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June 2011 vol. 2, no. 2 #8

BCSD XI • Photography of Catalin Olteanu Mike Currier • What Happened to Grindplates? Murder By Death • Single Servings

ON THE COVER Jeff Stockwell

180 Stale Japan Modern Skate Park Detroit, MI

Photo: Inspired Art

Spread: Vincent Morretino

Vincent Morretino

Mike Currier Matt Lorch Vincent Morretino

Sam Cooper

Cambridge, England


Chris Gerard Detroit, MI


Michelle Gerard Detroit, MI


Drew Humphrey Brooklyn, NY


Catalin Olteanu Bucharest, Romania

www.flickr.com/photos/sharky_rol May 2011 - Vol. 2, no. 2, issue #8 (Game Over) Š 2011 by Balance rolling magazine. All photos and copy are the property of the respective writers and photographers that created them. They were not purchased by Balance rolling magazine, but were donated out of kindness. Please respect the property of those involved with this magazine. This is the last issue of Balance rolling magazine. It was fun while it lasted, but all good things must come to an end. Love, hate and condolences should be sent to info@balancerollingmag.com

Companies represented at this year’s trade show include Aggressive Mall, American Low Life, Balance Rolling Magazine, Be-Mag, Casualty, Create Originals, Denial, Dub Caesar Apparel, First and Lexington, Intuition Skate Shop, Kaspa, ONE Magazine, Origyn Cloth, Print Brigade, Psyko Clothing, Razors, Remz, Rollerblade, Roller Warehouse, Shima Skate Manufacturing, Scribe Industries, Sixwonsix, Skate Aggressive, The Conference, Trust, Valo, Vibralux Denim and WolfGangRadio.

Check out the best edits of BCSD XI:

Imperial Productions: www.vimeo.com/20626749 Rolling Mission: www.vimeo.com/20585859 The Conference: www.vimeo.com/21003903 Valo: www.vimeo.com/20502706

Brandon Campbell & Matt Mickey

Adam Killgore

Brian Shima & Montre Livingston

J.C. Rowe

Robert Guerrero

Mr. & Mrs. Jon Julio

Jon Jon Bolino

Joey Chase

As I’m writing this, I’m listening to the Hallowed Ground album by the Violent Femmes. Fuck yeah. I left Indianapoils, IN early Friday morning with my friend Eric Robinson in my packed-to-the-roof dark gray 2007 Mazda 5. We stopped in Dayton, OH to pick up my longtime chum, Mike Callahan. Mike was traveling light, which usually means that someone’s going be cold at night in the D. There sure ain’t nothin’ between Dayton and Detroit, unless you count Toledo, which I don’t so we shan’t speak of it no more. We got to Modern Skate Park in Royal Oak, MI around 5:30 pm. I had to meet with Daniel Kinney about some trade show matters, as well as introduce myself to Chris

Anthony Avella - Bio 540 Flying Kang Fish

Brian Aragon - AO Topsoyale, 180 out

and Michelle Gerard, as they would be covering the whole weekend for Balance. There are many more pages ahead of you, courtesy of Chris and Michelle, so settle in with a nice frosty beverage or something chewy to eat. Mike, Eric and I stayed at Al Dolega’s loft in downtown Detroit. Lots and lots and lots and lots of stairs. Several feet of unplowed snow just outside of the building door. I had two herniated discs in my spinal column and my right leg was completely numb. Oh yeah, I was loving life. Saturday morning came around too quickly, and we rushed off to set up the Balance booth at the trade show. I dropped Mike and Eric off at Modern, then I stopped by the Econolodge to swoop up Ryan Loewy, Ariel Tobing, aka bobgross and Mahmoud Jalloh, aka mudhut jollyrancher to help at the booth.

Billy O’Neill - Front Farv to Rocket Fishbrain

Soul grind

Joey Chase - Unity

The doors opened at noon, and Mike, Eric, Ariel, Mahmoud and I passed out about 400 free copies of the official Balance rolling magazine BCSD XI program. I saw very few copies trashed on the floor after the tradeshow, Dan Fabiano must smoke 1 TON CRACK if he thinks no one got a copy. We got a lot of well wishers at the booth, it was rad to hear the positive feedback. The AM contest was pretty amazing, easily a standalone competition in itself. Dave Lang and Tyler Hester showed that they had what it took to hang with the Pro’s, with countless super-technical disaster spins to grinds. There was a very impressive display of talent by Chynna Weierstall who tackled the giant A ledge like she’d been skating it all her life. During the Pro competition, Brandon Smith flossed more lines than anyone else all weekend, which is saying something when Jeff Stockwell was linking trick after trick all day. Let’s talk about Jeff Stockwell for a moment. Jeff Stockwell has been killing it since 1997. Since this guy was in junior high school in San Clemente, he has displayed an effortless style that is often imitated, but never

Chris Farmer - Soul to drop Soul, 180 out

Brian Aragon & Vinny Minton

Front Front Farv Farv

StephanĂŠ Alfano - Disaster Topsoul

Saftety gap

Erik Bailey - Sweatstance

Lonnie Gallegos

duplicated. I’ve been pulling for Jeff to win a major contest for years, but I digress. Joey Chase showed a lot of heart on th over the channel, taking a bone crunching tumble, then getting right back up to the applause of everyone in the building. R it that his body consists of a mixture of 80% concrete, 14% beer and 6% railroad spikes. The whole contest was a bit long. But like always, by the time the crowd was whipped up into a fever pitch, an end was finally in sight. Julien Cudot had been systematically dropping technical hammers on the biggest obstacles in the park while top name Pro’s were succumbing to fatigue just trying to land their trick after several attempts. To win a BCSD, you have to go big, give a shit about winning and be able to outlast the competition. That’s why Julien Cudot won and Alex Broskow didn’t. Lookout, Alex! A wild trash can appears!

he fat curved rail Rumor has

Jeff Stockwell - Freestyle Torque to Topsoul to Disaster Topsoul, 180 out

Julien Cudot - Fishbrain

Julien Cudot - Truespin Mizou

Julien Cudot - AO Topsoul, 360 out

Nate Snowden - Disaster Farside Soul

Koda Hult - 540 Safety grab

Alex Hancook - Topsoul

Brian Murphy - Street course to Gnar Bar stall to bowl trasfer

Chynna Weierstall - Disaster Negative Acid

Joe Hawkey - Backside Royale

Jake Cawley - Backside Pudslide to Truespin Deathstar

BCSD XI 2011 1st Place: Julien Cudot 2nd Place: Brian Aragon 3rd Place: Erik Bailey

For the teaser, preview and full feature, visit www.wrstv.com

The Photography of Catalin Olteanu

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Mike Currier Photos by Andrew Martinez My name is Mike Currier, I’m 29 years old and I’ve been skating for 14 years. I’ve been around action sports since I started skateboarding at age 3. After that came snowboarding, BMX and rollerblading. Rollerblading is the only sport that could keep my attention. The people that I’ve met, the friends that I have made and the experiences that came with this sport are 100% responsible for who I am, and I wouldn’t change a single day. I’m not proud of some of the things that I’ve done, but despite all of the flaws come great memories of opportunities that I never would have had if skating hadn’t been a part of my life. I’ve travelled to Seattle, WA to skate the Barn Burner, thanks to K2; I’ve spent years at the original Camp Woodward where I’ve met some of the most interesting people in the world and I lived with Ross Anthony in Philadelphia, PA for a stretch. Things have been much different for me during the past few years. I had to put skating on the back burner and

get my life together; 5 years of being homeless and living with friends got old and I needed to focus on getting things together. I’ve started my own business, and business is booming. I married my wife almost 2 years ago, and we have our first son on the way. I’m moving my family and business to Philadelphia in January 2012, and I’m really excited to be back around a skating scene. I’m looking forward to seeing all the new kids come out for the Neglected Truth box jams, and hopefully I can reconnect with some old acquaintances. For most, skating is so much more than just a hobby; it’s a way to meet like-minded people. Skating makes it possible to travel, with little to no plans, and have friends to stay with anywhere in the world. I never thought that skating would have such an impact on my life until I took a step away from it and realized how much I was missing when I wasn’t doing it.


Huge Mute transfer over the hip

Truespin Savannah

Written by: Matt Lorch Illustration by: Vincent Morretino

There have been many innovations in rolling since the mid-1990s. Just to name a few, there have been powerstraps, anti-rocker wheels, grindplates, H-blocks, UFS (Universal Frame System), replaceable soul/backslide plates, suspension frames, neoprene toes on liners, and carbon fiber shells. While most of these innovations are still in use, one innovation has been forgotten: grindplates. Unless you started skating before 2002, you probably have never used grindplates or even seen them except in old skating photos, videos, catalogs, etc. As someone who faithfully used grindplates from 1994 to 2001, as well as for brief periods between 2002 and up until today, I don’t fully understand why grindplates disappeared from our industry. For practical purposes, by “grindplates” I mean either a plastic, metal, or combo metal-plastic plate usually placed on the inside of the frame and mounted across the second and third wheel using the axle bolts. What really happened to grindplates? Why isn’t this innovation still used in rolling while most of the other innovations have become mainstream? In attempting to answer these questions, I hope to offer a brief history and show how grindplates are still useful in rollerblading. THE BIRTH AND EVOLUTION OF GRINDPLATES In addition to serving a functional need for increased sliding and grinding capabilities, grindplates served a structural need in the early days of our sport. Before Roces’ Majestic 12, K2’s Fatty and Oxygen’s Argon skates, Rollerblade’s Lighting TRS and Tarmac C.E. skates were the primary skates used for aggressive inline skating. However, the frames of these skates did not include an h-block (even though Tarmac C.E. skates included a metal, wrap-around grindplate). Because of this, frames were susceptible to excessive wear and tear and cracked easily, especially from street skating. Rollerblade wrenches, steel tools that were

included with early Lightning models, were some of the first solutions to adding structural support to these early frames. If you’ve been lucky enough to see The Hoax: An Inline Crime (1994), you’ll notice some of the forefathers of our sport using metal grindplates on curbs. As rolling continued to progress through the mid to late 1990s, grindplates evolved, too. Companies began to offer a wide variety of grindplate technologies. Senate came out with their famous steel Wrenches, while CDS Detroit and Scribe first specialized in plastic grindplates. UHMW, or ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene plastic, was the plastic of choice due to its high abrasion resistance and fast sliding capabilities on a variety of street objects. Even 50/50 offered a combo metal-plastic grindplate before moving solely to steel, plastic and later aluminum. Even though frames still didn’t need grindplates for structural support, the rolling industry continued to fully embrace grindplates. Sometimes, grindplates were even included with new pairs of complete skates. GRINDPLATES BEGIN TO DISAPPEAR By the late 1990s, grindplates were being solely used to help a skater slide better on a variety of street and

skate park obstacles. As an added benefit, grindplates even decreased the wear on better quality frames. However, in the early 2000s, grindplates started to disappear. While it is difficult to recount exact dates or reasons for their disappearance, I believe a variety of factors contributed to the abandonment of grindplates. First, with the advent of the UFS consortium, frames continued to evolve and challenge the need for grindplates. Ground Control and 50/50 led the aftermarket in offering frames that were made out of fast and longer-lasting materials that did not necessarily require grindplates in order to enjoy skating. Second, grindplate production began to decline. Companies that previously had produced grindplates were no longer in business, such as CDS Detroit, and companies that were still producing grindplates began to phase out grindplates from their production lines. Third, skate companies began to decrease the inclusion of grindplates on their complete skates. Beginner skaters began to be left out from the benefits of using grindplates, particularly during the initial stages of the learning curve. Fourth, various UFS frames began to widen the gap between the second and third wheels, creating more room for grinding and the perception that better grinding was related to more space. Finally, freestyle set-ups became popular and specialized UFS freestyle frames were produced by companies such as Kizer, Xsjado and 50/50. Somehow all of these factors combined to phase out these useful sliding tools.

WHY ARE GRINDPLATES STILL NEEDED? Here’s what a current argument against grindplates may sound like: “Well, I skate anti-rocker (or freestyle) and seem to grind just fine while maintaining my speed and control using my (insert company name and frame model here) frames. Grindplates will just add unnecessary weight to my skates.” Yes, in some aspects this argument is correct. It is hard to justify adding weight to skates, especially for a technology that exists in very limited circumstances. However, I would like to present some of the advantages of using them. 1. Smoother grind, better control, and maintaining speed: Grindplates enable a smoother grind on a variety of obstacles no matter the type of set-up that you are riding. In addition, they enable a skater to maintain grinding speed longer and better control the grind. This is because grindplate materials (UHMW plastic, steel, aluminum) usually slide better than standard frame materials and provide a slight amount of friction, which adds control. 2. Reduced frame wear: Grindplates save frames from excessive wear, especially on street obstacles. 3. The ideal groove: Grindplates will help maintain, or even develop, the ideal groove better than with just using frames alone. Grindplates are more wear resistant than standard frame materials. 4. Increased wheel clearance: For those who ride flat (8-down) or semi-flat (6-down) set-ups, grindplates

create a buffer zone between the grinding surface and the second and third wheels. As a result, the second and third wheels are less likely to contact the grinding obstacle. WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT? If grindplates are not produced anymore, then how can a skater use this forgotten yet effective form of rolling technology? Well … there is not a simple solution. Even if one is lucky enough to find a pair of grindplates on an older pair of skates, one may find that the grindplates cannot accommodate the larger middle gaps on current UFS frames. Or, the grindplates will not mount well on the inside of the frame due to the variety of shapes of current UFS frame grooves and walls. Until grindplates are produced on a mass scale again, the only solution is to self-produce them! Making grindplates, plastic at least, is actually relatively easy with the right woodworking tools and skills. In the future, I hope frame companies will create a new generation of grindplates. In order to accommodate different forms of skating, I envision frame companies offering steel, aluminum, or UHMW plastic grindplates as optional inserts that can be attached to current frames. For example, I am currently using custom, self-made UHMW plastic grindplates on a pair of Create Original frames, and I really like how they are working. Finally, thank you to all of the companies that have contributed to the support and the evolution of grindplates over the years.

An interview with vocalist and guitarist, Adam Turla. Your voice has the tendency to contradict your youthful appearance. Has anyone been completely surprised when meeting you for the first time after only hearing MBD’s albums, and not seeing you guys live or other visual media? I’m not going to bullshit here, I was floored when I first saw your picture. I was imagining Curly from City Slickers brandishing a knife while crooning into the microphone. Haha, that’s great. I’ve never heard Curly, but I often get people who think I’ll be older and/or taller. I always quote the movie Roadhouse in these instances, the part where a guy says to Jack Dalton, “I thought you’d be taller” and he shoots back “Opinions vary.”  You guys spend a lot of time traveling for tours. What does being on the road, and the resulting connections with fans, mean to you? It’s our life. We travel all the time, so it is such a normal part of what we do, I can’t imagine it being any different. We meet a lot of nice folks who support what we do, and we basically just try to give them everything we can at our shows. Sarah’s haunting style of playing her cello adds such a rich, and sometimes unnerving, flavor to the overall tone of MBD albums. What are some of the more unorthodox instruments that the band has used in albums past? We tend to stick to our usual instruments- guitar, bass, drums, cello, piano. Occasionally we’ll use junk metal for percussion, and on one of our albums we got to use the Mellotron used on David Bowie’s “Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust.” 

Photo by Grrg Whitaker

From left to right: Matt Armstrong–bass • Dagan Thogerson–drums & percussion Adam Turla–lead vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, keyboards Sarah Balliet – cello, keyboards • NOT PICTURED: Scott Brackett–keyboards, accordion, coronet

MBD’s storytelling paints one hell of a vivid image in the minds of listeners. Can you please elaborate on your fascination with sin, human suffering, bourbon and the old west?

What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you, or the band as a group? Flanks of wild-eyed stalkers, a hangover gone awry, a near miss on the road, etc.

Well, we live in bourbon country here in southern Indiana (near KY) so bourbon is just what everyone drinks around here. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been interested in religion and the big questions. My mom was always working and the nun next door took care of me while she was earning the bread. I think some of it came from there. I never imagined our songs being set in the old west, but when artists and fans started drawing pictures that suggested that imagery, I thought, “OK, close enough.”

We’ve had a couple wrecks and close calls. Those are the worst. A few creeps here and there, but mostly we are very lucky to have genuinely nice and interesting folks as fans so there’s not much trouble there.

Besides music, what are a few other common interests that you, Sarah, Matt and Dagan have? (At the time of this interview, Scott Brackett was not a member of Murder By Death.) It’s funny, we are all very different people. We are all movie fans, so that’s something we enjoy together. We’re great friends but just very different. Dagan likes biking. Matt is the biggest movie/TV watcher and goes out almost every night. I like building things (like the cabin in my yard that’s in our music video for “As Long As There Is Whiskey In the World”) and cooking. Sarah likes to garden and cook. I’ve been rock climbing a lot lately. When can we expect you guys to come through central Indiana again? I’m guessing this fall we will be due for a Bloomington bar show. Who knows, though?

What happened with the van incident in Cleveland? How did that affect the band’s commitment to music, the fans and each other? Wow, that was a while back, October 2003. I got up early to go buy a trailer because the van was so crammed with merchandise and gear it was too uncomfortable. We never stayed in hotels back then, and never ever downtown but we had a friend’s band in town that convinced us to stay there. When I got to the van the window was broken and everything was gone. Luckily fans donated enough money to cover all the loses, and after missing 3 shows, we were back on the road with new gear. We sent a thank you letter to everyone who donated, and for folks who donated $15 or more, we sent them a T-shirt with a crappy font that proclaimed, “I saved Murder By Death’s butt and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.” We see ‘em every once in a blue moon. Thanks for sparing some time for this by e-mail interview before the upcoming tour, Adam. Sure, take care. I look forward to seeing this published online while we’re on the road.

Single Servings

Richard Manning - Makio stall Cambourn, England by Sam Cooper

Jey McFly - Topsoul Montpellier, France by AL

Glen Ewing - Vertical Makio stall Cambridge, England by Sam Cooper

Ash AO Topside Deathstar DanBysouth Leifeld -- 270 Mute hip transfer Saffron Walden, England by Sam Cooper Florence, KY by Vincent Morretino

Brian Aragon - Front Farv over the channel Royal Oak, MI by Drew Humphrey

Guy Crawford - Backside Cabdriver Toronto, Canada by Daniel Lefebre

Vincent Morretino - AO Wallride Indianapolis, IN by Rich Bradbury

Alex Broskow - 360 Liu Kang Royal Oak, MI by Drew Humphrey

Hit the bricks, kid.

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Balance #8  

Issue 8 of Balance rolling magazine.

Balance #8  

Issue 8 of Balance rolling magazine.

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