they’re doing now. But I know it was a dumb ass move on my part. 6. You’ve had your share of physical altercations. Recently you had your jaw broken. What’s the worst situation you’ve found yourself in? Shit. Being in jail is never good and the brick to the face probably takes the cake. For a while now I’ve been on a pretty straight and narrow but right before the premiere for Mosaic I went to jail in Indianapolis for disorderly conduct and that was definitely a bad situation. They dropped me in a paddy wagon and they drove around picking up crackheads all night, they were macing some dude in the back so we all got maced. Then they put me in general population and I was the only white dude and it was pretty gnarly – real-jail style. I was really drunk at the hotel and I got in an argument with the security guard and I wouldn’t just walk away and go to my room. I was disorderly. In the end I didn’t get charged with anything. I was wrestling with the security guard and I had my video camera in my hand. But the cops and security fully roughed me up and fought me but I had my video camera recording and I wouldn’t let go until the cops came and so the hotel didn’t press charges because they knew I could have sued them. But I was happy not to have to fly back there for a court date. 7. You, Wenning and a bunch of other Jersey guys have mastered the Hunchback of Notre Dame landing position. Where does that come from? I don’t know, man. I guess we’re just fucked. We’re just

piles and we’re too lazy to stand straight up. 8. There’s been a ton of great Jersey skaters over the years. Who is your favorite? Who did you look up to coming up? Shit, growing up I looked up to people like Matt Field, Lou Metal, Dune, Quim and Mike Cardona, Mike V and all the old school heads. But right now Steve Durante is one of my favorites. He is good and he’s on Habitat and I’ve been skating with him a lot over the years and you’ll be seeing a lot of good stuff from him soon. There’s a lot of good guys in Jersey and they’re going to keep coming out. There’s a ton of them. 9. You had a photo posted on Crailtap with your nuts hanging out. Is it true you threatened Rick Howard and Mike Carroll to remove it? I was joking with those guys but I guess it was kind of threatening. I was at Tampa Pro and I was pissed about it because it was their site but the dude Roger Bagley is the dude who took the photo and that was the dude I was really pissed at. I was drunk and just fucking with those dudes. I didn’t mean anything against Howard or Carroll. I just wanted to let them know I wasn’t into it. They were cool. I don’t know if they were shook but I kept going on about it for two days because I was drunk. Every time I’d see them I’d say, “Tell Roger he’s dead.” But I saw Roger and we squashed it up but you definitely shouldn’t post photos of people like that if you don’t know them well. Things could get ugly. 10. You got the shoe coming, you got the new Habitat DVD coming. What else is next for you, Fredro? Ipath video and a Domestics promo video but it’s hard to work on all this shit at once. I’m trying to relax a little after these videos. I have a condo now, but I wanna buy a house. and I just want to grow our clothing company, Domestics. It’s going good. We just need to expand into more shops. My friend Joe had a screen-printing shop and we figured we should start our own thing. Then we decided to make our own cut and sew pants and now we have nine different styles of pants. We’re building that brand but it’s a slow process. You can check our stuff out at domesticsclothing. com. Fred Gall’s IPath Pro model will be out by the time you read this at Chris Nieratko’s skateshop, NJ Skateshop. com and other skateshops that know what’s up.


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COREY WILSON grind crusher [ o ] doubt.


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Volume 5, Number 4  
Volume 5, Number 4  

Featuring the first interview ever with Spencer Hamilton. Also, Fred Gall, C1rca Tour De Smash, 5BORO in Toronto, Forest Kirby's Miami, and...