My skateboard takes me places that school never could. -Swimmerâ€™s Ear Magazine
2 Swimmerâ€™s Ear
Swimmerâ€™s Ear 3
Regulars Variance Change in Sound Unfortunate Cookies
Special Guests Russ Pope Shad Lambert
On Location Kentucky
Score The Grey Love of Everything
Feature Presentation 20 Years of Etnies Cover photo: Corey Duffel - Shad Lambert
4 Swimmerâ€™s Ear
Directors Adam Sever Chris Pernula
Contributors Zach Windahl, Carl Wedoff, Adam Bubolz, Greg Schall, Ben Gilsrud, Michael Anderson, Nate Bozquez, Andreas Dunlap, John Kessel, Alex Cairncross, Chris Strong
Studio P.O. Box 2076 Maple Grove, MN 55311 www.myspace.com/swimmersear email@example.com
Memo: 1 sign that skateboarding will always be in my blood: At the grocery store yesterday, I stopped to tighten my loose shoes. As I pulled the laces up one by one, I got the same familiar feeling in my feet as when I tighten my shoes before skateboarding. -A.S.
Memo: My favorite memories are not always on film: Top Left/Middle: Fakie 360 Flip/Fakie FS Flip on a beautiful MN Summer day. Top Right: Varial Kickflip in an empty shallow pool on Chrisâ€™s cruising board. Bottom Left: Skating with my daughter. Bottom Right: Gap ollie from ramp over fence to parking lot. -A.S.
6 Swimmerâ€™s Ear
Virginia is for LOVERS Drama The Drama is a contemporary art magazine from Richmond, Virginia. It has a cute 9 x 9 page size and features a wide variety of fields, including illustration, design, comics, photography, and more. Issue Six features an interview with designer Brian Roettinger, How to Silkscreen with Seri Pop, plus an inside look at studios and galleries. One part I found to be quite nice is the last section of the zine called “This It”, which features 2 color comics on an ivory paper. This is the only time I have seen a magazine use two types of paper in one magazine. Issues #7 and #8 should be out by the time you read this. Check out thedrama.org for more information.
Paying In Pain? Do You Take Change? I don’t typically care for the well known skate magazines. They’re all the same with their high gloss covers and miles of pages of tricks that I saw last month. I mean how many times can I see a backside tailslide in one month. That’s why I like Paying in Pain. It’s gritty and honest. It contains no bullshit skateboarding and it’s always an interesting read. Issue 16 features articles about Chicago, the Sacrifice Video, Strawberry Bowl Jam, plus more. Issue 17 features an interview with skateboarder Josh Falk and musician Travis Graves, plus a ton of ams. Issue 18 is something special. It looks like they have stepped up the paper quality with a gloss cover and a nicer newsprint inside. 18 features interviews with Alex Villasenor, Josh Baker, and Drew Porter. It also has articles on New Zealand and Australia. Check out payinginpain.com for more information.
I Went on a Job Interview and All I Got Was This Lousy Tony Hawk Book! While pursuing a career in the publishing field, I took an interview at a children’s and educational book publisher. After the Vice-President of the company found out that I skateboarded, he offered me this Tony Hawk book, as a way to show that he was down. He even told me that they often had skateboarders skating the walkway ramp in front of the office. I never got the job, but he let me keep the book. The book itself is basically about Tony Hawk landing a 900 for the first time in competition during the 2003 XGames. The rest is just a watered down history of the most recognizable talent in skateboarding. The author beat the X-Games angle to death, and made one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen in a book about skateboarding. I’m sure you’ve seen the Grant Brittian photo of the 4 Bones Brigade members doing simultaneous inverts. In the caption for that picture, the author names one of the skaters as Andy MacDonald. Andy MacDonald wasn’t even on the same side of the country when that photo was taken. If you're going to do a book about skateboarding, then do a little research, don’t half ass your way through it.
Swimmer’s Ear 7
Known Truths Randy Laybourne has been doing design in the skateboarding industry for many years. He was the man behind some of Emerica’s most innovative advertising, and is currently the Art Director at Transworld Skateboarding. About every six months or so, Randy releases a zine of drawings and photos. His most recent zine, “Known Truths”, is a small 36 page masterpiece of creative drawings mixed with photographic backdrops and little quotes. You can check out lookforwardtothepast.com for updates on other zines and almost daily drawings. To view some of Randy’s design work, go to randylaybourne.com
The Enchanters vs. Sprawlburg Springs This is Brian Costello’s first novel, and it’s quite good. It’s the story of Shaquille Callahan, the new drummer for The Enchanters, a band that eventually influences the majority of the town’s punk kid’s future bands, directly or indirectly. The way Costello writes it, almost makes it seem real, like he’s lived the story in a previous life. Definitely worth checking out. Check out www.featherproof.com for information on The Enchanters vs. Sprawlburg Springs.
8 Swimmer’s Ear
Powell Peralta Re-Issues I used to have a Powell “Half Cab” board. It had the Skull and Sword design like the Ray “Bones” Rodriguez model up there on the left. It was as big as a Cadillac and it had clear griptape. I used to cruise around on the thing, it was impossible to do tricks on. It was 10 or more inches wide and had 7.75 inch trucks and size 42 wheels. One day, I left it outside and it was stolen. Most anyone who skateboarded in the 80’s will remember these shapes. They have a nice feel to them. They feel nice to just stand on. You don’t even have to be rolling to appreciate these boards. For more info on these boards and other Powell Peralta re-issues, Check out www.skateone.com
Powell Pro Tough Ply These three boards from Powell are pretty nice. All of them have just the right amount of concave. They range in sizes from 7.625-7.875. Plus the graphics are pretty cool as well. These boards have a nice bit of pop. They don’t feel too bendy and they don’t feel too stiff either. If your looking for a board that is still made in the USA, then you can look to Powell. They have been manufacturing their boards in California for many years.
Accel Wheels In the past year or so, Accel has moved over to Giant Distribution, distributors of Stereo and Popwar, which will help them get their wheels into more shops. With help from Giant’s sales force, more of these wheels will surely be rolling down the street with a skateboard attached to them. On the left, we have the 51mm Dual Durometers. They are a nice hard, fast wheel, perfect for street skating. In the middle, we have the Kristan Svitak 56mm Clean Cuts. These wheels feel a little softer than the Dual Durometers. There also wider and have a nice shape to them. On the right we have the 52mm Skatepark wheel. They feel a little grippier for the wood surfaces a lot of skateparks have.
Swimmer’s Ear 9
Bones Swiss Labyrinth Bearings How do you make one of the best bearings better? Add a Labyrinth. No, not that sweet David Bowie movie, but a “U” shaped groove in the inner race of the bearing. The removable shields fit snugly into the groove, thus making it harder for water and dirt to get inside the bearing. Which results into longer skating times between cleanings. These bearings are smooth, quiet and fast. The only downside to these bearings, is that they cost close to what you pay for a deck.
Austin Stephens 52mm Toy Machine Wheels These wheels have a nice shape and a simple design. They are your basic standard white wheel. They provide a smooth ride.
Josh Harmony 53mm Toy Machine Wheels Bones Reds Bearings Bones Reds were developed as a low cost alternative to the Bones Swiss Bearings. The Bones Reds are made with the same materials and specifications as the Bones Swiss, but are manufactured in China instead of Switzerland. They are roughly half the price of the Bones Swiss. They feature a single, removable shield for cleaning and are pre-lubricated with Speed Cream racing lubricant. These bearings are pretty fast and they work well with street skating or mini ramps.
10 Swimmer’s Ear
Josh Harmony sprinkled his head sweat on each set of these wheels. His magical head sweat will make you skate rails like him. No seriously, you’ll be nose grinding 30 stair rails in no time.
Toy Machine Cored Monster Wheel 53mm These wheels have a plastic core with holes that make the wheels feel 2-3 millimeters lighter. A good idea, but I’d like to see how they hold up during high impact skating.
A Day in Black and White “Notes” Forget everything you knew about A Day in Black and White and their past music. You will need to open those ears and mind to grasp their newest full length, “Notes”. Where their previous “My Heroes Have Always Killed Cowboys” had a lot of slow then fast then slow elements, “Notes” is a vast post rock landscape, which doesn’t disappoint. (Level Plane) American Analog Set “Set Free” “Set Free is similar to their 2 past albums. You could easily spend a day listening to all of American Analog Set’s material. They have a nice relaxing sound and feeling. (Arts & Crafts) Anti-Flag “For Blood and Empire” I have not listened to Anti-Flag since “A New Kind of Army” came out, so this album was a shock to me. First of all, it is Anti-Flag their debut for RCA Records and second of all, their song writing has gotten a lot better. “For Blood and Empire” can be described as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s all radio friendly songs with heavy political lyrics. (RCA)
Askeleton “(Happy) Album” This is Askeleton’s last album named after feelings. It is definitely his best work, but it lacks the dance/clap along tunes such as “Ghosts” “Shapes” and “Birdman” that were featured on past Askeleton albums. (Goodnight Records) Baby Teeth “For the Heathers” The EP was based on a dare. Each member had to come up up a song in complete isolation form the other members of the band and it had to be titled “Heather” The first “Heather” song comes from frontman Pearly Sweets and is reminiscent of cheesy 70’s pop music. Next up is “Heathers” via Jim Coopper. Jim’s versions features a heavy synth influence, in a very 80’s movie sort of way. It would be perfect for the “Short Circuit” soundtrack or for a Canadian teen drama. The final version of “Heather” comes from Peter Andreadis. Pete’s version is the shortest and sounds like a dub/reggae/ska song. This release is definitely inventive and should garner some listens. (Lujo) Barr “Reinforced Jewel Case” Barr is Brandon Fowler, an artist, skateboarder, and musician among other things. “Reinforced Jewel Case” could easily be the most annoying album you’ve ever heard, or the most inventive, depending on your musical tastes. “Reinforced Jewel Case” is a mix of free jazz percussion and spoken word like vocals. (5RC)
The Blackout Pact “Hello Sailor” The Blackout Pact play a sort of punk mixed with math rock and hardcore that you could easily shake your hips to. The opening track is probably the best on the CD and the rest is just about as good. (Astromagnetics) The Blackout Pact
Bouncing Souls “Live” I get a little wary of live discs because the sound usually sucks and I can’t find a reason to see releasing songs you’ve released before but sound worse recorded. But the Bouncing Souls are a band to see live, and these 2 discs will suffice if you haven’t made it to one of their shows. The sound quality is good. Both discs are filled with a wide variety of songs from all their albums, but I find myself listening to disc 2 most. (Chunksaah)
Swimmer’s Ear 11
Bound Stems “The Logic of Building the Body Plan” I’ve listened to this album a thousand times since I’ve got it and every time I listen to it I hear something new. Definitely something everyone should check out. (Flameshovel)
Ex-boyfriends “Dear John” The Ex-Boyfriends play catchy pop punk with topics about breaking up with their girlfriends and boyfriends. Something everyone can relate with. (Absolutely Kosher)
Crystal Skulls “Outgoing Behavior” Crystal Skulls play jangly indie with a touch of lounge. Easy to listen to, and fun to sing along with. “Baby Boy” and “Cosmic Door” are tracks that stand out the most. (Suicide Squeeze)
Field Music “S/T” These Brits play a lovely bunch of Brit Pop. Some of it’s kind of slow, while some of its a little faster. You could call Field Music the snooty English twin brothers of the Shins. (Memphis Industries)
Ester Drang “Rocinate” This CD is a great companion for long drives. Just pop it in and listen to the multi-instrumental tracks as they weave you along a 46 minute journey. (Jade Tree)
12 Swimmer’s Ear
The Grey “Asleep at the Wheel” It’s too bad these Canadian boys were banned from the U.S., because I would love to see these guys play their fast post rock. (Lovitt) Hanalei “Parts and Accessories” “Parts and Accessories” is former Ghost member Brian Moss’s second full length under the Hanalei moniker. This time though, he has a full band playing with him. The lyrics are incredibly descriptive, almost story telling like. The guitar playing is quite good also. It combines the vocals of Paul Simon with the blue collar feeling of Bruce Springsteen. (Thick)
Haram “S/T” Consisting of ex-members of Majority Rule, Pg. 99, and the Out Circuit, Haram play an intense and vibrant mix of hardcore, punk and noise. This self-titled release is refreshing compared to most new releases in the hardcore genre. (Lovitt) Head Like A Kite “Random Portrait of the Home Movie” Head Like a Kite is a new project from Sushirobo’s guitarist Dace Einmo and is inspired by his parents’ super 8 home movies from the 1970’s. The sound is of indie rock, beats and samples from those home movies. This album features guest vocals from members of Smoosh, Kinski and Crooked Fingers. (Pattern 25) Jimmy Eat World “Stay on My Side Tonight” This EP features 3 previously unreleased originals, a cover of Heatmiser’s song “Half Right” and a remix of “Drugs or Me”. The first track “Disintegration” is over 12 minutes long and the 2 tracks following are over 6 and 9 minutes long. Overall this EP is over 43 minutes long, so your getting your money’s worth. The sound is nothing new, it’s Jimmy Eat World doing what they do best. (Interscope) Jonny Sonic “Coop Resident” Jonny Sonic is actually Rick Kowal, bassist of FULL. “Coop Resident” is a mix of funk, beats,
horns, and a little bit of hip-hop thrown in. It’s a sound that can barely be described. (Hand-Picked Entertainment)
Cap’n Jazz or any Joan of Arc project. This is an impressive debut and I hope they keep this same formula on future releases. (Self Released)
Kiss Kiss “S/T” Kiss Kiss play a fast winding spiral of music much like Cursive’s “Ugly Organ”. The music is pretty good, but the singer may need some lessons in getting his range up, because at some points in the songs, his singing could induce migraines. (Astromagnetics)
Maritime “We, The Vehicles” I am sure glad that this album is being released in the States. It is a bit more darker than their previous album “Glass Floor” but is better by miles. One of the best of the year. (Flameshovel)
Love of Everything “Superior Mold and Die” Love of Everything is Bobby Burg’s solo project. This album does feature Joan of Arc members, Tim and Nate Kinsella and it features some interesting lo fi bedroom pop songs. (Record Label) Luke Doucet “Broken Stories” This is quite an impressive release from Luke Doucet. The song “Brother” is a great opener to the album and the rest of the album is similar to what Crooked Fingers sounds like. (Six Shooter)
Maps & Atlases
Maps and Atlases “Trees, Swallows, Houses” This Chicago band’s debut is the closest I’ve heard to the guitar noodling played by
The Mars Volta “Scabdates” I’ve never been to a Mars Volta show, but I hear they are over 2 hours long and are a sight to see. I do enjoy Mars Volta, but I will probably never see them play live, so this live release will have to do. It’s over 74 minutes and it contains everything you’d expect from Mars Volta, plus the sound is quite good. (GSL/Universal) Mates of State “Bring it Back” This duo of Kori and Jason is now a trio with their baby daughter getting some vocal time on one of the songs. She doesn’t exactly sing, it’s more cooing and baby noises. The sound of “Bring it Back” is similar to their previous work,
so you should have no problem getting used to it. (Barsuk) The Mendoza Line “Full of Light and Full of Fire” I don't think The Mendoza Line get the recognition they deserve. They keep releasing very well played music, and songs that are personal and politically charged. “Full of Light..” is another example of great music being played by independent artists. (Misra) Mercury Radio Theater “The Blue Eyed Model” This album is like old time radio. A story is narrated in between instrumental surf guitar influenced songs. The story is about a college student named Gregor who builds a girlfriend from others ordered body parts. The booklet that comes along with the CD is a great illustrated visual to the story. I hope they release more albums with this same kind of narrative/song playing. (Lujo) Metal Hearts “Socialize” “Socialize” consists of male/female vocals, finger picking guitars, drum loops and stringed accompaniments. It is very delicate sounding, but interesting. (Suicide Squeeze)
Mates of State
Swimmer’s Ear 13
Micah P. Hinson “The Baby and the Satellite” This is a reissue of Micah’s 2001 release by the same name. This time though all the music is polished and sounds tons better. It is a total of 8 tracks, and a 9th that is the original recorded 29 minute album. Overall, it’s pretty good. It’s in the same genre as Pedro the Lion. (Jade Tree)
Anywhere. “Don’t Believe” is a great melodic hardcore album. (Jade Tree)
The Plastic Constellations “Crusades” “Crusades” is TPC’s debut for French Kiss Records. If you liked their previous CD “Mazatlan” then you’ll love this one. Each song is good and this disc never disappoints. (Frenchkiss/2024)
Nobody + the Mystic Chords of Memory “Tree Colored See” “Tree Colored See” is a collaboration between Nobody (Elvin Estella, producer/mixer of Milemarker Push to Talk Prefuse 73 and The “Ominosity” “S/T” With a varying sound on every album they Mars Volta) and Even though I was stuck release, Milemarker’s debut on Eyeball records Mystic Chords of in traffic for over an hour is nothing short of the same. “Ominosity” may Memory (Jen Cohen listening to and getting turn fans away, because it is much different of Aislers Set and Nobody & The Mystic Chords of Memory sick of this album, I was than their previous albums. Features original Christopher Gunst of Beachwood Sparks). The sound of the album able to listen to it again. Push to Talk play indie member Ben Davis. (Eyeball) starts out somewhat like Ester Drang, but with rock with a new wave influence kind of like a greater hip hop influence. The 4th track, Chomsky. (Doghouse) National Eye “Coyotes’s Song”, is an almost folky country “Roomful of Lions” This Philadelphia band’s second full length, song and it transitions perfectly into the next Rah Bras shows quite impressive song writing skills. track with harmonicas. Track 9, “Feet Upon the “WHOHM” Some of the songs are slow and some are a little Sand” perfectly blends the hip hop and folky Rah Bras is one of those bands that you have to acquire a taste for. I mean how easy is it to lismore up tempo. “Roomful of Lions” is 14 tracks influences into one catchy song. (Mush) ten to a mixture of dance, industrial, synth and spanning over 52 minutes, leaving something opera. But this is tons better than their “EPS” Pink Razors for everyone. (Park the release. (Lovitt) “Waiting to Wash Up” Van) Richmond, VA’s Pink Razors play a pop punk similar to early Raising The Fawn New Mexican Blink 182, but you probably “The Maginot Line” Disaster Squad won’t see these guys selling Raising the Fawn is John Crossingham, also of “Don’t Believe” bazillions of records. Not that this Broken Social Scene. It’s quite good after a couNew Mexican Disaster band is bad, they just seem like ple of listens. It takes a while to set in. Some of Squad mixes the sound of the type that enjoy playing music the music sounds like Onelinedrawing. Other Paint it Black/Kid without all the bullshit corporate parts sound like a slow Nada Surf. (Sonic Dynamite with the lyrical Unyon) dreams. (Robotic Empire) styling of Strike New Mexican Disaster Squad
14 Swimmer’s Ear
The Red Note “The Weatherman” The first song will make you think you’ve stumbled south of the border into a Mexican disco. But this band is from Seattle. They play horns and it sounds like a marching band coming out of your speakers. “The Weatherman” is an entertaining album to listen to. (Hypothetical) Roy “Killed John Train” With songs like “Jesus Drives a Trans Am” you know you got a winner of a CD. Roy is a project from members of Botch, These Arms Are Snakes, and Harkonen, but the sound is unlike those bands and falls into the folk indie genre. (Lujo) Russian Circles “Enter” Russian Circles consists of ex-members of Dakota/Dakota and Riddle of Steel. They are an instrumental band. A lot of people have a
hard time listening to instrumental music, they say it’s boring. Russian Circles are not boring. They do a good job of not repeating lines. “Enter” is more math rock/metal instrumental like Explosions in the Sky mixed with Don Caballero or Pelican. (Flameshovel) The Sounds “Dying to Say This to You” The Sounds are a Swedish new wave band. Once you get past the shitty chorus on track one, you have a pretty good album. They play an interesting take on new wave. More dance influenced. The 3rd track’s chorus sounds like it was taken from a Mates of State song, like they spliced it from a MOS disc into their own. Overall the CD is pretty catchy, yet the band’s ego is quite annoying. (New Line) Streetlight Manifesto “Keasbey Nights” In the late 90’s Catch 22 released “Keasbey Nights” and it was well received by ska fans and press. At the time, Catch 22 featured members that would go on to form Streetlight Manifesto. Fast foward to 2006 and Streetlight Manifesto releases their latest effort in 3 years, a remake of “Keasbey Nights”. After listening to both versions, I’ve come to the conclusion that they sound exactly the same, except the vocals are clearer and the production is better. This raises the question as to why Victory would release the same album twice. Everyone loved the Catch 22 version, so why would the buy the same album again? Streetlight Manifesto
should have released this as a 2 disc set. One disc of new material and the other disc for the remake of “Keasbey Nights”. (Victory Records) The Strokes “The First Impression of Earth” If you go look now at your TV, I’m sure you’ll see the Strokes playing. They’ve been on SNL, they’ve been on Leno, they are everywhere. It’s due to their latest release “First Impressions of Earth”, which contains The Strokes some of their best song writing to date. “First Impressions” is a good album, but when I listen to it, I never get past the first 5 tracks. (RCA) T. Duggins “Undone” You may know Tony Duggins as the frontman of The Tossers. “Undone” is Tony’s solo project of original and cover songs sung in an Irish folk way. It almost reminds me of a drunken sailor on St. Paddy’s Day, singing and dancing a jig. (Thick) Whysall Lane “Whysall Lane” Whysall Lane features a member from Jawbreaker, Adam Pfahler, the guy who runs Blackball Records. It’s a good mix of songs, but nothing real exiting. (Blackball)
Swimmer’s Ear 15
Did drawing or painting come easy to you as a kid? Do you remember what made you want to start drawing and painting?
Did you ever think your paintings would allow you to travel the world?
I think it did.... I think putting pencil (crayon) to paper and making drawings and liking/having fun making what I saw on that paper encouraged me to make more and more drawings and then paintings, etc.
How often do you paint? How many paintings do you work on at a time? How long does it take you to do a painting? Have you ever had difficulty finishing a painting?
If someone is terrible at drawing or painting, do you think it is possible to teach them to be a better artist or do you think being an artist is an ability youâ€™re born with? Do your children have an artistic ability like you? I think that both drawing and painting can be learned. I do believe that certain people are more genetically predisposed or encouraged to tune into the right side of their brain. Most activities we do/perform in life are left brained activities, memorization, mathematics, school, computerbased activities. There isn't a whole lot of right brain nurturing going on. Being technically gifted is such a small part of what makes a piece of art cool. Composition, color usage, subject matter etc. all play a big role in making a piece of great art. I have a Son (Blaize) and a daughter (Lorna) and they are both extremely artistic and have been ever since they've been able to hold a crayon or mold a piece of play-dough. They have a huge art table that is constantly covered with supplies right in the middle of our family room though. They are most definitely encouraged to make art, music, etc.
No, I've been so lucky between art and skateboarding to have had the opportunity to see so much of the world.
I go through spurts, I'll draw probably everyday in one of many sketchbooks. I'll paint for weeks at a time every night. I'll usually go like this; 3 weeks of painting and then 2 of just drawing and start that cycle again. A painting sometimes will happen in a night, other times it takes weeks or months, it really depends on the piece. I'll typically work on 2- 4 pieces at a time, sometimes when working on a large scale I'll work one piece at a time, but usually I'll have multiple pieces going so while one is drying I can work on the next. A lot of my paintings have really layered backgrounds so there can be quite a bit of dry time on one piece, having to let a layer dry before I can lay down another. As for having trouble finishing a piece...yeah I have had trouble with pieces before, some of the ones that have given me the most grief have wound up being ones that I like the most and coincidentally sell the quickest. When you are working during the day, are you looking forward to painting that night? Do you make plans to paint at night or is it more spur of the moment type of thing?
Have you had any formal training in Art? Yes, I went to school to earn a degree in Fine Arts.
I usually do look forward to "paint nights" and yes I do plan them. I have a family and day job so I need to be diligent about saying "hey I'm in the studio tonight" otherwise I can find a thousand other tasks that need my attention.
Swimmerâ€™s Ear 17
What influences your paintings? People I see and meet, music, other art that I'm into. What painters have influenced you and what about them or their paintings was it that influenced you? I'm into lots of different artist. I really dig Basquiat, Rauschenburg, Niel Blender, Picasso, Miro, Chris Johansen, Margaret Killgalen. I guess that is a good short list. I'm into different aspects of each of these guysâ€™ art. I love Basquiat's colors and figures, Rauschenburgh's layers, Blender's lines, Johansen's social commentary. In an interview I read about you, it mentions that you often listen to music while painting. What bands are you listening to? Do think listening to different styles of music influences your paintings differently? Is there any band or music that get you working better or more creatively? Whoa, I really am all over the map with my music. I listen to, lots of old Jazz and Blues, The Clash, Devo, X Ray Specs, The Hunns, The Specials, the list could go on and on. Different music does change my mood and brush strokes. Sometimes I need a kickstart at 3 in the morning and will switch from Leadbelly to The Dead Kennedy's. What do you find your self painting most? Do you have an idea in your head of what the painting is going to be before you start? At the end of a painting are you ever surprised at what you just painted? People are what I paint most for sure. I do usually have a plan before I
18 Swimmerâ€™s Ear
start to paint but often times what I end up with is quite a bit different than what I had originally planned on painting. It can be surprising, but it's more typical than surprising. A lot of your inspiration for paintings comes from people you see on the street, or things people say. Has anyone you know seen one of your paintings and said that the character resembles them or they remember saying the quote on the painting? That is funny...yes it has happened. It doesn't usually, but it does every so often. One thing that I respect about your paintings is the fact that you are painting for yourself with no care of if people will like it or if it will sell. Do you think a lot of artists are painting for the wrong reasons, to be famous or to make money? Thanks. I don't think that I can say people are painting for the wrong reasons, I'm really lucky that I don't have to survive on my money that I make from art. I have the to luxury of being able to have that attitude that you respect. That said though it must be a bummer to have to paint thinking of the commerce side of things. It is a whole different experience for instance making a commissioned piece of art in that there is a pre conceived notion held by a buyer of what he or she thinks they will be getting. It takes some of the freedom and spontaneity out of the experience. How do you feel about having your paintings in a show or in a gallery for people to see? It is a cool thing, it's good to get art in front of people and hopefully inspire them to be more creative in their own way.
One thing that is hard for someone who creates something whether it be a painting, zine or sculpture is how to put a price on it. How do you decide which pieces will go into a show and how to price them? When you are doing a show do you specifically do paintings that are smaller so a wider range of people have an opportunity to buy your work? Depending on where I'm showing the size of a piece will come into play. For instance when I show in The Pacific North West I usually make slightly smaller stuff that is more affordable. If I'm showing in Los Angeles I'll go bigger, there is more money and larger wall spaces there. I do always try and make my art as affordable as possible though. Bottom line, I'd like anyone who is into my stuff to be able to buy something if they are really into digging what they are seeing. What do you want people to take away from your art? I'm not sure. Maybe a little inspiration?
I think the old campaign screamed ad agency and was a bit insulting to those who really ride skateboards. We're now trying to make ads that we think skateboarders will appreciate more. I’ve noticed that Duffs has it’s own Video Podcast available. How have those been received since releasing them? Do you plan on doing them weekly or monthly? People are SO HYPED on them, I can't believe the amount of positive response. We're shooting for monthly Podcasts and eventually weekly casts. What can we see in the future from Duffs? Any possibility of bringing back the Stromboli? We have the Stromboli sole back on Jason Adam's shoe "The Seville" and we have messed with an updated version of the Stromboli upper which may or may not make it to market. We'll see.
You were involved in the original Creature skateboard brand. Are you involved with the resurrected Creature brand, and how do you feel about NHS bringing it back? Yeah, I started Creature. I've made a limited edition board on a funky shape with a funky graphic for the re-launch. I'm really not part of it anymore though. They just asked me if I'd be into making a cool one off board for the re-launch and I did. I think it's cool that they've brought it back, the guys involved with it now are all really cool and I'm glad that the ideas behind it are still valid and allow them to have a project to work on. It’s been about a year since you became VP of Marketing at Duffs. Have you accomplished what you wanted to in that first year? I've accomplished some of what I wanted to. In some press, it says that you wanted to rework Duffs advertising campaign. What was the problem with Duffs advertising before and what how do you want to change it?
Swimmer’s Ear 19
P.O. Box 8886 â€˘ Minneapolis, MN 55408
Interview with Tom Loftus Photo by Carl Wedoff
You started Modern-Radio to release the Misfires album. What was it about their music that made you want to release it? Do you think you would have started the label if you hadnâ€™t wanted to release the Misfires CD? I actually committed to doing the Killsadie split before the Misfires LP. The case is the same for both bands though. I knew the people in the bands from seeing them play live and getting to know them over the years. I liked the music a lot and I think the biggest part of putting out records is having a strong belief in the music and the people. I had both and felt it was natural.
20 Swimmerâ€™s Ear
What have you learned about releasing albums since the Misfires CD? Has running the label gotten easier since you started? I feel like I am always learning, always making mistakes and improving how I run the label. A major lesson I learned was that you have to be realistic no matter how excited you are about something. You can't spend more money than you can realistically ever see coming back in,otherwise it will be a huge money pit. Obviously we'd ideally like the project to be something where you can recoup and use the money over again for another project. I have pressed unnessessary quantities of some releases, which allows me to give away records with mailorder purchases or to people I think might like the music. I essentially started the label to get music I like in the hands of other people I think might like the music as well, but its harder to do when you can't cover your own expenses. The part that has gotten easier is the manufacturing end of things. When I started the label I didn't really have a clue about what was involved in pressing vinyl or CDs and the details screwed me up quite a few times. It seemed really difficult at the time, but I asked a lot of questions and really began to understand how things work. Its always easy in the sense that it is great putting out great records, but the work involved in distributing and getting information about the records out hasn't gotten that much easier. Its hard no matter what and you just have to take what you can get sometimes.
Cave Deaths Photo by Greg Schall
Throughout the label’s history you’ve only released a couple albums a year, but within the last couple of years you’ve upped the output of albums. What brought on this change? Are you taking the label more seriously now? There are a several reasons why the label has had an ebb and flow. One consideration is always financial. It has been a little easier getting paid and having records recoup costs so it allows you to move forward to new releases faster. My friend Peter has also joined up with the label so he has contributed financially, but being able to split up the leg work has also been a huge significance. Also, I think there are just so many great bands in the Twin Cities and beyond that excite me more than ever that I really want to help out. I have gotten to know more people, which has led to me working with more bands. Another huge factor in the activity of the label in recent years is my post graduate education. I was in graduate school from Fall 2002 to Spring 2005 so during that period things slowed down because it was too hard to work, go to school and put lots of stuff out on the label. I had to be realistic. I also spent a lot of time traveling in that period. As far as taking it seriously, I have always done so, in the sense that I want to help out the bands as much as possible. Things are easier with Peter's help, but we both have a common approach to the label, that is realistically will not being a viable provider monetarily.
Cave Deaths Photo by Greg Schall
How do you decide what albums you want to release? What do you think is the most important to consider when releasing an album? Do you worry about how well it will sell or if people will like it?
The Chambermaids Photo by Greg Schall
The decision to release a record usually involves talking to a band about releasing something by them. I usually know them ahead of time and trust the artist enough to work with them to help get their record out. The most important thing is to care about the music as well as the artists. I couldn't imagine putting out a record just because it could make a lot of money. I would be more concerned about putting out something I couldn't stand behind versus putting out something that may have a hard time breaking even.
Swimmer’s Ear 21
I do take into consideration if it will sell. We try to release records by bands that are going to tour and aren't going to break up tomorrow, but even then the music trumps everything else. What are your plans for 2006? Do you plan on growing the label more? 2006 will be the most active year of the label to date. We have released 4 records this year already. They are new CDs by Malachi Constant, The Chambermaids and Cave Deaths, and a split 7" by Tornavalanche and Tight Phantomz. There are plans to release the first full length by Styrofoam Duck, a limited edition packaged version of The Danforths' new CD, a CD reissue of the Small Sale 7" by Mirah which will include 8-9 tracks that haven't been released, and a full length by Signal To Trust. There are some other things in the works as well and that is up to the beginning to middle of the Summer. I expect there will be more things depending on when bands are recording but that is all we can confirm at this point.
Signal to Trust Photo by Chris Pernula
I also heard that soon Modern Radio releases will be available on Itunes? Is there any hesitancy or concerns you have with releasing music on Itunes? Several Modern Radio releases are already available on Itunes. I don't think there was any hesitancy to put the songs on Itunes or to have them available digitally. I started the label to help share the music of the people I was releasing records by, and if this gets the music to people, then that is great. Music has a transcendent quality that is great to share. I would rather have people sample a song or two online and decide they want to buy the record, or not, rather than having never heard the material at all. We have also had MP3s of almost every release available on the website since the beginning of the label so I've always tried to embrace the digital age and immerging technologies. Can you run down the list of recent and upcoming releases and talk a little about them? Ok, I will talk about the 7 things that are definitely coming out this year that includes four things that are already out. We'll start with the releases that are already available.
STNNNG Photo by Chris Pernula
Cave Deaths-Glacier On Fire-CD-This is the first CD by this Twin Cities band. Andy of the Vets and Nate of STNNNG play in this band. This band actually started as a project before the STNNNG began. It was another outlet for Andy and Nate wanted to start a new project since his previous band, The United Snakes, was finishing up. Nate brought along the drummer from United Snakes, Danny, to play in this band as well and they recruited a mutual friend of theirs, Holly, to play with them. She ended up playing trumpet and a Rhodes piano. The band is a bit darker and more restrained than STNNNG or Vets but it still has the same urgency. People have compared them to Can, Slint and 90 Day Men. The Chambermaids-s/t-CD-This band was started by siblings Martha and Neil Weir. They started with a drum machine and later added Colin Johnson who had played in More Material and also plays in a new band that is really great called Vampire Hands. This is their first full length record. They previously released a demo under the name the Shut-Ins. People have compared them to The Wipers, Wire, Husker Du, My Bloody Valentine and Joy Division. They are also from the Twin Cities.
22 Swimmerâ€™s Ear
The Plastic Constellations Photo by Chris Pernula
Malachi Constant-Pride-CD. This is the 3rd full length album for this St. Paul band. It is a co-release with Guilt Ridden Pop who released the 2 previous full lengths by Malachi Constant. Malachi Constant has been around 8 years and are great. I have known these guys forever and it seemed inevitable that I would be working with them on a record at some point. After their drummer Alex moved they were contemplating not even releasing the material, but Peter and I felt the material was too good to not be released, even if they would break up shortly there after. They added Nick S. from Superhopper on drums and band moral is very high. The new record is more electronic influenced and vocally ambitious. They still have a good range of influences like Poster Children, Trans Am, and Sonic Youth.
Malachi Constant Photo by Greg Schall
Tornavalanche/Tight Phantomz split 7"-This is a split release with DC label Exotic Fever and a split by two Chicago bands. Tornavalanche is a band made up of members of Ten Grand and Forstella Ford. I have know the guys in Ten Grand for years and over that time we have all become close friends. Not only is Ten Grand one of my favorite bands, but they are some of the best people I have been fortunate enough to know. I had also known Whitney and Dan from Forstella Ford to be awesome people. Tornavalanche started playing out in Spring 2005 and I saw them in the Summer of 2005. They were amazing and we talked about doing a record. They brought in the idea of making it a doubly awesome record by having Tight Phantomz involved. I had seen them several times and they kick ass live. Mike Lust of Tight Phantomz recorded the STNNNG record and I had gotten to know those guys from their trips in town. It seemed like a natural fit for two awesome bands. Now on to the upcoming stuff:
Mirah Photo by Danielle St. Laurant
The Danforths CD, “Look Out for the Wolves” is being released on Essay records. However, I had told Chris Danforth this past summer that I wanted to be involved with his next release. I had set up shows by Chris and really liked the first record he released on Essay Records. The project evolved, but eventually it was decided that it make more sense for Modern Radio to support the record locally and release a special, limited edition, hand screen printed packaging with a comic book insert. I am a big fan of releases that have a lot of personal care and attention put forth towards them and it was nice to do that with this record. This will be available for direct ordering soon and there will be a release show in April. Jonathan Warnberg (formerly of Signal To Trust and the Misfires) played on that first record and Adam Burt of the Vets/STNNNG plays on the 2nd record so there is also a connection to other artists on the label as well.
The Plastic Constellations-”Crusades”-LP-French Kiss did the CD version and we had already been talking to the band about repressing Lets War again when they suggested that we could be involved with the new record in the vinyl format. I am a big fan of vinyl and have always stayed close with those guys since the release of Let’s War. They are four of the best folks in the world so it is more than a pleasure to be working with them again. They have been seeing a bit more national attention and they deserve every bit of it. The vinyl should be done by their April 22nd shows at the Triple Rock with The Hockey Night
Photo by Adam Bubolz
Swimmer’s Ear 23
Styrofoam Duck full length-Styrofoam Duck is Ben, Dan and a big Styrofoam Duck. It is a sight to be seen live. I got to know Ben from setting up shows at his old house that he lived at called the Haunted House. He gave me a CD of his band and I was amazed that all this time he was setting up shows that he hadn't actually put his own band on one of the shows because they were great. We talked about it and he has been working on the record for quite sometime. He is finishing it up and I am excited to hear it. They are a fun band. The release show for this album is set for mid-May Mirah-This is the CD version of the 7" I released by her in 2001. It also includes some songs from a hard to find cassette only releases from 1999 and a few other songs that have not seen the light of day. I ended up working with Mirah after writing her a really long email after hearing her first record on K records. We shared mutual friends and I met her in Olympia when I went out there for Ladyfest in 2000. She made me a copy of the songs because I was excited to hear other stuff by her and I told her if she ever wanted to release them that I would be more than interested. We talked about it for awhile and it ended up as a 7" that was some songs that she gave me a few new ones she had recorded. I set up some shows for her as well and kept in touch over the years and always talked about doing a CD version. After all this time, the CD version is finally happening.
STNNNG Photo by Adam Bubolz
Signal To Trust-full length-This is being finished right now and I can't put in to words how excited I am to not only release this record but to also hear it. They have had so many songs that have been building up over the years and haven't seen the light of day. They are one of my favorite bands and all great friends. They have changed a lot musically since their last 7", but every time this band has evolved it has been nothing short of the big bang itself. I have probably seen them about 100 times (no joke) over the last 6 years and I look forward to seeing them play every time they play.
24 Swimmerâ€™s Ear
Swimmerâ€™s Ear 25
On a recent trip to Kentucky, a few things were learned about the state that shares initials with a sexual lubricant. The first thing is, once the locals realize you’re from the north, they pretty much want nothing to do with you. I think the southern states are still a little upset about the Civil War, because they were mostly pretty rude to us northerners. I’ve heard this from other people too, people from the south just don’t like you. We had a couple encounters with friendly folks, but that was it. One difficulty we found about the people there was their lack of direction giving skills. We asked quite a few people how to get to different locales and we were usually treated with these types of statements: “go down the road and take a left where there’s a bank on one corner and a drug store on the other” or “you go down this road about 3 miles and turn at the McDonald's”. Many couldn’t give us street names to their own city. We stayed in a small town (pop 22,000 or so) called Elizabethtown. Now, if that sounds familiar to you, it is the same town that they filmed the Cameron Crowe film by the same name that stars Orlando Bloom and Kristen Dunst, 3 names I never thought would grace the pages of this magazine. That film is this city’s claim to fame. Otherwise it’s just the same as any other town with its big box department stores and miles of stripmalls, but with more pawn shops and adult book stores that claim “Couples are Welcome”. The scenery in Kentucky is quite awe inspiring. Many tree covered hills lined the interstate which made a nice change compared to the flatness of Indiana.
26 Swimmer’s Ear
Second thing I learned was that Downtown Louisville is a pretty lonely place. We did the touristy thing and drove around taking pictures of buildings, signs and 7 story baseball bats. While we were driving we noticed that no one was out on the streets, and it was Saturday night, prime time for some rowdiness. We noticed tons of cool things to skate; ledges, stairs, banks, etc... It was just strange to be pulling the car over on the side of the road to run around the street and take pictures with no one around.
The last thing I learned about KY, is that it has one great skatepark located in a perfect spot. Just a few blocks away from the tall buildings of downtown Louisville, snuggled almost right on the Ohio River sits the Louisville Extreme Park. The Louisville Extreme Park is all concrete, except for the vert ramp, and open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, weather permitting of course. Did I mention that it is unsupervised and pads are not required? On the day that I was there, the weather was hovering around 30-35 degrees with a slight breeze and there were still 40 or more people there skating, bmxing or inlining. Though, if I had a skatepark like this in my city, I would be there almost everyday, no matter what the weather was.
Swimmerâ€™s Ear 27
The concrete was smooth and the transitions were perfect. The only problem with the surface I found was in the bottom of the full pipe. It seemed a little uneven. It’s always weird seeing these parks on video. The transitions look so small but when you actually ride them they’re a lot more intimidating. In my opinion, I think they should build one of these parks in every major metropolitan area. If you’re ever in the area, I suggest that you check out the Louisville Extreme Park. You can check out www.louisvilleextremepark.org for more information and directions.
28 Swimmer’s Ear
In 1986, French company Rautureau Apple, in collaboration with French skateboarder Alain “Platoon” Montagnet, launched the shoe brand Etnics. Their goal was to make original and durable high tops geared towards European skateboarders and surfers. The name “Etnics” is derived from the word “ethnic”, and is named after the lifestyle of skateboarders who travel in small groups and create their own subculture. A year later in 1987, Etnics officially changed it’s name to Etnies. That year they also signed the first ever pro skate shoe contract with Natas Kaupas, and the Etnies Natas shoe is the first ever signature shoe manufactured.
Etnies’ design innovations started to show when Pierre Andre Senizergues began riding for Etnies. Pierre designed a shoe, the Senix, that lasted 4 times longer than other skate shoes on the market by using Indy 500 Goodyear rubber for the outsole. The Senix
also featured ankle support, eyelets and better grip. Etnies hired “Platoon” and Gilles De La Pointe as their first graphic designers and they immediately began upgrading the Etnies brand image and logo. 1988 also saw Etnies sponsoring Team Pig City from Brighton, England, and they sponsored the biggest skate contest ever held in front of the Eiffel Tower, The Trophee de Paris contest. In 1989, Pierre Andre began distributing Etnies in the United States through a licensing agreement and Etnies U.S.A. became the first skate shoe company owned and directed by a pro skateboarder. Influential skateboarder Sal Barbier joined the Etnies team in 1990. That same year, Etnies took their shoe in a new direction with simpler shoe designs made of all suede. The Senix, Rap High-top and the Ollie King round out that year’s shoe collection. The Etnies skate team grew in 1991 to include skateboarders Eric Dressen, Rudy Johnson, Jason Rogers, Eric Conner, Laban Phedias, Jahmal Williams as well as Natas, Sal
and Pierre. These skateboarders were featured in the first ads placed in U.S. skate magazines. In 1992, Pierre Andre took over worldwide distribution of Etnies and began designing shoes in the U.S. He was able to do this through a licensing deal with Rautureau Apple. The Model E and EZ joined the Rap, Ollie King and the Senix as part of the collection. The Rap high-top gained popularity when Sal Barbier skated in them in Plan B’s Questionable Video. That same year, Etnies advertised in Steve Rocco’s revolutionary skateboard magazine, Big Brother, becoming the first shoe brand to do so. In 1993, street skateboarders grew tired of high top shoes and started cutting down the high tops to make lo tops. Etnies began
Etnics Ice Man
Swimmer’s Ear 29
Etn ies Lo-C ut
designing shoes how this new generation of skaters wanted them. A collaborative shoe between Pierre Andre and Don Brown, the Lo-Cut, is designed, starting a whole generation of lo-top skate shoes. Other shoes in this collection include the Lo-Down, the Senix lo-top, the Scam, and two shoes that new brands Duffs and Globe try to mimic, the Intercity and Screw. One of the most comfortable and durable shoes is released in 1994. That shoe, the Sal 23, designed by Sal Barbier became one of the most popular shoes of its time. That same year, the U.S. skate shoe boom began and in an attempt to elevate shoe design, Pierre Andre helped DC Shoes get started with production and manufacturing of their first run. Pierre also designed the Skol, which translates into “cheers” in Swedish. The Swedish skateboarders who ran the warehouse joked about drinking out of an actual shoe, when in reality, the Skol was designed for this very purpose. Etnies KO Man Logo became the best selling logo of the time and Etnies got into a bit of trouble when they poked fun at brands Nike, Fila,
30 Swimmer’s Ear
Converse and Adidas with their new logo designs. Pierre changed Etnies U.S.A. to Etnies America and restructured the company and readied it for expansion. In 1995, Etnies released the first footwear company team video. High 5 is just barely 15 minutes long, but features more than 20 skateboarders. Skaters in High 5 include; Jamie Thomas, Chad Muska, Marc Johnson, Eric Koston and a spectacular ending featuring Tom Penny. The popular shoe, the Rap was released in an all full grain leather version and was dubbed the M.C. Rap and featured an 80’s inspired tri color design. 1996 brought the possibility of Etnies being sold by the French company that originally started Etnies, Rautureau Apple. Apple decided to sell Etnies and companies that Etnies once made fun of like Nike, were now interested in buying the brand. But in the end, Pierre gained full rights to Etnies. Around that same time Pierre started Sole Technology which housed Etnies, Emerica, eS and Thirty-Two. That same year, females in skateboarding started getting more recognition and Elissa Steamer was added to the Etnies skate team. By 1997, Etnies had teams for skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, Motocross, and BMX and Etnies started designing shoes that were cleaner and more stylish, like the Emir and the water resistant all terrain shoe, the Trek. Current Popwar designer, Yogi Proctor, joined
Etnies in 1998 and designed the new Etnies arrow logo. That Christmas, Etnies donated 10,000 pairs of shoes to Los Angeles area homeless people through the LA Mission, and Etnies donated money and volunteers to the California AIDS Ride bicycle event. The team included Andrew Reynolds, Mike Vallely, Tim Brauch, Mike Manzoori, Brian Patch among many others. Mike Vallely designed his pro model skate shoe and even though it was designed for skateboarding, it was a favorite among BMXers due to its design and durability. Other shoes in that years collection included the Sultan, a favorite of Tim Brauch, the Yukon, Kalif and the popular Czar. g
Kin Etnies opened llie sO e i n t its new headE quarters in Lake Forest, California in 1999. The building includes 116 solar panels on the roof. It’s one of the biggest solar installations in the world, and it generates 180 kilowatts of energy, enough to power 60 houses and saves 42 acres of trees a year. That same year, Etnies launched its music program and the female specific Etnies Girl shoe line debuted.
The turn of the century marked the year that Etnies launched its Kids line with models like the Czar, Lo-Cut and Indy and skaters Ryan Sheckler, Jesse Fritsch, Carlos De Andrade and Fabrizo Santos joined the Etnies skate team.
In 2003, Etnies moved STI from the University of Massachusetts to Lake Forest and invested millions to make significant improvements in the performance and safety of skate shoes. Due to their efforts, STI created it’s first ever skate specific technology, the System G2™. The Etnies Response was the first model to debut with the new technology. The STI was formally unveiled at that year’s ASR tradeshow. After 2 years of building, the Etnies Skatepark
In response to the Hurricane Katrina Disaster in 2005, Etnies donated 5,000 paris of shoes and 5,000 pieces of Etnies Apparel to the relief effort as well as donated 500 pairs of shoes to needy kids and 2,000 pairs to the homeless. Bastien Salabanzi’s pro
Jason & Chris
Bastian Salabanzi won MVP and helped the Regular team with the first ever Etnies Goofy vs Regular contest held at the Lake Forest Skatepark in 2004. Arto and Rune’s pro model shoes, the “Arto” and the “Tip” debut and Bastian’s pro model shoe was in the works. Like in the past, Etnies donated 500 paris of new shoes to needy Orange County kids and worked again with the L.A. Mission to donate over 2,000 pairs of shoes to the homeless.
model debuted and Etnies launched the E Collection, an exclusive line of upscale skate inspired shoes for the fashionable consumer. The Sole Technology Institute continued making skate shoes safer with 4 new technologies: the System G202™, System G2™ Full Impact, System Flo2™ Tongues, and STI Foam™ Insoles. “My Name is Earl” star and Co-Captain of Stereo Skateboards, Jason Lee and CoCaptain Chris Pastras collaborated with Etnies on two shoe models. The second annual Goofy vs Regular contest is held at the Lake Forest Skatepark, and new team rider Ronnie Creager won MVP and helped the Goofy team with victory over the Regulars.
The Sole Technology Institute, STI, was born at the University of Massachusetts in 2002. Etnies hired biomechanics professor Ned Frederic, and sent shoes and pro skaters to UMass for testing. New styles like the Imperial, Tron, Siege, Oracle, and the Elissa Steamer model, Tross, are released. Classic skate shoes Scam and Sal 23 are re-released. Also, Etnies launched its limited edition Plus Collection, which feature special fabrics and colorways.
of Lake Forest opened to enthusiastic public acclaim. Pierre Andre personally contributed $125,000 to keep the park free for everyone. The first pro model shoe, Natas, was rereleased. Stefan Janoski, and Flip riders Arto Saari, Bastian Salabanzi and Rune Glifberg joined the etnies skate team while Lauren Perkins, Mary Osborne, Jodie Nelson, and Alexis Waite joined Etnies Girl.
Lake Forest Mayor, Peter Herzog and Pierre Andre Senizergues broke ground for the first joint venture of its kind between a shoe brand (Etnies) and a local government (City of Lake Forest). That venture, the Etnies Skatepark of Lake Forest was designed and built to give something back to skateboarding and the Lake Forest Community. That November after Sept 11th, 2001, Sole Tech organized a World Trade Center benefit to bring skateboarders and the entire industry together. Over $35,000 was raised for the WTC relief fund and Pierre donated an additional $15,000 from his own pocket. That same year, the first pro women's skate shoe, the Elissa Steamer debuted.
In 2006, Etnies celebrated it’s 20th anniversary. Ryan Sheckler became the youngest pro to ever receive a pro model shoe and Flip pro, Ali Boulala joined the Etnies skate team.
Middle Column Top to Bottom: Pierre giving away shoes, a needy kid with Arto and Pierre, Hurrican Releif
Swimmer’s Ear 31
Etnies Logos from 1986 to Present
Etnies High 5 “High 5” was released in 1995, a time when skate videos weren’t in high demand. The video is 14 minutes long and features over 20 skateboarders. If you’ve done your math correctly, that’s less than 1 minute per part, which only gives each skater 5 - 7 tricks. Jamie Thomas starts out the video with a part that would fit right in with his “Welcome to Hell” part, it consists of handrails and gaps. From there on there are short street skating parts by Satva Lueng, Dan Drehobal, Phil Shao, Laban Phedias, Chris Senn, Shorty Gonzalas, Richard Mulder, plus others and vert skating parts by Darren Navarette, Mathias Ringstrom and Rune Glifberg. Chad Muska has a nice part that has him doing tailslides down 10 stair handrails, which was considered pretty big in 1995. Marc Johnson has a good part that has him skating handrails too and doing his smooth 360 flips. Eric Koston has a part that still baffles me. I remember when I first saw this and saw Eric ollieing over a full size picnic table with ease, not even going that fast It just blew me away that somebody could ollie one of those. The best part of the video has to go to Tom Penny. Tom was just about at the height of his popularity when this video was released. Tom has the most effortless style when it comes to skateboarding and it shows in his part. His backside kickflip to tail in the pool are just amazing, it’s like 2 puzzle pieces fitting perfectly together. “High 5” is a video that should be seen. It’s not the best video, but it does have some classic skating by pros early in their careers. If Etnies had this same team and released this video in 2006, it would definitely be longer and it would probably be one of the top videos ever released.
32 Swimmer’s Ear
Why’d you want to start your own skateshop and why now? To give what I can to the skateboarders here and and I think the time is perfect with Summer around the corner. Do you think Fobia closing left a void in the Twin Cities skate scene? Definitely. I don't think people realize what Fobia did for this place. I feel like it was a good unity and it gave kids something to get behind and a place to go and I hope Familia can bring that back to our scene. Why’d did you choose to open the shop in St. Paul and not Minneapolis? How big is the shop? I didn't really pick which city. I just found a spot that I liked and it was in St. Paul and it worked itself out. I think it will be good to spread it out. The shop is 1100 Sq Ft.
6 4 7 S n e l l i n g Av e n u e S o u t h , S t . P a u l , M N 5 5 11 6 • 6 5 1 . 6 9 8 . P U S H Interview with Steve Nesser
Have you got a team put together, who’s on it? Well, we’re not really gonna have a team but some of the heads that will be The Familia and repping the shop are Seth McCallum, Clint Peterson, Emeric Pratt, Jamiel Nowparvar, Chad Benson, Nate Compher, and Mike Guy. We want everybody to be family and feel like they are a part of it. What will your role in the shop be? Will you be handling the day to day operations? I'm gonna try to do as much as I can when I can, but day to day probably won’t happen. That’s where Tuck 187 comes in. How do you plan on making your shop stand out from the rest of the skate shops in the area? Create our own path. Will Familia be selling snowboard products also, or will it be strictly skateboarding? Strictly skateboarding. When is the grand opening and do you have any events planned for it? Our goal is to open April 1st and we will have a grand opening event sometime after. Check the website when you can for info after we open!
Swimmer’s Ear 33
LoveofEverything Interview with Bobby Burg • Photo by Chris Strong
How does "Superior Mold and Die" compare to previous Love of Everything albums? Is there anything you did differently on the new album that you hadn't done in the past? I think it's a little more deliberate in subject matter compared to past releases however, it is equally as spread out recording/arrangement wise. I have never played songs 'live' before recording them, this album has about 5 songs that I have played on tour. The weird thing is that I have toured with so many line up variations(from a 5 piece band to totally solo) that I was forced to pick the best version of each song to record. You moved from Chicago to Brooklyn and back to Chicago again? What made you come back to Chicago and did living in the different cities influence your songwriting? I came back to Chicago after 3 months on the road with Joan of Arc, Owen, and Love of Everything. Sometime in Germany my roommate in Brooklyn told me "By the time you get home I will already be gone!" So I knew I had to move and I was surrounded by these guys and they suggested Chicago. Nate and Tim Kinsella, Sam Zurick, and Cale Parks played instruments on a few songs, will they be helping out on tour or are you doing the shows solo? They all have already helped out on past tours, I think now I'm sort of into performing solo. Examples of what the live solo act sounds like are the songs driven through rainbows and too much happy wet hair. Is it more difficult playing solo shows as Love of Everything opposed to playing shows with Joan of Arc or Make Believe? It’s scary but it’s directly gratifying, in turn when it's bad it's really bad. I will never play in Akron, Ohio solo again. You've toured many different countries with Love of Everything and your other bands, what have you learned from traveling to other countries? In Japan last week, I learned what it’s like to be illiterate, deaf, and mute.
34 Swimmer’s Ear
You're an artist, musician and I've heard that you also skateboard. How long have you been skateboarding and what got you interested in it? My big brother and his friends always skateboarded on a 8 ft half pipe in my backyard, built when I was 9 in 1986. Our soundtrack was of course skate-rock and punk and those types of music are what got me excited about music in the first place. You've said that the "Bones Brigade Video Show" is one of your favorite videos. Do you stay up to date on current skateboarding videos and trends? My old band used to cover that song 'Mystery' from when Lance Mountain is skating at nighttime. I don't stay that up to date... I've seen 'Yeah Right' but I think that was a really popular one because of the effects. I love the 'Sorry' video, and in NYC I used to go to all of the video premieres. The last one I went to I think was the DC(I think) video with the Tortoise song at the beginning. I've noticed that a lot of musicians skateboard, what do you think the connection is between music and skateboarding? Am I supposed to say freedom of expression or something? I don't know. They do seem to go hand in hand, like rebellion and intense highs and lows... Aside from being a musician, you also run your own record label, Record Label. What are some advantages and disadvantages of releasing your own music on your own label? How has the label being going and what releases do you have planned for 2006? Well you know what is a disadvantage, is feeling weird calling a record store asking them to buy your CD. I don't really do that like I would with another artists release. The advantages are you can make sure it's done the way you want it to be done. New on Record Label for 2006; a new Joan of Arc 'Eventually, All at Once' and a double vinyl reissue of Pinebender 'Things Are About to Get Weird'. Also Record Label is going to start doing cassettes. Like a few for distribution but mostly for live souvenirs.
Swimmerâ€™s Ear 35
a year since The Grey was banned from the U.S. Has the band or Lovitt It has been almost
Records made any headway in getting the U.S.’s decision reversed? Both the band and the label has made conscious efforts to deal with the ban. On the Canadian side we have contacted members of parliament, talked to lawyers, looked into filing appeals, we’ve even gone as far as to try contacting the attorney general of the United States about the decision. They don’t make it easy to dispute their ruling. We can’t stress enough how incredible Brian Lowit at Lovitt Records has been. He has written letters, set up interviews, contacted congressmen, and tried to spread the word about what we both think is a ridiculous and frustrating situation. Despite all of this, we unfortunately haven’t made much progress in having the decision reversed. But we’re not giving up yet.
Photo by Alex Cairncross
Can you explain the events the caused the U.S. to ban The Grey for 5 years? Oh boy, explaining this every time we tell it is weird. It’s not that we don’t want to talk about it, or that it’s hard to explain, its just difficult to relive the scenario over and over. We have all been playing bands for quite a while, and have always known the risks of trying to cross the border in the Unites States without proper paperwork. However, over the last 10 years or more, we have never had any problems. The worst we have experienced before this is a queezy stomach as we approached the crossing. We were going with the story that we had friends in the U.S. and had just played a show in Canada, hence the van full of gear, and that we didn’t have time to unload the van and might jam with them for fun since we had it with us. Sounds dumb in retrospect, but has worked every other time. Surprisingly, this wasn’t really the problem. The problem came when they searched our van for over an hour and found our merch. Even though we said it was with us from our past show in Canada, they became suspicious. At this point it was pretty impossible to dispute the fact that our band name was “The Grey” with a bunch of cds in their hands with our name on them. They then checked listings of shows in the local area, our name came up. The shit hit the fan. We were all separated and not allowed to communicate and were “interviewed” one by one over the next 6 hours. We didn’t try to lie at this point and didn’t think we had anything really serious to hide. We didn’t need to invent an elaborate scheme about not making any money on tour in the U.S. because the reality was that we don’t! We are lucky if we make gas money at most shows. And yet, we continue to do this for the pure love of traveling and making music with our friends. In no way is our band an employment venture or any source of income for any of us, we all work jobs. It is also safe to say that if it were a way of living for us, we wouldn’t risk that by trying to sneak past border guards. Anyway, at the end of it they determined that a 5 year ban for each of us, individually or as a group, was a suitable punishment. They even used the line “I know Canada doesn’t think so, but we are a country at war, and we can’t let things like this slide.” Horseshit. The decision to ban us was at their discrepancy. They even admitted to having the authority to give suitable punishments to certain offenses. After our fingerprints and mug shots were taken, some of the other guards were even telling us in confidence that they didn’t agree with this and said it was a waste of time and paperwork, and that they knew we weren’t doing anything that serious. Photo by Alex Cairncross
Swimmer’s Ear 37
Do you think that the U.S.’s decision was justified or do you think it was too harsh for what seems like a minor offense? We want to make it clear though, that we know we were breaking the law, and didn’t expect to be punished at all if we were caught, but it’s hard to try and explain where we are coming from to people who don’t really get it. A bunch of poor artists from Canada being treated like rich businessmen out to pull the wool over the eyes an entire country, and make a million dollars from our deceit is not really an accurate portrayal of the situation. Being banned for 5 years form the country is a bit harsh given the circumstances. And we are all privileged white people form Canada, I can only imagine the type of crap that immigrants and people of different races and backgrounds must have to go through. It was also strange to see the signature of the trainee from that night on all of our “alien removed” paperwork, when he hardly said a word all night. The supervising officer was the one who was calling the shots. How did you guys get signed up with Lovitt Records? A few of us in this band used to play together before this one called Three Penny Opera. That band toured with Engine Down and Four Hundred Years and quickly became friends. Despite the distance, we all kept in con-
38 Swimmer’s Ear
tact over the years. We had very briefly talked to Brian about doing a third Three Penny Opera record, but the band broke up before we really went into that much detail. Later on when we started doing the Grey and had been talking to Engine Down, they put in good word for us with Brian, and things sort of fell into place after that. We couldn't be happier. The label, and Brian especially, has been really good to us. I’ve noticed that on a lot of releases by Canadian Artists, that they acknowledge The Government of Canada and the Canada Music Fund. What is the Canada Music Fund and how does the Canadian Government help out with independent artists? We have yet to have the support of the Canada Music Fund. The Canada music fund is a government funded grant for independent musicians to represent Canada. It can help musicians by helping with grant money, helping with exposure. We haven’t really been exposed to it yet. I’m not sure if bands diligently seek out, or if bands are sought after by it. It can complicate things. I’m sure it can be of great help at the right time, but we haven’t gone down that road yet.
Do you think that the Canadian independent music scene gets as much recognition as it should? What Canadian bands do you think are under appreciated or think everyone should hear? The term independent has become kind of hard to define lately. There are a lot of independent Canadian bands that get lots of exposure. Some deserve it and some don’t. Like any music scene, there are areas and styles that get hyped up and over exposed, but that’s not really a surprise. It would be nice to see some attention on some of the lesser known, awesome music coming out of Canada, but you can’t expect all of it to be heard, unfortunately. Oh man, under appreciated bands in Canada without enough recognition? There are many. Probably too many to mention, but here goes. Crimson Mire, Deadsure, Buried Inside, Sleeping pilot, North of America, The Jesus Mullet, Ghosts of Modern Man, Swords, Preistess, Feist, Matt Mayes and El Torpedo, Ghost Story, The Sadies, the list goes on. The funny thing in that these bands don’t get much recognition for what they do, meanwhile there are goofs singing about nonsense that get a lot of attention singing about being in grade 9 and the stupid shit they would do if they had a million dollars. From listening to “Asleep at the Wheel”, you can tell that the band and music is influenced by a lot of different things. What bands or other things helped influence this album? The band has definitely been influenced by other bands both past and present. Through meeting people, playing with different bands and being through a lot together, this record was heavily influenced by a lot of things. Without sounding too vague, life itself is enough of an inspiration. Friends and family are huge inspirations on us. Everyday happenings manifest themselves in ways that affect so many other aspects of our lives that its hard to name them individually, and are hard to avoid, but are indisputably influential on how we function as a group and write songs. At the same time, these everyday occurrences can easily be related to larger issues that affect everyone and are addressed through music. Since you can’t tour the U.S. in support of “Asleep at the Wheel”, have you made any plans to tour countries overseas? We are actually in the process of finalizing a European tour right now. We are going in the fall with the new record after we tour Canada from coast to coast. We are pretty excited to tour abroad, not only for the change of scenery but to also prove that we can continue to function as a band despite the U.S. ban. We have also been talking about touring Japan after Europe and will be organizing that soon.
Swimmer’s Ear 39
Shad Lambert “I want to be the first skate photographer with chicks that set everything up for me and then I just pull the trigger.”
What came first, skateboarding or photography? What got you interested in skateboarding and what got you interested in taking photos?
You’re originally from Colorado? Did you do any snowboard photography while living there?
Definitely skateboarding first. When I saw my first skate video, Propaganda, a Powell video, I was immediately obsessed with the cinematography. So I started by always jacking my dad's video camera, it was a huge shoulder-cam beast. I'd just film my lunatic friends. Started stealing my mom’s Pentax camera shortly after that, then when I rolled my ankle and couldn't skate I actually learned about a thing called a "light meter".
Yeah, tried shooting for a little bit, but snowboarding is a clinic, I liked shooting rainbow logs and rail photos, but it got boring. Style just shines so much brighter in skating.
Are you a self taught photographer or do you have formal training?
I started a skate zine in Colorado, and Ako and Atiba grew up in the town next to me, Manitou Springs. Atiba and Ako had just started working for TransWorld about two years earlier and I'd always send them copies of the mag. Then transworld needed an editor, so they asked me to send a resume. It was seriously the worst resume ever, but I guess they liked my photo copied black and white zines, so a week later they said I got the job if I wanted it. I immediately put everything in my car and drove to Cali. That's when I learned about California cost of living, my whole paycheck would be going to rent once I found a place to live. So I Crashed on Atiba's floor, slept in my car, it was awesome. I even had to sell some camera gear to get an apartment, that sucked. But I had to be in the office paying dues, doing all the busy work like answering letters and transcribing interviews, so I didn't get to shoot that many photos, plus I didn't know anybody yet. But I slowly got to sneak out more and actually learn how to take a decent photo, met more people.
I took a black and white class in school which was cool, but it was a bunch of Colorado Hippies doing really bad landscape and nature photos, and I was the jerk who just wanted to shoot skating and people. Photography is something you really just have to gangster yourself. Steal techniques, then experiment and make your own shit. What photographers had an influence on you? Grant Brittain, Dave Swift, Spike Jonze, Atiba Jefferson, Sturt. The Spike Jonze multiple exposure photo of Jeremy Klein doing the kickflip melon was like magic to me. I stared at that thing for hours trying to figure out how the hell he did it.
40 Swimmer’s Ear
Explain how you came from Colorado to work at Transworld. You’re not still working at Transworld are you? Do you shoot photos for any other magazines?
Ethan Fowler - Kickflip Swimmerâ€™s Ear 41
As time went on TransWorld was bought and sold like three different times to bigger and bigger corporations, and the ads got worse, advertisers were given more control over the magazine, and the censorship was just ridiculous. So Atiba, Grant, and Swift left to start their own mag. When they left, the place immediately turned into the worst corporate hell hole you've ever seen. So I just went on photo rampages and avoided the office like the plague. Now I'm freelance, and I work for Kr3w and Supra, so I feel like I'm really really lucky to be able to contribute photos to all the mags. Just had my first Slap photo, which has always been one of my favorites, so that was cool.
love skateboarding, and they put it down.
I’ve noticed that most skate photographers have their own little group of skaters that they shoot photos of. Who’s in your group?
Both, film ain't dead bitches!
When you’re setting up your gear to shoot a photo, do you have an idea on how you want the photo to look? Yeah, gotta analyze the situation. Take the security and thug factors into consideration, weigh the risks versus rewards and what shot you really want. Are you shooting film, or are you shooting only digital?
How many cameras do you own, what one is your favorite and why? Well it always changes, you got to keep hustling and moving. Someone recently told me that all dirtballs and crazy fucks like to shoot with me. I don't really worry about the "cool guy" or "who's hot" thing. You got something cool to shoot I'll shoot it. But like the last two weeks I've been skating with Tom Penny and Chad Muska and it's fucking insane! Penny and the Muska, putting it down getting shit everyday like it was 1998. Wait till you see Penny's new shit.... aaaaaaaaaamazing. And Jim Greco has been on a killing spree, finished Baker 3 and just kept murdering, he's skating better than ever right now.
I actually had to just get another camera bag for all my extra cameras. Holgas' half-frames, panoramics, Hasselblands, Canons, Nikons, insanity. Do you think skate photographers get paid enough for the work they do? No, and it's our fault. But traditional distribution channels are eroding, and vertical integration is coming. What is the hardest or most stressful thing about being a photographer?
Being a photographer, I'm sure you had the chance to travel to various states and countries. What have been some of the more memorable places you've traveled and why? Japan is incredible, amazing architecture, crazy culture, everyone is scared of you, it rules. Prague is insane, beers for 25 cents at the skatepark with 13 year olds drinking and skating. Ummm... and Mexico is just sketchy, but beautiful. You know I haven't travelled as much the other gangsters, still trying to get a free ticket to New Zealand... Who have been the easiest skateboarders to work with? It's the people that skate all the time because they want to, not because they have to. Enthusiasm is contagious. There's a reason Paul Rodriguez, Eric Koston, and Mark Applyard are so successful—they
42 Swimmer’s Ear
Everything... security, faulty camera gear, injuries, tickets, thieves, but then you get that one photo and it makes it all worth it. If there was one thing about being a skate photographer that you could change what would it be? Ohhh, I'm starting some new shit. A bunch of girls on Myspace keep asking to assist me on one of my shoots. So I'm going to have a couple girls carry my bags, jump school yard fences, and run from the cops. I want to be the first skate photographer with chicks that set everything up for me and then I just pull the trigger.
“There's a reason Paul Rodriguez, Eric Koston, and Mark Applyard are so successful—they love skateboarding, and they put it down.”
Abidias Riviera - BS Lipslide
Swimmer’s Ear 43
Port of Los Angeles Photo: Shad Lambert
Rider: Unknown -Switch Heeflip Photo: Andreas Dunlap Swimmerâ€™s Ear 45
Michael Anderson Photo: Nate Bozquez 46 Swimmerâ€™s Ear
Michael Anderson Photo: Nate Bozquez
Ben Gilsrud Photo: Michael Anderson 48 Swimmerâ€™s Ear
Rider Unknown Photo: Zach Windahl Swimmerâ€™s Ear 49
50 Swimmerâ€™s Ear
SHIT! - Turd Tales & Stool Stories Unbeleivable tales of people shitting on mobile homes, in rivers and on trees. Incredibly humorous and rousing. A great read for your next shit!
p.o. box 2076 • maple grove, mn 55311
Coming Soon... Super Friends, Yearbook & Personal Ads A collection of personal photos found donated at a thrift store made into a humorous and disturbing zine. Think twice before you donate family pictures. Manual Dexterity #4 Another great issue featuring 3 great bands and some interesting articles.
Manual Dexterity #2 Features interviews with The Nein, Chariots and Say Hi to Your Mom, plus mini interviews with Del Cielo, These Arms Are Snake, Strike Anywhere, Paint it Black, Dr. Dog and Des Ark. Manual Dexterity #3 Features interviews with Bob Nanna of The City on Film, Chicago’s Bound Stems, and The American Analog Set. Also includes an article about Lovitt Records 10 years of business.
Also Available!!! Back Issues of Swimmer’s Ear Magazine
This issue features an interview with photographer Shad Lambert, bands; The Grey, and Love of Everything, and artist Russ Pope . There is al...