Toy Machine Tour

Hometown Hero Versus Toy MachineThe story of the Toy Machine Wave Of Mutilation Tour 1999.by Ed Templeton

Just like a glam-rock band hitting the road on a U.S. tour, we started, but in place of guitars and drum kits were box after box of skateboards, wheels, and T-shirts. In place of assless leather chaps and hairspray were duffel bags filled with skate clothes. In place of the luxury tour bus with everything you could need was our fifteen-seater Dodge van that sucked dog ass. Toy Machine was taking it on the road to kick it live all over the United States of America.

Here are the preliminary facts for the reader: Passengers in the van were Mike Maldonado, Elissa Steamer, Kerry Getz, Brian Anderson, Bam Margera, Ed Templeton, and photographer Ryan Gee. Chris Senn and his girlfriend Erica drove a rental car around the country meeting us at the demos when it pleased them. Number of demos, seventeen. Time to do it in, eighteen days. Number of states demoed in, eleven. Dodge stands for Definitely Over-Done Garbage Equipment. Amount of money a shop pays for a demo, 300 to 500 bucks. What that money is used for gas, food, and lodging for seven people. What most skateparks do charge kids anywhere from ten to twenty dollars to see the demo. Amount of kids beaned in the face with a T-shirt by Elissa in the product toss, ten. Definition of a “Hometown Hero” a local ripper who comes to the demo and tries really hard to “one up” the visiting team. The crowd always cheers for him the most. (This is not a condemnation of hometown heroes. If I was a good unsponsored skater, and a team came to my local spot, I would rip it up also.)

June 3

And so begins life in a Dodge van.

I picked up the van in San Diego and drove it to Huntington Beach to load up the team they’d flown in the day before. The van looked dumb, and we were disappointed that the back door was single instead of double doors. Some genius at Dodge designed a side door that took two steps to close instead of one. You had to slam it with all of your might and then click the handle upwards to close it flush with the rest of the van. The rubber stripping that kept rain out on both front doors fell off immediately. I stuffed it under the seat. I explained to the team that any damage done to the van would come out of their checks.

Once everything was in the van, we headed off into the California desert towards Phoenix, Arizona. The first and only brush with the law happened on this drive, when a cop pulled me over as a suspected drunk driver. I explained that the Dodge van was real swervy and sketchy to drive. He could tell I wasn’t drunk and let me go.

June 4

Drove two hours from Phoenix to Tucson. Did a brutal demo for Starr skate shop the dry Arizona heat giving us cotton-mouth down to our lungs. The pushing to get to the obstacles was short and the ground was asphalt. We were overly critical of ourselves because it was our first demo. Out of nowhere, Bam remembered an insane drop-in he wanted to do in downtown Tucson. We took Bam to the “Slayer Drop-In.” It was a massive ledge going down 30 or 40 steps on the side of a two-story convention center. If you fall over the side you will die. Bam did it only once and pulled it. Thank god.

June 5

The desert sprawls out on either side of the van for miles,

until being tucked in by barren hills. The pale-reddish dirt is speckled with dull-green shrubs and scrub. The wind blows furiously and whips up funnel clouds of sand that swirl and twist up into the sky like transparent cream-colored ribbons swaying. The columns are easy to imagine like spouts from a whale in a sea of dry soil. We speed by in our metal cannister with a climate-controlled interior on a black strip listening to the sounds of the inner city.

We got us to El Paso, Texas and went to the Skate City skateboard shop, where we were rerouted across town to the site of the demo. We rolled up to the demo and the kids cheered crily. The parking lot was horrendous gravel, and the ramps were wooden and ragtag. Regardless of the setup, the skaters were very enthusiastic. Many kids drove up from Mexico just to see us.

Now that we were a day’s drive from the coastal region of the U.S., the surroundings set upon us like a cloak. The roadways we drove upon and the towns that skirted them were filled with the purest form of Americans the ones who work hard for a living driving trucks and selling gas, the ones who wear WWF shirts and tight acid-washed jeans, the ones who have still-B haircuts and are raised on TV.

We wanted to blend in with our surroundings after all, we’re Americans, too. We all bought cheap sunglasses and trucker hats. Elissa and Kerry each got Macho Man Randy Savage-style head bandannas. Elissa’s was an American flag and Kerry’s was black and turquoise tiger stripes. Mike, who’d been wearing a modified panty- hose leg on his head to keep his unruly afro under control, simply pulled out some side hair from under the panty and instantly looked retarded with cop glasses on.

When we got to our hotel, Gee was asleep in the van, so we left him in there with no way of knowing what rooms we were in.

June 6

The world has been overrun with Star Wars tie-in advertising.

Everywhere we went, I was forced to look at some annoying swamp creature who talked like a dumbass. Bam stole one of the window stickers off a Pizza Hut window and stuck it on our van. If you forgot about the sticker while driving, it would sometimes startle you seeing Samuel Jackson and Yoda looking into the van as you’re doing 70 mph on the interstate. This was our only day off, and it was used to get us across the massive state of Texas. We stopped in a town called Midland and got sidetracked skating some flatbars in a parking lot. The next thing you know, I focused Gee’s video camera with a swift kick to the microphone, ripping it off, and disconnecting and scratching his “click it to huge” lens.

June 7

We skated the fairgrounds on the outskirts of Dallas. There’s a marble ledge that forms a gap everyone took to destroying. We got kicked out twice, but persistence paid off for Bam, who finally pulled his varial heelflip on the third invasion. We then headed for Freestyle Skatepark in Kennedale near Ft. Worth. This park was good lots of room, tons of obstacles and mini ramps. It was a great demo, possibly the best of the tour. Some serious ripping went down, although the place was an oven. Even if we jumped in a pool fully clothed, we couldn’t have gotten more wet than we were from sweat. We were trapped in the humidity of the South. As all tours, this one was shaping up to be drive, skate, eat, drive, skate, eat repeat a thousand times.

June 8

We had a five-hour drive to Tulsa, Oklahoma ahead of us. On

long drives like this one, the team got pretty bored and took to arguing and bagging on various things. Bam kept yelling to Gee, “Burn the middle of your chest!” And so Ryan, being Bam’s slave in life, started to singe his chest hair off with a lighter. He let Elissa try it and she lit him completely on fire. There was an actual flame on his body and we were all screaming. There was wrestling, complaining, and trucker-gear wearing going down. I’m always ready to pay top dollar for one of my riders to wear some horrendously jacked gear in the demo, but somehow pulling up to the crowd of kids staring at you stops the bet in its tracks.

We were three hours late to the demo, which was at a church parking lot with a rough gravel surface scattered about with two quarterpipes and a small funbox. Before we got there, The Hometown Hero was in full effect, ripping up the handrail. There was a guy in a sleeveless jean jacket with band patches all over it skating the demo, too. After the demo, while I was signing autographs a kid brought a “No Skateboarding” sign up to me. I drew turtle-boy saying, “F k tha police,” but only after I asked him if it was okay to write that. He said “Sure, it’s no problem.” Then five minutes later his mom came over and yelled at me in front of 50 kids about how lame I was for poisoning kids’ heads about “our friends” the cops.

We headed for downtown Tulsa to skate a local spot. All the kids from the demo were there waiting for us. There was a small rail they wanted us to skate. Brian and I didn’t feel like skating the rail, but the kids started talking shit, so we skated it to satisfy them. I asked what had been done on the rail, and this kid gave me a immediate list: “Five-0, tailfakie, lip, lipfakie, frontboard all done by me.” Then the Hometown Hero pulled out all of his moves and his pals cheered him on. One kid said out loud, “Tulsa, five points. Toy Machine one point.” We thought skating the rail would stoke the kids out, but obviously we were lured into a contest. Elissa bought some dice and the gambling started ghetto-style in a shoebox in the van.

June 9

Driving north toward Wichita, Kansas. We went to a deli and

cafe to eat. The kid working there recognized us and charged us a dollar each for easily 45 dollars’ worth of food. Later at the demo I made sure the kid got a free board. The other way to get a free board automatically is to have a Toy Machine tattoo.

The demo was at Borderline skatepark in Wichita. Someone on Toy Machine who was mysteriously absent up until now was already there skating with his girlfriend Erica. Senn decided to show up and we immediately started the demo up. It’s great when the whole team is there skating together. Hometown Hero sightings, one. After the demo, Senn disappeared.

We started off for Lawrence, Kansas with rain pattering along in time with music the headlamps illuminating the droplets in precollision course for the windshield. It looked like

jumping to warp speed, the drops stars rushed past us. Fireflies

fluttered in fear as we disturbed them like kids with glowsticks on

Halloween. They burst into glow or died on the wet glass of the shield, leaving a residue of phosphorous green until the rain cleansed it away.

Out of nowhere, Mark Waters, our old team manager, called Bam’s cell phone and said he was in Lawrence waiting for us. We met him at a hotel and spent the night hanging out with Mark and his two dogs.

June 10

We decided to go swimming in a nearby lake. The lake was

very muddy, and the deep soft mud squished through your toes as you waded in the coffee-colored liquid. Mark’s dogs had a ball in the refreshing water, and we all got a break from the intense heat.

The demo was at a cement public skatepark. Elissa was in full biker gear and we skated to the cheers of the large crowd of skaters. Hometown Hero sightings, two.

Brian a.k.a. Brain bought a football earlier, and after the demo we ate burritos and threw the ball around. The burrito I ate didn’t sit well, and I projectile-vomited liquids and rice into the street. We parted with Mark Waters. It was fun seeing Mark again and strange seeing him in Kansas of all places. The rest of the crew and I decided to drive to Des Moines, Iowa where our next demo was. I drove the three hours to Des Moines and tried to check into a hotel. No dice. I was told there was a pork convention in town and that all the hotels were booked. I tried fifteen different hotels, and each one of them called another three hotels for me, but still no luck. It was now 4:30 a.m., which makes it June 11. They told us we’d have to drive east to get a room. We drove to Newton a half hour away and got jacked again. We ended up driving all the way to Iowa City a full two hours away, checked into the hotel at 7:30 a.m., and fell asleep.

Our plan was to blow off the demo in Des Moines. We figured since we couldn’t get a room in that shitty town because the world had to gather to celebrate (of all things) pork, and we’d gotten no sleep, then f k Des Moines and most of all f k pork. Pork! Think about it. Fat f ks f it was okay to write that. He said “Sure, it’s no problem.” Then five minutes later his mom came over and yelled at me in front of 50 kids about how lame I was for poisoning kids’ heads about “our friends” the cops.

We headed for downtown Tulsa to skate a local spot. All the kids from the demo were there waiting for us. There was a small rail they wanted us to skate. Brian and I didn’t feel like skating the rail, but the kids started talking shit, so we skated it to satisfy them. I asked what had been done on the rail, and this kid gave me a immediate list: “Five-0, tailfakie, lip, lipfakie, frontboard all done by me.” Then the Hometown Hero pulled out all of his moves and his pals cheered him on. One kid said out loud, “Tulsa, five points. Toy Machine one point.” We thought skating the rail would stoke the kids out, but obviously we were lured into a contest. Elissa bought some dice and the gambling started ghetto-style in a shoebox in the van.

June 9

Driving north toward Wichita, Kansas. We went to a deli and

cafe to eat. The kid working there recognized us and charged us a dollar each for easily 45 dollars’ worth of food. Later at the demo I made sure the kid got a free board. The other way to get a free board automatically is to have a Toy Machine tattoo.

The demo was at Borderline skatepark in Wichita. Someone on Toy Machine who was mysteriously absent up until now was already there skating with his girlfriend Erica. Senn decided to show up and we immediately started the demo up. It’s great when the whole team is there skating together. Hometown Hero sightings, one. After the demo, Senn disappeared.

We started off for Lawrence, Kansas with rain pattering along in time with music the headlamps illuminating the droplets in precollision course for the windshield. It looked like

jumping to warp speed, the drops stars rushed past us. Fireflies

fluttered in fear as we disturbed them like kids with glowsticks on

Halloween. They burst into glow or died on the wet glass of the shield, leaving a residue of phosphorous green until the rain cleansed it away.

Out of nowhere, Mark Waters, our old team manager, called Bam’s cell phone and said he was in Lawrence waiting for us. We met him at a hotel and spent the night hanging out with Mark and his two dogs.

June 10

We decided to go swimming in a nearby lake. The lake was

very muddy, and the deep soft mud squished through your toes as you waded in the coffee-colored liquid. Mark’s dogs had a ball in the refreshing water, and we all got a break from the intense heat.

The demo was at a cement public skatepark. Elissa was in full biker gear and we skated to the cheers of the large crowd of skaters. Hometown Hero sightings, two.

Brian a.k.a. Brain bought a football earlier, and after the demo we ate burritos and threw the ball around. The burrito I ate didn’t sit well, and I projectile-vomited liquids and rice into the street. We parted with Mark Waters. It was fun seeing Mark again and strange seeing him in Kansas of all places. The rest of the crew and I decided to drive to Des Moines, Iowa where our next demo was. I drove the three hours to Des Moines and tried to check into a hotel. No dice. I was told there was a pork convention in town and that all the hotels were booked. I tried fifteen different hotels, and each one of them called another three hotels for me, but still no luck. It was now 4:30 a.m., which makes it June 11. They told us we’d have to drive east to get a room. We drove to Newton a half hour away and got jacked again. We ended up driving all the way to Iowa City a full two hours away, checked into the hotel at 7:30 a.m., and fell asleep.

Our plan was to blow off the demo in Des Moines. We figured since we couldn’t get a room in that shitty town because the world had to gather to celebrate (of all things) pork, and we’d gotten no sleep, then f k Des Moines and most of all f k pork. Pork! Think about it. Fat f ks looking all greasy, milling about a convention center, sampling and tasting little hunks of pork prepared endless ways on little toothpicks. Dipping sauces everywhere and a constant droning soundtrack, brainwashing everyone into thinking pork is “the other white meat.” The porkerel lips glazed with pork slime being licked after a plump cube morsel of honey-glazed ham was pulled off of the pick and swallowed whole past three folds of chin and into a festering constipated corpulent digestive system and borderline heart failure because instead of watching TV and eating pork, the American has to walk around to get free pork.

Mike Maldonado swore he would never eat pork again because of this, but ended up just giving pork a warning.

I woke from my deep sleep at one in the afternoon and figured it was my duty to call the shop and tell them we weren’t coming. The guy Justin told me they had rented a roller rink just for us and the demo was at 3:30. I told him I’d come with or without the team. His partner Clancy has had Toy Machine come out to his shop many times and is a cool guy. I was thinking clearly now and realized I didn’t want to disappoint the skaters in Des Moines who had been waiting for months for us to come. I told the team what I was doing and told them they didn’t have to come. It sucks getting no sleep, then driving two hours, and then doing a three-hour demo. But everyone came with me. We made it there on time and skated the rink with obstacles in it. Hometown Hero sightings, zero.

After the demo Bam locked the keys in the van. While waiting for the locksmith to come, Kerry, Gee, and I went roller skating with a bunch of ten-year-old girls and sketchy dudes stuck in the 80s.

June 12

Today was the Rampage demo in Davenport, Iowa. I’ve been

doing demos at Rampage since 1990, and every time I go it’s a good

experience. The owner Mitch is really laid back and they always have a barbecue going on out front. The team was excited as well, because they knew today would be good.

We showed up and everything was how we expected commence ripping. Midway through the demo, I kicked Gee’s camera once again, knocking off the microphone. He left momentarily and came back with it fixed and kept right on filming. The very next try, he filmed me and my board shot out and cracked his camera open. He inspected it shortly, rage filling up in him, and just hucked the camera into the air letting it smash to pieces on the floor. The crowd cheered him on. Hometown Hero sightings, zero.

That night I hooked up a suite at the local Radisson hotel. We all went across the Mississippi to Rock Island, Illinois, where there was a sort of Mardi-Gras type thing going on called the Gumbo-Ya-Ya. It was Brian’s birthday, and Kerry’s was two days previous, so they went with this incredibly weird guy to his “mansion.” They sat in his jacuzzi for five hours and stayed up all night “relaxing.”

June 13

The demo was at The Pipe in Janesville, Wisconsin. Hometown

Hero sightings, two.

June 14

The demo in Lisle, Wisconsin, pronounced “lyle,” was held in front of the Skate Shack skate shop on heinous chunky gravel, criss-crossed with thick lines of squishy black. There were a few very small obstacles and a bunch of skaters sessioning them. Senn drove up and took a look at the set up and kept on driving, never even telling us he’d been there until we saw him the next day. Erica and Senn spent the day in Chicago checking out art museums and eating good food, while we toiled in a gravel parking lot with kids expecting us to rip. Elissa chilled in the van, hiring kids to go fill up her water guns. They tortured me as I signed autographs by squirting me constantly. Then an all-out water war broke out between Elissa and some local kids. Water balloons came into play and we had to drive off before it got ugly. Everyone was soaked, but it was hot so it was no big whoop.

Brain drove the van through Indiana and Michigan