Videoradio – An interview with Greg Hunt and Jon Holland – 20.1

During the summer of 2001, Jon Holland and Greg Hunt went to Europe with the Circa team to start collecting footage for the next installment of the TransWorld video collection. Originally they hadn’t set out to create a video from this sole occurence, but once they saw the magic of Jamie Thomas, Chad Muska, and Tom Penny together, combined with the hours of footage collected, they knew they had the makings of something special. Different in all respects from TransWorld’s other videos, Jon and Greg explain the premise behind this documentary.

What’s the name of the new video?
Greg Hunt: Videoradio.

How did you come up with the title?
G.H.: Throughout the tour, the guys did a couple interviews for Swedish radio and some other radio stations. We also did a lot of audio interviews because we knew we wanted to do a documentary. Skin Phillips interviewed some people, and we interviewed people. So together with the radio interviews, they became an undercurrent that’ll carry the whole thing along. It’s the structure of the video, basically.

What tour were you on?
G.H.: It was a Circa tour in Europe-nine countries in almost three weeks.

Which skaters were on the tour?
G.H.: Jamie Thomas, Chad Muska, Mark Appleyard, Chris Cole, Colt Cannon, John Rattray, Sammy Baptista, and Adrian Lopez. Tom Penny was on some of the trip, too.

How was it being around those guys? I mean, they’re the superstars of skateboarding right now. You must’ve seen some amazing skateboarding.
G.H.: Yeah-definitely. It was a diverse group. The demos were really, really gnarly.
Jon Holland: It was pretty much wake up, search out spots and go street skating, go to the demo, come back, eat, then go skate again. It was 24-hour skating. Jamie Thomas will work you.
G.H.: Yeah. Jamie’ll be the last one skating at a demo, then he’ll eat, and then he’ll go skate. And I mean really skate.
J.H.: He was filming for Zero, too. He held on to some of his really good stuff. But Videoradio is less about skating and more about the moment and the experience; it shows life on tour and the interaction between the skaters.

What was it like having Penny around?
G.H.: He showed up in Paris to surprise Muska-the distributor had set it up. Penny and Muska hadn’t seen each other in five years, so it was pretty intense. We were even surprised to see him because it’s such a rare thing. It was completely unexpected, and Penny ended up coming on the rest of the trip. Just before a train would leave, Penny and his friends would make it on-every time, city to city. I think he eventually started feeling comfortable around everyone, and it turned into a good thing.

Could you feel everyone feeding off the energy when people were skating and things were starting to happen?
J.H.: There were so many people at these demos that the skaters were feeding off the energy of the crowd. Certain demos were done really well; there was a lot of hype, and the kids were super psyched.

How big were the demos?
G.H.: Some were pretty big.
J.H.: How many people would you say were at the Stuggart one?
G.H.: I think there were maybe 2,000 people.
J.H.: So many people that you couldn’t even skate the park. There was a three-foot-wide runway, and that was it. Everyone skated for like five minutes before it got too much. You just couldn’t skate.

Were they all held at skateparks?
G.H.: No-the demos held in arenas or rinks were generally a bit more organized. The skatepark ones, like Stuttgart, were so out of control that Muska actually had to flee because he was chased by kids.

Like running for his life?
G.H.: Really running. He had to jump from the roof of a parking garage, and I think he tweaked his knee. He was really scared. There were like 300 kids chasing him. So it was definitely out of control.

Was that the worst mob situation?
G.H.: Yeah-it was by ffar the worst situation I’ve ever seen or heard about.
J.H.: Yeah-like Beatlemania. It was pandemonium.

It’s crazy to think skateboarding’s gotten that big.
J.H.: It has.

What were your intentions for the trip?
G.H.: We went on the trip to document it but not necessarily to make a video. We thought it might lead to a video if things turned out right. When Muska came on in London and then Penny showed up in Paris, we knew we had a story. Plus, with all the street skating Jamie and everyone else was doing, it was obvious we could definitely make a TransWorld video. But then a lot of my footage was stolen at LAX airport. I had all my footage in a Clark’s shoe box, and someone stole it off the Smart Carte.

What footage was stolen?
G.H.: Almost all the sixteen millimeter and about a third of my video footage. It was devastating. But after going through all our other footage, we knew we could still make something good. I guess I shouldn’t make it sound like the video could’ve been better because we still had so much material.
When you go on a trip, you think, “All right, if we’re gonna make a video, we need this much footage.” But we seriously got three times that amount. Between us, we had 35 hour-long tapes plus almost an hour’s worth of sixteen millimeter. That’s a huge amount from just a nineteen-day tour.
J.H.: Plus all Ryan Gee’s footage.
G.H.: Yeah-and Team Manager Ryan Ries’s footage, Skin’s photos, and Gee’s photos. So even though we lost about a third of the footage, we feel like we still have enough to make an entire video.

I think people will be really stoked to see it.
G.H.: I hope so.
J.H.: I don’t want it to be misleading. Videoradio’s not a Tom Penny part. I don’t want people to pick it up and expect that.
G.H.: Yeah. There are no full parts from anyone. There’s demo footage and some street-skating footage, but it’s really a documentary. Each individual skater is pretty intriguing as a person. A lot of the skating is really good, but aside from the skating, it’s about the people and the experience.
J.H.: In twenty years from now, people will look back and say, “These guys were superstars, legends.” I think it’ll be really cool with age-kinda timeless.
G.H.: Yeah-a cool time capsule, like if someone had made a video documenting a Powell tour in the 80s-something you can always look back on and be fascinated by.

Sounds good. Hopefully I’ll be able to sneak in the editing room and see some clips.