Not The New Venture Video Part 1
Before you strap on your skate nerd helmet and dive into this 24-year-old collection of raw footage, here’s a brief explanation (and of course disclaimer) as to how this came about.
First off, the disclaimer: This is not a completed video. It's basically a cut down transfer tape. While many present day companies strive for that glitch-tastic VHS-C-to-VHS-deck aesthetic, this video simply looks that way because it was actually made that way. It was never intended for public viewing. Only as a means of measuring roughly how much footage each rider had for the upcoming video. So know going in, this won't make the next Brainfarm reel. This is for die-hard skate nerds only. Take it as it is or move along please.
How this came about: In researching our 10 Videos That Never Were article for our September '14 issue, my good friend Chris at @dearskating reminded me that there were long running rumors of a lost Venture video. He also sent me a link to Ronnie Bertino's "part" (The one that ended up in Think's first video Partners in Crime ['91]) posted on Jake Rosenberg's YouTube. After completing the article for the magazine, I decided to ask Jake if he still had all of the footage. Sure enough, Rosenberg—an archivist of monumental stature—quickly responded that he believed he had a full VHS tape, containing all of the footage (circa 1990-1991) on hand before the project was axed—and the highlights of that tape are what you see before you today.
Upon visiting him at his Culver City Bandito Brothers offices to pick up the files, Jake also strongly urged that I reach out to Greg Carroll, who most skaters over the age of twenty know as the brother of one Mike Carroll, and who, while heading up Venture during the early '90s, had made this video project one of his main priorities. Greg has an entire story of his own—having risen through the ranks with his brother on H-Street ("This is SF with the Carroll Brothers"), to running Venture, riding for Dogtown, and founding Think and Street Corner Dist., then helping run Girl, co-founding Diamond, Lucky, Empire Dist., and more… and much of that is also covered in the interview below. At any rate, after 24 years in a storage vault, here is Part 1 of the footage, the full story behind Not the New Venture Video along with the big picture of Greg's life, circa 2014.
Intro and Interview: Mackenzie Eisenhour
Let's start with the obvious question. How did the prospect of this 1991 Venture video come about?
Well, back then, obviously I was the Venture team manager. But I had come over from the Gullwing camp, from when I rode for H-Street. And Gullwing had put out a team video (Inside Out ['88], and later Full Power Trip ['90]) for a trucks team which no other truck companies had really done at that point. At the time, I pretty much had all my friends on Venture. There were also people still on from when (Steve) Rocco was the TM before me. I just thought it would be rad. I had such a big team, so many great skaters, I figured even if I only got a quarter of those guys sending in footage we could have something incredible. I wanted to use it as a marketing tool for Venture but I also wanted to just give exposure to a lot of these guys. Back then, nobody had even heard of somebody like Scott Johnston. Scott was pretty much the first guy that I sponsored solely off of his sponsor-me tape. His sponsor-me video basically became his part in this, then Think Partners in Crime.
Jake (Rosenberg) mentioned, a lot of this was sponsor-me footage and the goal was to mix it with the new footage. Who else was on Venture at that point that wasn't in this transfer tape?
A lot of people. Sergie Ventura, Mike Vallely, Sean Sheffey—basically the whole Shut team. I would send cases of trucks out to them. Then also all of Hosoi's team. A lot of the Alien Workshop guys too. I snagged a bunch of those guys off Tracker. Duane Pitre, Rob Dyrdek, Lance Conklin, Bo Turner.
So all these guys would have also been in this video? Plus Cardiel, Wade, Bertino. It would have been nuts.
Yeah. We had James Kelch too, Jovantae (Turner), (Kelly) Bird. Around 1990-1992 Venture pretty much had the biggest team. But they were also all up-and-comers that eventually either became top pros or ended up running the industry.
As far as Cardiel, I've heard people credit you with finding John or at least giving him his first video part. Is that a fair statement?
Not really. I can't take credit. Basically, when we were kids, we went up to the famous Boreal Mountain Contest (1990). I think I took my brother, Rick Ibaseta, Stuart Way, and Jovantae in my mother's truck. She had this big old Suburban and we drove that up and slept in it. But John was at that contest. That was that first contest where he just appeared on the scene and got noticed. Keith Cochran (Think) and Red Dog (Dogtown) were there and they saw him and Red Dog approached him after that. When I got on Dogtown, John and I started hanging out more. I had a car so I would drive up to Grass Valley where he lived, and that was where a lot of the footage came from with him walking in the fields, jumping off the bridge, and that night footage where I pull him in my car towards that bump-to-gap. I can't take any credit for finding him. I hope that I helped put him out there though.
That footage was meant for this Venture video though correct? This would have been Cardiel's first part?
Yeah. That footage was meant for the Venture video but it wound up in the Dogtown video (DTS, The Video ['91]).
John Cardiel’s part from DTS, The Video (’91)—all footage from the Venture video.
I was going to post John and (Wade) Speyer's parts from that and Bertino's Think part along with the footage Jake gave me so people could sort of imagine the whole thing as one. I think in '91 this video would have been a gamechanger.
Yeah. It would have been off the charts. Especially with the guys like Salman (Agah) and Sean Mandoli. Those guys were just getting noticed. And even Corey Chrysler (RIP) would have been in there too. And to me that was really Ronnie Bertino's breakthrough part. He was really young and just insanely good. Karl Watson was another guy. He would have been in there. Spencer (Fujimoto), Ed Devera, JJ Rogers would have been in. Nate Lyons was incredible at that point. Ali Mills. There might even have been footage of Chris Fissell.
No way. Chris Fissell of 1281 ('91) fame?
Yeah. That guy was just super tech right then. Right when pressure flips came in. He was right up there with Chris Hall. I think he got into religion or something. He got out of skating pretty quick.
That Powell freestyle guy, Cameron Martin, is in this too. So random.
Cameron Martin! Yeah. What a trip. Trent Gaines is in there. Even Kareem (Campbell) might have had footage. He was on Venture. Kamau Abayomi was in there. He grew up with Mike and I in Daley City. He lives in Indonesia now and is the manager for some B-Boy team out there or something.
I bet some of the lesser-known guys in this video will probably be the most stoked when we put this up.
Yeah. They're going to be like, "Finally" (laughs).
I watched it through the first time with my friend Chris (aka @dearskating) and he was friends with Steve Robert so he filmed a quick clip of Steve from it and emailed it to him. Steve wrote back almost instantly like, "Where did you get that footage!?"
(Laughs) Yeah. What a trip. 23 years later.
Your part ended up going to the Think video too?
Yeah. Pretty much the biggest part I ever had was in that Think video.
How did the decision ultimately get made to scratch the project in favor of those other two videos (Think/DTS)?
I think what it was at the time; it was a culmination of things. First off, it just got frustrating to try and get footage from so many people. At first I was thinking maybe we should break it up into different volumes. But then, at the time we knew we also had to get a video out for Think and a video out for Dogtown. Those companies really needed to establish themselves. Whereas Venture was already sort of established. I'm pretty sure too right around that time Think also split from Dogtown. Dogtown and Think were under Deluxe at first. It wasn't even called Deluxe yet, it was called Beware. Then Dogtown got their own warehouse from Deluxe and that was when it split from Think.
Ronnie Bertino’s part from Think, Partners in Crime (’91), also initially Venture bound.
So we took Think and just moved it into the Venture warehouse, which was where I was working out of most of the time anyways. Then that was when we really got to be on our own with Think. We started our original distribution company that at first was called Real Deal Incorporated. Then because of New Deal and Real skateboards we had to change the name. Keith (Cochrane) and I were doing a lot of stupid things in our lives at the time so we came up with the name Street Corner Dist. Anyways, through all of that, the decision was made to just focus everything on the board brand videos. And that was how this Venture video ended. Some of the footage went to those two videos but everything else we had of riders not on either of those companies just got shelved.
Was it weird to see Think pull the plug this year?
Yeah. When I left Think in '02 I kept my shares. And in doing that it was always a loss. Every year I got to write it off on my taxes. Then all of a sudden two years ago I got this call from Eric Swenson's sister saying that they were going to dissolve Street Corner. At the time, I was like, cool, whatever. I guess that's done. Then it went under another distribution for a little while longer and I saw them at some contest, this guy Rob Collisson, and I told them, "Whenever this is over let me know." Some other guy was like; "You can buy it off them now for five grand." I was like, "No, when it's over. When it's done." I had some ideas for it, mostly as a platform for some of the early artists we used but who knows; sometimes when things are done they just need to be left alone.
What has your path sort of been since Venture and Think? I know you were at Girl for a minute, then Diamond, and then lately I have seen you became a Reiki therapist.
Yeah. I worked at Girl for three years. Then at the time Diamond was still under their distribution as well. I owned a part of it at the time and just felt like it wasn't getting to where it should be getting. I thought it should be huge.
Like it is now.
Exactly. Nick (Tershay, aka @nickydiamonds) felt the same way about it so we decided to pull it out of Girl and started Empire Distribution, which ran for three years. Empire was more of a management company for a lot of brands. To help them grow. At the beginning I think I had way too big of expectations as to what I could do. My ego was in the way and it was just ridiculous what I thought I would be able to pull off. This was in '07 and then in '08 the economy crashed. My partners and I all lost a lot of money. Finally on October 31, 2010 we had to close the doors, right on Halloween.
After that, honestly, I basically had a nervous breakdown more or less. Not really a nervous breakdown exactly but more of just like, "Holy shit. Who am I?" An identity crisis. It was the first time since I was 18, actually really since I was 16—that I didn't have a brand attached to my name. I wasn't Greg from H-Street, or Greg from Venture, Greg from Dogtown, Think, Lucky, Girl, or Diamond—all of a sudden I was just Greg Carroll. And I was like, "Holy shit. Who the fuck am I?"
Wade Speyer’s DTS, The Video part (’91). Imagine this in with all the rest.
So I went out to this park in San Francisco every day and meditated like, "Who am I? What do you want me to do next?" All I would get back was "Just be yourself." I was like, "I don't even know who the hell I am." I wound up getting married in November of 2010 and then my daughter was born in February. So in between that, my wife finally told me, "Look, you keep getting the same download. 'Just be yourself'. Why don't you be a consultant. Be a life coach. You like helping people. Start this healing practice that you want to do, and do that."
So I've been doing that for the last four years now. Recently I've had the itch—I have two kids now and I have to help out my wife with the bills. The consulting stuff was good for a while, I had some pretty good clients, but now it's kind of slowed down so I'm thinking maybe I need to get back into the skateboard industry if I can. I'm going to put my feelers out over the next couple of months and see if there's anything I would want to do. It was hard in the beginning because people would look at my resume and just be like, "There's nothing we have at your level. You’re like upper level management." We'll see. I'm just happy to be alive.
That's rad. Yeah; I saw your posts on Instagram over the past few years and was curious what kind of life change you had gone through.
I don't know how much you know about the background story with me and Mike's relationship with our mom.
Just what I've seen in the Epicly Later'ds and heard through the years. That you pretty much raised Mike and yourself alone.
Right. So, it's been about four years now but I actually reconnected with my mom too. Her husband committed suicide in their house and my uncle called me up and told me that I needed to go up and help her out. At first I didn't want to deal with it. I hadn't seen her in 23 years. I figured, "What's the point now?" But then my conscience hit me. I got in my car in Irvine, where I lived at the time and drove up there. The house was like a hoarders/flea market scenario. She had dementia and I ended up taking care of her for the next three years. During that time I pretty much lost all of my clients, went through other major financial problems. I lost everything and just recently got back on my feet. It was pretty crazy, a wild ride, but all in all, I'm good.
Wow. That's crazy. So this video almost goes back to exactly the same time that you became the head of the Carroll household. 23 years ago.
Yeah. What a trip. I can't wait to see this thing now. It's going to bring back so many memories.
Follow Jacob Rosenberg: Instagram: @jacobrosenberg Twitter: @banditojacob
Folow Venture Trucks: @venturetrucks
Follow Greg Carroll: Instagram: @Greg_s_carroll Twitter: @Greg_Carroll
Follow Mackenzie: @deadhippie