Once Again, For Your Viewing Pleasure
With full acknowledgement on my part in beating the 90s nostalgia horse to a bloody pulp, I can’t help but feel that things are getting a little jumbled up in our appreciation of this highly romanticized era. In the face of full-length feature films, questionable fashion choices revisited and more than a few head scratcher #TBT’s on the ol’ IG, I’m fearful that a few of our most beloved clichès from the late 80s/early 90s film canon are being passed over in favor of lesser honorees. Consider this my last-ditch effort at trying to revive these forgotten faves before the inevitable 90s backlash happens and everyone starts wearing heartagrams again. —ERIC SWISHER
ILLUSTRATION / Keegan Callahan
(Shackle Me Not, Useless Wooden Toys, 1281)
When the only “filmers” were either Stacy Peralta, your Dad or the homies turn, there’s something to be said for the innocence and naïveté of poorly-filmed footy. Back in an era where style was the exception and a “land at any cost” ethos prevailed, it’s easy to see why any concepts surrounding filming and presentation were always an afterthought. But while today’s hi-tech cameras (phones) are cool and all, it admittedly gets a little boring with perfection becoming so standard. Let’s make it interesting again… Give me some bad angles with a nightlight and lens rings on a 12th-generation VHS dub, just make sure the skating bangs. Because complaining about sub-par filming is so 21st century.
(Every Video, pre-2000)
Sure, you’ll get sued. But with even the best of today’s skate cinema quickly disappearing into the Internet abyss, you might as well go out in style when the lawyers come a-knocking. 90s videos had Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Metallica, the Beastie Boys… and that’s just Plan B! We’re talking strictly hits! And when used effectively, it can be argued that a legednary skate video one-ups even the most thorough of record label marketing strategies. (see: Hieroglyphics)
(Claus Grabke’s Eight Dayz in Wheels of Fire, Ron Allen, Titus Skates Band, Tommy Guerrero)
Even at its most unlistenable, skate rock in a video always has a certain charm. Because it’s ours.
(Ban This, Hokus Pokus)
In the grand tradition of such music video milestones as Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home” and Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” this was our version. Because life on the road is hard… and inherently awesome. The recipe remains the same: sleeping in the van, late night hi-jinx, awesome demo highlights, product toss chaos, gas station food and some clips of dudes looking tired in slow-motion for enhanced drama. Sign me up. We all want to go on tour.
The Skate Camp Part
(Shackle Me Not, Hokus Pokus, Propaganda)
Be it the supersonic variety or in lakeside slow-mo, you’ve never been more hyped on camp than when Hensley was there, ripping all the airs. Go ahead and stick your head in trash.
The “Shove-It Followed By Another Shove-It” in the Middle of a Line
(Every Video, 1991)
Seriously, what was the point of this? Style points? Padding for time? I’m still not entirely sure but everyone was doing it, myself included. An entire galaxy of flatground maneuvers and somehow, the pre-pop double shove became a thing. But when done right, cagey veterans will gladly give this throwback the nod over some bullshit JNCOs.
The Unnecessarily Long Manual Clip
(Mike Vallely in Rubbish Heap, I fell asleep in the others)
Nothing grinds a video’s momentum to a screeching halt better than some guy rolling a wheelie for the entire length of a football field… actually, let’s lose this one.
(Welcome to Hell, Questionable, Gonz’s opener in Video Days)
Because skateboarding is hard and everybody eats shit, no matter who you are. Slam montages represent the great equalizer in skateboarding and are sorely missed. Nothing too scary, just a couple quick sacks will suffice in humanizing these guys for us mere mortals. They’ll be basking in glory soon enough, slam sections belong to the people.
(Godoy’s Backside Ollie in Shackle Me Not, every clip filmed by Mike Ternasky)
When did everybody get so quiet? This ain’t some Bergman-eque struggle in silence, make some goddamn noise out there. After all, if videos taught us anything over the years, it’s that nothing will ever top the sound of someone screaming “Yeah” in slow-motion. All hail the Omega Moo!
(All H-Street Videos, Questionable, Peter Smolik)
You’ve just spent countless hours (days? weeks?) risking life and limb to finally roll away victorious and now you want us to believe that it’s no big deal? Cut the cool guy shit. Whether it’s your garden-variety fists-in-the-air or something a little more extravagant, there’s nothing wrong with showing a little stoke. It’s literally what fuels this entire enterprise.
(Jason Lee, Sean Sheffey’s Questionable Rock Vibes, Jovontae Turner’s Now N Later Girls, Brennand Schoeffel at Texaco in A Soldier’s Story)
Remember when Jason Lee famously ad-libbed about a war outside of your window? Or what about Questionable‘s theory about Pat Duffy being a Terminator? How about Andy Howell kicking off his Skypager part in a hot tub with nothing more than a babe and a beanie? Every frame sparkles because the talent never put their guards up. Videos weren’t so serious back then, allowing more space for personalities to shine. Because sometimes it’s what you do off your board, go ahead and give the people a peek. Even if you come off corny, it’s still better than being boring.