OK, this one here is dedicated to all the new kids and all the 90's fanatics (us included). This instalment is all about fantastic videos from the past which left us speechless when we first saw `em back in the day. For the little fellas among you people who'll read this shit, this is your history lesson. So read, learn, and pass the test.
All the old school heads can relax while mumbling something like: “Ahh those were the days when we were young.” Feel young again my friends, grab a drink, and join this little ride down memory lane.
1st Lesson: “Video Days”- Blind Skateboards 1991
It's the year of 1991, I'm 17 yrs old and America and some other
nations are bombing the fuck out of Iraq for the 1st time.
At the same time, the Skateboard world is witnessing the “Graphic Wars”, between Powell&Peralta and World Industries, Blind etc.
|Powell&Peralta 1st strike in the "Graphic Wars"|
|Blind counter attacks|
Boards are around 9 - 9.5” wide and have a proper Kicknose and heroes are not the mighty vert guys anymore. Vert's time is gone and taken over by the new generation of street skaters. It is now a time of increasing and accelerating progress and innovation in skateboarding.
In my personal little Skateworld, the postman was ringing my doorbell. The package I received is my order for some mysterious “Blind” video that I ordered a week ago via phone (Yupp, no internet!!). The VHS Tape, (yes right my young friends- no DVD or blu-ray), is stuffed immediately into our VCR, the play button pushed, and “Video Days” started....
The boys are driving around in a real smashed up American cruiser – its the first time you see these legends in motion. The only thing I knew to date of Gonz and Jason Lee was what they looked like in pictures performing their mind blowing tricks. 3 years earlier I had seen “Savannah Slamma” , where Gonz had a bit of contest footage doing some weird stuff in his comp run.... and now I am about to see what he, and Jason Lee, have been busy filming for. My excitement is reaching another level.
“Lowrider” is pumping out of the speakers and the 1st trick is Guy Mariano with a handrail ollie noseslide in LA. Damn, the rail is almost as high as he is tall.
Next up: Gonz, ollieing down 11 steps and then full body sliding/slamming down a 2nd 11 steps of a doubleset. Even the head contact with the ground doesn't effect his afro mob. Impressive!!! (and this is one of only 2 slams in the whole vid)
|Gonz pays the price|
Rudy Johnson is now boardsliding into a bs 5-O grind on a block. How in the fuck did he navigate his back truck into that position?
OMG, Jason Lee!!!!!!!!! Heartbeat increases- then a high speed 360° flip over a sandgap. Perfect landing with a smooooth style! My brain is about to split already.
Jordan Richter is now rolling into the picture. Nollie shuffle to fakie on a vert ramp- without any grab???!!!! Oh boy!
Intro is done after just 1:05.
1st Part- Guy Mariano:
He is 13 yrs old and his board looks gigantic, cause he is still so so small. Usually I hate little kids style, but Guy rips with a big style through his section. After the 1st line where he does: Fs 360 ollie out of a hip, bigspin and switch boardslide down a ledge- I'm now jealous as fuck about his skills. Funny thing is that the term switch wasn't even invented. We used to call it fakie something or opposite footed. Too far ahead for us to handle.
Jesus the board looks huge! His ability to perform impossible lipslides with this longboard he's riding is truely shocking. Hold on a minute, isn't he skating for “Blind”? Why on earth is he wearing a “Powell&Peralta” shirt? Well that's before the days where you would have been fired from the team for doing that. So totally fine and I was stoked anyway and didn't give a fuck as long it was a skate shirt or something similar cool printed on a piece of cotton. More about shirts and fashion later.
Back to little Mariano. At the point of the section where he does the impossible lipslide on the gold rail I started to like the “Jackson Five”
|Guy Mariano, handrail boardslide, downtown LA|
You thought switch fs 360 ollies are something brand new? No, they aren't! Fuck, little one was doing them some 21 years ago. Proof is at 2:24. Same goes for the mighty manual kickflip out. Christ, he's got talent. Last line of his part is a fs ollie on those mega steep and rough ass banks in downtown LA, followed by an ollie boardslide to “Blabblabblabaa” My innocent mind was shocked that a little kid, 4 years younger than me, is doing tricks I can't even fucking name. “Powell&Peralta” must have been mental to let him go and join this unknown company. What a talent. From this moment on Guy Mariano was another member of my Skateboarding Allstar team.
2nd part- Jordan Richter:
Never heard of him.... but he's on blind so he must be good.
Part starts off with some weird feeble revert on a mini ramp. Fuck, I don't get that move at all. Jordan then transfers his body and board with ease and style from one mini ramp to another. “I would love to have ramps like these!” Some street footage now filmed in your average parking lot, which then leads into the main section of his part - The big evil wood ramp with its good portion of vert. Alleyoop bs nosegrind on a vert ramp is truly fucked, even for nowadays it still stands out. Sick trick!!!! Nollie tailgrab to fakie, why have I never heard of him. Ahh yeah times are changing and vert is at the beginning of its death, but man Jordan Richter is rad. Alleyoop fs ollie reverts, manual on the platform to 180 back into this 15 foot vert monster fakie takes some serious skills and bravery too. His last trick is a nollie shuffle to fakie. Mindblowing, the board stuck to his feet just like that and he didn't ollie. Damn,
I just learned how to do nollies on the flat and this guy is doing them 4 feet out of a fucking halfpipe. Bummer!!!!
3rd part- Mark Gonzales:
Ahhh, another hero is going to appear on my telly now.Part starts with some jazz tune, and the first thing that comes to mind is: Man he is old!!! Even though he was only 23 or 24 when the video was filmed. Anyway, he comes through with a unique style and lightly flows through the streets.
|Gonz, ollie bs grab|
|Gonz, ollie fs tailslide|
Some never before seen sick stuff is now going on: Fs 180 to fakie 50-50 on a handrail, 1st time Wallenberg ollie, caveman darkslide on a handrail, bench combos that Daewon will make popular 7 years later, fs ollie over the Meanwhile2 channel, a high speed double kickflip, sw 180 ollie to 50-50 on a bench, noseslide on a 10 stair handrail, sw fs 180 down the EMB 7, an up to date gnarly double set kinked handrail boardslide, and and and…. Too fucking much to take in.
Looking back over 20 yrs later, this part is still so sick!!!!! and to date, I would say that this is Gonz's best ever part. Filmed in no time at all and with an effortless approach to the whole thing, this makes it a true masterpiece.
4th part- Rudy Johnson:
Well now I've seen this guy before - he was one of the LA young bunch in “Public Domain”. My little shit mind wasn't too impressed with that video at all.
Part starts off with a line containing: Nose manual over flower pot, massive one foot ollie out a curb cut, ollie up 4 stairs, fs boardslide to shove-it out on a handrail. Fuck, now I'm impressed!!!
|Rudy Johnson, fs 180 ollie, subway entrance, downtown LA|
At one point after he's been ollieing over subway entrances, and the like, he does this manual to 360 flip out.... which made me flip out! Unbelievable!!! It's early 1991 and this video must have been filmed in late 1990. These boys are on a seriously different level and mission. Kickflip nose manual, kickflip bs lipslide, and a caballerial to bs tailslide prove that they are indeed way beyond anything we little shits know. Ender is a fs one foot to lipslide on a handrail.
5th part- Jason Lee:
The end part is reserved for the guy who's ads and pictures are hanging all over my walls. If the skating is halfway as sick in motion as it is in the pics, I'll be having a heart attack soon.
Starts off with some !!!VERT!!! skating. This is unexpected to see him doing a blunt 180, a bs nosegrind, and some high as fuck airs in a full size halfpipe.
|Jason Lee, 360 flip, somewhere I don`t know|
Streetwise he then busts a 180 bs kickflip over a bench, kickflip bs tailslide (with ease), kickflip bs 50-50 on a waist high ledge, kickflip manual kickflip out, a bs 180 kickflips up 3 stairs in a line, kickflip bs 5-O`s, and my ultimate favourite, (which is still up to date), is this......
The spot: a Triple set of stairs.
Trick: Fs 360 ollie down the 1st set, followed by 360 flip down the 2nd and ending with a bs flip down the 3rd set.
Finally, a long ass feeble grind ends his mission in this video.
After 19 and a half minutes, I'm left in shock.
Jason Lee sings a happy song, America goes to war, and the boys pull over at the next liquor store and prepare to get smashed.
|Guy, drinking and driving|
The ride in the beaten up lowrider continues to a cliff where they drive off and pass away.
|The Blind Team on the road to nowhere|
You now see the only “Video Days” slo-mo footage in the credits, where all five are represented with their year of birth and death.
Hold on – looks like Rudy Johnson seems to have survived. Call the number on screen and see how he's doing.
This video set the standard and laid the foundations for street skating over the years to come.
Fashion they rocked
· Army pants, and “Ghetto Wear” stuff
· Either “Airwalks”, “Vans” Caballeros (The Half Cab wasn`t on the market yet) or Skate
· Strange non skate shirts with dollar signs, Israel flags, or hippie designs
· Skate shirts from skate companies other than Blind
· Striped shirts in every colour
· Boards with no rails and graphics
“Video Days”- The Soundtrack
1. Intro: War - Low Rider
2. Guy Mariano: Jackson 5 - I Want You Back
3. Jordan Richter: Black Flag - My War
4. Mark Gonzales: John Coltrane - Traneing In
5. Rudy Johnson: Dinosaur Jr. - Just Like Heaven
6. Jason Lee #1: Milk - The Knife Song
7. Jason Lee #2: Hüsker Dü - Real World
8. Outro: Jason Lee - There's A War Outside Your Window
9. The End: Ry Cooder - Cancion Mixteca
Back to the beginning: The whole year was one big street session with my mates to see if we were able to pull the stuff from “Video Days”. Well, the success was limited to our skills but it was mad fun and this video was played countless times to get hyped before a session.
The Gulf War was kind of won by America and their Allies, and the sequel would come up in a little more than 10 years.
The winner of the “Graphic Wars” was Steve Rocco with his World Industries, Blind and 101 squad.
My mates and I went to the Münster Monster Mastership that summer and met Rudy Johnson and Mark Gonzales. That was really trippy to see them skate in person. They were super consistent and rocking some of the craziest shit we have ever seen done on the wooden thing.
1991 was a dope year for skateboarding and for us.
If you don't know “Video Days” or you haven't watched it in years, have a look here!!!!
And now leave the fucking class!!!!
FOG from F.F.L. zine
John Cattle for all the effort and support
The Chrome Ball Incident for the scans