Monday, July 28, 2008

Double dipping | Hugo Liard

They don't have rim sponsors, they didn't even buy Harleys! What a bunch of unpretentious, skateboarding-for-fun-type losers... Instead, the Antiz team decided to go tour Southern Spain recently on a bunch of beat-up mopeds. You think that' how you're gonna win the Maloof Cup? Pathetic.
Anyway, Hugo Liard, one of France's finest and one of the masterminds behind this deck company/co-op, is also an expert in all sort of musical Frenchnesses, not to mention his tendencies to be an unapologetic Hessian.
It's on behalf of these two qualities that he's allowed not one, but two playlists at once. By the way, am I just another old fart, or does skateboarding need more Antiz-style ventures? Meaning, Maloof bros-free?

(For those who didn't know, you should download their latest vid, Z Movie, right here)
Oh, and the photo comes from the Antiz website, and it's uncredited on there too. I need a lawyer?

The top 5 French tunes
that would sound good in a skateboard video | by Hugo Liard

1. Trust: Certitude/solitude
"It's Trust's best tune, complete with fast and dynamic guitar riffs. It's all skateboarding music needs, plus the lyrics are really good."

2. Trust: Préfabriqué
"I love the aggressive lyrics, mixed with these super-fast riffs."

3. Warning: Rock city
"This French band kind of remained in Trust's shadow, but they sounded heavier."

4. Renaud: Laisse béton
"Hard to translate in English, but there's a pun for me with the word beton, which can mean 'concrete', so this one would sound good for a pool session or something."

5. Noir désir: Comme elle vient
"Super fucking putain d'énervé, with overwhelming lyrics too."

The top 5 metal tunes of all time, that would also sound good in a skate video | by Hugo Liard again

1. Mötörhead: Go To Hell
"Still these awesome '80s riffs, plus the prallele hell/skateboarding that gets me amped."

2. Kreator: Phobia
"Some powerful modern metal."

3. Manowar: Ride The Dragon
"Epic metal, kinda like speed metal, wich means that it means 'speed'. You know?"

4. Apocaliptica: Master of Puppets remix
"Really, really powerful, I stil have goose bumps. Better than Mozart for the dead."

5. Trust: Limewire
"Huh huh, it's a AC/DC cover in English. Fuck yeah, finally a French band that didn't have to blush compared to one of the universe's biggest hard rock bands. Trust actually almost opened for AC/DC in the US in 1981, but instead they chose to go on a French tour!"

Monday, July 14, 2008

AVS #5 | "Sick Boys" (1988)

It’s been twenty years. Twenty years since the skateboard masses have been grossed out by Bryce Kanights’ “breakfast of champions”. A pinnacle of wilderness in the streets, Sick Boys was now-famous snowboard movie mogul Mac Dawg’s first effort, and remains as one of the first flicks heavy on actual street skating –i.e. not that many ho-ho plants.
The hour-or-so film, directed by “your mama” as the ending credits states, featured the mid-‘80s cream of the crop, including Natas, Jim Thiebaud, a handrail f-side boardsliding Julien Stranger, Mic E Reyes, Ron Allen, Cab, Tommy Guerrero, and even Chris Branagh, skateboarding’s own white Gary Coleman. Plus about a million other people, unoficially starting the H-Street’s school of video making.
While some rememeber it as one of the most quotable skate videos of all time ( “You need big balls to do that and Mick E Reyes surely doesn’t lack in that category”, or the even awesomer “Sometimes we take the locals for a ride into the G-Forces of hell”), others used it to discover some of the rawest skate-rock ever, and again, nobody’s talking Pennywise’s blue album here. More so The Boneless Ones, Wonderful Broken Thing, Verbal Abuse, M.A.R live, MDC, MCM And The Monster… Most of them coming from the mythical Berkeley-based label Boner records, and all captured in the lowest fidelity lowfi can offer.
Young students, Sick Boys’ soundtrack has “classic” written all over it, no wonder the video itself is being reissued as we speak. Welcome to a crazy world full of airwalk ollies, wall rides, crazy headbands and pools. Wait, what year was that, again?

(Witness the whole mayhem here)

Thee Fourgiven : It Ain’t Pretty Down Here
Tune used: You Can Come To My Room (skate camp)
In 1988, things were a lot different, probably. Because a song called You Can Come To My Room wouldn’t first come to mind nowadays to back up a skate-camp section, with all the strict rules and the little kids and everything. Very taboo. Anyway, what can be heard from the tune worked perfectly to accompany a hefty dose of curves destruction courtesy of Tony Mag, Bod Boyle, plus a Derby Park-wrecking Tony Roberts, and comes from the first album ever recorded by Thee Fougiven. How did Mac Dawg get a hold of them? Not too hard to guess, since Thee 4-G got started by Venice legendary skater Ray Flores (bass/vocals) and his buddy Matt Roberts (“drums, garbage can, screams”, his bio states), after they both left The Unclaimed.
Musically, this sounds like a blend of punk rock with subtle touches of psychobilly and drunken exotica –a prerequisite when your album is out on a label that pays hommage to the god of wine, Dionysus- and could have been the last, because Matt allegedly left the band for “a couple of weeks” and didn’t return for several years.
Thankfully though, Ray Flores wasn’t the only skater/muscian around and brought Bela Horvath to the mix, taking the band on two memorable Europe tours, where they opened for The Miracle Workers and... The Unclaimed, that ended up quitting one week after the beginning of the journey. Even though they broke up in 1989, Thee Fourgiven are still around, and were planning in early 2007 to release a compilation album. No news since. The producer must have gone on a trip for a few weeks.

Verbal Abuse : Just an American Band
Tune used : Social Insect (plus two)
In the early ‘80s, Verbal Abuse was such a hardcore punk classic that Mac Dawg made sure everybody got it, using no less than three of their tunes from their 1983 Just An American Band LP. A classic among classics, straight out of the very same Bay Area scene that gave birth to the Dead Kennedys or Fear. Which means expect some simple, raw, in-your-face kind of tunes, all screamed in the most sociopathic fashion, and not some of that feelings-driven emo music. Heaven knows the Texas transplants felt miserable then, no reason for it to have changed some odd 25 years later…
Regarding this classic LP (Remember Slayer's Undisputed Attitude hardcore covers album?), the purists already own its original version out on Bitzcore records, of course. Yet, they don’t frown upon the reissue put out by the skateboard company/skate-rock label Beer City a few years back, for it includes also a 1984 live in New York. Who cares? Anybody who enjoys one more Black Sabbath cover (Paranoid), and more incongruitously a mind-blowing version of We’re an American Band, by the kinda cheesy arena-rock stars Grand Funk Railroad!

MDC : Smoke Signals
Tune used: Missile Destroyed Civilization (Blood Bowl session)
Before the NoFX singer felt the urge to write a song about how he hates shower days, American punk was used to address issues a bit less captivating: political and social problems, for instance. Very, very boring. Plus, like, dude, it hurts your head.
Totally oblivious to the fact of one day being picked to set the mood of a session at the Blood Bowl in a skateboard video, Austin-based band MDC was definitely one of these bricks thrown in The Man’s windows. A heavy brick, thrown from the guts. Yeah, this section is now written by Jello Biaffra, did you notice? Did you even read that far? I hope not.
All this to say that even with its strong political stance and all, the outfit formed in 1979 in Austin as The Stains didn’t forget a little touch of humour, once they switched to MDC the following year, changing on each album the meaning of their initials. Millions of Dead Cops being the most famous one, they also called themselves successively Multi Death Corporation, Millions of Dead Children, Millions of Dead Christians, Millions of Damn Christians, Metal Devil Cokes, and Magnus Dominus Corpus. Like Verbal Abuse, they relocated to San Francisco in 1982 after a bumpy ride that notably included a fiasco of a Bad Brains/Big Boys/MDC Rock against Reagan Tour, after Bad Brains left when HR found out that the Big Boys’ singer was gay… PMA, bros, PMA!
Missile Destroyed Civilization came out on their second, maybe more rockish 1986 album Smoke Signals, and for once here’s a band that didn’t water down excessively as the years went by. Well, everybody has the right to have mixed feelings regarding their hip hop/vegan tune from Hey Cop! If I Had a Face Like Yours but all in all, MDC’s career stayed pretty straight. Still active and now set in Portland, its members still haven’t written a song about the delights of not showering.

Bonus : Mac Dawg on "Sick Boys"

A small interview with the man behind the mirrors and wires... Sick Boys by its creator, Mike "Mac Dawg" Mc Entyre, whose latest film I saw, sorry to admit, was The Hard, The Hungry and The Homeless from, what, 1993? Anyway.

Was Sick Boys your first project?
MD: Sick Boys was my first film that was for sale. I had made several short films before that point with the standout being called Goons in Paradise.

Would you consider it a documentary?
I think Sick Boys documents the times that I had when I was with the skaters in the film but not a true documentary in regards to full interviews and the such. It does however portray the period in a great light which is the mark of a good documentary.

Did you do any skate films before and after Sick Boys?
I worked for Jon Malvino as a camera assistant/sound man for a couple of years before Sick Boys. He was shooting all the top skaters in 16mm with a lot of sync sound. Unfortunately that footage was never released, which was a good part of my motivation to make Sick Boys.
After that, I got a call from the late Mike Ternasky who hired me to make Hokus Pokus with him. During that film I hooked up with Noah Salasnek who was a am for H-Street and also a great snowboarder. He wanted a snow shot for his part. I filmed it a Squaw Valley and after Hokus Pokus I pretty much was hooked on filming snowboarding and being in the mountains. There has been a lot of skating in our snow films over the years from Noah to Shawn White.

Are you planning do do any more skate flicks at all?
Not really. I think it is quite a bit different now and my path is not headed that way.

Are you planning to ever release Sick Boys on DVD?
The plan is a re-release of Sick Boys late summer or fall of 08. This is coming about with the help of my friend Bryce Kanights who is putting all the pieces together. We are planning on doing a bunch of behind the scenes interviews and letting the riders in the film tell stories about the filming. I should be really cool for kids to see where a lot of their sport developed from.

How did you find the bands for its soundtrack?
A lot of the bands in Sick Boys were into the whole skate scene in Nor Cal at the time. We would go to their show and just get wasted. They were all super cool with the film and we got to use the music for free. Those were the good old days. I think Sick Boys only sold 500 copies so I did not make any money off it or anything.
I knew [legandary Venice skate loc] Ray Flores of Thee Fourgiven and Miles of MCM and the Monster. I met a lot of the other bands but it was really when it was a party scene and not everyday type of friends.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Screen Memory | JB Gillet

From late 1996 to at least early 1997, I decided that I was a skateboard photographer. I mean, I lived in SF and had a FM2, right? Right. It took me a few years to figure out I wasn't -My apologies to Fred Demard and Benjamin Deberdt for trying to convince them that I wasn't into such obsolete concepts as "sharpness" and "lighting" by choice.
Anyway during these crazy SF days, I shot with true locs such as... JB Gillet, once and only once, and I'm not sure we've seen each other since. Funny enough when you consider that we're both French and live about two hours apart. Oh well, c'est la vie as American people say, plus I was busy with that little recluse thing I got going.
12 years later we reunited this awesome collab of ours, with JB doing a playlist for A Visual Sound. Wah nom de dieu, that's what's up!

(Since we're talking modern blues, true romantics and poignant, urban poetry here, I found it opportune to run a few of my personal favorite lyrics from each tune)

The top 5 gangsta-est hip hop tunes
that should be in a skateboard video | by JB Gillet

1. Tha Dogg Pound:
"We Daz, Kurupt / Kurupt and Daz / We puff on the trees / We get the cash / We DPG back on the mash."

2. Tha Dogg Pound: Some Bomb Azz Pussy
"While I bust a hellified superfied nut, I had to go / Straight pimpin in the city, shakin ass and titties."

3. Pimp C:
I'm free
"Wasn't nothin like "Oz," a bunch of iron and bars / Bunch of player hatin snitches, talkin to the guards / And a whole penitentiary bein' ran by broads / Some of 'em kept it one hundred, most of them was frauds."

4. E-40:
I'm Da Man
"I'm buyin my yola, you gettin chronic / I'm tryin to go out the park, you tryin to bunt it / So you know if I drop it then it's a hit / The game got it in my grip like a catcher's mitt."

5. Three 6 Mafia:
Knock The Black Off Ya A**
"I think they better call Bush 'cause it's a national disaster / When I unleash my pistolgrip Bushmaster / Ring the alarm I got double charms / 100 round spinnin' you can't hide you can't run."

I wonder what kind of nut tree produces hellified, superfied nuts. Can't be organic I'm sure.