Photo by Mick Curley
TANGIBLE FOOLS So we made it to the printers. Not bad for a few breeders with vacant wallets. I’m actually pretty chuffed that you’re reading our collaborative efforts and hope you’re feeling a similar high as I am. A fair chunk of this edition was shaped along the shores of Bali, Indonesia. It’s a magic place. Right now my ear’s chocked with puss and smells kinda funky. I’m not sure if I contracted the infection from the skanky dawgs that flick about the gangs or the dirty water of Canggu. Today, as I walked to one particular Warung to fetch my daily dose of Nasi Goreng I was distracted by a foul stench. The unsavoury waft tickled my curiosity and directed me to a drowned and decaying ginger cat laying whiskers up in a seedy drainage system that led to one of Bali’s many open river mouths. Healthy. It’s all part of the third world grind that gives me goose bumps, and this time round some strange skin infection. That’s the shit. But surfing over the top of business cards and local newspapers does make me wonder if the world really needs another printed publication. I guess we can only hope our readers prize Soggybones enough to save it from the sewers. No matter where on earth you’re creeping, keep Soggybones on a coffee table where it belongs and we will continue to deliver a mag worth holding on to. Until December, peace and enjoy. Tear up ma car seat. Ed.
SIFTING THE SANDS NO RESERVATIONS GBORN OF BALI
WISH YOU WERE HERE 58
ALEXANDER MILLER 66
KRIS ANACLETO TALKS DG3 68
40 ANNABEL SLADE
42 FREEDOM AND CHAINS TO REDEMPTION PART TWO
GUIDE TO WHISTLER 86
50 BLACK MERINO
AN ARGUMENT BETWEEN THE TASTE AND THE FEELING ALBUM REVIEWS 94
The Ward Brothers present Soggybones. Edited by Justin Ward. Produced by Justin and Luke Ward. Team Justin Ward - Chief Editor. Luke Ward - Advertising and Marketing. Russell Ord - Senior Photographer / Photo Editor. Luke Thompson - Senior Photographer. Rory Nelson - Senior Graphic Designer. Brian Blakely - Skateboarding Editor. Written Contributions Brian Blakely, Cal Seward, Ella Reweti, John Bruneton, Justin Ward and Mark Donaldson. Photography Alexander Miller, Andy Ortega, Brad Masters/liquideye, Gborn, James Kinnaird, Kris Anacleto, Luke Clark, Luke Thompson, Merlyn Moon, Mick Curley, Nicholas Teichrob, Nils White, Russell Ord, Shane Smith, Stu Gibson, Tim Black, Tim Jones and Tony Harrington. Cover Photo - Mick Curley. Rider - Kyle Galloway. Models - Chenee and Dian. Back Cover Photo - Merlyn Moon. Special thanks to all of our readers and the people of Indonesia. See you again in December.
Printed by PT.Cintya, Bali Indonesia. ÂŠ Copyright 2010 Soggybones. All Rights Reserved. Internationally sourced. Made in Western Australia. soggybones.com
8 SOGGYBONES.COM Written by Justin Ward Photography by Mick Curley
When your existence lies in the South West of W.A you only have a few viable options for winter. (A) Forget about winter all together and deal with it, (B) Find a tight little bird, preferably without a chronic snoring habit or any other chronic habit for that matter, and get acquainted, (C) Hibernate with the Dave Chappelle Show and pound the bushies like a true sloth, or (D) Pack your bag for a warmer climate, preferably one with waves and tasty grub. As I slouched over the kitchen counter like a decaying pensioner with my mug of coffee and bowl of honey Greek flavoured yoghurt I wondered what winter option I was going to elect for 2010. After a quick email prowl I found my solution. “Flights from Perth to Bali for $109,” the Air Asia promo reckoned. That’s a nice email if I’ve ever seen one. I booked my flight and sat tight. One month passed and winter had really started to dawn upon me. Finally, the day I had been waiting for arrived and it was time to trade my ashy white skin for a pallet of Bintang and some much needed Vitamin D. Saturday June 21st, I arrived at Denpasar Airport. Approaching the x-ray machine a minor case of the noids kicked in. I wasn’t carrying any drugs, but I checked my wallet one last time for any crumbs that could send me a lifelong sniff of Miss Corby. “Semoga liburan mu menyenangkan,” the small, crazy lookin’ Indonesian fellow said as he waved me through security boasting a case of reedy clove breathe. Unlike most tourists on the tiny island, I wasn’t here simply for a holiday. I had a surf story to write and a cover to shoot. But there was one minor problemo. I didn’t have anyone lined up for an interview, I hadn’t even touched base with any surfers, and the only photographer I knew on the island had cruised to South Africa for J-Bay. Shit ay. I met Made my driver, loaded my coffin into the back of his silver APV and headed for my temporary haven in Canngu. It is Bali after all…surely I’d meet someone with a yarn worth sharing. Three weeks passed and I seriously hadn’t met one worthy subject. Although, I did have one hell of a great day cruising through the Zoo with my chick loaded up on Blue Meanies. Have you ever seen the three-legged tiger? Enough shroom talk. The goal of my trip, besides scoring waves and avoiding ‘Bali belly for free’ was to snake an interview with a few locals. However, by the time I pulled my finger out and went about making my goal a reality, most of the locals had bailed to Cimaja, West Java for the Open. My thought of achieving some great Indo surf content for ‘Tangible Fools’ was disappearing with every sip of Bintang. Rest assure I still had hope. I met our cover shot photographer Mick Curley who assured “one week was more than enough time to pull off some gold.” I didn’t believe him at first, but in the end, Curley was on the money and magic happened. I snagged three worthy yarns with three very different characters.
Part One: Probing Planet Zorbs Captain.
While Indonesia’s basket of piss hot surfers threw tail in West Java, I was squatting on my sweaty corn waiting for a spark to pop into my crooked dome. “Who on this ridiculously compelling Island is going to interest our readers?” I thought. Thankfully Mick Curley interrupted my dead brain and said, “What about Ozzie Wright?” “What about him, mate?” I returned like a true intellect. Mick just looked at me like a fool, took another long drag of his Sampoerna and replied, “he’s in Bali ya pinner. He’s been here for a few months with Rocky and Mylee.” I must admit, hearing that did get me a little keyed up. Ozzie was the perfect candidate. So, I started thinking about questions I could ask the man who inspired me to spray utter madness all over my boards as a grommet. Doped Youth star Oscar Wright a.k.a Arsenik Pharoh, one of the coolest characters in surfing’s typically sheepish world was in town, and I had to track him down. Don’t mistake me when I say sheepish, I dig surfing and surfers in general, but Ozzie’s the type of dude who makes surfing abnormally interesting by simply being Ozzie. So apart from the obvious, why is he such a fascinating specimen? Well the answer goes deeper than the boards he rides and how he surfs. For me surfing is only a tiny shade of his colourful character. See if you pushed aside the waves and removed all of Ozzie’s boards, chances are he’d still be enjoying a pretty rad lifestyle. You’d still spot him skateboarding suburban roads, grinding over concrete curbs with bare feet and sand infested toenails. He would still be drawing wild beasts and making original music with his best buddies, The Goons of Doom. And he’d without doubt still be the same humble character that the surfing world has grown stiff over. Even if you ripped surfing, skateboarding, music, art, and all of that stuff away from Ozzie for life, I bet he’d recreate something else just as fun. Maybe he’d go one step further and create something that is even better. That’s just Ozzie Wright. So Ozzie what’s been going on since your touchdown in Bali? We just decided to make this movie. Jimmy Kinnaird and I have been working on that. I’m also going to be making a little book of my trip to Indo. On top of that I’ve been doing heaps of artwork. Nice. So is that movie you speak of the one you and Jimmy entered on Taylor Steele’s ‘Innersection.tv’ website titled ‘Ozzie Wrong’? Nah it’s different. The new video is going to be a little bigger than that (laughs). Guessing life has been purdy? Yeah man, it’s been really good. Can we talk about your first trip to Bali? Yeah. I probably came here for the first time when I was about sixteen for the Quiksilver grom contest they had at Kuta Beach. It was pretty awesome. Mark Warren and Rabbit were our coaches. I remember getting on the Plane and I was thinking ‘where is everyone” because I was meant to be coming over with whole Australian team. But they all left the day before so I landed in Denpasar airport by myself and I was like, ‘fuck!’ I had no number to call and no idea about what I was doing. My friend from school was in the same contest the year before, and somehow I remember him telling me about the hotel they had stayed at, so I remembered the name of the Hotel and got a Taxi and it was all good.
I met Rabbit and straight away he asked if I wanted to go surf Middle Reef. So we just ran down and it was already getting pretty late, but we hopped on a boat and cruised out. It was six-foot and I was really scared. We were just hanging there and these sets started coming in and Rabbit was like, “this is the point where we have to decide whether we are going to paddle out and wait for the boat in the dark or just paddle in.” But it was a pretty long paddle so we just paddled way out into the middle of the ocean and it got totally dark. Finally the boat came and got us. (laughs) It was such a good trip. Towards the end I went and stayed out at Ulu’s for two weeks by myself. I was just sleeping at the Warungs on the point and surfing all day. You know, ever since then I have just loved the island. Bali is awesome. Do you think it has changed much since your first encounter? Yeah, it’s changed so much, but it also hasn’t really changed…if you know what I mean? Like what has changed is that there are way more buildings and businesses, but they’re still in the same ramshackle. But still, you know, it’s cool. It still has the same magic. So this time you’re over here with your family? Yeah, I came over with Rocky and Mylee. Rocky loved it from the get-go. He is just stoked. He loves swimming in the pool. It’s so much fun over here with them because you can just relax more because you get way more time to be together and have fun. In Australia we get home and we’re like, okay let’s go do the shopping, do the cooking and the cleaning and wash the clothes. All of that type of stuff takes up so much time when you have a family. So it’s just awesome to have a bit more time together and freedom. How old is little Rocky River Wright? He turned two in April. So yeah, he’s cool. Everywhere we go he seems to run into another little two year old who just turns into his best mate. It’s funny, he had a little friend called Risky and they had a good time. (Laughs) Was that the little dude he had a date with the other night? Oh nah that was a little girl. Her name was Wild. (Laughs) Cool name. I hear you’re having way too much fun and can’t stop extending the trip? At the start we were just staying with a bunch of friends from home and we actually just came over for a wedding. It was meant to be a short little three-week trip. But, we just keep extending the trip because yeah we’re having too much fun. It’s been three months now and we have two more weeks to go. You know, we went to Java and Deserts. It’s been great. It’s so good to surf such good waves and on such a regular basis. It’s pretty awesome when it feels like your local break is just barrelling. Was Deserts all-time? Yeah, we had really great Deserts. Classic. Some of the best waves I’ve ever seen and surfed, for sure. I’m not a family man or a paid surfer. But I’m guessing this trip with the family would be a lot more give-and-take compared to your usual trips with sponsors. Are you still surfing like, whenever? Ah, yeah man it’s different. But Mylee surfs now too and she loves it. I mean with family you don’t surf as much as when you’re on a straight up surf trip where you can surf for eight hours a day and you’ve got nothing else to do. But, yeah you know what I mean. You don’t surf as much as that. But you still score plenty of surf time.
So Mylee is surfing now. Sick. How’s she going with it? She likes surfing whitewash on a longboard. She only started on the first day of the year, but she is a natural. She has a really nice style. She rides a mal here at ‘old mans’, basically wherever there is whitewash she will ride it. What more can you share about this movie project you and Jimmy are working on? It’s still early stages in a way, but then again maybe it’s nearly finished. (Laughs), I dunno? Well, we started working on ‘The Unicorn from Planet Zorb’ and we made that and then decided to make a whole movie. ‘Planet Zorb?’ Sounds intense. Will the movie just feature your surfing? Um nah, well we have a lot of great footage of Mylee surfing. And I dunno who else yet. We will see what happens. There will be some more people, for sure. Let’s talk about your band, The Goons of Doom. What happens when you’re away on a surfing holiday? Does the band get put on hold? Yeah, the band has been on hold. We were meant to go home and record our album, but I just couldn’t leave Indo yet. You know, we have done so much band stuff over the last six months to a year and I was just a bit burnt out on it all. I just wanted to go surfing and get away from the parties for a while and have a change. I just wanna surf and be healthy. Fair play. I heard word of you fondling with some new music adventures? Well, Mylee has a band and it’s called Mylee and the Milkshakes. And I’ve started a new Ukulele band called, The Gamma Ray Guns. (Laughter). The Ukulele, is this a recent affair? I’ve been playing since Christmas time. I actually bought it as a present for Mylee, but it was just like when Homer Simpson bought Marge a Bowling Ball. I just thought it was an amazing Ukulele and I pretty much never let it go. It’s got pick-up man, so I played a gig with it the other night at Black Dog with a drummer. I plugged in super loud and it was so funny. It was awesome. Is the Ukulele your new darling? Well it’s definitely my instrument. I’m just a clown. The guitar is way too serious for me. Tell me about the sweet little recording session you did over here with Tai Graham on drums. That was just off Sunset Road. Wicked little studio inside a Muslim Household. It was the family’s house and we rocked up and they were all looking at us and going “ohhhhhh, music not too loud, is it? You not punk-rockers?” The guy who recorded it didn’t speak any English so it was lucky that Tai speaks perfect Indo. It was awesome, we just walked in and two hours later we walked out with a CD with two songs. It was so cheap, something like $4 a song. I wanna do some more! Classic. So have you had a chance to whip out the skateboard? Well, when we went to Sumbawa we were staying at this tropical beach resort and it had the most beautiful green lawn on the white sand beach with a huge mountain. It was totally like you were in this surreal painting. But then there was this weird little 20x10 ft. concrete square just there on the beach and we did a little flat ground session on it. Jimmy did some hell barefoot ollie 360’s. It was hilarious. Any plans for the next few months? Nup, no plans. Dunno what we’re going to do. I think we’re going to Mexico for the movie. It’s called “The Valley of Scum Here We Come,” and it all started because I wrote a song called that and animated a video clip to go with it. Full drawings and everything. It’s about me and Mylee driving along in a car with route 66 looking Cactuses and Mountains. I wanna finish that shot off with some real footage.
Photo by James Kinnaird
“DUNNO WHAT WE’RE GOING TO DO. I THINK WE’RE GOING TO MEXICO FOR THE MOVIE. IT’S CALLED “THE VALLEY OF SCUM HERE WE COME.” So we’re going to fly all the way over there to finish that and do some surfing in Mexico. Maybe Goons are going to make an album too. Hopefully. We are definitely overdue for it. We have got lots of songs that haven’t been recorded. Photos by James Kinnaird
So are the ‘Goons of Doom’ just into hectic live gigs and drinking? Pretty much, all we do is play live gigs. We never practice and hardly record anything. But we all write a lot of songs so we should probably record them. That kind of makes sense. So how did the Goons meet? We are all original friends from when we were kids. I met Adam the guitarist on the first day of Kindergarten and then met Jack the other guitarist when he came to our school in grade three. So we all go way back to when we were little kids. We are like full brothers. We spend so much time together. We all lived together when I first got a house and you know we finally got sick of talking to each other. It was like there was nothing left we could talk about, so we just picked up instruments and started screaming and bashing them. It’s super fun. Radical. Who’s music are you loving at the moment? Mmm, my favourite at the moment is a guy called Jonathan Richman. He’s from a rock band in the ‘70’s called ‘The Modern Lovers’. Have you heard of him? He’s still recording albums now. He is just a fucking awesome songwriter. He’s really funny, he shreds on the guitar and just sings and plays and has a drummer just tapping along. He’s just unreal. Nah man, I’ve never heard of the guy. I’ll have to check it out. I was thinking, maybe the Goons should come to Bali and record an album in the Muslim families crib? Yeah for sure, well I would really love to hey. It was good meeting you Ozzie. Thanks for the interview. Peace.
Photo by Mick Curley
Part Two: The Cover Shot Hero.
Three days before my Visa expired Mick and I decided we should probably put down the ‘tangs and get to work on the cover shoot. So we created a flawless plan. We decided to simply rock up at Echo Beach and shoot a complete random surfer. We figured there would be someone ripping. Genius? I know! At 10am that morning we arrived at Canngu and the waves were ugly. To make matters even worse, there was absolutely no one out. “Damn, maybe we should stuff it? This edition is going to be a bust without a cover or a surf story,” I moaned. “Don’t worry let’s just go and eat one of those fucked up Chicken Burgers at the Warung,” Curley replied with some creepy enthusiasm. So, I replaced my frown with a joy schnitzel breast and smoked a few durries. As I munched out my burger I looked down the beach and couldn’t believe my eyes. Some kook with a Volcom sticker planted on his nose was boosting flips and these mental air reverses. Within one minute we were down on the beach standing in front of the unknown with a can of spray paint, Dian and Chenee our chosen models, and a beaten up surfboard. Luke, my bro, paddled out, introduced himself and briefed our soon to be cover shot warrior with the details. Meet South African Pro Junior Kyle Galloway, our “Tangible Fools” cover shot hero. Bit of a random encounter at Canngu, huh? Yeah, trippy. I thought your brother was joking around about you guys shooting your cover. Then I saw the girls and the surfboard on the beach and I was like this is a great opportunity. Indeed. So what exactly happened again? Basically I was surfing out at Canngu and some weirdo paddled up to me and said “Yo, we are shooting a cover for our magazine, are you interested? I was like, yeah for sure, but in the back of my mind I was thinking what’s this guy on? What is he talking about? Then he broke it down and explained it to me. He told me what was going on and I was like, cool that’s an awesome opportunity for me. So it was pretty random. A friend and I went down to Canngu for a surf and the next thing you know these guys are shooting me for a cover. It was good. Sorry, who are you again? Hi, my name is Kyle Galloway. I am 19 years old and from East London, South Africa. I started surfing when I was 10, still a nutter, not that good at surfing. I came to Bali about a month and a half ago, and at the end of the month there is a contest, the Pro Junior, which I am competing in. So any sticker love Kyle? I am part of the Volcom family team. It’s small, but anything is a big help. I’m sort of riding on my Dad’s bank account. I ride for Rockstar energy drinks and a suit company back in South Africa called Derevko Wetsuits. Good stuff. How are the waves in East London, South Africa? I am about four hours away from J-Bay, so I do a couple of trips there. I am really lucky because I have an awesome home break, a right hand point break called the Reef. It’s amazing, really consistent. It’s helped mould my surfing a lot.
“YEAH, TRIPPY. I THOUGHT YOUR BROTHER WAS JOKING AROUND ABOUT YOU GUYS SHOOTING YOUR COVER.” What surfer from back home gives you inspiration? Greg Emslie, for sure. He comes from where I live. So growing up and watching him surf has really helped me. It’s great to see where he is because of surfing and what he’s done. I would like to take a similar direction. Tell me about your ambitions. Do you want be a contender in the ASP World Title Race? What’s important? It’s always about having fun, if you aren’t having fun then why are you surfing? I want to be the best I can be in the surfing world and I definitely have a desire to win. But there is so much more to surfing than just surfing. It’s the people you meet along the way, all the peripheral things you see. It’s just unbelievable. I mean my goal is obviously to make the top thirty two, but it is going to take some time. If I believe I can do it, then I can do it. Ken Oath. Let’s wrap it up with your best session so far in Indo? The best session I have had was at Desert point, just solid six footers. Deserts would have to be the best wave I have surfed in my life. I got the most memorable waves I’ve ever had in those few days. Cheers Kyle. Thanks for the cover.
Photo by Curley/Ward
Part Three: From Dompu to L.A, Sumbawa Success, Dedi Gun. Bali has become the Los Angeles of Indonesia. Imagine being born in Nebraska, one of the lamest states in the U.SA. You’re a young lad, born into a poor ass ‘Nebraskan’ family and your parents operate a budget ranch. Every morning you crawl out of bed at 5am and eat your breakfast before commencing a checklist of daily chores. The highlight of your day is riding a Donkey bareback around your property checking the condition of perimeter fencing…oh and Ma’s homemade Ice Tea. Then one day you find an American music magazine lying on your kitchen table. You nearly choke on your oats as you flick through the pages and realize the US extends beyond Nebraska. America looks insane in comparison to the hole you live in. Feeling overwhelmed is a complete understatement. One article titled, “Lil Wayne destroys L.A” really demands your attention. You have never heard of the dude or rap for that matter, but the pictures depicting good times, women and wealth are compelling. The magazine is a sign from God. So you decide, no matter what, you must leave Nebraska and make the most of your life before it’s too late. Strangely this isn’t a story about a dull Nebraskan child-turned rap star’s road to biatches. Say What? This narrative is about surfing and how it threw a lifeline to a young Javanese child and blessed him with happiness and opportunities. This is a story about Dedi Gun. (Worthy note: Java, Indonesia is way cooler than Nebraska- there are no similarities and comparisons aren’t justified). Dedi hatched on the island of Sumbawa, home of famous Indonesian surf break Lakey Peak, and lived with his Muslim family in a tiny Indo-style house located within the Dompu Regency. Similar to our imaginary Nebraskan lad, Dedi Gun has never seen an American rapper perform, although the ‘gangster’ lifestyles many rappers adopt to fill the ‘thug’ image their predecessors (such as 2-Pac and Notorious BIG) left behind, is something Dedi can in reality, relate to. Personally, Dedi has no connection whatsoever with gang life, but throughout the multitude of poverty stricken villages of Sumbawa where he spent his childhood years, gang life is rife. Just as children from the poorer areas of California are aware of gang life (classically between the Crips and Bloods), young Javanese kids are exposed to weapons and sometimes-deadly violence. As Dedi Gun explained, “it’s just people from villages fighting and protecting. They friends who together everyday.” Unlike most organized gangs operating around Australia and throughout the US, Javanese gangs have no initiation process and they don’t bother to mark up gang signs on the streets. “There is no mark, it just village vs. village. East vs. West,” he said. As I spoke to Dedi it became apparent he has no affection for violence and he isn’t exactly proud of exposing the darker sides of Indonesia. To Dedi, violence was something he had to deal with because it had become a part of village life. “Before I surfed, I would sleep with knife under my bed. When I went from Dompu to Lakey Peak, which is one hour, I always carry knife to protect.” Dedi’s younger brother still to this day finds himself caught up with unnecessary violence. “Last time I saw my brother when I went to Lakey Peak. I told him to meet me. So he drove from Dompu with his friend on motorbike.
When I met him it was dark and my brother just standing under restaurant in dark. I said, ‘come outside,’ but he just stay in dark. His friend told me three days before I arrive he chop someone shoulder. When I saw his knife strapped to his back I just slap him in face and said, ‘you don’t need this, what the fuck?’ but he didn’t listen, he just try fight me,” Dedi said. Dedi loves his brother and thinks about him everyday, he greatly fears for his safety, but he understands he cannot force his brother away from violence because he is only in control of his own destiny. Dedi can however lead by example. Funnily enough, it is surfing that’s provided Dedi with the opportunity to live a happy and fruitful life. He believes “surfing changed” his life and admits if he hadn’t found surfing then he would’ve most likely been fighting on the streets of Dompu along side his younger brother. For most surfers, our initial experiences with surfing come from watching surfers’ down at the beach as kids. For Dedi, his first experience with surfing occurred at the local river where he taught himself to swim. “My older brother and I would make little surfboard from plastic. We cut plastic bottle and found little toy, like Draganball Z. We burn their feet and stuck them on plastic surfboard. Then we get fishing line, tie to board and current make plastic toy surf,” he explained with a typically genuine Indo smile and broken English. Fat Mamma’s, one of Lakey Peak’s finer food hangouts not only fed worn out surfers’ “bagus” Indo tucker, it provided Dedi and his family with a much-needed income to survive. Dedi’s Mum has worked at Fat Ma’s since he can remember. She used to bring Dedi down to the beach and he’d just sit in awe as surfers’ shot in-and-out of pockets all day. When they returned to land, he’d run up and down the beach like a mad man, bare feet, laughing with a grubby little “Golden Breed” T-shirt. The surfers would say, “Hey mate, how are ya?” Dedi just looked up at them and smiled. “At Lakey Peak I had lots of fun. I learn to surf there when I ten. I can remember seeing surfer on big left and big right and it look pretty cool. So I wanted to try. My first time trying was on piece of wood,” he said before adding, “I found my first board washed up on beach, it was only half.” Shortly after practicing on pieces of driftwood and broken boards, a random Aussie noticed Dedi’s potential and gave Dedi one of his second hand sticks. Little did the travelling surfer know that his kind gesture would help set Dedi on his path to becoming one of Indonesia’s most likeable and celebrated professional surfers’. With his filthy new board, Dedi began surfing most days and he was really starting to shred. It didn’t take long for him to realize how amazing surfing made him feel. Why would he want to do anything but surf when he was living in a region with some of the best waves in Indonesia? Living one-hour from Lakey Peak sounds awesome, but it wasn’t ideal for Dedi. His family was struggling to make ends meet and they only had one scooter, so getting to the beach was tough. With no money, Dedi couldn’t afford his own transport and owning a brand new board was just not an option. So, Dedi created a plan. He started working at Fat Ma’s as a waiter. This provided him with a small income and meant he could surf everyday during his work breaks. He started learning how to speak English from Australian and American surfers and they showed him pictures of Bali’s crazy street’s, thriving nightlife, sexy girl’s and truly epic waves. Dedi Gun was only fourteen years old, but he was already coming up fast and hungry to explore the rest of Indonesia, and he desperately wanted to taste what else the world had to offer. At fifteen, Dedi’s fins were running red hot and he was on his way to becoming Sumbawa’s latest surfing success story. He hooked up a much-needed sponsorship from Rip Curl and started to receive free clothing, boards and surfing accessories.
He surfed hard and earned respect amongst the locals at Lakey Peak. Dedi’s plan to see the world was quickly becoming reality. Shortly after joining the Rip Curl team, Dedi packed his bag, said good-bye to his beloved family in Dompu and bought a one-way ticket to Indonesia’s ridiculously fun surf/party island to start the next chapter in his life. Welcome to Bali. Three decades ago, the Balinese economy was predominately agricultural-based. Locals lived off the land as much as possible and the standard of living was typical of third world standards. Disease, hunger and homelessness were all too common. These days, Bali is one of Indonesia’s richest islands, and thankfully the standard of living is on the rise. Huge spikes in tourism over the last thirty years have enabled the tiny island’s economy to boom. Now roughly 85% of Bali’s economy depends on tourism and much of this can be attributed to surfing. Take a stroll down Jalan Legian and you’ll find almost every mainstream surf company building its bricks and mortar image on the street. Bali is and always will be a surfing mecca. Dedi Gun had landed himself in the perfect environment to develop his surfing career. In America, young and old join hands and unite together as they commute into the City of Angels. Beautiful, Los Angeles! They may not arrive on the same set of wheels or on the same train, but the city invaders are all nonetheless chasing similar objectives. Primarily they are all hungry opportunists desperate to get amongst the power of the big smoke so they can propel their lives in a skyward direction. Let’s face it; the city is full of wonderful opportunities, and as L.A is Americas (if not the worlds) centre for business, international trade, entertainment, culture, media and fashion, Bali is Indonesia’s equivalent. Every year thousands of Indonesians descend upon the island to work, live and play. It makes sense. Think about it, you would likely do the same. Dedi Gun has been living in Bali since he was sixteen years old. The transition from life in Dompu to Kuta was admittedly a little confronting and naturally chaotic. But Dedi noted the bigger picture. He frothed on the atmosphere, the shops, the girls and the people, but he tried his best to focus on surfing. During the first few years Dedi like any other sixteen-year-old surfer would, indulged in the Kuta party scene. And like any gentleman would, he acquainted himself with lovely ladies. But booze and girls wasn’t enough to derail Dedi from his goal of turning surfing into a professional career. Dedi understood he was blessed with a natural surfing ability and he didn’t want to throw away an opportunity to live the life so many Indonesian kids dream. So, Dedi began competing on a regular basis and he started receiving promising results, proof to his sponsor that he was worthy of praise. “I was chasing all the contest, everything you know. I was hungry to win. It was fun, but suddenly I went to Hawaii and tore ligament in my knee. I couldn’t surf for nine months,” he said. Following his injury Dedi spoke with his team manager at Rip Curl Indonesia and decided to leave the competitive scene behind. Now Dedi has been surfing with Rip Curl for seven years. Currently, at twenty-two years of age, he is enjoying the life of a paid free surfer. “Life is great. Free surfing is my style. I like being free surfer and travelling to different places. I live a good life in Bali and am really proud of my achievement. I consider myself lucky. There are lot of good surfers in Bali, you know? So I am lucky. Lot of my friend from Lakey Peak, after they surf, like when they hungry, Oni and Gaudjalee are looking for empty bottle, like Coca Cola and empty Bintang bottle so they can sell them for 200 Rupiah,” Dedi said. Earlier this year Dedi signed another three-year contract with Rip Curl. “I get paid a salary. It’s not a lot of money, but enough to pay bills and be happy.
All I have to do is wake up in morning, call my friends and say ‘hey, where are the waves?’ or ‘hey, where should we go surf today?’ I sleep, wake up, go for a surf with my friends, come home for lunch and then go for another surf at sunset,” he said with a cool smile. As Dedi explained his daily routine I honestly couldn’t help but feel super stoked for the guy. Some people may despise Dedi for being able to live such a free life, but in reality, he deserves it more than anyone. Dedi is genuinely a top character and a worthy face for Indonesian surfing. Sure, at times he parties like a fucking mad man with his cheeky little mate M.J and all of the other fellas (usually when the surf is flat), but Dedi has a level head and as he says, “when it’s on, it’s on” and you know he will be out there mixing it up with the best of them when it is. It’s a shame when young surfers with potential turn into arrogant wankers and think that their stickers are licenses to being absolute dicks. Many lose sight of how lucky they really are to make a living from surfing, and sometimes overnight their personalities diminish. To illustrate Dedi’s genuinely rad personality, he says despite being one of Bali’s surfing icons, he doesn’t like people who talk up their surfing and he isn’t into upping his accomplishments and listing the benefits surfing has brought to his life. “My parents and especially my brothers are proud, but I don’t really like showing them what I have done and what I do. Like when I get in magazines, I don’t like to show it off to them. I think it’s a little embarrassing, you know, I prefer low-profile.” On top of maintaining a grounded personality, Dedi also acknowledges his responsibilities as an Indonesian pro surfer. “When I was young I looked up to the locals at Lakey Peak. Sadam, Tony, Sammy, Oanky, Gaudjalee and Oni, the true legends of Lakey Peak. As a kid I watched them surf and I wanted to be like them,” Dedi said. Now Dedi is inspiring the next generation of young surfers growing up on the islands of Bali and Sumbawa. He says inspiring kids through his surfing and encouraging them to surf makes him feel proud. But Dedi is also wary of the fact that he is responsible for being a positive role model. One aspect of Indo life that saddens Dedi is the rubbish that pollutes the shores of Bali. The irony of the situation is that the vast majority of Indonesians don’t even get a chance to see any other country, so to them, the plastic bags littered on the beaches, cigarette packs on the streets and newspapers in the drainage systems are completely normal because that is all they know. Dedi is fortunate surfing has allowed him to travel to places such as Hawaii, California and Australia, and seeing these countries and their relatively clean appearances have made him aware of Bali’s major pollution problems. “Before I went to other country, I always thought that rubbish in Bali was normal. Then when I went to other country and come back to Bali I change my mind,” Dedi said.
“SO I AM LUCKY. LOT OF MY FRIEND FROM LAKEY PEAK, AFTER THEY SURF, LIKE WHEN THEY HUNGRY, ONI AND GAUDJALEE ARE LOOKING FOR EMPTY BOTTLE, LIKE COCA COLA AND EMPTY BINTANG BOTTLE...”
“You know, I wish Bali and rest of Indonesia would wake up! Wake up and realise that we can’t keep living this way. It sucks when everywhere, even on beach, see packets of cigarettes. Everywhere you walk, plastic. We need rules. The one thing I saw, the worst, that was very sad, when I coming on ferry from Lombok to Bali. I saw a big rubbish truck and they just empty the rubbish into the ocean. I was like, ‘what the fuck?’ That is so dumb, so stupid. They not thinking. They just threw it into the ocean and the Ferry drove straight through it,” Dedi said. It’s truly disheartening when a beautiful country with so much to offer tarnishes it’s future because of a lack of knowledge and understanding amongst its people. Although Dedi understands encouraging the Indonesian people as a group to wake up to their mistakes regarding pollution isn’t an easy task, he knows all too well that simply holding onto hope for a better future in life can lead to a life full of positive change. Dedi realises taking small steps in the right direction and providing education amongst his people is paramount to the future of Bali and the rest of Indonesia’s environment. He is proof that no matter where you live in the world (including Nebraska) be it a third world or developed country like Australia, there are opportunities to be had, everywhere. Ironically, all it took was a small plastic bottle along with a few travelling surfers, a chunk of driftwood and a snapped old surfboard for Dedi to realize his purpose and direction in this strange old world we live in. Who says surfing isn’t magical?
years of humanitarian work ...
The mission of SurfAid International, a non-profit humanitarian organization, is to improve the health, wellbeing, and self-reliance of people living in isolated communities connected to us through surfing.
SOGGYBONES CALIFORNIAN SKATE TOUR ’10 DIARIES Written by Brian Blakely. Photography by Andy Ortega.
The plan was to get lucky for five days straight. A lot can happen on the road while traveling up and down California’s golden coast with eight dudes. A lot more can happen when that eightperson, two-car caravan turns into a fourteen person, three-car caravan in the city of San Francisco. “Hectic” is a fair word to describe the situation, but to be honest, it was hectic at its best. Basically, the more heads, the more noise, the more fun. And that’s just simply how it went. It was a Wednesday morning that we kissed San Diego goodbye, and we wouldn’t grace her presence until the following Tuesday. Without anything in mind to hit besides the beautiful city of San Francisco, absolutely no reservations to a single hotel, or campsite, while living off the cash in our pockets, we ventured off onto the road in search of anything new, raw, and worth our while. It wasn’t a picky bunch that went along for the ride though, so it was pretty much all “worth our while.” The crew consisted of San Diego, California rippers: Taylor Orman (Soggybones Rider), Connor “Skooter” Getzlaff (Soggybones Rider), Wes Beucler and Chris Henry, and Venice, California’s own, Greg Valencia. Troy Saunders, (San Diego) came along and filmed the entire trip. He was by far one of the busiest dudes on the trip, and filmed every second of it. He killed it at a few spots too and even copped himself a couple clips. And of course, Andy Ortega (also from San Diego) never let his camera sleep while he filled five 16gig memory cards before the trip was over, and flooded my laptop with imagery. He snapped every photo for the piece, managed to let a head smash into his fisheye, and kept the crew productive. I wouldn’t have changed the lineup for a second. Oh and Andy’s other contribution kept everybody happy and relaxed the entire time. Does anyone have a lighter? This was the first ever, “official,” Soggybones Skate Tour, and it definitely won’t be the last. I’ll see you guys on the road.... “Shotgun!
Andy Ortega, Greg Valencia, Chris Henry, Troy Saunders, Taylor Orman, Connor “Skooter” Getzlaff, Brian Blakely, Wes Beucler.
Wednesday: Venice Beach or Bust! The morning we all met up, the first thing we realized was that we had a lot more luggage than first anticipated. Two huge coolers sat in the back of my truck, along with lights, and a generator, tents, sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, backpacks, shoes, extra decks, and everything else in between. Basically, the back of my truck and Taylor’s Pathfinder were crammed with eightdudes-worth of stuff. But by the end of the trip we both had the packing down to a science. You can’t teach that, kid! Skooter makes $120 We hopped on the freeway at about 10am. While driving up the 5 in route to get Greg in Venice, we decided to get this gig started and stop in San Clemente in hope to spark the flame. Or maybe we all just had to piss? I forget. As we exited, we drove down a few blocks and thought we had struck gold. As we approached the spot, we realized it was definitely one of those “looks good from the car” type-of-spots, because up close it was awful. We decided to skate across the street because Orman recognized a gap he had skated a few years back. It was a good-looking gap Taylor, Wes, and Skoot all ended up pulling tricks on. But out of the corner of my eye, I noticed this shed, about six feet tall. The roof of it dropped perfectly in line with another five to six foot drop. Now, I had skated with Skooter a few times before this trip, but the second I saw this sketchy drop-in I thought… “…Skooter!” and as he was crossing the street he noticed the shed before even acknowledging my scream and started to check it out. It had probably been fifteen to twenty minutes into the trip, at the first spot, on the first stop and Skooter was already rolling off roof-tops. I think everyone agreed our ‘low-key’, trip was going to rip. Oh, and the landing had death spikes poking out because something had been taken out where the landing was. (You can see the board at the bottom of the landing blocking the spikes in the photo). About five tries into it, Skoot had stuck one, and tossed the rest away. Feeling edgy, I offered him $20 to make it next try, but it was Chris (Henry)’s, hundred dollar bet that really opened Skooter’s eyes. (And everyone else’s). Chris didn’t have the cash at the spot, so he grabbed his ATM card out of his wallet and put it next to my $20 at the landing. I think you all know what happened next. Skooter definitely pulled it, and rolled away clean. It was quite a start to our journey. Skooter got the first sequence of the trip, the first clip, and rolled his ass into 120 bucks. (And just in case you were wondering, Chris did pay up)! Beer’s on Skooter! Skooter roof drop to riches.
Keep truckin’ Already ecstatic, we all decided we’d keep heading North in route toward Greg. When we arrived to Venice, I called Greg and he was skating the park. Before we arrived at the park to meet up however, a wrong turn happened to lead us to what appeared to be a perfect half-pipe in a fenced off area of some recreation center. Locals were already shredding it, so we found out how to get in and took a look. It was at some Church’s recreation center and was apparently open to the public. I gave Greg another call to say we’d be a little late, and he confirmed the spot was open to anyone and said for us to take our time. We were all pretty hyped, and Skooter, still in full-rip-mode, murdered the spot. When he finished nose picking the gnarliest, tallest, steepest transition the spot had to offer, and catching at least twenty lines under that, he and the rest of us were ready to take off. All in all, it ended up being an epic wrong turn. Our luck was cruising... We continued west until we finally arrived at the Venice Strip. We found Greg at the park and decided to grab some grub and figure out what was next. I made sure I got to take a few runs at the skate park while I was there. The place does get a little crowded but it’s manageable, and it’s never a letdown. Hosoi was even there ripping. Go figure. We decided while we were here that we should try and street skate a little bit. The Venice strip definitely has a few spots to offer, but we weren’t very successful and everyone was ready to keep moving. The sun was creeping downward and we still had no place to stay. Motivated to camp we loaded up Greg’s gear in my already fully loaded truck, re-did the duct tape job, and wandered north up the Pacific Coast. We hit up a few campsites on the way, all which were full. The state parks close at 10 p.m. and we were beginning to think a hotel would be our best bet. We knew money didn’t grow on trees, and though we were seconds away from camping in a random industrial park, we continued north and found a hotel a few miles south of Oxnard. Orman and I paid for two people and crammed the room with eight. In the end we cracked a few beers in celebration to a successful first day, micro-waved some hot dogs, and had ourselves a good night sleep while dreaming of our complimentary breakfasts’.
Wes ollie’s some fence.
Thursday: “complimentary breakfasts to campsites and bug-bites” We woke up the next morning and took turns getting our free breakfast. “I seriously love complimentary breakfasts,” said Skooter, with a super dead serious look on his face as he examined the three different egg varieties, bagels,
waffles, hashbrowns, and every-thing-else. The great thing was I couldn’t have agreed more and I was glad to know someone appreciated simple things such as a free breakfast so much, too. In a sense, we were saving money by being fed in the morning, and the coffee was never ending, so I had no complaints. Fully loaded, we left the hotel behind and pushed on. It was definitely one of the longest days of driving that both Taylor and I, (and everyone else) had to deal with. Our plan was to get a campsite somewhere, drop our stuff off, whip out the generator and lights and have a night mission in the middle of nowhere. San Francisco was still a couple hundred miles away, and we all agreed we could wait for her one more night. A park ranger from the night before had given us a State Park’s map and a sheet of paper stacked solely with walk-up campsites along the 101. After driving for hours, we pulled off on a freeway exit for a piss break and decided to take a look at the maps. We found a campsite that looked pretty legit. We turned around and drove about twenty minutes back south en route to the campsite. We exited, and as we were driving up the 10-mile-windy-road-from-hell to get to the grounds, we approached a huge Lake. We pulled over and checked it out. A few cars had passed us and despite how tempting the Lake looked, we thought, “shit, what if they’re getting the last campsite,” so we decided to continue to drag ourselves at 10 mph up this 10-mile-windy-roadfrom-hell. The sun was setting when we arrived at the campsite, and there were plenty of spots left for us to choose. So as some of the crew set up camp, a few of us had to wander back down the 10-mile-windy-road-from-hell to fetch hot dogs, burgers, drinks, et cetera. And that only meant the person who volunteered to head into town (me) had to drive back up it again. It was Wesley, Andy, and myself that drove back down to civilization at night, packed in the three-seater. We made it down safe, and we made it back safe as well, and that’s all that mattered in the end. Despite the array of hungry bugs that surrounded the campsite, the night was a success. We did the BBQ gig, burnt some hot dogs, drank some beers, slept in our tents, and had a good time. Skating-wise, the day was a complete miss. But that’s what “tomorrows” are made for, duh. However, the cover page to this article was shot this night meaning it wasn’t a complete waste. It’s basically just a picture of everyone hyped, having a good time, stoked that we just kept getting lucky. The campsite ripped, the day was mellow and the night was relaxing... but we were ready to get to San Francisco and do some fucking skateboarding.
1. Skoot nasty fakie full cab.
2. Chenry 180 at Clipper, SF.
3. Taylor 360.
4. Chris Henry crailslide transfer.
Friday: The Golden Gate Bridge meets the fourteen-man-crew In the morning we packed our shit up. As we were leaving we decided we had to jump into the Lake we passed on the way in, if not from the huge bridge, at least from the rocks under it. We stayed here for at least an hour, and it was seriously one of the highlights of the trip. We dried ourselves off. It was finally time to get to San Francisco. Arriving at San Francisco gave the trip quite a spin. Our original eight-man crew turned into a fourteen-man army while we shredded the San Francisco streets every day. I was apparently oblivious to the fact that we had a place to stay for so many nights before arriving, but we still did our own thing for a bit before meeting up with the SF dudes. Chris (Henry) was up at the apartment we stayed at a few weeks prior to the trip, and mentioned something about the place but I completely spaced on it. Anyone who is happy to welcome eight dudes, (the majority strangers,) into their house for any number of nights is seriously awesome in my book. Thanks so much again to Cody, Will, and Tyler for letting us crash at their pad and for showing us around spots the entire time. You guys were no rookies and we couldn’t have been luckier with you guys as hosts. “The start of the Gold Rush” The first spot we hit when we arrived in the city was a miss. The second spot was actually the spot we were aiming for before getting interrupted by the shitty spot, and it turned out to be a hit! We noticed this big worm looking thing, painted bright orange and red, from the freeway. After figuring out how to get there, we had a little session for about a half hour. The spot was right along the frisco’ bay and was definitely harder to skate than it looked, but Chris squeezed out a buttery kickflip on the worm’s back and afterwards we parted ways with it. Fort Miley was the second spot on our invisible list, as it was the meeting place for the making of what became known as the fourteen-man crew. The spot was fucking legit. You hike up along the side of the freeway and you can stare straight at the Golden Gate Bridge as you push the branches out of your face to get to the spot. The fog hung over the Golden Gate Bridge so perfectly. Out of nowhere appears a skate refuge with waxed banks and for those with a “cuddy” eye, open opportunities everywhere. I compare what I saw to Picasso staring at a white piece of paper thinking what to do next. The spot had endless possibilities. We had struck gold. Wes copped an insane wallride at this spot and landed it perfectly. Everyone was super hyped and it definitely got Wes feeling funky. There was a lot of energy while exiting the spot.
It was time to head to our new home for the next few days and see where this trip would take us. Andy still says it was the “rip of Blue Dream” that led Wes to land his trick... and you know what? He could be right. Will’s 21st Birthday: “Fiesta Aqui” The first night we arrived happened to be one of our host’s 21st birthdays (and here in America that’s a big deal). It was one of the best fiesta’s I’ve been to for a while. Hyper dudes, rad chicks, random Spaniards from the street and an army full of shredders filled the apartment. Over a hundred dollars was spent on beer alone and everyone really got to open up and party together. I’m pretty sure all six, thirty cases were gone by the morning... along with a few people’s dignities. The dudes definitely showed us a good time, we met a couple ladies, but the entire night the only thing in the back of everyone’s mind was simply waking up to skate. (I think). Oh yeah, and Chris jumped out of a window. See you all in the morning. Saturday: Crowded streets and soggy feet Waking in the same apartment with fourteen dudes and getting ready to go skate after a long night of drinking actually went way smoother than I had imagined it would. (No seriously). It’s the parking in San Francisco that’s more dreading than hell itself (I’m laughing by the way, sort of). But driving around that city for more than a week can turn someone clinically insane I bet. Maybe I’m just bitching? However, as I sit here back at home, I still wish I was driving around those crowded streets, struggling to find parking while caravanning three cars full of dudes, and skating some of the most amazing spots the city had to offer. The ollie Taylor is doing from the skinny ledge into the tiny bank is in front of Abraham Lincoln High. The inside of the school is stacked with shit, famous and new, but this ollie Taylor was doing was seriously full of impossibility, but like always he found a way. You can’t bend your knees when you pop your ollie because of the gate, there’s only about 4 feet of runway, a fair gap in between the bank and the “runway,” and to top it all off, the construction workers kept telling him he was, “gonna bust his ass,” before each try. Let’s not forget that the ollie was a make. Whose ass got busted now? Chumps. Our next stop was at Golden Gate Park. After looking for parking for literally one HOUR, and getting split up from the other two cars, Ian (Berry), Greg, and myself found a spot as we skated a few blocks over to the park. In my head I was thinking how funny it would be to get kicked out of each spot we attempted to skate after taking an hour to find parking. No doubt, this is exactly what happened. As we set up to skate the stage gap at our newly found spot, eight officers on dirt-bikes rolled up on us and gave us the boot.
Greg drops, SF.
So we pushed onto the park and just as we arrived I got a call saying the other dudes had already been kicked out of another spot. It was time to call it quits, head back to the car, and part ways with the busy Golden Gate Park. The Poods: Ian Berry
Wes wallride, SF.
ckflip’s some bug.
We left Golden Gate Park in search of new turf. I had never seen Clipper Hubba, and though I was doing anything I could to not skate the famous, blown-out, dry spots. But skating Clipper Hubba was necessary. Parking, again, was completely against us, and after finding a park a few blocks up from the school, we bombed a couple hills and entered the empty blacktop in which this beautiful 12-stair ledge sits. Myself, Ian (Barry), and Greg V. were waiting for the other dudes to get to the school for about 15 minutes before I called them. Greg and Ian kept staring at the hubba, and I was scrambling between phone calls trying to meet up with the crew. Greg dropped in on both hubbas for laughs a few times, and then out of no where, I see Ian in the corner of my eye blast the most perfect tailslide down the beast and bail out of it at the very end. “What the fuck!” I screamed, while asking Greg if he saw what I just witnessed. Greg sat with a shocked-ass-smile on his face, and moments later I saw Ian roll away from this 12-stair tailslide-to-fakie strictly for the sake of doing it. I could ramble about this for hours, but I’ll stop while I’m ahead. Everyone needs to watch out for Ian. He’s got a clean head, and he knows what the fuck he’s doing. They call him Poods. Don’t fuck with The Poods, homie! While the rest of the crew was getting bleach thrown on them by some closet-case down the street at another spot (no seriously, the dude chucked boiling bleach out of his window), we all met up and both had a few stories to spill! Our next stop was the S.F. library. As we skated the streets, the attention we attracted from the people we passed was pure entertainment. And the homeless people loved us. It’s quite a site to see fourteen obnoxious skateboarders taking over certain parts of the city. I just wonder what it really looks like from an onlookers point of view. Taylor’s front 360 into the street had to have been one of the cleanest tricks on the trip, and Skooter’s fakie full cab was executed perfectly on the smaller (but still beefy) flat gap. Both gaps were no joke, and neither was the freezing cold wind, so with a few more tricks in the bag and a successful day behind us, it was back to the apartment. Sunday-Monday: “Back to life, back to reality” After three long days of shredding the city, and two long nights of raging, it was time to say goodbye to the wonderful city of San Francisco. Without the dudes (Cody, Tyler, Will, Ian, Alex,
and Ratone) showing us around, and giving us a place to stay, who knows how this trip could have turned out? I owe so much to those dudes and appreciate it beyond belief. Owa! We hit the federal building for one last session and everyone got down. Wes grabbed himself another wallie sequence, and Chris got his crailgrab transfer. Both tricks were fucked because of the death-caps at the bottom of the bank that you have to dodge. (Wes didn’t make it one of the times...ouch). Troy ended up hammering out a few tricks on the bank, and the entire crew enjoyed one final session with each other. After about two hours, we packed up our shit, threw the tarps on the back of my truck, snapped a group photo, said our goodbyes and waved back at the S.F. house. The long drive home was dawning upon us, but we didn’t care, we survived the city! We hit San Jose Comfort Inn at 10:30 that night and I’d already started leaking energy and was hungry for sleep. Most of us spent the night sleeping, but Andy, Skooter, and Taylor partied one last night. We slept straight up to our checkout time, and barely succeeded to get out of there by eleven. Whilst moving everything out of the hotel, we found directions to Sunnydale Skate Park and figured it’d be a good place to warm up. It was a nice warm-up spot but the city was hot and humid so we decided to grab some tacos and figure out what to do next. At this point the only plan was to head back home. The entire trip had finally caught up on us, and the thought of my own bed was running laps in my brain. It was time to go. The Aftermath Like nomads we wandered in search of new skate spots, photo-ops, good times, and the cheapest beer prices. At times we moved in silence, although there were times our laughter could’ve been heard from back home in San Diego. The same CD’s and songs repeated in my car throughout the entire trip, and I drank coffee all day, all night. It was amazing.
Skooter playing with pipes.
A few of us started out as complete strangers and left as brothers. Five days on the road with eight dudes can pan out to anything. But five days on the road with your homies really only pans out to one thing: Not enough time! The trip was a huge success, everyone got along the entire time, and despite the scarcity of money in our pockets, I’m sure this crew could’ve lasted another month on the road. Money isn’t made to last, anyways. Wait, what the fuck are your names again?
Taylor ollie, Abraham Lincoln High.
When most of us are dead to the world, drooling, dreaming of the very weird and wonderful, some humanoids are lurking, working, wired-eyed, venting the inner creativity sourced from the finer moments life sprays our way. One particular humanoid who does just that and on a regular basis is a man who goes by the title, Gimiks Born. Originally from New Zealand, this now proud Brisbane based artist has undeniably made a brilliant and permanent mark on the always-developing Australian contemporary art world. Via lead, ink or paint, Gimiks has an incredible ability to transform bleak materials created by man and turn them into visual masterpieces that are intelligently riddled with hidden stories and messages only limited by our own imagination.
Written by Justin Ward. Artwork by Gimiks Born. Photography by Gimiks and Tim Black.
If producing dope art for us not so talented souls to admire isn’t already enough, Gimiks has been working flat tack behind the scenes as Art Director at promising up-andcoming Australian skateboard brand, Picture Wheel Co. This young company is only beginning to fruit. However, I’m expecting it to ripen quickly with Gimiks creativity flowing through its artistic vein. You hatched in New Zealand. Tell us about your childhood shenanigans? Well as much as I can remember it was a long time ago (laughs). I grew up in Auckland (AK) New Zealand, both my parents worked on dairy farms outside of AK. That lasted a few years, had pet goats, cows, chickens, a massive angry ginger cat called Minc. He was dubbed this because he broke into our house and devoured a kilo of mince that was our dinner that night, which happened to be the night before Minc decided he was going to stick around for good! No word of a lie he was the blood nut version of “Horse” from Footrot Flats, he was crazy! So we moved all over the place in and around AK, Waiuku, Henderson and Avondale. I forget how many other places. I changed heaps of schools and pretty much just spent my spare time drawing or getting up to little kid mischief! I remember though I was a pretty shy kid so just hit the colouring-in books a fair bit. It was 1988 that we made the move over to Australia, the weather was sooo much better - the fish and chips weren’t though. (Laughs) So Gimiks, how old are you? I just turned thirty one a week ago. Man I’m getting old… Where you at these days? Brisbane, Bay-Syyyyde!! How did you settle with the name, Gimiks born? Good question. It all started way back when I use to sketch heaps of fantasy stuff, like Dragons, Goblins, Wizards ‘n’ shit. I used to have this thing where I would hide a XXXX beer can in the drawing somewhere, hidden amongst all the details. Kind of biting that whole “Where’s Wally” thing (laughs). This was a straight up gimmick, which later led me to think that I should put up Gimiks as my handle when I started writing in 2004. I originally started painting characters that I always thought were the “add on” or a “gimmick” to a piece, kind of selling the original letters to the viewer. So yeah, Gimiks Born it was and the rest is history. So what’s your actual name or is that a secret? My actual name is far less flamboyant than G Born so I don’t tell anyone that, so yeah it’s a secret in the sense that’s it’s incredibly boring.
(Laughs) What have you been up to? Any skateboarding? Yeah, as a matter of fact I have been getting back on the board and it’s been dope. I used to skate twenty-four-seven back in the day and now that I’m pretty much neck deep in skateboarding culture through the design side of it, seems silly not to get back into it. I noticed that someone had stolen my thigh muscles since last time I skated though…it’s been tough! Apart from that, art, design, bonsai, hip-hop and wine tasting…yeah that’s about it. You’re a dope artist. How have you developed your skills? Any formal learning? Cheers man, hmmm…well no formal training exactly. I did a graphic design diploma, to learn digital design and computers and such. When it comes to drawing and painting I make an effort to take in as much as I can visually when I see someone paint or see another artists work, I try and pull it all apart and find the method. I have always been sketching though for as long as I can remember. I used to copy heaps of comic art that I liked; my old man got me into comics when I was real young, maybe that helped too. I also used to draw He-Man figures that I had in my toy collection to practice anatomy, draw them over and over again - yeah weird huh (laughs). Essentially though I’m pretty much self taught, just practice, practice, practice I reckon. Can you describe your style? This is a hard one for me. You’re better off asking someone that knows my stuff and doesn’t hate it (laughs). But, if I was to put my style in words…contemporary visual storytelling with a style from the streets…deep. That’s pretty cool. So where do your creations come to life? I’m actually organizing a studio now with Jugglers art space, with my boys Nic Plowman and Sam Else. Should be tight, first time I’ve ever had an actual studio to work out of. For the last however many years I’ve been painting, my studio space has been either a garage, spare room or kitchen bench, so it will be good to get into a proper art space. As long as there are good beats, decent light and a cold beverage I can get pretty productive. Was Gimik art born and developed on the streets of New Zealand? Na not really eh, I moved to Brisbane when I was only seven so there wasn’t much of anything art wise going on before then (laughs). My steez was pretty much born in Brisbane, Bayside reppin! Are you into Street Art, so to speak? Street Art, this term is so broad now that I don’t even know what it essentially means from an artistic sense. Basically, I started writing graffiti in 2004, very late in the scheme of things, but better late than never, I say. I always loved and appreciated the movement, but thought that I wouldn’t have a hope in hell of actually being able to do it. It was this apprehension that stopped me from actually trying it, I never thought I’d be able to use a spray can. I’m glad I did though, because it’s just another tool, a ridiculously fun one! Although it took me so long to get into the scene, I can always remember filling up my schoolbooks with tags and random characters way back in primary school…waaaayyy back (laughs)!
“...THE MAJORITY OF MY WORK HAS JUST ONE THING IN COMMON; A BASIC STORY TELLING APPROACH... ...I WANT TO BASICALLY GIVE THE AUDIENCE A SNAPSHOT OF MY IMAGINATION, BUT LET THEM SORT OUT THE DETAILS.” You’ve said strange ideas provide inspiration. Give us a few of these strange sparks. I wanna tap your mentality. Yeah, I don’t really know where all these weird ideas come from. I kind of just have this weird world inside my head with strange characters and epic surroundings…all moving along to a hip-hop soundtrack. My plan is to just get them out visually so they’ll stop keeping me up at night! Sick. So do you try incorporating a running theme in the bulk of your creations? Yeah, some of my stuff has a strong Japanese influence, always with my own graffiti/illustrative style. But theme wise the majority of my work has just one thing in common; a basic story telling approach not unlike a graphic novel or comic. I want to basically give the audience a snapshot of my imagination, but let them sort out the details. Do you find your creativity flairs when you’re under the influence? Um, good question, but I don’t have an equally good answer… Being creative visually is the last thing on my mind when I’m in any sort of state to be honest. However, if I happen to have an important idea or blurry vision, I’ll normally jot it down in a sketchy or on a random bit of paper. Any preferred mediums to work with? Acrylic mostly, but I get into pastels, charcoal, pencil and of course spray paint. I like acrylic best at the minute, but I’ll eventually move on to oils as well. I think spray paint still has a very long way to go, so I’m down to push that as a medium. Photoshop and digital art is fun. I end up getting over pixels and looking at a computer screen pretty quick though. Has skateboarding influenced your art? Yeah, totally. Skateboarding has always been a big part of my life, from ‘91 when I got my first board till present day where I’m actually back on the board re-learning all of the tricks I previously had down, funny how it all comes back around. But yeah man, the mentality of skateboarding and the skaters I personally know influences me in the persistence of perfecting my own style. From pad ‘n’ pencil, canvas and brush, to can and wall, gotta get that perfect steez. To this day I can always remember a statement from Kenny Hughes in an interview from an old Thrasher Mag back in the day, “...Why do a trick if you can’t make it look good?” So true. Style counts for everything, whether you’re rockin’ the board or brush.
Too true Kenny. Drop us some fives. Top five artists? Always a hard one this, I’ve got heaps of fav artists! I’ll name five big guns that I can think of off the top of my head. Craola is just nuts - I’ve always looked up to him. Nate Van Dyke slays shit! Kidd Zoom is getting better and better and is super talented - if you don’t know this kidd get to know him! Kofie One is so, so dope, he has an amazing style and Aaron Nagel is just stupid good...so inspiring! Top five skaters? Hmmm, top five eh. Okay. Gotta start with my boy Dennis Durrant, hands down he is a wizard, he will kill shit err day all day. Also from the PWC fam there’s Alex Campbell, he is a true ninja! Next up I’ll say JB Gillet, Tom Penny and Gershon Mosley - beasts! Top five bands? Ahh easy, Wu Tang – yeah again and again, then we got D.I.T.C, Black Sheep, Bob Marley and Boot Camp Clique, Mos Def too, he’s soo underrated. Yeah, I know that’s six right? Yeah but good things come in packs of six. Tell us about Picture Wheel Co. and your involvement with this relatively new Australian company. Who kicked it off and who’s making it happen behind the scenes? Ahh the Picture Box, yeah man for sure. Well the original man behind the dream was Benny O’Neil. Benny was after someone to be the design side of his wheel venture and the timing was perfect as I was just coming out of a Diploma of Design and itching to cut my teeth on something. He got in contact with me via another member of ‘The Bay’ crew Kane Stewart. Kane introduced us, we all kicked it for a bit, ran through some ideas/plans etc. I saw the potential in what he had proposed to do with the company so I immediately came on board as Art Director and Co. Founder. Basically, I was down for the fundamental nature of what Benny wanted to do with Picture Wheel Co. plus I have grown up skateboarding, so to me the creative side of a skate co. was a no brainier for me really. So in saying that, I’m pretty much the design side of Picture Wheel Co. and Benny is the brain. It’s an exciting prospect to be actually designing skateboarding products now for heads to use when back in the day I was that kid pumped to buy the products on the other side of the counter, ya know, it’s dope! For sure, a kid with new wheels is definitely killing shit with a smile. So how have the people of Australia reacted to your products? Are things looking up? Yeah totally, I’ve been blown away by the positive response of people who are down to rep the Picture Box. It’s incredibly humbling. Also, to boast the skaters that we have to represent the brand is nuts. I never would of thought that we would have a team roster like we have to date, it’s soo tight! Yeah your team is well chocked with shredders, can you fill in our readers with a who’s who team list? Yeah we are definitely spoilt when it comes to the team. The International team consists of Cale Nuske, Dennis Durrant, Tommy Fynn, Chewy Cannon and also Grant Patterson. For the Australian team we have Alex Campbell, Scott Standley, George Simmonds, Josh Pall, Kieren Reilley, Joel McIlroy, Jack Crook, Harry Clark and Alex Lawton.
Any plans for a Picture Wheel Co. team tour around Aus’ or overseas to promote the brand? Definitely. We have family in every State (Aus) so we definitely need to do a huge road trip at some stage and hit everyone up on the way. The next trip we are doing though is to W.A I think, we got Alex Campbell and Harry Clark over there killin’ it at the minute and we will probably take a few Queenslanders with us to make it interesting. I think there has been word of Grant coming over here also around November, but Benny is usually the man to organize all of these sorts of events. We have crew in LA, SF, New York, TO, Canada and U.K, so yeah travelling is most definitely on the cards! Back to you Mr. Art director. What’s involved with this gig? Well, basically myself, Ben and with certain projects our riders as well, come up with design concepts and then I make it happen via a laptop, pencil and paper. From the wheel designs themselves, logo branding, all visual media including ad’s, web designs, I have my say over all of it to make sure what we drop is of a certain standard. Just the basic OG logo itself we spent three months developing and I cant think of how many drafts I did of it (laughs). All of the Picture Wheels family strives to make sure that we put out the best looking and functionally elite product we can for Australian skaters. Does the job stress you out or are you a pretty relaxed chap? (Laughs) I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t get a little snowed under and freak, although usually I cope with it all. For the most part I’m a fairly relaxed, chilled person. Between Picture, painting, graff, my nine to five, Internet promo etc, I keep pretty busy, keeps me out of trouble for the most part. No doubt. Is Art Director a role you’d like to continue well into the future? Yep, most definitely. I really want to try my best to give back what I can to Australian skating, if it’s my art and design skill set that will do it, then so be it. We will no doubt have to get other hands on deck in the Picture Art department soon as the work load gets bigger, which will actually be within the next year as things are really starting to heat up. So if any ones keen out there give me a holla! Give us a glimpse into the future at Picture. What direction and style of artwork can we expect leading up to 2011? Well, the elite branding that Picture Wheel Co. is known for will definitely continue, however we will start to mix up the visuals a little with more artists coming on board, limited edition runs of wheels that will be part of bigger art projects, large artistic murals/visuals etc. We will be dropping more collabs with respected brands, also projects that will involve solely the riders as designers (this will be interesting). As we have said from the start, Picture will change what is currently regarded as what is the norm for a skateboarding wheel company to be. It’s going to be an exciting couple of years ahead. Yee sounds tight. Being unique and standing out from your competition is important for new brands that want to be noticed and accepted. Besides your crazy skills and future visions, what unique appeals does Picture Wheel Co. at present have to offer skaters in comparison to the other brands floating around? Yes I totally agree. You have to stand out from the noise other wise you’ll just fade into the background and continue to be overlooked.
PWC is created with one direct goal in mind. To establish itself as an elite skateboard wheel company setting itself apart from the competition with a professional image, a family of Internationally known and respected skaters from Australia and abroad, all the while leading from the forefront with designs and product functionality. Basically putting forward that Australian skaters are professional athletes in their own right and promoting this with the elite engine of Picture Wheels. Always for the skaters, never for the masses. The way it should be. Explain how you take an idea from your dome and transfer it onto a set of wheels? Well it all starts in the sketchbook for me. I like to sketch all of the initial concepts and layouts on paper first, working out all the fine points before taking it to the computer, I tend to work faster this way. Once the design has gone through the draft stage it’s finalized with Photoshop and Illustrator and made print ready. The U.S tends to set the skateboarding scene for us Aussies. Do you think Picture Wheel Co. can compete in this primarily American driven market? Yes most definitely, it’s a matter of having to really. Competing against the International heavyweights has been a goal since the very start with PWC. Setting our standards at an extremely high level so we can lead from the front, whether it’s home grown competition or from overseas, we’re in our own lane doing our thing. To tell you the truth, we’re not even out of first gear yet, so the best is yet to come. No doubt. Can you shed some light on the products you’re going drop between Xmas and the upcoming year? Well, we have a few more names that will be added to the already top shelf roster, so we’ll be doing some new product with them personally. We have a whole new team “Design Series” coming up, along the same lines as our popular “Idols” series. This one will be real fun, and frustrating! (Laughs) That’s the nature of the beast though when you’re working with other creatives, and skaters are no different. Still, that’s what it’s all about, letting each rider have total direction over their own wheel from draft to print, they get to have the final say! We will have much more apparel that will be coming up too, hats, sweats, hoods, tees, singlets, as well as more collaborations - can’t wait!
“... I REALLY WANT TO TRY MY BEST TO GIVE BACK WHAT I CAN TO AUSTRALIAN SKATING, IF IT’S MY ART AND DESIGN SKILL SET THAT WILL DO IT, THEN SO BE IT.“
Sounds ridiculously good. Sticking with colabs. Is it true Picture Wheel Co. is also going to release a first ever artist collaboration line? What’s going on with that? Oh yeah, who let this one out the bag?! Yeah there is definitely something along the lines of this underway. This project is still very much in the initial stages, but will definitely be one to look out for when it drops. Line up wise, let’s just say we have some of Australia’s best and a few internationals that will be down too, I am very much looking forward to this one. HYPE! On a personal note, away from PWC, do you still find time for a regular paint? Yeah I try to as much as I can. At the minute though it’s all canvas stuff for my second solo show this November. My first solo show was way back in 2007, so I’ve got to really flex with this one, make it a show to remember. I actually had a meeting with the crew the other day about graff productions coming up. As my “Bitter Winds” show is at Jugglers, I’ll be able to incorporate the back courtyard into the concept of the show, which will be dope. The space there is awesome to paint so that will probably be the only wall I get out between now and November, but that’s okay it will be a big one! I try to make every piece that I do count as time is definitely a scarce commodity these days! Over the years have you had any opportunities to bring your art to people overseas? Yeah, funny enough I have mostly travelled for anything but art really. To get away from it all and be re-inspired so I can bring what I find back into the studio. I’ve also travelled abroad to follow the snow as well, I’m a fiend for snowboarding, I love it. I have been to Whistler, Jasper, Banff, Sunshine, Calgary, The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, Horseshoe, Blue Mountain and Perisher…yeah I love it. I was lucky enough to get down with the GH crew while in Toronto too, which was dope. Sup Globe, Herbs! The boys schooled me on the ins-and-outs of the Graff scene in Canada, the history, crews etc. I can’t wait to get back there actually, the scene is dope, I’ll make sure it’s in summer though. I had heard of stories that it gets that cold your fingers freeze when you try and paint...I found out first hand that it’s true and it sucks. If you could choose any location around the globe, where would you head to travel, paint and kick back? Alaska straight up, to stay with my good friend Rochelle. She lives in Anchorage with her family there and it looks crazy. She eats fresh salmon straight out of the Lake and wrestles bears! Shit is rugged! Definitely want to get to Japan next year too, the snow looks epic there and the culture is amazing. Finally, I’d like to get back to Toronto, my boy Globe owes me some beers! (Laughs) What do you dig the most about being an artist? I guess I really like the freedom of expression you can get with art and design. Especially with graffiti, as this movement is still very young in comparison to traditional movements. When it comes down to it the avenues of expression are endless with art. It’s not like there is one definitive outcome or resolution to anything you create, essentially there are no right or wrong answers, this can be bad and good. For myself personally it’s quite refreshing to start a work with no real defined ending set in stone, with every brush stroke, can spray or screen pixel, the action changes the end result as you progress.
It’s almost like a living medium I guess in that sense. Plus it’s always very satisfying to finally sign off a work and have it hung after you’ve been slaving away on it for weeks and weeks, I get a lot out of it. Whether it’s canvas, wall’s, wheel’s, or ads, it’s the same feeling of accomplishment. Like landing bolts that front side heel at a set that you’ve been throwing yourself down for the last week...feels good don’t it!? You know it G. How can people get their mitts on a pair of Picture Wheels? Hit us up at picturewheelco.com for our current stockists and distributors, however all legit skate stores in every state should have our wheels. If they don’t tell them to as they are missing out on the good stuff! At the minute though we have AUS and NZ stockists and UK distribution for any overseas heads, with USA coming soon. The website will also be revamped in the coming months just in time for Xmas this year, so make sure you drop past and see what’s up at Picture. Any final shout outs? Yeah for sure. Much love to my better half T, my lowriders Friday and Merlo. Big ups to all the Picture Wheel Co Fam worldwide, peace to all THE BAY crew you know what’s up! Peace to my Otea’s fam, Globe and all the Golden Horseshoe crew, Suds, Palms and all the CH collective, GBak’ers, Bliggity Bliggs, Dtea’s, Tfh’s, Kidd Zoom you’re killin’ me! Drew Funksta, what up! Nick, Sam, Abby n and all the rest of the fam @ Jugglers you’re working too hard! Big ups to Tim Black for the photo hookups. Much thanks Justin and the rest of the Soggybones crew for the connect. Finally, nuff respect Grand Master Wu with eyes on snakes and the real talk! Roll PWC, peace. I gotta admit, that was a pretty fucking ace shout. Gotta run G. It’s been good and thanks for your time. Adios. gimiksborn.com picturewheelco.com
Ten things about women, you probably would not have learnt in a lifetime… explained in prose by our fine tutor,
Photography by Luke Thompson. Make-up/Hair by Constance Bowles. Styling by Emily Howlett.
Age: Twenty one. Location: Perth, Western Australia.
1. Girls hate an indecisive man. We like to know you’re able to make decisions, so for once, choose the restaurant! And you’ll be paying. Don’t ever, ever split the bill with a girl if you’re looking to have a potential relationship. The man wears the pants in a relationship and looking after your girl is a part of that. 2. Romance can sound like a corny word but even if you just get an email from that special guy saying “Hello gorgeous” is something that I would really, really love! I think the more mundane something seems, the more romantic it becomes. 3. If you’re lucky enough to get the girl of your dreams and then end up in the bedroom with her, you want to make sure it’s good. Don’t be shy because us girls definitely can be. Make sure you let her know you’re enjoying it just as much as she is... it’s a turn on knowing you’re both having fun! 4. Compliments, compliments, compliments. I don’t care how confident or self-assured your girlfriend is, tell her she looks hot when you see her out or when she rolls over in the morning. It’ll get you the things you want! 5. Us girls tend to think if something is too good to be true, it really is. We’re not stupid; we can read you boys like a book! Don’t be fooled, woman are cunning and incredibly savvy...we know more about what you’re going to do/say than you do! But if something is pissing you off, you need to tell us. We don’t know you need space unless you say so – honesty is super sexy.
6. If a girl tells you that another girl is doing something and you’re not aware of it, she’s 90% right all the time. Women know women and nine times out of ten, we never get it wrong. Listen up lads, it’s time to start listening to the wise words from us girls. 7. Don’t buy a girl a drink thinking you’re going to get something other than a “thank you” out of it. Girls have become confident and sly enough to work a room. If you really want to see if she’s keen, my best advice is don’t buy her a drink until an hour’s worth of conversation. 8. It’s sexy when your man is shirtless in the kitchen, making you a cup of coffee the morning after a night out together. It’s nice to know you care and if you know we like a cuppa in the morning, it doesn’t go astray having you half naked doing something nice for us! 9. Personally, I love it when there is the odd bum feel at home, at the pub or walking down the street. A little tap just to know you think I’m lookin’ good is a really big tick in the right box with me! 10. If your girl tells you she loves Footy, Rugby, Soccer, Cricket and/or any other sport you’re remotely interested in (this goes the same for Beer), make sure she either supports a team of her chosen sport and has a favourite player, or can sit through a game and actually give worthy comments on what’s happening. Most girls will pretend to love Footy and/or Beer, just to please you and whilst that’s nice, there’s nothing more annoying than going to the Footy with a girl who actually hates being there! On that note, CARN THE MIGHTY PIES! Premiers 2010!
part Written by Justin Ward Photography by Merlyn Moon
Parramatta Prison, New South Wales 1978. Spotlights dart across the concrete yard providing light to an otherwise dark and gloomy hole. Curious eyes peer out from behind the shadows of steel bars. Voices of grown men echo encouragement from cells as long-term detainee Michael Baldwin dangles five meters above freedom. An intrepid and finely crafted escape is in progress, but it’s far from close. Sliding down the nylon rope, the burn and smell of Michael’s flesh is the least of his concern. Nearing half waypoint of the unyielding prison exterior wall, Michael’s rope gives way and he plummets to the ground. “I felt the cunt coming at me and knew it was going to go, so I let go of the fucking rope and hit the deck,” Michael lucidly recalled whilst casually reclining into his traditional velvet red settee.
The Fragmented Story Of Michael Baldwin The impact of Michael’s fall could no doubt inflict paralysis, but with adrenaline surging through his veins and the fear of recapture spinning like a merry-go-round inside his mind, Michael picked himself up from the dirt. Dressed in tradition prison attire, Michael lifted off all fours and quickly realised that he wasn’t out of trouble, just yet. Across the path slouched an armed and highly intoxicated prison guard who had just polished off his night shift and apparently also a few litres of Brandy. “He was right there looking at me, but he was fucking spewing up,” Michael said. Despite the guard’s drunken grade, he knew too well that playing hero would wind him up in a puddle of blood, bile and booze. “I just pulled the sword out of my pants and the screw didn’t wanna know nothing about nothing, he just said, ‘nah mate, nah mate, you’re right, off you go!’” Michael recalled.
“…AS I PUT THE KNIFE AWAY I TOLD HER THAT I HAD JUST ESCAPED FROM PRISON.”
With luck momentarily on his side, Michael wasted no time and took off up the road (supporting a broken foot and tampered ribs) and scrambled into a nearby stable to lay-low. “I got inside and the horse started kicking up. I nearly fucked up because the owner came out,” he laughed. Totally oblivious to the fact that one of Australia’s most dangerous crims was lurking feet away, the stable owner opened the doors and cruised curiously inside to investigate the racket. Like a startled rat, Michael climbed up and over the asbestos roof, escaping into the depressing Parramatta Cemetery on Church Street. The tombstones marking the burial of thousands presented a chilling reminder that Michael was now free and alive. He had already risked death during his escape and now he was desperate to remove himself from the public eye and make it to his safe house. “I came running out and got to a set of lights and there was this little girl sitting in her car waiting for the lights to change. I noticed her car was unlocked. So I opened her passenger door and jumped in with my big blade and said, “fuck love, don’t scream, don’t do anything, just drive.”’ The innocent seventeen-yearold, completely rattled and scared shitless obeyed Michael’s frantic orders and built up enough courage to ask him to lower the knife. “So I did,” Michael said, “and as I put the knife away I told her that I had just escaped from prison.” If there were ever a good time for anyone to start praying for their life, it would be when a paranoid prison escapee displaying do-it-yourself tattoos and a dirty big shank just hijacked your car with you cornered inside. Michael Baldwin may have honoured the girl’s request and lowered his knife, but this petrified virgin wasn’t safe. She had no choice but to abide by Michael’s demands. “I got her to drive me to Matraville, an area of the lower eastern suburbs of Sydney. We arrived and I only had to go seven hundred yards from her car and someone was waiting for me inside,” he said. As the girl dropped Michael off, he sharply recalled her saying, “I know you’re not silly enough to stick around here. But I just want to tell you that I’m not going to tell the police anything.” As the passenger door of the hatchback swung to a close and the figure of the strange man (who would forever provide a haunting memoir) casually strolled in front of the vehicles headlights and crossed the street like an everyday citizen, the young girl took a sigh of relief, locked her doors and drove off. Michael Baldwin, the first prisoner to successfully escape Parramatta Prison had now reached his safe house. After spending years with some of the countries creepiest nuts, including the ‘likes’ of rapists, murderers, terrorists, drug-dealers, paedophiles and even the twisted screws themselves, Michael once again experienced the feeling of relief, and in one sense, normality, as he walked inside his girlfriends home.
So, what does a long-term prisoner on the run do when he arrives home after fleeing prison? Your guess is only as good as mine, but I’ve got a rough idea. “When I got home, my misses at the time, Kristine, was waiting for me with another girlfriend of ours. They couldn’t believe it when I got there. It was fucking awesome boy; I had the both of them bent over every-which-wayexcept-which. It was fucking brilliant,” Michael recalled with undoubtable authenticity, confirming any former reservations I may have had. As Michael shagged his long lost queens for hours loaded on heroin and amphetamines, television stations across the nation spat chilling news reports detailing his escape and citizens tuned-in and swallowed the media’s strict advice to lock their doors. “Michael Baldwin has escaped prison. He is considered violent, armed and dangerous,” and authorities were desperate to recapture Australia’s ‘most wanted’ man before another crime was executed. Over the years prior to Michael’s imprisonment, he lived the life of a young and gravely driven criminal architect. After describing the lowest points of his criminal career, such as the times when he would commit violent armed robberies, Michael admits he was never proud of his actions and says he “regrets robbing banks and pistol whipping cunts in the face.” In spite of such actions Michael Baldwin wasn’t your typical yob. See amidst all of the thick smoke was an opportunist who relied profoundly upon his own wit and impressionable persona to survive and ultimately pull off some of the most genius crimes to go down on the east coast of Australia. Arguably, Michael Baldwin was one of Australia’s most cunning criminal practitioners. During the peak of his criminal career when honest men worked hard for months on end to ensure lasting erections by commuting through Sydney streets armed with newly purchased Holden HX ‘Statesman de Villes’ worth anywhere from twenty five grand, it is alleged Michael was regularly walking away from various “jobs” that landed him that plus more in a single day of “work”. Quite simply, “tricky Mick” was murdering the game of life as he put suit-wearing conformists and their savings records to shame by hopping counters and swiping big bucks veiled with a hellish smile and finely polished revolver. His crooked ways may have eventually caught up with him and landed Michael an extremely mundane and mind crippling life locked inside a series of gutters, but the crimes he committed paid off fruitfully and allowed for a loose indulgence in a glamorous and fast paced lifestyle. At one stage in his career, Michael was slotting up to nine grand at a time in various holes in the ground. As he said, “that really adds up to a shit load of money when you’ve been at it for years. You end up using Jet Planes as Taxi Cabs and Five star hotels as flophouses.“
Cash was flowing into Michaels pockets at the expense of peeved taxpayers faster than the Atrato River in Columbia. On a daily basis the golden dollars ripped off by Michael disappeared above the flame of a lighter, liquefying in the bowl of silver spoons before shooting through his veins and leaving him stranded on a lonely road with no direction. “Heroin, be the death of me. Heroin, it’s my wife and it’s my life. Because a mainer to my vein leads to a centre in my head and then I’m better off and dead. Because when the smack begins to flow I really don’t care anymore about all the Jim-Jim’s in this town and all the politicians makin’ crazy sounds…” Lyrics made famous by the Velvet Underground help paint a gloomy picture of the self-centred and destructive downward spiral Michael endured for so many years because of substance abuse. To survive and ironically support his deeply saturated drug habit, (there were a total of 374 deaths attributed to opioids in 2005 amongst Australian’s aged fifteen to fifty four years - a study by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre), “Tricky Mick” orchestrated felonies with a high degree of ingenuity. Predominately, he existed as a solo operator and it wasn’t rare for him to execute crimes concealed beneath a number of smart and impressionable guises. “Dressing up was half the fun,” remembered Mick, “before walking into a job I’d consult my wardrobe and decide who I wanted to be for the day,” he laughed. Making the transformation from ostensibly rich business man donned with expensive suit and tie, specs and leather brief case to your everyday bank office employee was just part and parcel of Michael’s ploy for criminal survival. “We would go all out. We’d even kit ourselves with fraudulent documents to cover our identification,” he said before adding, “you know, a little bit of professionalism pays off in the end.” Despite hiding behind multiple personas, and regardless of the fact that he was a competent criminal, Michael admits it was always important for him to prepare mentally in the moments leading up to jobs. In fact, Michael claimed preparing for a robbery was similar to preparing for a big wave. “You just don’t know what might happen, so you’re thinking about the task ahead of you and all of the things that can go right and wrong, but most importantly you’re focusing on the things than will help you make the right decisions,” he said. “Music also helped. I was into the heavier shit and a lot of the electric stuff. Pink Floyd, The Eagles, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden and Led Zeppelin. It was all about getting your mind in a good state to go.” One job that really epitomizes Michael’s cunning and bold antics involved a Jewellery Store located somewhere along the east coast of Australia. As rumour has it, each morning Michael would drive to pick up his fix of Methadone (a drug prescribed for the treatment of opioid dependence), and on his way he would stop at a set of traffic lights. This particular set of lights just so happened to lie in front of the Jewellery store.
Being an opportunist who also possessed a photographic memory, Michael decided to pull his car over and case the joint out. That afternoon Michael returned home and said to his misses, “Kristine, that’s it, we are going to work tomorrow.” The next morning the duo got suitably dressed for a Bridget Bardot style shopping spree. “Kristine slid into a nice dress and I got suited up with a pair of gold glasses and a leather briefcase. You know, the whole lot,” he said. At precisely 9.48am Michael and Kristine walked up the stairs and into the Jewellery Store. Displaying newly adopted pompous personalities they greeted the store employee and politely declined any assistance, opting to “take a browse”. Upstairs, just as Michael had remembered, “were four big diamond showcases, each of them filled with eighteen and twenty-one carrot gold rings, chains and watches. Each of the showcases were about as wide as a fucking car and about two to three feet deep,” Michael described. As Kristine continued to “browse” over the cabinets whilst keeping an eye on the staff, Michael, well equipped with a razor sharp brickies bolster, went to work opening them up. “I just hit the hinges and pulled the screws out. Once all of the hinges were completely off all I had to do was lift the doors up, open my brief case and load the jewellery into my suitcase.” After swiping fifty percent of the first case Michael remembered feeling shocked because the staff were totally oblivious to what was going down. “The customers even looked at me, but because I was in a suit they did nothing, I guess they just thought it was my job to empty the cases,” he remarked. After draining the first case Michael went after the second. However, just as he removed all of its hinges, Kate started singing out, ‘“Mick, Mick.” So I responded quickly and put the brickies bolster inside my suitcase, clipped the case together, swung it around to scare the staff off and ran down the stairs and on to the street. As I came running out, a fucking Taxi driver stepped out of his car in front of me, so I just clobbered him with the heavy suit case and legged it for our car. We made it to the car and within two minutes we were out of sight.” After spending hours between the sheets indulging in unbridled sex and copious amounts of illicit drugs, Michael decided to go about his business. Thirty-five hours had now passed since his escape. With no agenda and nowhere to hide he left his safe house and walked blatantly into one of Sydney’s most populated inner-city locations to organize a pistol. King’s Cross or “The Cross”, an area still regarded today by many as the drug infested, red light capital of Australia was back in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s typically awash with colourful characters mingling amongst a very wild and dodgy mixture of prostitution and organised crime. Michael and Kristine were both familiar faces to the area. See Inside the heart of “The Cross”, Kristine (who at a later date took her own life), actually owned her own business, a highly lucrative “gentleman’s parlour”. It was this connection Michael had with Kristine and her parlour that ultimately landed him under the direct spotlight of Police following his escapade.
“THE CUSTOMERS EVEN LOOKED AT ME, BUT BECAUSE I WAS IN A SUIT THEY DID NOTHING…”
“See Kristine used to run girls. And we were looking after one girl. We looked after her as our own. As blood, you know? I was buying a gun and I came out of the store and just as I stepped foot out the door and started walking up the street I heard a familiar voice screaming my name like a fucking foghorn. MICHAEL BALDWINNNN. I looked around to see who it was and recognised the girl we had looked after for so long. It was a blatant fucking set-up. All of the coppers were just standing there waiting for me on the corner. I was a silly, silly boy. I shouldn’t have even gone near the place. I should have known that someone would have wanted to…but anyway, that was it. I was back inside.” Following his capture, Michael was thrown back into the prison system where he spent the remainder of his sentence classified as a Director of Establishment case. At the time there were only twenty-five Director of Establishment labelled prisoners throughout New South Wales. These characters were all managed under tighter than normal restrictions and deemed high-risk inmates. “Now that I was a DV, the Director of Establishment had to give permission before I was moved anywhere, even if it was a cell change within the prison. For that to happen the Director would have to grant permission for my movement because I was an escapee and the prison system didn’t want to risk another escape,” Michael explained. “Every couple of weeks, to ensure I had no fucking idea of my location, the screws would randomly come and wake me up in the middle of the night. They would strap me in handcuffs, put me in a security belt, slide me into a pair of XXXL overalls and they even made me wear a pair of slippers. Then whilst they filmed the entire process on video camera they placed me into a car and repositioned me at another jail.” After logging twenty-four and a half years inside maximum-security prisons, the Supreme Court requested Michael Baldwin’s release. Supreme Court judge Cameron Smith released Michael to the streets of Australia based on a technicality known as The Course of Certiorari. He first entered prison at the impressionable age of sixteen and lived life according to prison guidelines. Survival was his daily objective. Michael was a stranger to the outside world. Now in 2010 he lives in a small coastal town located on the southern tip of Western Australia and everyday he cherishes his freedom. He wakes up in his own brick house. His partner Kate and pet Galah Syd provide him with companionship, and Shane his twenty-four year old son, an avid surfer and aspiring musician, adores Michael like no other. Michael is no longer confined by four concrete walls and under 24-hour surveillance. He has kicked his chronic heroin addiction. He no longer eats from steel trays, has to undergo routine cell raids, shower with murderers or put up with prison guards who urinate all over his meals. His doors are no longer made of steel. But most importantly society is no longer a victim of Michael’s criminal ways. “I have given up criminal activities and associating with criminals,” he said with pride.
“I did some fucking terrible things in my life and I’m not for one second denying it. I robbed people and hurt people really bad with my thieving. Some people came off second best to me all along the way, but I’m not proud of that and I do feel remorseful. That is why I do what I do now. That is why I am so forthright about what happened to me and what I did. I don’t like talking about this stuff with you. I hate it. But I can’t just fold up and go to bed and forget about it all, because then I just can’t live with myself. My mind and body starts attacking me. Every minute of my life is a learning minute for me because I’ve been from one side of the creek to the other. When you think about it, a whole lot of missing out went on in my life. But there is no good in getting bitter or sad about it because both of those holes are bottomless and they will just take me to dark and ugly places. I’ve been out of prison for years. Physically I’ve been free for fifteen years, but I’m still trapped in a living hell inside my mind. Everyday is a fucking living hell.” Michael now works with troubled teens. He lives with hope that the kids he works with will now be able to escape the life that he wasn’t able to. “That is what keeps me going. The fact they can escape what I couldn’t” - Michael Baldwin.
50 SOGGYBONES.COM ’s It
Where did you sprout, Mr. Jones? I grew up in Newcastle as a kid and I was there until seven years of age. Were you an absolute rat bag of a grom? No, I was a good kid. I loved all sports. You used to be involved with the Bodyboarding scene? I started riding a Hanimex single fin foam board when I was five. Then I spotted a Bodyboard at the age of seven and found I could just pull into little shoreys at Redhead beach and I loved it. Tell us about your golden years. Have they been and gone? Yeah, I had a few good golden years earning great money, having a few flashy cars, a nice home et cetera. But it was all through hard work; I never sat on my arse. I was always out there chasing the money shot.
Written by Justin Ward. Photography by Tim Jones.
It’s hard to find water shots that surpass those taken on film and digital cameras manned by Australian surf photographer, Tim Jones. His sharp, finely framed images have graced the pages of elite international surfing magazines, books and galleries around the world for over a decade, finely reflecting the often indescribable visions surfers experience day in and day out in some of the best waves on offer. After leaving his former days as a bodyboarder behind, Tim Jones has worked hard, dedicating his life to the documentation of surfing. Now, Tim proudly enjoys and benefits from a lifestyle many aspiring lens men dream of one day achieving. With over fourteen years of experience, Tim is most certainly fit to comment on an industry that is far from fading, and he was more than happy to share his thoughts on a commonly deemed cutthroat and political profession. Read on to learn more about the life of Tim Jones, the Black Merino.
Can you recall your first rig? My very first set up was a little instamatic Canon Prima with a built in flash. It kind of did the job, but it wasn’t the best. So I saved some coin and bought a Nikon F70 with a 35mm to 70 mm lens. I also set myself up with a Dave Kelly Water Housing and I was away. Did you suck at taking photos when you started? I actually picked up shooting water shots straight away. Gnarly. So how many years have you been shooting? I’ve been shooting for fourteen years. Based on your acquired knowledge as a pro photographer, can you give us three key pieces of advice that aspiring snappers can sponge? Here is my advice to younger crew. The first is to stop undercutting on photos: once you do that you fuck yourself. The second is to respect older photographers who have been shooting for a while. And the third is, don’t drop in on photo shoots. You guys know who you are! So getting personal, who or what are your strongest inspirations? My kids inspire me to be a better person everyday.
Beautiful. And what about your strongest influences in reference to your profession? Chris Van Lenup was the man back in the ‘80s and ‘90s. He was the best water photographer in the world; his photos and angles were incredible. Scotty Aichner was in the same year as me starting out, but he retired way, way to early. That kid was insane with his water shots. So Tim, what do you dig the most about being a photographer? I enjoy the freedom of shooting photos, travelling, the people, the different waves and also the locations I visit. Drop a few perils associated with your profession? Sharks are always a peril. I reckon they are everywhere. No Shit. Career highs. There have been so many highs in my career. One of the biggest would probably have been when I was able to buy my first house ten years ago. That was pretty good; it gave me a good feeling. However the birth of my kids was the ultimate high. Like any profession, photography, in particular surf photography is riddled with politics. How do you deal with this lame shit? Well there really is bullshit everywhere. I just stay out of it and do my own thing. Would you say there are certain magazines you refuse to deal with because of political crap? Yes, there are certain magazines that are run by fucking idiots. Thank God I don’t work for them. I’m stoked at my new gig as senior photographer with ASL; those guys have been really supportive. You’ve been spending a bit of time in West Oz. Enlighten us on some of the best sessions you’ve witnessed over here. W.A without a doubt is my favourite place to visit, shoot photos, visit good friends and sample the epic wine on offer. Parko and Josh Kerr at the Box this year was a standout session for me. I nailed some great shots and both of the boys weren’t holding back. We know you for your surf photography. But you’re also involved with other types. What else have you been shooting? I’ve been given the ASL swimwear gig as they have a poster each month. That’s been a lot of fun. I’ve also been shooting a few weddings with Russell Ord down in Margaret River, West Oz and Steve Conti from Sydney. I have been really enjoying the Weddings; they are so much fun and you can get pretty creative. Canon was your camera of choice. But now you’re on with Nikon? I actually started my career with Nikon and then switched over to Canon. Now I’m back at Nikon. Their new
cameras are insane. Photos look great and they’re easy to use. I’m stoked on all my Nikon set-ups, they’re great for weddings, swimwear and surf photography. Travelling is a given with surf photography. Where are some of the most memorable locations you’ve visited on the job? My favourite places are Tahiti, Hawaii, Indo with Australia at the top of that list. I also love Mexico. Who are your favourite cats to shoot? That would be Taj, Parko, Ry Craike and Mick Fanning. They are my favourite lads to shoot. Those boys all surf insane and you know you will always get something run with them. They are super photogenic so it makes my job very easy. Besides photography, what are three things in life that are important to your existence? I train nearly every day, I run about fifty kilometres a week and hit the gym two or three times a week. I also do Mixed Martial Arts, just to have a good balance. My new 1961 Chevy Belair Lowrider is the best thing I’ve got, well it’s a close second behind my two incredible kids, Madeleine and Jett. There are a lot of emerging photographers and wannabe photogs around. Many of them are ignorant of good practice. Do you have anything to say about this topic? Yeah. There is a pecking order in Hawaii. A few boys and I try to maintain it. There are too many new kids on the block with no respect, so get to the end of the line! This goes for Australia as well. The young kids should go back and shoot film for ten years to earn their apprenticeship, and then they can start shooting digital. (Laughs). Fat chance of that happening Mr. Jones. So what basic guidelines do you follow when you’re on a job? Respect. You have to give respect to get respect. I have a lot of respect for my elder photographers, guys like Chris Van Lennup, Don King and Vince Cavito. All of those guys are legends in the world of surfing photography. Amen. So are you self-taught or did you formally study the art of photography? I’m self-taught, nobody taught me shit. Where is your current hideout? I live in a sweet two-bedroom place at Wamberal on the Central Coast of N.S.W. It’s about fifty meters to the beach, so girls cruise over for a chardy and a BBQ. You are more than welcome…yew
“CHRIS VAN LENUP WAS THE MAN BACK IN THE ‘80S AND ‘90S. HE WAS THE BEST WATER PHOTOGRAPHER IN THE WORLD, HIS PHOTOS AND ANGLES WERE INCREDIBLE.” Tim, please, a chardy? How about a fucking VB luv? So what’s going on now in 2010 with you and your photography? Anything you’re trying to master? I’m actually mentally rebuilding myself after a mentally draining few months with personal issues. I’ve taken the past three months off work and I know that decision has done me a world of good. I’m feeling fresh and excited for what the future holds. I want to finish with something heavy. Out in the water photographers sometimes find themselves in hairy situations. Can we have a laugh at your expense? I’ve been trapped out at Pipe on dark with twenty foot sets breaking. Trying to get in from there isn’t the easiest. Also, I’ve had a few ten footers on the head at Chopes in Tahiti. I reckon Chopes is the worst place in the world to get caught inside…so much power. I nearly died out there one year. I got caught inside and slammed head first on the reef. I cracked my skull open and ended up with nine exterior staples and five internal stitches. That was a huge wake up call. I very easily could have died that day. Ahah, Perfect. Cheers for the interview Jonesy.
Written by Justin Ward. Photography by Russell “in the bushes” Ord.
You would never guess. Tucked inside a tin roof shed on a small country block of land located somewhere on the fringe of Western Australia’s magnificent Karri forest is a priceless collection full of surfing’s most significant and admired possessions. The shed’s exterior is typically unexciting, but it’s interior is full of magic and if you are lucky enough to step inside, it will take you on a radical trip back in time through the finest eras and most gripping moments in Australia’s great surfing history. This is no ordinary collection of surfing memorabilia and once inside you will unearth no ghosts or cheap imitations. This is honestly the home of one of Australia’s most extensive, carefully selected, well-kept and highly sought after surf-related treasures. Remarkably, over one hundred vintage surfboards, dating as far back as the 1940’s stand tall in their original condition. Not one of the boards has been restored. These beautiful hand crafted masterpieces still to this day carry their original wax jobs applied by their very first lovers, many, many years ago. Until now, a man known as Skip, one of surfing’s proudest offspring, a passionate classic Australian surfer, has managed, somehow, to seal his lips and keep a very tight lid on this beloved assortment of surfing’s most celebrated and prized creations. Skip’s awesome collection is every surfers wet dream. I wish you were here to experience this trip through time, but for now this is as close as you’re going to get. His secret is safe. Reminisce and enjoy. Can you shed some light on the golden years of your child hood? Not really. I grew up in the Hills of Perth. So basically I had to keep myself occupied and doing that I was just mucking around in the creeks. I had a motorbike. So I would ride my motorbike. I had a yellow GT plastic skateboard and I never let that thing go. I was constantly on that skateboarding, that was my fun.
So when did you get into surfing? Well, we moved down from the hills when I was fourteen years old and Pavo, a good friend of mine, who I still have now, lived at the back of us. Pavo and his brothers all surfed and they all had beautiful Blaxell twin fins. So yeah, it was Pavo and his family who introduced me to surfing. Can you recall your first board? My first board was a McCoy single-fin handed down to me by my brother. It was long, fat and ugly, but in good condition. He passed it down, but I knew I had to do something because my mates had some pretty nice twin fins at that stage, but it was okay, it got me up and riding. What pro surfers did you admire as a grom? Um. I’d have to say Mark Richards. Are you able to explain what is so special about surfing? Well, where could you start with that? Surfing is very special to me. At the age of fourteen, I quit all other sports and I played a lot of sports. When I found surfing that was it. It just took over. It just drew me and it’s still got me and it will never let me go. So what’s special about surfing? Everything. It’s challenging, it’s friendships and it’s travel. But, you know it’s trying to conquer a swell and by conquering, you can take off, pull into a tube, come out and do a few manoeuvres. Now that’s something very special. I think there is not a more special place in the world; you could not possibly get a place more special, than sitting inside a barrel. The positive feeling that you get from it, it is so rewarding and I just love every part of it.
Let’s talk about your vintage surfboard collection. Okay, I have a pretty serious collection in here. So what I have got? Well, I started off with surfboards. So, I basically collect everything from single fins, twin fins, and older…go right back to hollow wooden surfboards. My collection also goes into old surfing novels and surfing books about the history of surfing. You name it and I pretty much have it. I collect skateboards. Everything to do with surfing, it could be surf related drinking glasses, it could be playing cards with surfing on them. It could be cans of Coke. It could be flags, wetsuits, surf machines, just surf memorabilia in all shape and form basically, right down to almost everything including some original surfboard wax from Esso days. So, gosh, I have a little bit of everything, but mainly it’s about my surfboards. Skip, the amount of epic gear in here is seriously tripping me out. Was it your dream to collect old boards? Well, probably. When I first started surfing, probably not. I was just getting into it. As it slowly progressed, by the time I got to my early twenties a friends of mine had one or two collectable surfboards and I had one that I’d always had. So, my mate bought another and it just clicked at that point. I knew it was time to start collecting. Boards worth keeping were commonly floating around at that point and I just loved them. I loved the colours and I loved the shapes. I knew I wasn’t gonna surf on them, but I loved the boards. So it was a friend of mine who got me initially started, but then after that, it was all collecting. Fantastic. How do you go about acquiring boards? Well it started off by flicking through the Sunday Times and the Saturday paper. The Quokka wasn’t around in those days. So, yep that was basically it. Through the papers, second hand, because single fins were advertised then as normal boards, ya know? Beginner’s boards they were called back then. So, basically through the paper and a dude over in Sydney helped me out quite a lot, so that was pretty good. Now it’s sort of word of mouth as well. Friends of friends. Like my last surfboard was a Murray Smith single fin, it was given to me, well I paid one hundred bucks for it from a dude in Albany who was a friend of a friend. He knew I was collecting and he wanted the board to stay somewhere it would be looked after so it could be enjoyed forever more. We spoke before this interview about a crazy Sydney based Hairdresser who sold you a lot of classic boards. What more can you tell me about this guy and how you discovered his gems? Yeah, I got quite a few surfboards from that dude in Sydney. He was an unusual character. I think he had a little bit more money than sense. His friends were actually into surfing and I think because he had the money they suggested to him that he should start collecting. So, the hairdresser started collecting from his mates. That gave him a big shove and I think for him it then turned into a little bit of an obsession. He collected a massive amount of surfboards. Probably near on two hundred. But he didn’t have the love and he didn’t have the passion. He was collecting for other people. He was such an unusual character. He realised at the end that it wasn’t for him. So he decided to sell his surfboards, which was good for everybody else in Australia. I probably purchased fifteen surfboards off the guy. At the time, I was collecting with my mate, Van. He was still
collecting surfboards at that stage, so because we were both interested, we decided to go over to Sydney together. I got about fifteen and he got about the same. So we came home with at least thirty surfboards from that one trip. Dividing them up was the hard bit though. You get one, I get one, you get one, I get one. That was very hard (laughs). A few joints would have helped sort that out, I bet. So is there a standout board amongst this quiver? My stand out surfboard from this collection would probably have to be my McCoy single fin. I found that over in Sydney. That was one I bought off the hairdresser. I love it because of it’s logo and it just reminds me of my very first surfboard. So, it was actually the logo that brings me back to my first affair with surfing. This McCoy single fin is in beautiful condition. So, yeah, I love that one the most. Yeah I can see why, that is a really classic logo. So unreal. They just don’t make ‘em like they used to. Hate to do it to you Skip, but can you narrow down five of your favourite vessels? Righty-o. I’ll try pick my top five. Well, you know the McCoy single fin because of the reminder of where it all started. And from there I guess my second favourite would be a Tom Blaxell. I have the 230th surfboard he shaped. I actually got that given to me as a 21st birthday present from my ex, and I used that as my mini-mal. That was my mini-mal for years and years and years. Number three? Well it’s a pretty hard choice. Number three goes to a Lightning Bolt twin-fin that is immaculate. That maybe as well as the Mark Richards twin fin that he shaped. They’re pretty on par. Oh gosh, after that, the collection of my three Ron’s that I bought. I actually bought them all at the same time, so they all get included into one. They are very special surfboards. They are mid ‘60s shapes and they have never been in the water. They are just in pristine condition. Beautiful, beautiful things. They are my number four pick. Number five is very hard to choose. Maybe it could be a Culmsee surfboard that was shaped down at the Rocky Point track in Eagle Bay, Dunsborough. It’s a single fin with an extreme pin shape. That board from Culmsee is in beautiful condition. Maybe that’s number five? Either that or it’d go to the hollow wooden boards. Very hard questions to answer, but my top picks include some of those boards. This shouldn’t be so tough. What surfboard kicked off your quiver of collectables? That was a Cordingleys single fin from Mullaloo. Yep, just picked it up out of the Sundy’ times. Eighty bucks.
Not one board in your collection has been restored and most of your boards still have original wax jobs. Why haven’t you scraped it off? A lot of these boards stay ridgy didge, so when they come into the collection, I keep right down to keeping the wax on. Maybe that’s half because I am lazy (laughs). Maybe I’ll get around to cleaning it off, the wax that is, someday. That’s about the only one thing I would do to a board. Take the wax off. Once you start repairing a board, well then they aren’t original. That’s not the way they were. Plus, you can tell they have been patched and that’s not really what they’re about. To keep a board in it’s original condition is what collecting is about. You don’t buy an old board and patch it up, make it all glossy and shiny and new. If you want one of them, you go buy one of the brand spankers from the stores, you can buy retro single fins now. So that’s not the idea. The idea is to keep the dings and pressures and keep them original because that’s how they are. It’s the best way Skip. Don’t scrape the wax, it’s salty. What’s even saltier is the ridiculous A-list of shapers in your shed. Drop some names for us mate. Some of the dudes who have shaped these boards. Well, it’s a bit of a who’s who sort of thing. I’ve got Mark Richards boards, Simon Anderson’s, even got one of Simon Anderson’s very first thrusters with the three fin thruster logo on it. That’s one of the very first thrusters in the world. Wayne Rabbit Bartholomew, oh his boards are pretty cool, he’s got on the back of his boards ‘with speed in mind’. We’ve got Nev Hyman’s and Peter Townend’s. Yeah, Lighting Bolts, McCoys, Murray Smiths, Keyo Surfboards, Gordon and Smith’s. Odyssey surfboards. Wow. Yeah, lots and lots of different shapers. Amazing. You own some of the first Simon Anderson Thrusters that Simon personally shaped and rode. Man, that’s pretty special. Yeah, stuff like the Simon Andersons. They are very significant boards. I’ve got a single fin of his, plus his thruster as well. You know his boards are so significant because he invented the thruster. The thruster I have of his is one of the very first, so you know it is some of the very first thruster surfboards ever put in the world. Now that every surfboard, well not every, but nearly all surfboards are thrusters, and to know that I have one of the very earliest thrusters ever made in the world is really significant. Simon Anderson is an absolute legend. What he did to pull it out, go and win bells, then go and win pipe on it, he’s very significant that dude, he changed the world of surfing and it’s very nice to have some of his very early models. Love it. Take us on a trip down memory lane. What is the oldest board in your collection? Well, it’s gotta be 1940’s. I’ve got a 1940’s, probably early ‘40s board. Hollow wooden boards with the marine ply. That came from Sydney, so that was basically back just after the toothpick days when the surf clubs used them to paddle out and save dudes. This is probably the next step up from the toothpicks because toothpicks were designed just for retrieving people. But, that’s how they started surfing. Instead of just riding them in to the beach they liked to stand up on them. So that’s sort of how it came about. So, the ‘40s board that came from Sydney, I reckon that might be one of the earliest. It’s pretty hard to tell. I’ve got a hollow wooden board that’s pretty square without a fin in it.
That came from Phillip Island, got no idea how old that is. It would be the olden, old, hollow wooden boards, that is the oldest. Basically ‘40s and ‘50s with those boards, and then it obviously goes up when the guys came over from America to do the display at the Olympics. And that’s when fibreglass came into it all. So I’ve got the very first fibreglass boards, so they are probably very early 60’s. You can tell with the early 60’s with the style of fin, they had a very flat back, big, fat sort of long fin, flat at the back. So they are very earliest boards I have and from there it just progresses. Incredible man. I am so stoked on this. When I entered your shed it was just amazing. How do you feel when you walk inside and surround yourself with over one hundred beautiful old school surfboards? It must be a great trip in the past. The feeling that I get coming into here, well, it is pretty special. I’m glad I started when I did because I couldn’t have collected these things now, not without spending lots and lots and lots and lots of money. Great retro boards are still out there, you can find them, but you gotta pay, you gotta pay premium now. So, the feeling that I get now walking in and being surrounded by memorabilia is really, really special, because I know they’re mine, they’re my babies. They’re mine now. I get to look at these beautiful boards for the rest of my life. It’s a very nice feeling. It’s a little feeling of accomplishment, but just stoked-ness. Absolutely stokedness. Very happy to walk in. Have any of your boards been ridden by surfing greats? Yeah, some pretty serious dudes have ridden some of these boards. We’ve got the Bronzed Aussies. Well, I’ve got two of the Bronzed Aussies surfboards. Not sure which of the main four dudes rode them, but it had to be a few of them. I’ve got other boards also ridden by Peter Townend. Then there are some really special boards ridden by Mark Richards. I’m pretty sure Mark, well I’m positive Mark rode one of his boards because he shaped it, so that’s why I can tell you it’s his board. Simon Anderson, not sure whether he surfed it or not, I think he did. So, yeah, gosh, Bronzed Aussies, Simon Anderson, Mark Richards. Sometimes hard to tell, there could be more. Do you have any public visions for your collection? Well, at the moment I haven’t really got any plans to show anyone. Once you show them people know you’ve got them, and I sort of like them being hidden in the shed. Having them all here to myself (Laughs). But, I will one day. I’m not quite sure what I’ll do. I’m guessing, if my kids are interested in starting up something as in Surfboard Museum, Café or Surf shop, they’ll have the gear to do it. They will have a fantastic set up. To have all these boards is a draw card for them to start something. That’s possible. Anything is possible in the future, but at the moment they are sitting quietly in the shed. All-time favourite shapers? One of my favourite shapers would be Murray Smith because I was fairly close to him as a grom. I always looked up to Murray. He made some good boards in his day and he was an Australian Champion. So, I would say Murray Smith would be my favourite shaper. Then I’d say Simon Anderson second and Mark Richards third.
Some shapers during the ‘60s were experimenting with different boards and psychedelic drugs. What’s your most bizarre board from that era look like? One of the most bizarre surfboards I have is a Bare Nature board from Byron Bay. It’s an asymmetrical surfboard. Means it sticks out on one side… one side is sort of straight and the other side is curved, very, very, very odd, those boys were on something. Even has a picture of Lennox Head on the back. That board is seriously wacky to look at. As you said, buying vintage boards is becoming really expensive. Do you think the price hikes might prematurely end your days of collecting? Yeah, surfboards are starting to get a little expensive. But, it will never be the end of my collecting. As a collector knows, once you start collecting, you’re a collector. Now I’ll always be a collector. Maybe later I’ll have a little bit more money to spend on surfboards. But they are still coming to us. You know I just got a Cordingleys from my next-door neighbour. That was just sitting in his back shed. The Murray Smith board arrived only weeks ago from Albany. So no, once you’re a collector, you’re a collector. You’re a nut from there on end. Spin a few words about old mate across the road and what he’s done to help your collection grow? I have a pretty good mate across the road. Old Tom. Tom was a Vietnam War Veteran and when he came home from war he decided not to do too much. So him and his wife hopped in a panel van and started driving around Australia. After that he came back and he started collecting all types of things. But, he was a serious collector of surfing memorabilia too. So he took a lot of photos from his trip around Australia. He’s got really interesting things, such as the first State Title on a 8mm projector, so he’s got vision of the first Aussie State Titles. He’s got some really classic stuff on film from his early days that he shot himself. Fantastic photos. Fantastic books. He’s been great to my collection. He’s really helped me out. I mean, I started off with surfboards, but you know to complete a true collection you gotta have all sorts of things and Tom’s been fantastic. He’s helped me with basically books. Books and posters are the two main things. But he’s been very generous; he’s a fantastic guy. It’s fantastic to have somebody who’s so into collecting across the road. So, old Tommy boy’s been great. Skip, you’re also the proud owner of some very dated skateboards. What’s their connection with the fine Play Boy stunner pictured on the previous page? Well, some of the more wacky things in the collection, like skateboards, go right back to the very start of skateboarding. As in the Roller Derby skateboards, they were sort of early ‘60s and we can tell that because of the Playboy magazine from 1962 that has a picture of a young lady on the Roller Derby #10. It’s the exact skateboard that she is on in the picture, so you can date that from there. So yeah, starting off early ‘60s skateboards, steel wheels, steel trucks. I just don’t know how they rode them. Crazy. Crazy stuff. Can’t help myself. It’s the perfect place. Have you… (Laughs) No, I haven’t ever dropped a tab in here, but after answering all of these questions, I think I might. I have had my fair share of smokes in here. Lovely.
Age: Eighteen. Shooting: Three years. Location: Scarborough, Perth, West Oz. Equipment: Canon. Pictured Dylan Tomlinson.
1. Alex, tell us about yourself? I’ve never moved house, I don’t have a car, I study at the Central Institute of Technology, I work at a café to make ends meet, I have been to Church four times, I have an unfortunate shoe size, hair style, fashion sense and range of pickup lines. 2. Favourite subject to shoot and why? Taking photos of people is cool, but when you capture their soul or personality in a picture then I think that’s something special. I still haven’t got one yet. 3. Tell us about your family background? My Dad’s Mum came from royalty in Fiji, they had a bunch of islands, which was cool, but they sold all of them. Mel Gibson is actually a neighbour to one of our old ones. We still have a little bit of land, but there’s a creek running through it eating away all of the trees and stuff. 4. So how did you get into photography and when did you start taking it seriously? I think it first started in high school when two of my friends and I first started buying little point and shoot cameras. Who ever had the most optical zoom took the best photos of course. I then did the unthinkable and bought a Samsung super8 handy cam, 22x optical zoom. I think I considered photography as a career path in year 12 when I dropped TEE for work experience. I definitely did the right thing, I learnt way more doing the work placements with established professional photographers than TEE could ever offer me. I worked a lot with Rob Duncan from The West Australian Newspaper, he lives on the other side of my hill so driving past his fucking huge mansion is pretty inspiring, crazy to think it all came from shooting photos. 5. It seems you’re mostly into skateboarding and surfing. Do you rate one more than the other? I can’t say I enjoy one more than the other, to me they are both the best things in life. 6. You said it. With surfing you have the unpredictability of the ocean to contend with, do you think shooting dominant surf photos takes more skill than snapping a skate shot? You only really get one chance with surfing I guess, like you can’t exactly ask your surfer to get another cracker and try the same trick again, it’s up to the ocean. Skateboarding is better because the rail, gap, stair set or what ever is always going to be there. Unless you’re getting kicked out of a spot and the authorities are cool enough to give you one more shot then the pressure might be a little harder on your guy. The main difference I think between the two is if your rider landed the trick or not, surfing has this blurred line for what counts as a land. 7. You’ve done some stuff with Dylan Tomlinson. Tell us about the kid and his skateboarding. Oh Dylan where do I start? He’s one funny dude, always down to have a fun time doing what ever. I think people tend to forget how good he is at skateboarding if they hang out and fool around with him for too long. One time we skated that massive bowl near the Casino in Perth. Dude, I saw some gnarly stuff go down for a hung-over, morning skate. He has his own style that I think comes from his wobbly noodle legs (Laughs). He actually did gymnastics when he was younger and he loves doing back flips.
8. You’ve done a fair bit of travelling. Where exactly overseas have you visited? Fiji, Bali, Lombok, Hawaii, Canada, Cook Islands, Samoa and Japan. 9. Tell us about your favourite overseas location for photography and why it’s so good? Samoa is the most photogenic place ever. The people, the environment and the vibes are amazing. There really are some incredible things to see there. 10. Alex, is it true you were travelling overseas through somewhere remote in Indonesia when an earthquake hit? What happened? That was Samoa actually. I think it was a week before our departure that the Tsunami hit. We seriously didn’t know what we were in for after deciding to go ahead with the trip. Apparently we were the first surfers to come back after the disaster, which was a pretty eerie feeling. This one day the swell was pretty small so we went and checked out this water fall down the road from our place, after a few hours of jumping off this water fall we went back to camp and everyone was freaking out talking about how the ground shook for a bit. It must have happened when we were swimming but I’m so glad there was no second Tsunami or anything though. Besides that the most hectic things we saw were a car literally wrapped around a tree, fridges, washing machines, closets, outboard motors, motorbikes scattered along the beaches. The boat they used to take you out surfing on was on the roof of the reception of our place but they got it down two days before we got there. 11. So, who or what inspire you to keep shooting? It sounds kind of lame but my friends push me the most and they probably don’t even know that. Looking at other peoples stuff helps me see things differently, Paul Natale in particular. 12. Andy Ortega (our last featured Shoots Photo’s fella) has nailed some pretty out there stuff involving nudity, counter-culture, transsexual’s and other random people requesting random things. Are there any bizarre or twisted subjects you’re into shooting or consider snapping? Yeah I saw some of his stuff, he must get into some sticky situations. For me, in between the train station in town to school I see some pretty crazy humans to fill most stereotypes. You could fill a canvas with anything in that three minute walk. 13. White with two, Black with one or White with none? White, double shot to go.
So tell us what in the world Double Guns is? It really has no meaning. Double Guns is just a group of us who skate and have fun. We’re not trying to make it too serious, it’s not out to be some gnarly video...it’s not like a big sponsor tape. It’s mainly just us cruising around having fun.
Written by Brian Blakely Photography by Nils White
When Kris Anacleto set out to create the first Double Guns video five years ago, he had no clue that his small spark was bound to ignite such a large flame. Double Guns basically defines the word “fun” when it comes to skateboarding. The videos’ soundtrack ranges from anything between Young Jeezy to Sabbath, to television program theme songs like “Full House”. There’s constant energy flowing through these vids and they really make you want to get your homies together and film a movie. Hype like that equals striking gold these days, man. Kris explained to me that there would be no more Double Guns after the third vid—however, apparently Kris has said this about every flick so far. The second video wasn’t even planned, it just sort of happened, and for a third DG to come out it would’ve almost been a waste-of-thought prior to its completion. But, again, here we are five years down the road since DG one and Kris is still travelling, filming, skating, and creating. Anacleto is a humble San Diego resident with plenty to say, but only when asked. He loves Vista, and he loves to eat at Peppertree. He’s brilliant behind the lens, and just as brilliant in the shaping of skateboarding flicks and a wide variety of other films and projects alike. He juggles a full-time job with random freelance work, and still always finds time to create these, epic, entertaining skateboard films for all of us to enjoy. Kris kills it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned though, it’s to never mention anything about Sonic Burger to Kris. He might shoot you with his Double Guns! Kris, why do you hate Sonic Burger so much? Because I’m down for Peppertree, and Sonic moved in two blocks from Peppertree and offers all the same food just way crappier. Peppertree has been in Vista for fifty years; Sonic Burger needs to get out and stop taking their business. I refuse to eat the Sonic in Vista. Plus their food sucks. Your name is spelt different to most “Chris’s”. Yeah most girls spell it like this [Kris], but there are no girls named Kristopher so that’s tight.
Zack Sorenson, crail grab over Kris Anacleto.
After the first video premiered, did you know that Double Guns would turn into a skateboard film trilogy? I had no desire to even make a second video. I mean, I shouldn’t say I had no desire, but it just kind of happened. I just felt like at the end of the first one I was kind of over it. That was just a temporary feeling though. We had no plans to make it, but it just kind of happened again. I was over driving to L.A all the time to be honest. And after the second video I was positive I wasn’t going to make a third. The original lineup was going back to school and work and moving. I was making little HD parts after the second video with some of the dudes. I was spending so much time filming and skating that my chick and I weren’t chilling as much and split up. Zac moved to San Francisco and he was one of the main dudes, so I took a trip up there just to hang out for the weekend and he ended up getting three gnarly tricks and like two lines during that visit. I got back and realized between the amount of time that I see Zac he was getting more footy then anyone, and quick. It was kind of like, you know what, if we could get one more dude to put together a full part we could come out with a full video. It all just ended up working out after that. This could either be the easiest question, or the hardest... I’m not sure. But which video have you had the most fun filming so far? The first one was the most fun because, you know, everyone is a skate rat when they’re thirteen and stuff, but I didn’t have that really. I always skated but had my group of friends outside skating, et cetera. The first video was fun because trips were new to me, and I was filming with my friends and it was so new and different. Inspirations? I inspire myself every day (laughs), I’m kidding. I think my inspirations are my friends and family, who are super laid back mellow people who have it together and still have a ton of fun and know what’s up. It’s my friends who are doing things in life, and good people who inspire me. It makes me happy, being around good people, but mainly just myself. (Laughs) I’m just kidding, dude. How do you feel about modern skateboarding videos compared to videos in the ‘80s, ‘90s and even early millennium? Old videos man, are just awesome. Like old Stereo and Blind videos and stuff. I was super into the Daewon vs. Rodney vids. I mean they’re awesome, but cheesy you know. When I was younger I was into A-Team, World Industries, Blind…all that stuff. Foundation, Art Bars...seriously, just the coolest video! That stuff, is so tight! They show everything that skateboarding is and they’re creative. I love a lot of old videos more than a lot that come out now, but I do love a lot of new vids. Alien Workshop and Anti-Hero are honestly my two favourite companies. The Alien video was just a great video. They’d mix a little bit of film with the VX. And they actually had some HD, they did it right. And I mean Slave, even though some of the dudes are my buddies, and it’s local, their vid was tight. I like the whole idea of going out, camping, skating; it’s straight to the point. It’s tight knowing the dudes and seeing what they put out, and it’s such a local video so it’s good to see local spots killed by locals. It almost sucks seeing dudes come from out of town and kill our spots!
70 SOGGYBONES.COM Nils White, fast plant, Photo by Kris Anacleto.
Jason Kuhns, backside 180.
72 SOGGYBONES.COM Luis Palacios, wallie.
Any thoughts on HD transitioning into skateboarding flicks? I don’t like it. Actually, I don’t mind some of it, like the Nike video you know. That was tight, it wasn’t too slow mo and it wasn’t too dramatic. Dramatic and skateboarding really just don’t go together. I don’t like HD with a lens. The whole aspect ratio with HD is that it doesn’t fill the screen. I like it more when it’s mixed or something. I feel like whenever anything new is introduced to skateboarding it’s super dramatic. Like “handing” the footage, and ramp slow-mo and now it’s like HD footage, and lifestyle and sunsets. It all just becomes so boring. If you use a HD camera like a regular camera it turns out good. I just don’t like dramatic. If your not doing the Double Guns gig, or any other type of film project, what are you getting up to? Well for the last six months, it’s been primarily filming and just trying to finish up the video. Taking a lot of trips, even if they’re just short weekend ones. But when its not like that, I’m either working on my graphic design stuff for the skateboards, going to Pizza Port with my friends, super down for camping even though I don’t go nearly as much as I should, BBQs are always the best. A large majority of my friends don’t even skate, so it’s very easy not to have skating just be my entire life. We like to do a lot random things, and have random types of get-togethers.
Zack Sorenson, 5-0 grind.
What’s usually on the iPod? It depends man. If we’re out skating, probably some Young Jeezy, Ja Rule. If we’re with Luerra probably some Sabbath. If we’re skating and the boombox is going it’s never anything too serious. We were doing some Busta Rhymes the other day, that was fun. I listen to a lot of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds when I’m by myself, Bob Dylan. I just got the Young Jeezy anthology though and I love it. Ludacris, Young Jeezy, Busta Rhymes. Those dudes are funny to me, so they’re tight. Lil Wayne though, I don’t like that guy. The Fugees. I’ll bump the Space Jam soundtrack from time to time, that’s always fun (laughing). The Groundhogs. There’s this band called Man-Man, they’re weird, they’re kind of like Tom Waits. I think everyone should check them out. I mean I could say Bowie and Zeppelin and all that but there’s really no point. TALKING HEADS! If you don’t put talking heads I’m going to be mad (laughs). Have you done freelance work with any Skate companies? I did all the Vans girls web features. Vans flew me into Salt Lake City, paid me super gnarly, stayed in a super good hotel, I went ice blocking with the chicks, ate sushi, it was an awesome trip. I filmed the X-Games in HD for DC. I’ve done work for Transworld re-editing their skate and surf videos for Fuel TV. It’s just all freelance work, man, but it’s super random fun stuff. I’ve done stuff for a Weinerschitzel commercial (laughs).
Tim Thomas, switch pop shove it.
So with three Double Guns strapped on your holster, where do you want to take your filming talent, if at all anywhere? Absolutely nowhere. I was super into video for a long time but I don’t do too much other than Double Guns. I’ll do some freelance stuff, and if a job comes up I’ll take it. But my thing is graphic design now. I enjoy being able to sit at home drinking a beer listening to music while getting paid for work. I’ll always film skating, but I won’t do much more with video because I just enjoy graphic design so much more. You can just be so creative. With the films, I just enjoyed giving the dudes in the video recognition. Within the past videos these dudes have used their footy and gotten flowed product so that’s cool to get them hooked up, and I can always benefit from it.
It’s cool to see them come up and getting recognition for skateboarding. At the premiere and stuff, as much as I made the video and so on, it’s their night, not mine. And that’s how I want it to be. Where do you see yourself ten years from now? Ideally, I’ll be working at Bareback and Freeride distribution still. I hope the companies will have grown a lot, and that I have a house in Vista. I hope to adopt a kid because I don’t want to bring anything else into this world. If it’s a Tuesday like today, I hope I’m at Pizza Port with my friends. I hope to have a pretty lady, and of course I hope to keep travelling. Basically, if I’m on the same boat as I am right now, with work and life as a whole, I think I’ll be fine. A house with a mini ramp and a pretty lady. There’s really not too much more to ask for. And hopefully, Sonic Burger will be closed by then! And Pepper tree will be thriving and on their 60th year rocking out!
Cheers Kris. Everyone be sure to check out: doubleguns.tv bbsdistribution.com nilswhite.com schap.info
Stu Gibson captures Mike Brennanâ€™s huge air drop.
Stu Gibson captures James Hollmer Cross on a weedy slab.
Luke Thompson captures Callum Paulâ€™s fs bluntslide.
Luke Thompson captures Dylan Tomlinsonâ€™s gap to fs noseblunt.
Brad Masters/Liquid-eye captures Frank Solomon.
Shane Smith captures Pete Tomlinson braving a cold winter canon.
Nicholas Teichrob captures Whistler rays.
Tony Harrington captures ecstatic rider.
Tim Jones captures surferâ€™s perspective.
Fitzgerald Photo Imaging winner, Luke Clark captures Times Square, New York
Written by John Bruneton. Photography by Nicholas Teichrob.
You wake to the sound of your alarm: 7am. Your head’s screaming and you’re still trying to work out at what point Jägerbombs went from a great idea to a bad idea last night. Blearily you walk over to the window and have a look outside...your eyes snap open as you realise you might just have to shovel your way out the door. While the rest of your crew is probably in the same state as you are, you ring them up and let ‘em know what kind of day it is.... a powder day. 8am and you’re on one of the first gondolas up the mountain, visibility is perfect, the skies are blue and the world is your oyster. Steeps off the Whistler peak? No problems. Hike up the flute bowel for some fresh lines? Get onto it. Spend some quality time in the park while everyone’s riding pow? Whatever you wanna do man. Fast forward to 4pm and you’re hoisting a beer at Apres with all the lads, trading stories on the day and toasting the dreamy mountain town that is Whistler.
88 SOGGYBONES.COM Hilite enduciusdaeEpro qui quiaeperit dolorepel ea dellabore, voluptaquam
Photo by Tony Harrington
Every winter hundreds of young 20/30 some things migrate to this mountain resort town held in the heart of British Columbia, Canada. Fresh from hosting the Alpine Ski and sliding events of the 2010 Winter Olympics, its place on the world stage was well deserved considering the town’s popularity. With roots tracing back to settlement in the 1900’s, the town has grown tremendously over the past forty five years since the opening of the then-named Garibaldi Lift Company with both domestic and international tourism fuelling a large expansion to the area. The town of Whistler is unique in that it would not exist if it wasn’t for the ski-resort operations that take place on the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. In winter thirty seven lifts and gondolas service two hundred different marked runs over eight thousand one hundred acres of skiable terrain, making it the largest ski resort in North America. It is now visited by over two million tourists per year. And while growth and success are fantastic in a balance sheet driven corporate world, it often comes at the cost of the heart of a place. There will always be a running argument about whether the mountain has ‘sold out’. Regardless of your view it’s an expensive place to live. In between a season pass running at over $1600 (2010-2011’s prices haven’t been released yet, but with the introduction of a HST tax at 12% look to see this number jump), greedy landlords and a taste for liquor, your average rider can expect to see their hard earned cash running away from them at a phenomenal rate. Stories of people who don’t ride for their first few months because they couldn’t afford the pass are common, even with employee subsidies available. Life in Whistler is often a tough balance between working and riding. But when you’re perched on a two metre drop at seven thousand feet above sea level in knee deep powder, all the bullshit bleeds away and there’s only one thing on your mind...snow. The resort has a solid balance of different types of terrain and difficulties, and you’re absolutely spoiled for choice over the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. Back country, steeps, three terrain parks, it’s all here. Should you get bored with one mountain you can take the record breaking “Peak 2 Peak” gondola across to the other, a lazy eleven minute ride over 4.4kms, 3kms of which is unsupported. Snowfall is one of those things that is becoming more and more unpredictable as the world changes and as it stands snow-making is a huge part of mountain operations. While inconsistent, 2009-2010 was the second snowiest season on record with over 14 metres overall.
Crowds can be mixed, if there’s a public holiday you know that the Vancouverites are going to be out in force and you’ll probably be looking at half-hour plus waits to get back up the chair depending where you are. Most of the riders on the mountain are friendly and respectful but everyone has their tale about the skier that knocked ‘er down or the kid who’s dropping in on people in the park. It’s one of those things you have to take in your stride. Getting to know randoms on the ride up the chair is awesome fun and might net you a few new runs or a serious schooling.
“I GREW UP IN THE SURF AND TAKING IT TO THE SNOW FELT PRETTY NATURAL. THE THING I LOVED MOST THOUGH IS THAT EVERYONE WAS THERE FOR A GOOD TIME.” One of the best things about Whistler is it’s population. In between work mates, people you meet on the mountain and the people you live with, you can be sure you’ll be building a crew pretty quickly. Whistler’s population is unique in that it is extremely transient and if you’re on your first season, you’re not alone. Expect plenty of Australians with UK crew and Kiwi’s also. The reason so many Australians come to Canada is because of the easily obtained two year working visas thanks to the “Working Holiday Program”, which only requires you to have AU$4,000 when you arrive and be aged eighteen to thirty. There’s a huge diversity in the people you will meet though. Large houses of ten or more with Australians, Canadians, French, Spanish, English, American and Japanese residents aren’t unheard of. Whistler’s reputation as a party town is definitely not ill-founded and is the reason many people choose to go there. With over fourteen bars and clubs, there certainly is a market for it. Opinions split either way when you ask people what they think about it though.
To some going to a Whistler club is a mad time dancing the night away, and to others it’s a sleazy drug-infested scene. Big name DJ’s such as Deadmau5, Stanton Warriors, The Freestylers, Wolfgang Gartner and MSTRKRFT have come to play gigs in Whistler in the past and there’s plenty of festivals and events going on like the Telus festival in April and the Kokanee Crankworx in August. If Whistler’s club scene is not to your tastes, you can take a short trip to Vancouver for a few days of something different. When the snow melts for summer, boards are replaced with bikes and the short cold days become long hot lazy days by the lake. Whistler has a huge reputation as a mountain biking destination over the summer and this attracts almost as many tourists to the town in summer as in winter. Rent becomes cheaper and inbetween mountain biking, hiking, canoeing and all sorts of adventure outdoor stuff, people find it hard to leave the place. In fact, it is this constant provision of activities through winter and summer that traps people in the Whistler bubble. Your typical young Whistler story will sound like this: someone arrives for the winter season, they have an absolute blast riding and the nightlife is exciting (i.e. they’re getting drunk, doing drugs and getting laid, a lot) and as they think of leaving at the end of the season they keep hearing from everyone about how amazing the summer is. They decide to stay for the summer, and have a killer time doing all sorts of adventure activities, but by this point the night life is starting to wear thin. Come the end of summer they are wondering if they should stay, but by this point all their friends are living in the town and they have that gleam in their eye for another winter season. It’s a cycle that has kept people in the town for years and years. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing, they’ve had a blast and been doing what they love, but it is something to be aware of. James Foster, twenty three, recently spent two years living in Whistler. I asked him a few questions about life in Whistler and his perspective on the place. Tell us about yourself mate. Well, my name’s James Foster. I lived in Whistler for two years until May this year and I’m currently cruising through South America catching a few waves and seeing some sights. I grew up in Burleigh Heads up near Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast and spent my days drinking, surfing, and taking long walks on the beach. Did I miss anything? (Laughs) We’ll leave it at that for now. How long have you been snowboarding for? Two years. I’d never seen snow before and the first time I stood up on a board I fell in love.
I’m not an awesome rider but the grin on my face after a day on the mountain told me I was doing something right. The funny thing is the novelty of snow never really wore off for me. Though it sounds pretty un-Australian as much as I love the sun I love the cold too. What made you choose Whistler? I’d heard from a friend back home about the place, and by that I mean he spent a good six months raving about the place (laughs). So we made a plan to do a season together. We originally planned to keep going down through to South America after the winter, but yeah we just got a bit caught up in the Whistler life. First impression of the place? I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was a winter wonderland. The snow looked so cool, everyone was friendly and there was so much fun to be had no matter what you were doing. Everything felt perfect and snowboarding was everything I hoped for and more. I grew up in the surf and taking it to the snow felt pretty natural. The thing I loved most though is that everyone was there for a good time. Never in my life have I hit the piss as hard as my first three months in Whistler. Good times... what sort of vibe’s around the town? Super chilled man, most people are real cool but there are a fair few idiots out there too. Australia day in Whistler is ridiculous. It’s almost embarrassing the amount of Australians that are living in Whistler... sometimes it feels like there are more Australians in Whistler than Canadians. There is an awesome international vibe about the town though, people from all over the place are living there and you get heaps of tourists coming in for holidays from all over the world. How do you rate Whistler and Blackcomb mountains? Well I don’t have a great deal to compare them to since I’ve only ridden them, but I think there’s a sweet balance of terrain. When I was first starting up and getting comfortable I was much more into freeriding, hitting steeps and going off piste through tree runs and stuff, I was a bit intimidated by the park. Whistler has some pretty sick stuff to hit and as I met new people who showed me new spots it got even better. There’s nothing I love more than going for a little hike up to get a fresh line. But in my second season I decided to challenge myself more and get into some park stuff and I never looked back. The intermediate park has some fun stuff and the park crew are absolute lads. The advanced park is fucking nuts. Talking to people who’ve done seasons in Europe I’ve heard Whistler has nothing on true alpine resorts for pow but I think that Whistler is pretty unique in that it has a killer off-mountain lifestyle too.
“IN HONESTY I FOUND THE SCENE A BIT SLEAZY, HEAPS OF DUDES CREEPING ON CHICKS AND CHICKS PLAYING DUDES ALONG FOR FREE DRINKS...”
Whistler was just a major part of the 2010 Winter Olympics, what was it like being involved in such a huge event? It was awesome. Whistler only had the sliding events and some of the downhill skiing stuff but it was impossible not to get caught up in the excitement. The Olympic flame ran straight past my house and there was something very cool about the amount of passion people had for what was going on. There were police on every corner, the town was mad-packed, landlords were renting houses for $30,000 for three weeks and pretty much all of Creekside was shut down. But it was a real experience, seeing all these awesome events and every night there was a medal ceremony with an artist performing afterwards. I saw Deadmau5, Feist and Damien Marley. It’s hard to explain the energy that was in the air.
What prompted you to leave then? Honestly it started to get old and I was feeling like I was wasting a prime opportunity to travel and see the world and do so many more things. I had a girlfriend, a sick job and amazing mates but one day I woke up and was scared shitless by the idea that I would be in Whistler for the next five years and come out at twenty eight with absolutely nothing going for me. No qualifications, no money, nothing to my name and so many blown opportunities. So I left. I mean it hurt, I was pretty much throwing away everything that I had built over the past two years, but I realised that I wasn’t travelling or seeing new things or anything. In fact I had settled down into this little pleasantville life and I wasn’t challenging myself and had no ambition at all. (laughs) So yeah that’s why I left.
I’m guessing you’re talking about the night-life? Not just the night-life but the general way people live there.
What was your favourite moment of the Olympics? Definitely seeing the whole town going crazy after Canada won the gold in hockey, the streets were packed shoulder to shoulder and everyone was partying for a good two days afterwards! God we had some real fun that night.
Any regrets? None whatsoever. I went a little off the rails on my first winter season and partied a little too hard, and I was a bit of a dickhead over that season too, but even those mistakes and more taught me lessons that would have been a lot harder to learn elsewhere.
How would you describe a night out in Whistler? Shit man, it really depends on who you are. For me a night out in Whistler was always pretty loose. There’s a huge amount of pubs and clubs and everyone is out to have a good time. In honesty I found the scene a bit sleazy, heaps of dudes creeping on chicks and chicks playing dudes along for free drinks, but if you go somewhere with a group of mates you’re gonna have a sick time. There’s always some decent event on the horizon too, Whistler gets a fair few well known DJs and bands up to play, plus you have Vancouver a bus ride away which is usually on most touring schedules for North America. I guess to answer your question, a night for me would be getting sloppy with mates beforehand, hitting a few places depending on where we were, smashing too many tequila shots, getting a burger from Zogs and taking the last bus home around 3am, where you’ll keep partying or hit the sack depending on how enthusiastic you’re feeling. It doesn’t sound like much, but the antics you get up to and the plain old fun you have really make it. There’s plenty of drugs around Whistler right? Mate it’s fucking ridiculous, you can get basically anything you want and it’s cheap. Real cheap. Does the drug culture plays a large part in the Whistler scene? Oh absolutely. Don’t get me wrong, not everyone is out getting fucked up every night. But most of the young crew who blow in get a little over excited at how cheap coke and MDMA is and really wear themselves down over their first three months. Also, pretty much every second person smokes weed, Canada is very liberal about dope and plenty of people embrace that fact.
You said the reason that you ended up staying in Whistler for so long was because you got caught up in the “Whistler life”. How would you describe that for us? It’s a hard thing to put a solid definition on mate. It’s mostly working a lot to pay for rent and alcohol. In between that you have what fun you can, riding on your off days, getting drunk, smoking weed, chasing tail, watching movies at home. (laughs) You’d be surprised how much downtime everyone has, the video store makes a killing! Do many people end up staying for longer than they plan? Yeah heaps. I guess it depends on the person, what commitments they have at home, if they’re with a friend or whatever, but I guess personally I fell in love with the lifestyle and couldn’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be. It was so much better than anywhere I’d lived in the past and more importantly I was having fun. Coming from saving and working three years in a dead-end job to finding something I have a real passion for and meeting amazing people and having literally the time of my life was something I wanted to hold onto for as long as possible.
Any words for people thinking about doing a season at Whistler? Do it. Don’t think about it, just do it. I had the time of my life there and pretty much everyone I know feels the same way. Some of the people I met there are basically my family now and snowboarding is just such sick fun. I guess if I had to give any words of wisdom I’d say save up before you come, I’ve seen too many people crippled and stuck because they ran out of cash. Everything is a lesson to be learnt, I guess it’s just better to learn it from someone else instead of yourself. Thanks James, good luck in South America man. Cheers. While some people stay in Whistler for years on end, it can be the perfect start to a year(s) long holiday too. Start by working and riding in Whistler for a winter season, then head down to South America, explore the east coast of Canada, drive the I-95 down the US or catch a cheap flight over to Europe. The opportunities are endless. Sometimes the adventure of a lifetime is sparked by the smallest piece of inspiration. Hopefully what you’ve read today might just be that spark.
PREPARATION 92 SOGGYBONES.COM
THINKING OF DOING A SEASON IN WHISTLER? HERE’S HOW: Disclaimer: These are tips that I wished I knew and information I spent time researching before I did a season. It’s mostly opinion so please treat it as such.
Think about purchasing outerwear (jacket + pants) off ebay before you leave, you should be able to find a decent deal on last seasons gear. Sizing charts should be on the items page.
Get yourself a good backpack, you’ll thank yourself later for it. Try models out in outdoor stores, find one you like then buy it off ebay for a reasonable price.
Cash. Wages are terrible, expect to make around $10/hr for an average job and less as a bartender/waiter (though tips can really pump up your hourly rate, they are inconsistent). So with the favourable exchange rate we have at the moment it makes sense to work harder at home to live easier abroad.
Passport. Check that it has a good couple of years left until it expires, if you have less than a year you might not get let into the country. If your last/current passport was issued while you were under 18 you need to apply for a new adult passport, you can’t use the renewal form. Also, make photocopies of your passport and other important documents just incase they’re stolen or lost.
Working Holiday Program. Apply for this a good time before your departure as it can take a few weeks to process. All you need is AU$4000 and be aged between eighteen to thirty to get it. Basically you fill out the application (www. whpcanada. org.au/apply_online.shtml), print it off and send it in with a $160 Australia Post money order. They’ll send you an email saying you’ve been approved and this is your letter of introduction. When you arrive into Canada you go to the immigration corridor in Vancouver airport and show them the letter with a bank statement proving you have AU$4,000. Bam, you can work in Canada for the next two years.
Cash, Cash, Cash. The $4,000 you need to get the Working Holiday visa is not going to last you long, especially after the cost of a season pass, board/ bindings/boots, rental damage deposits (sometimes a full months rent will be tied up) and accommodation while you look for a rental.
Travel insurance. Get it. A broken arm or sickness could end up costing you thousands without it. Check that it covers on-piste riding, evacuation and third party car insurance if you think you might end up driving. World Nomads seem to offer the best prices (www.worldnomads.com)
Apply for an international drivers licence, handy not only for driving but as a second form of ID, which most bars in Whistler will require from you.
Travel cards. Some banks offer travel cards that you BPAY lump sums of money into and they will exchange the lump sum into whatever currency you want. You then have a card with minimal charges and no commission charges other than that charged to the lump sum. I’ve heard mixed opinions about them, in my experience they can be handy but once I BPAYed money into the card and it took two weeks to clear, leaving me in a sticky spot. No matter what you decide, keep your eye on the fine print.
Credit cards. Good as a backup just in case you need some emergency funds, but not advisable if you have little control over your plastic as the drinks start flowing.
Flu shots are a good idea especially if you’re going down to South America.
Stock up on any prescription meds, they’ll cost a bundle abroad. Bring whatever prescriptions you have with you too in case you run out.
Don’t pack useless shit. You’ll never meet a seasoned traveller who said they wish they had packed more stuff.
Get a camera. These are the times of your life that you’ll be looking back on forever, make sure you get something to remember them by. Brands are a very personal area, I’ve found that Canon Powershot’s are the best point and shoots for speed and quality.
Research! Doing some serious research about jobs, accommodation and everything else will make life infinitely easier for you. Flying in blind will stress you out and rape your wallet.
You’ll probably fly into Vancouver via LA. American customs can be a bitch, make sure you fill in the forms perfectly or you’re going to the back of the line. When you arrive there’s a monorail that takes you straight from Vancouver airport to down-town Vancouver where you’ll probably crash the night. Spend a few nights, find your legs and explore Van, it’s a cool city.
Get your Social Insurance Number. To work you need to get this number which is the Canadian equivalent of superannuation. It’s an easy process that involves filling out some paperwork and getting given a temporary number while your real card is made. Harder is working out where to send it... you wont have a permanent address yet. Think about having it sent to any accommodation you have lined up for when you arrive in Whistler or any friends around that have an address.
Set yourself up a Canadian bank account for your employer to pay into (Royal Bank of Canada has the most ATMs around Whistler and Canada). Expect to pay a few dollars a month for the privilege of accessing your money. Use the same method mentioned above when dealing with where to have your cards sent.
Decide if you want a Canadian phone... you probably will. Canadian mobile phone companies are the biggest crooks in the great white north. Receiving a call will cost you money as if you had dialled the call, and the same goes for SMS. Bring your Australian phone with you and decide on a plan or prepaid (I would definitely recommend prepaid so you’re not locked in). Look for some sort of deal where you pay $1 a day and get 2,500 sms’s or something and just stick to texting, calls will kill you.
Get to Whistler via the Greyhound bus service, which will take you from Van to Whistler Village in two and a half hours for around $25 (www.greyhound.ca)
THE TOWN •
Whistler is set up around a few different hubs, Whistler Village at the base of Whistler mountain being the largest of them. It has a huge amount of stores, bars and clubs and is a strictly pedestrian affair. It also has two gondola’s servicing both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. Blackcomb base is five minutes walk from Whistler Village and has a chairlift to Blackcomb mountain. Whistler Creekside is a smaller centre about five minutes drive from the Village and has an awesome pub in Dusty’s ($10 Tuesdays are amazing) and a gondola that services Whistler mountain.
In between and around these hubs are little suburbs and areas where everyone lives, such as Blueberry Hills, Emerald Estates and Alpine Meadows. These are all serviced by BC Transit buses , which costs $2 a ride. You can get a monthly bus pass with unlimited rides for $55 or just pay every time you ride. If you find you don’t ride the bus enough to warrant a monthly bus pass (likely if you live in Creekside and can walk to the gondola from your house), purchase bus tickets from the tourist information office which are worth the $2 ride but cost $1.50ea when bought as a sheet of ten or more.
The “Pique” newspaper, released weekly on Thursday is your best friend. It’ll keep you up to date with what’s coming up or going on, actually has some pretty interesting articles, and has a night by night run down on what’s going on at what bar or club.
Good reasonably priced eats: Samurai Sushi in Creekside (cheap and tasty), Mongoli Grill (priced by weight, don’t go overboard!), Zoggs and Crystal Lounge wings (30c/wing)
If you have cash, you can do all sorts of cool stuff like ziplining, bungee jumping, dog sledding and snowcat skiing.
THE MOUNTAIN •
I highly recommend buying a book showing you all the runs that people have found themselves that aren’t listed on the official mountain guide. You’ll find some real gems and start to understand the mountain better. Eg: Ski and Snowboard Guide to Whistler Blackcomb - www.whistlerguidebooks.com
Fastest way to the Roundhouse (the central point of Whistler mountain) is up the Creekside Gondola then up the Big Red Express chairlift. The Whistler gondola is a painfully slow ride.
You can get up and riding on the mountain before everyone else through Fresh Tracks, which lets you ride up to the Roundhouse at 7.30am, have breakfast then hit the slopes before the general public for around $20.
Helmet. Really up to you but people are running out of excuses not to wear them, all it takes is a clipped edge on a cat-track or a sneaky tree and you might get concussed or worse.
Show respect. Seriously, treat people like you would like to be treated and the world will be a better place.
94 SOGGYBONES.COM Written by Justin Ward Photography by Luke Thompson
Who want’s another top 40 pop out band? Yeah! Nahhh fuck off! Come on, who honestly is not sick to death of hearing lame, pathetic sounds and lyrics pushed upon us by shitty affluent music producers? Don’t even get me started on appearance...
Although, as I switch the television station over to TV Hits I begin to think… damn, I am down for the next season of new and improved musical talent search programs! Dude, who totally isn’t pumped to sing along to the next set of Australian Idol commercials? If you dear reader, haven’t quite clued into my meagre attempt at sarcasm, or you answered “hell yeah” to the above preposterous questions, quite kindly I suggest you take a long hike up the charts with your new Justin Bieber loaded iphone. Or was that a little harsh? Hearing contemporary music that actually holds something unique is wretchedly becoming more atypical. So a few months ago, when my deformed ears were introduced to the inimitable sounds of an emerging West Australian three-piece band, I felt like I was downing my first beer on a Friday arvo. To say it hit the spot perfectly would be a true understatement. But we’re not here to converse about the grandeur of beer. No, this story focuses on three dexterous musicians who form the exceptionally synchronised Minute Thirty-Six outfit, a tight group of mates who absolutely fall short of conforming to the sound and image most emerging modern musicians embrace. As a whole, Minute Thirty-Six carry intriguingly dark and comical mentalities that can be loosely traced back to the supernatural. They produce classical-spook-inspired-jazz with memorable bass lines that are skilfully coated with straight out disturbing although brilliant lyrics. Take one look at the trio’s exterior and you’ll duly note their lustrous suits and rather antique appearances. Delve a little deeper into their tracks and you’ll too agree that their delicately mapped musical constructs are just as promising as they are tastefully refreshing. Justin Ward caught up with Kris Nelson and Mark Neal from Minute Thirty-Six and this is what transpired. First up. Your sounds are unique. How would you describe them? Spooky/Jazz/Rock (all aboard the zombie train, hope you brought your dancing shoes, ‘coz next stop is groove avenue). Give me a brief synopsis of your musical roots? Kris: Nat and I had about four or five different punk/rock bands through high school. We would hire out dodgy venues and charge people $5 on the door. The music was terrible, but for some reason hundreds of people would turn up. I remember we made almost a grand each one night, we were both like fourteen, stoked as, thinking we were living the dream (laughs). Mark: I lived in Denmark down south and attended TAFE straight after I finished school. Prior to that I couldn’t play an instrument. I tried to learn guitar a few times before but it wasn’t until I met my lecturer Tony King that I learnt to play the instrument. It was through TAFE that I met Kris and Nat, and we became friends. I wanted to play music as a career and it always seemed impossible. Kris and Tony were the only people who made my goals seem realistic and achievable. Before I joined Minute Thirty-Six I worked on my solo stuff, played for a year or so and nearly gave up on music completely. I have been working on it again but it’s not my top priority. I know you guys are interested in spooky shit. Fill me in with some creep talk about your childhoods? Kris: Ever since I can remember ghosts and the paranormal have always intrigued me. As a kid I was always hitting up anyone I could for a good ghost story. Geraldton has a very rich and brutal history so almost everyone I met had a few good ones to tell me. The creepiest shit happened in the old house I lived in, I used to always see an old lady smiling at me, I was so young I didn’t get freaked out I just used to wave at her (laughs). Nat’s old house has a farmer that walks around.
One night my girlfriend at the time and I were staying over Nat’s house, she woke me up in the middle of the night and said some creepy guy in overalls was grabbing her leg. In the morning she described the guy to Nat’s Mum and she told us she’d been seeing that exact guy appear and disappear around the house for years. Mark: I didn’t really have a creepy childhood; the creepiest thing about it is probably how normal and boring it was. I always wished it was more exciting, I think that’s what drove me to follow an almost unrealistic career. So are you all West Australian creations? Kris: Yeah, we were all born here in W.A, as teenagers Nat and I were pretty nomadic, doing stints around the whole state. Mark grew up in Denmark and moved to Perth when he was twenty and that’s when we started jamming. So how did the name, Minute Thirty-Six come about? Any significant story behind its birth? Kris: Yeah, I was born thirty-six minutes past twelve; apparently I was clinically dead for one whole minute, then I just woke up and was fine. Let’s talk about your debut album. Who produced it and where did the recording take place? Kris: We did the entire album with Alan Smith in Perth. Both Al and myself produced the album. I love working with Al, there is no pressure or awkwardness. We kind of just give each other shit between takes and it keeps the atmosphere super relaxed. I think it is so important to enjoy the recording process as it is such a big part of being in a band. Did you experience any setbacks during the albums recording? Kris: Mainly just money, everyone was pretty broke at that time so I had to front for most of the recording. Alan (engineer/co-producer) was awesome though he let me swap my old Marshall JMC 900 Amp for some studio time, so that pulled us through. So what’s the album titled and why? Kris: The Album name is ‘An argument between the taste and the feeling’. It just seemed to hold the perfect sentiment for the entire album. Once you’ve heard it you’ll know what I mean. Any talk of releasing some music videos to coincide with your debut album release? Kris: Yep, we have a couple on the way, directed by our good friend Merlyn Moon.
“ALL ABOARD THE ZOMBIE TRAIN, HOPE YOU BROUGHT YOUR DANCING SHOES, ‘COZ NEXT STOP IS GROOVE AVENUE.”
“…SHE WOKE ME UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT AND SAID SOME CREEPY GUY IN OVERALLS WAS GRABBING HER LEG.”
Kris, you’re obsessed with Ghosts, so it was no surprise when I learnt that you jumped at the opportunity to record tunes in a haunted old Hospital in Albany. But Mark, how did you feel about recording in such places? It’s not your typical band recording location. Mark: We all like Ghost stories; probably not as much as Kris but we all have our dark interests. I like to read about serial killers, I find that stuff pretty fascinating. We all were staying at the Hospital when Kris was working on that song; I was sleeping in a separate part of the estate. It was a kinda song writing music workshop, this was long before Minute Thirty-Six came together, I’m pretty sure it’s where Kris’s idea began. Kris, what is with your obsession for Ghosts? Kris: I’m not sure, I just kinda froth on the whole idea of Ghosts, I think I saw a couple when I was real young and I was captivated by the absence of explanation. I’m still really intrigued by them, I research them all the time on the net and I love talking to the Albany locals about all the haunted buildings around there. I have an awesome Ouija board to, but everyone is too scared to use it with me, pussies (laughs). Well, your music definitely has an eerie joie de vivre. Do you think you may have passed on your fixation with ghosts to the other band members? Perhaps you’re all unaware possessed humans? Kris: I don’t know if we are possessed, but I’m 95% sure Mark is part Yeti. He seriously has hair in places only Sasquatches do. One Minute Thirty-Six track that tampers with my mind is “Mary”. Kris, you wrote and recorded the song at 3am in the old Hospital’s main operating room. Can you explain the loud and chilling breathing you heard in the recording when you played back the four-track? Kris: Yeah that was hectic, I was recording the demo for “Mary” when I saw the gain meter (measures the microphone level) going nuts. When I listened back I heard the creepiest breath, it was so loud the entire take was ruined, it totally drowned out my voice and guitar, the tone of it sounded so sinister. I showed the recording to the caretaker of the building and she said it was the breath of a Soldier that died of an infection back in the war days, and to this day people still see and hear him all the time in that room. So, congrats on taking out 2009 WAM Song Of The Year with “Era Quondam”. That’s a huge accomplishment for a band that’s only been operating since 2007. I’m guessing the win would have given you a solid shot of confidence leading up to 2010? Kris: It was amazing to win something as respected as WAM Song Of The Year, as a songwriter it crushed a lot of the doubts and negativity I had towards myself as an artist. Best of all it gave our band the calibre within the industry to receive opportunities we normally wouldn’t get.
How are people reacting to your music? Is there much of a following? Kris: We are so grateful to the people that come to our shows, we finally have a very healthy following all around the state. Just about every venue we play at now is full. In the early days it was a bit disheartening when the shows were empty, but we knew we had to pay our dues. It makes us so thankful for every single person that comes down to watch our band these days. Mark: The really early shows were pretty funny, the reaction has always been really good, however we played at a few venues where we didn’t really fit and people genuinely looked shocked to hear our music. Kris started this band playing solo and I can remember him getting super pissed talking about porn in between songs, that always got a good response. On the topic of sex, let’s talk about one of your tracks, “Seductress”. More specifically the lyrics, “If only these drinks were as cheap as your friends, I’d drink myself to death right here in this bar, with this last ten dollar note I can forget your face”. What a fucking awesome line of lyrics. Who tends to take hold of the lyric reigns? Kris: I write all the lyrics and music for the band, Nat takes care of the beats and Mark handles most of the business side of things. It is a strange way to do things but it just works for us so we don’t question it. Do you have a process that helps you nail song writing? Kris: My process of song writing is kind of weird. I see the entire finished product of the song in my head before I’ve even wrote it, like the guitar, bass, vocals, drums, structure and everything it will be really clear and obvious. I spend a week or two chasing that first idea, then I demo it up with all the layers and instruments. Once I know all the tempos and changes work and I’m happy with the song, I will bring it to Nat to add the beats and then teach Mark the guitar parts. Then we will play it over and over again to iron out the bad bits and it’s done. How long has Minute Thirty-Six been operating as an outfit? Kris: We’ve been a three piece for just under two years, but the project has been around for over three years, before we had a stable line up I just played solo at lounges and jazz clubs.
“A REDNECK DUDE TOLD ME TO PLAY ACDC OR HE’D BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF ME, I TOLD HIM TO GO FUCK A PIG AND I THOUGHT HE WAS ACTUALLY GOING TO KILL ME.”
Interesting. So provide us with some info about how you guys met? Does the trio have a rich history? Kris: Nat and I grew up together surfing and playing in bands. We met Mark at TAFE in Denmark and started hanging out. Mark and I moved to Perth around the same time and started playing solo shows together around Perth. We eventually started jamming duo Minute Thirty-Six stuff. Then around that time Nat split with his long time girlfriend and wanted to get back into music full time. It just so happened we needed a drummer at that exact time and the rest is history. Give us some dirt on your first ever live gig as the trio Minute Thirty-Six. Kris: Our first gig as a three piece wasn’t that bad as I had built up a bit of a following by playing a lot of solo shows and I was lucky enough to get some Triple J airplay around that time to. The worst gig would have to be up in Derby where a redneck dude told me to play ACDC or he’d beat the shit out of me, I told him to go fuck a pig and I thought he was actually going to kill me. In hindsight it’s kind of funny, but at the time it was pretty nuts. (Laughs) Gold. I’ve noticed locations situated on the coast, particularly country coastal towns such as Geraldton, Albany and Margaret River seem to be hot spots for your live performances. Is there a reason for targeting such destinations? Kris: We just go wherever people like to have us, all those venues are great and really look after us. Our regional following has grown beyond anything we could have ever imagined, so we are always keen for the twelve-hour drive to catch up with our friends and meet new ones. Kris, you used to be fairly involved in the bodyboarding scene and you had some really strong results in comps. Are you still riding the lid? Kris: I dust it off every now and then when the waves are really big and crazy, but I pretty much ride a stand-up full time these days. I can’t wait till we get a trailer so I can take my boards on tour with me. You boys played your first ever festival gig at Western Australia’s super popular Southbound Festival in 2010. Tell us about this experience and what it meant for you as a band. Mark: It was good, it’s a great atmosphere everyone is there for live music or to get high and chase women, so most people actually listen and enjoy it. For the band it’s been vital, that extra listing on the resume is so important. And people bought us beers. I want to know if you guys enjoy writing lyrics and recording music as much as performing live? Kris: For me there is nothing better than writing a song I’m happy with, when I show it to Nat and it all comes together with drums it’s a crazy feeling. I really love being on the road though, I think we all go a little crazy when we’re not on tour and we definitely need playing shows as an outlet. Mark: Live shows, whenever I get down or feel a little out of place, playing live makes everything better. I feel more comfortable on stage with Kris and Nat then I am anywhere with anyone else. I think that’s why I don’t mind not having much of a role in the song writing process. Kris has an amazing talent of putting things together in his head. Somehow he can hear what every instrument is supposed to be doing before it has ever been played together. That is pretty genius. I want to know the mentality about another interesting track. ‘A golden glove humility’ Can anyone explain what this song is all about? Kris: It’s kind of like a photograph, a snap shot of a time of clarity for me, but at the same time it’s out of focus.
So when you’re not making music, what keeps you all ‘fairly’ sane? Kris: Surfing, throwing Oranges at cars, pantsing Mark at 8 ball and chilling with my lady. Mark: Porn, movies, books, playing pool at the pub and the occasional alcoholic beverage. Give us your dream tour. What country would you entertain? Where would the gig be held and who would be supporting Minute Thirty-Six? Mark: Canada, I want to tour everywhere possible, see as much of the world as we can, but I’m excited by the idea of touring Canada. I’d also like to tour with mates bands like FAIM Project or The Spitfires. Or play with greats like The Smiths or The Cure. Kris: Yeah Canada would be rad, maybe on the snowfields with heaps of down time, supported by Gatsby’s American Dream and Billie Holiday. Before walking onto a live set, what are you guys thinking about the most? Mark: How drunk am I? I hope I don’t fuck up again and I hope to see some male nudity tonight (is that gay?) Kris: How drunk is Mark? I know he’s going to fuck up. I wonder how many guys he is going to sleep with tonight? Classic. So, what makes a good show? Kris: Seeing our friends, people buying CD’s so we can pay rent, generous drink riders, good stage monitors, a good girl to guy ratio and new faces. Mark: Male Nudity, Smoke Machines, Kris and Nat have alter egos, Hurricane and Bosley and if they show up, it’s party time. Heaps of bands sell out and fan hype hits heads. If you guys get large, how are you going to prevent that same shit from happening to you? Kris: I hate that larger than life bullshit, Mark loves it though (laughs), the bands that are arrogant and pretentious are usually from shit fad bands that had everything handed to them. This industry is so humbling, I don’t understand how there is so many of these people. Mark: Honestly, I can’t. I’ve been waiting for years to be rude to people, act arrogant and up myself. I really don’t write any of the songs, so it will be an underserved arrogance, which is even better. What do you think of bands who do sell out? Kris: I guess for some bands there is a fine line between success and selling out. I think if you don’t compromise your art in any way then you will be fine. I know I’m never going to tailor write a song to market or water down our sound to sit better with a demographic. A good song is a good song and it’s so far above all of that stuff. Mark: A lot of bands get a bad reputation just for doing well. People grow and music changes. I think it sucks that a band can get ragged on when their band starts to make money; it is a business at the end of the day. There are, however, some bands that should not have been born. Do you think our generation of musicians and bands will ever be as remembered, influential and respected as greats likes of Jimmy Hendrix, Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana and The Beatles? Kris: I think good music should be a reflection of someone’s personality, so therefore no two bands should ever sound the same, but they do, so? I think if everyone wrote with as much honesty as those influential artists there is no reason we couldn’t have another Dylan or Rodriguez in this generation. Mark: Someone inspires every musician. It’s really hard to do anything original in this era, almost everything has been done, and all new genres are just an evolution of an old one. I hope our music stands out enough and it is remembered once we’re all gone.
Kris is a very honest writer and it shows in the songs. I think that’s a key ingredient most song writers miss these days. Can you let us in on some new bands who are demanding your respect and attention? Mark: It took me a long time, but I’m starting to appreciate the music scene around Perth and W.A, at first I only listened to what was coming out of America. But acts like Schvendes and Gyroscope are changing my opinion. I have a lot of respect for musicians that we’ve met playing shows who are at a similar level to us. The FAIM Project, The Spitfires, Goodnight Tiger, Sam Carmody, Davey Craddock and Russian Winters to name a few. Kris: I admire all the musicians that have dedicated their life to art. It’s not an easy thing to give yourself to. I know the weight of financial security and the absence of stability can be extremely heavy. The risk of failure is very high so I have nothing but respect for every last one of them. Stoked to hear props to Russian Winters, my cousin Ben is their drummer. Anyway, there are many elements that need to stack and align for a band to achieve greatness. Talent, creativity, rehearsing, chemistry, communication, progression, lyric and song writing, recording, touring and live gigs are a few (laughs). Is Minute Thirty-Six capable of stacking and mastering these key ingredients? Kris: I think if any of us ever had a good a chance to make something out of music it would be right now, with this band. We have sacrificed a lot of things to be musicians and it is what we all want as a career. We are already like a family and would do anything for each other, I see a lot of bands that hate each other and aren’t even really friends. We all see the big picture in this band and realise how important our friendship is, without it there would be no point doing this. Any special thanks or shout outs? Alan Smith, Nigel Bird and the WAM Crew, Tony King, Luke Thompson, the S.B team, Merlyn Moon, Selador, The Bayzie Booze Hounds, all our brother bands and anyone we forgot. Finally, how can readers get their hands on a copy of your new album and previous released tunes? Mark: Online at the minute36.com website, or iTunes. It will also be available from good record stores. Better yet come down to a show and buy it from us personally. minute36.com myspace.com/minute36
Rat vs Possum
Daughter of Sunshine Written by Cal Seward.
James Blake is a 22-year-old UK music producer who shares the same name of an American tennis star and he recently put out an EP through London’s R&S records. Despite being so young, Blake has all the marks of an extremely gifted musician. His love for R&B is on full display with these four tracks and he’s executed it so well that he’s changed my opinion of a genre I once completely detested. The EP is dominated by chopped and sampled R&B vocals with elements of dubstep, blues and instrumental experimentation. Not a likely combo but Blake makes it a memorable one. The vocal in ‘CMYK’ builds over a soft piano intro, ‘Look I found her/Redcoat/’. It looks silly on paper but once heard it sticks in your head. It starts the EP well and Blake doesn’t look back. ‘Footnotes’ uses an effects-laden vocal sample for melody and a slow bassline with screechy synths that juxtapose each other nicely. It’s an amazing blend of sounds and textures, my favourite of the EP. ‘I’ll Stay’ begins with a blues guitar strum over slow-chopped drums and some more of that masterful vocal sampling to drive the melody. The short player wraps up with ‘Postpone’, the sound is much like the EP’s predecessor tracks except for the altogether gospel-ish outro. In just under fifteen minutes of music, Blake has produced something which is worthy of significant praise. His background as a classically trained musician perhaps explains the skill and imagination necessary to delve into genres such as blues and R&B and extract from them something which is relevant to dubstep. Let’s hope he builds from this and makes a full length album.
Deep Blue Written by Ella Reweti.
They say to never judge a book by its cover and in Melbourne band Rat Vs Possum’s case it couldn’t be more appropriate. Think about it, two wild, furry little bastards attacking each other to the face over a scrap of two-week-old picnic cheese left in the park. Makes me think of Lil Kim or something. Gross. Lucky for me I have an obsession with things vs. other things and also a very keen interest in anything put out on Sensory Projects, the same label responsible for bands like The Ancients, Faux Pas and Love Connection. All Australian. All brilliant. Anyway, Rat Vs Possum have been jamming out in someone’s front room for some time now and have earned themselves quite the reputation for their live shows. In April this year, they decided to release a mini-album called ‘Daughter of Sunshine’ to document their first year or so of playing music together and the result is seven psychadelic, semi-tribal, pop tunes to feast your ears to. Whether or not it does their live set any justice is a contentious issue, but regardless of that it’s still well worth a listen. ‘War’ is a beautiful track which gets you straight away with plenty of layers, glitch and soft, minimal lyrics. Bird sounds kick in at the end, and it’s not unlike those times when you’ve stayed up long enough to watch the sunrise. Beautiful and a bit depressing at the same time. In this instance, Rat Vs Possum decide to take you into the forest and leave you there with only a bottle of water and a bag of pills. Tracks ‘Jungle’ and ‘River’ are gorgeous, wandering tracks followed by ‘Pills’ which y’know, speaks for itself. Suffice to say that after ‘Pills’ things get a bit weird, and should you let it, this is where you might end up on a dance floor. Or a roof top. This album is exactly what I imagine taking acid in the ‘70s would of been like. Magical, mystical forest walks, lying about in the sunshine and not giving a shit about anything. Come to think of it, I think it’s going to be on high rotation this summer.
Written by John Bruneton.
Parkway Drive have for years been the darling child of the Australian metalcore scene alongside the now defunct, I Killed The Prom Queen. Noted for their hectic touring schedule that was always sure to include regional and all ages gigs, their popularity has been earned with blood, sweat and tears. 2005’s ‘Killing With A Smile’ displayed a sense of ferocity and melody that under the direction of Adam D (Killswitch Engage) managed to help Parkway Drive differentiate themselves from the flood of core bands that would emerge over that period. ‘Horizons’ release in 2007 showed Parkway with a more melodic sound while attempting to retain their noted aggression and was a commercial success debuting at number six on the ARIA charts. It feels impossible to think about a band in a genre as defined as metalcore without drawing comparisons to other bands, and stellar releases such as August Burns Red’s ‘Constellations’ and As I Lay Dying’s ‘The Powerless Rise’ has shown bands evolving to make their material interesting and relevant. Unfortunately, it feels like Parkway Drive have been in a touring cocoon for too long and have failed to evolve. The result is a release that feels neither interesting or relevant. The problem with ‘Deep Blue’ is that it feels like a step to the side into irrelevance as opposed to a step forward into a new decade. The album itself shows Parkway doing what they do best, balancing melody, groove and aggression into a blend that has become their signature sound. Winston McCall stunningly improves on his already incredible vocals and displays an impressive range and intensity, switching from high-pitched screams to brutal guttural lows with ease. Performances on the album are tight as always and production is clean. Unfortunately that is about all that has improved.
Jeff Ling and Luke Kilpatrick’s performances on guitar feel uninspired and derivative of Parkway’s past catalogue, and while impressive on ‘Wreckage’, ‘Deadweight’ and the ‘Sleepwalker’ solo they fail to make up for some of the most generic single note chugged breakdowns put to record. Predictably, bass is relegated to the backseat leaving Jia O’Conner’s bass work barely audible. The drumming has some stand out moments on ‘Levithian I’ and ‘Unrest’ but otherwise remains quite standard. As songs, ‘Sleepwalker’, ‘Wreckage’, ‘Deadweight’ and ‘Pressure’ provide fabulous ‘Parkway’ moments where you have your head nodding and fingers tapping, however ‘Home Is For The Heartless’ chorus and it’s cringe worthy clean singing will have you wondering what the hell they were thinking, and if you thought the riff at the start of ‘Hollow’ sounded familiar, that’s because it featured in 2003’s Don’t Close Your Eyes in ‘Hollow Man’. ‘Deep Blue’ is not a bad album. It provides the listener with a classic Parkway Drive experience that most fans know and love. The problem is that ‘Deep Blue’ feels irrelevant when compared to similar releases over the past year and displays a disappointing lack of progression from past material. Instead of straying out into the unknown, Parkway Drive have played it safe at home, and your appreciation of ‘Deep Blue’ will depend on how much you love to stay at home. Personally I moved out a long time ago.
The Gaslight Anthem
Written by Mark Donaldson.
In ‘American Slang’ The Gaslight Anthem continue their love affair with ‘50s Americana and early ‘80s sleeves-rolled-up rock twisted with punk. It’s fair to say while their childhood mates were playing with He-Men and listening to Dire Straits, the four Gaslighters were cutting x-ray goggle ads from 30-year-old comic books and listening to The Boss. It’s young working man’s music written by old souls. It has a wisdom and sincerity about it that’s impossible to fault. Perhaps for this reason there’s just as many moisturiser fingerprints staining this album as motor oil ones. The scarves and white collars love its depth; the blue collars love its gritty directness. Somehow the music feels nostalgic even to an ‘80s-born Australian who couldn’t possibly relate to ‘50s America. The title track, ‘American Slang’, could have been born in the radio of a pensive young lad’s hot rod. Frontman Brian Fallon’s words- “and when it was over I woke up alone” blaring as the kid cruises the streets with a cigarette in his mouth and furrowed brow. He is a character who’s appeared in all the band’s albums. A character who can’t switch his mind off and would likely have stress creases in his face that defy his age as a result. “Did you grow up lonesome and one of a kind? Were your records all you had to pass the time? Or maybe you were taken by the mysteries of New Orleans? Or the uptight rowdy girls of Lower Chelsea?” he wonders in quick succession on ‘The Queen of Lower Chelsea’. It’s as if Fallon has had that seminal poster of James Dean walking in the Times Square rain on his wall his whole life and wondered, “what is that guy thinking?” ‘American Slang’ is evidence that even after ‘Sink or Swim’, ‘The Senor and The Queen’ EP and ‘The 59’ Sound’, he’s still looking at that poster and wondering.
Musically, the band has grown and challenged themselves beyond the smoky punk they’ve got down pat. They’ve had a crack at some vintage pop ditties and nailed them both. ‘The Diamond Church Street Choir’ jives to a finger-clicking beat and slightly hints at Bobby McFerrin (Don’t Worry Be Happy). You can picture “the hub city girls in the ribbons and the curls” Fallon sings about swinging and twirling to guitarist Alex Rosamilia’s happy licks. Bassist Alex Levine orchestrates the pop mood on ‘Boxer’ with a ‘50s groove that wouldn’t be out of place on a Happy Days episode. The album is their most vocally rich effort thus far. Raw harmonies and atmospheric backing vocals permeate through its entirety and take the band’s place as one of the best sing-a-long acts to a new level. No track exemplifies this more than the moving closer ‘We Did It When We Were Young’. Here the band puts the ball(s) in balladry. It has a chorus which no man would be ashamed dropping a tear to. “But I am older now and we did it when we were young”. The Gaslight Anthem catalogue has become a modern masterpiece with the addition of ‘American Slang’. It’s hard to find another late 2000’s band with such consistency. This will be in most 2010 top ten lists. Believe the hype; you will grow old listening to The Gaslight Anthem.
Written by Ella Reweti.
I’ve been reading a lot of romantic and beat poetry lately. Don’t judge me. Anyway, reading shit by Wordsworth does things to a person. It’s changed the way I look at a lot of things and it has certainly changed the way I listen to Arcade Fire. Not necessarily for the specific lyrical references to romantic poetry and the later movement of beat poetry (there are plenty) but more so because of the style in which they assess modern day life and an almost cautionary way of writing. ‘The Suburbs’ is the record that has made me go back and re-listen to ‘Funeral’ and ‘Neon Bible’ in a whole new light. It’s the record that (to me at least) ties the three together, whether purposely or not. Example: ‘Funeral’ is seen with a real innocence or naivety, quite often making it seem like it’s from a child’s point of view (most notable in ‘Wake Up.’) ‘Neon Bible’ on the other hand is the growing up record. Becoming aware that terrible things happen and evil people exist. It’s anti-consumerist, anti-capitalist and anti-war. That old chestnut. And ‘The Suburbs’ almost feels like giving up; but it’s more than that. It’s a warning of sorts, that if people continue to live the way they are living, they’re going to miss life altogether. The opening track and the albums namesake ‘The Suburbs’ is a perfect example of being too preoccupied with a mediocre life, working and living by societies measures, only to notice the fading beauty of the world after it’s too late. A verse from ‘The Suburbs’ pops up again in the albums best track ‘Suburban War’ almost like a memory. It’s a heartbreaking song about choosing to not grow up only to watch everyone else in your life move on. Although you feel sympathy for the narrator you feel pity for his old friends (All my old friends, Feel old now). ‘Modern Man’ and ‘Empty Room’ come from the opposite point of view; a person who has given in to societies pressures to conform only to wind up hating life.
And Rococo is an interesting stab at the youth of today’s ignorance, complacence, out of control consumerism and wasteful, decadent lifestyles. After listening to ‘The Suburbs,’ Funeral is no longer a record merely about seeing the world through innocent eyes. It’s about seeing the world before external pressures (most noted on ‘Neon Love’) have influenced you. ‘Neon Love’ is no longer a doomsday record; it’s a frightful assessment of the world around us and the direction in which we are headed. And ‘The Suburbs?’ That’s where we’re all going to end up if we keep going that way; depressed, alone in our minds, working day in day out to buy things we don’t need but are told will make us happy. Make no mistake, Win Butler is one smart bastard. Before you know it, your head will be full of revolutionary ideas too.
Next Edition Drops December 2010 Would you like to see your work in our magazine? www.soggybones.com/contribute
Photo by Merlyn Moon - â€˜The Virginâ€™ cover.