Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Interlude | Nico Levet is seeing red

Tired of staring in the eyes of Dee Edwards's beautifulness, now below this post? OK, I got something you might like better. I am talking Haters' Ball, SxE-esque, not on a positive trip, raw and immaculated misanthropy. So as the world should know, Nicolas Levet is a French fun ball hailing from Grenoble, France, and got nicknamed many moons ago 'Marre De Vivre' (Tired of living) for he, as about two other people in France, has been enjoying the merry , somewhat monastic, straight-edge lifestyle. A very apt nick as, besides being an excellent, and creative skater part of the Trauma adventure, Nico's been known to address the world issues by calling a firestorm upon them -literally, as it is one of his favorite Earth Crisis songs. Which include anybody dressing unaccordingly, the TWS videos makers, a very vast array of pro skaters, hippies, the general French population etc etc. There's nothing, he swears, that hanging wrong-doers in an organic sleeping bag while a team of righteous, animal-friendly, compassionnate buddies whip them with bike chains can't fix. Ethical purification? Mmmh, tooouchy subject.
The funniest thing is, Nico is actually a sort of shy and hilarious dude from what I remember -I haven't seen him since 1998- who incidentally also enjoys the world to see his "quenelle", and photographer Loïc Benoit's (thanks for the pic) for that matter.
Anyway after this fastidious introduction, which will probably only attract a firestorm threat upon me -not to mention upon my pagan dub habit-, here are the straight-edge tunes MDV would like to see in a video, and for what SxE skater. "It was hard to find 5", Nico conceded. Yet, he enlightens us in his concessions-free fashion:

1. Earth Crisis : Firestorm
"Would have been a good tune for Mike V's part in New Deal's 1281, even though the original tune was actually by legendary SxE singer Dan O Mahoney, who allegedly was ths first one to get a 'Poison Free' tattoo. Back then, Mike V was the shit, he wasn't corrupted by the dollars and the merchandising yet. The Earth Crisis song's tough guy touch would have fit perfectly the character he was, I remember that once he fought Joey Suriel cause he did a bad joke to Templeton about veganism. In these days, Mike V could have thrown a firestorm to purify skateboarding".

2. Side By Side: You're Only Young Once So Do it Right
"This I can see on a Geoff Rowley part, understood that he stopped being vegan when he was 30, so yeah, he saved his youth. Maybe they should modify the title and call it You're Only Old Once So Do it Right".

3. Bold: Always Try
"This one should back a Jub part. It would be good in a video just because of the slams he gets."

4. Seven Seconds: Young 'til I Die
"For this hardcore SxE classic tune, you need a classic skater. I'd say Rick Mc Crank, still vegan, still straight-edge".

5. Minor Threat: Minor Threat
"I think that Ed Templeton might like this. I mean, he seems to be a lot into Dischord and Fugazi [Ian Mc Kaye's label and current band, note] stuff, so..."

Oh, and I almost forgot : for those who can read French, you MUST read his video reviews on the Mofo blog. Too bad the slogan "He says out loud what everybody only thinks" is already taken by the National Front in France, cause that would suit perfectly.
I can't resist translating just the outtro to his Ride The Sky article :

"If you like the Zero vids, you won't be disappointed.
If you like the Static vids, then don't bother.
If you like TWS vids, then you like anything.
If you like the Jolie Routine, then go and kill yourself.
If you like the Parisien vid, then go and hang yoursef in a sleeping bag to a rafter, I'm coming with a sledgehammer to kill you
[I liked it very much - Seb's note. What color for the bag?].
If you like the Antihero vids, then do run away.
If you like Eastern Exposure, then you know what's up."

Monday, October 13, 2008

A teasa please | Dyson and Dee

Teasers suck. I mean, usually. If it's for my retina to be bombarded by a 30-second epileptic pile of half way-cut tricks and/or just slams, I tend to end up more frustrated than, hum, teased. There are exceptions, though. If you extend the concept to (a very selected amount of past) 411 commercials and "short video parts that should do until something more consequent drops", then you might find a few gems, skate-wise and music-wise. Hit or miss kind of deal : you only have one tune to pick, so please dig deep and don't embarrass yourself by using Highway To Hell for the 234th time. Plus, you can choose a tune you actually love, as you'll be able to keep it under the radar in terms of music rights clearances...

Anyway, this is a new, irregular feature on A Visual Sound, which will resurrect everytime an above-average tune pops up in of these court-métrages, the idea kinda came from this previous post.

So, has anybody noticed the brilliance of the choice on this Dyson Ramones teaser from a few weeks back? Perfect skating style aside (very important for a stale fart such as yours truly who grew up watching all the Ethans and the Barleys and the Luy-Pas out there), listen carefully.
At first, the fuzzy guitar might lead you in a wrong, hippyish/psych direction. Spit your acid and save it for later -at least wait for the Bummer High teaser- as instead, this is the intro to Why Can't There Be Love, by soul diva Dee Edwards.It originally came out on a very much sought-after 7'' on the Bum Shop (sic) label in 1972, and is easier to find around here in its German version (on Vogue, see picture), yet, if your record-shopping budget doesn't bare the equivalent of a small country's Gross National Product, this delicate English DJ Gilles Peterson has a present for you : he included it on this compilation.

Dee's life was pretty interesting too : born in 1945, she passed away in 2006 in Detroit due to a heart attack after a night out, fallen soldier-style, a definitely familiar adieu in the skaters' circles. After starting The Paragons -the US ones, not these awesome Paragons- she went solo in 1963 and You Say You Love Me, her first tune on her own, came out on the local, Alabama-based label Tuba.
After a sting of 45s for the label, she proceeded to marry arranger Floyd James and recorded a bunch of soul gems for various labels -try to find one that didn't include the word "love"- before hitting the charts with a disco tune in 1979 (The musical equivalent to becoming a contest robot in skateboarding), then disappearing during the '80s, focusing on her painting and family.
Dee only had time to have one full LP out, Heavy Love (on Cotillion), but Why Can't There Be Love will always remain a Northern-Soul collector favorite. Kind of like the first Natural Koncept video: the second time around, you miss the surprise factor -even though, please, do yourself a favor and check Dysfunctional Family.

(Think a particular teaser had a good tune to it? Please do comment...)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Re:music | Rudy Johnson

As absolutely nobody noticed, I haven't posted anything substantial in a while, yet actual articles might come back at some point. Maybe. In the meantime I'll just throw a meager bone every now and then...

So again, this was part of a bigger Rudy Johnson interview that I did for his 'Memory Screened' page in Skateboarder a few months ago. I left the charango bit that was in the mag, just cause, but the rest wasn't used yet. I'm thinking of starting a separate blog with the full-on interviews cause there are always some funny anecdotes in them -in Rudy's case, how he hung up on Mark Gonzales the day Gonz asked him to ride for Blind, as he thought it was a prank call, or how his Big Brother interview in issue 3 was actually made up, since he was dissing his mom's girlfriend in the actual cold call he got, and wasn't too stoked about it being run as the girlfriend in question was a Powell am's sister. That kind of stuff. Realistically though, I already have trouble updating one blog every now and then, so... two? We'll see.
For now, here's a little thing about Rudy J on music. I hope that will do until a bigger post.

Just Like Heaven
"In Video Days, I think the only people they picked the song for were Guy and Jordan Richter. Guy’s part, that was perfect. I remember Jason wanted Milk, and Mark wanted some jazz. I definitely picked that Dinosaur Jr tune, the Cure cover. It was cool cause it was on a tiny little mini-disc, really small, you couldn't find it on any other CD [It later came out on the Fossils single compilation]. It worked perfect for the part.
I hesitated between a few other songs but I would have had some metal for sure, something heavy. I’ve been playing guitar for like 20 years, when I first started it was like: Metallica! I always had the rock in me. I knew for sure I wouldn’t take no rap."

The charango board
“Paulo Diaz and I, we went to Bolivia in 1995. We went together, without no skate affiliation. We went just to go on vacation, for probably two and a half weeks. And it was really strange, cause we were very young, like 22 or something. But we went out there, and we learned about all these instruments. This is like a strange instrument, with ten strings, but it's only five double strings. And this one in particular is called a charango, it's made out of an armadillo, a real animal.
We went to Bolivia cause that’s where they make this instrument. There are three countries that make it: Peru, Chile and Bolivia.
This actual graphic is a poster that I brought back. The whole ting. Instead of my name, it said : Ernesto Cavour, who was a master player. And it just said that, it was the exact same layout. I was so happy to ride this board, and people loved it. I still own two of the posters.”

A message to you...
"Right now I play in The Allentons, we are a seven-piece band, I play drums in it, it’s a traditional ska band. It's been over ten years, we keep it as a hobby first, but we play around town, or in Canada, in Mexico, on the east Coast, we even backed [legendary Jamaican trombonist] Rico Rodriguez !
It's not like we're gonna quit our jobs to do it though. I mean, I maybe would, man. Not all the way, I would keep in touch with all this, nowadays you can be anywhere in the world and send images or whatever.
I also play the guitar, which I consider my primary instrument, I got my own music and actually I'm gonna be doing a lot of writing and music and maybe get some stuff in the Chocolate video and some other projects. You guys will be hearing it soon."