Etnies Album

Yesterday a solicitor woke me up with a phone call an hour and a half before I needed to get up, it was a robot caller too, so I couldn’t even tell them off or make some weird ass noises, or my go to, a sloppy, wet and elongated fart sound.  But I was up, so the day was on, after my standard coffee and Instagram toilet scroll(and equivalent for my dog), I was off to the skate park.

It’s a mile and a half trip, a couple years ago I thought I had finally been struck by an injury that would require some solid time off the board to recover from, so like many of us, I just carried on.  The issue just got worse, I could barely walk in the morning, the arches of my feet to my heel were in agony, any time I landed primo, I was limping home.  I started to do some internet searches and discovered I was overusing the muscles in my feet, in particular, the one in the arch of my foot.  This was coming from pushing every where I went, pushing for three miles to and from the park every morning, pushing around the city for countless miles in the evenings I had the energy for it.

This was pretty bad news, living in downtown Philadelphia, I had to face my new reality, I can no longer street skate, TRULY street skate, which, YES(!) is totally different than skating the streets.

There was going to be no more throwing my board as I walked out of my apartment building and cruise the streets, hitting what’s ever in front of you, getting the trick or not, hitting whatever known spots, stoops, curb-cuts and whatever else comes across your path.  Now, in my early 30’s, I had to start biking to whatever I wanted to skate.

I will say the relief for my feet came in about a week and a half, it was definitely worth it, but I do miss the freedom of being able to skate from one end of the city to the other, catching whatever tricks I do, but I gotta stop thinking about that feeling.

So that brings us back to this morning, being a little groggy from the early morning robocall, I get to the park, lock up my bike, take a swig of water and throw the board down.  It was like riding into mud as I heard my back right wheel chirping at me like a bird.  “Fuck.” I thought as I found some inspiration in the words of Rob Welsh, “It’s just one bad wheel though, the rest are good.”  I however, am not Rob Welsh, and this wasn’t just a bad bearing, this was like I had glued one wheel to the axle, and a back wheel, the first few times I tried a trick, I lost so much speed when the back wheels were carrying the momentum and speed as I popped that I went forward like I had hit a pebble.  The wheels had also worn down from 53’s to 20-somethings.

I shook my head and tried not to think about the early phone call on top of what may be a bad skate.  A few deep breaths later and I was determined to not have a bad session, adding a few situational-anger infused pushes up to every trick definitely helped as the blown bearing sang like an enraged canary for a little over an hour.

After work I went straight for Nocturnal, the counter shelves looking about half full of wheels and bearings, like a few re-ups were already being shipped, so I was nervous about the selection, but, they had my favorite wheels, Spitfire Classics, 53mm.  Always a win when the shop has EXACTLY what you want.  I snagged some Swiss Bones, the Spitfires and told myself that’s it.

I scanned the videos on the shelving behind the employee at the register and didn’t see anything new, the few I still want, I couldn’t justify it in my head to snag on this visit.  Then, I saw it over the employee’s shoulder, Album.

“How much is Album?”

Both employees stared at each other with confusion as the man at the end of the counter frowns at me with a smirk, “What?”

“Etnies, Album, the video?”

They both laugh and shake it off, “I seriously had no idea what the hell Album could have been.  It’s six.”

Six?! Fuck yes, I want it!

I opted to not take a bag, I’m not sure how many sizes they have for bags, but when I snag shoes from Nocturnal, the bag is like if a paper grocery bag came in plastic, all I had was a set of Spits, some Swiss Bones and Album, which comes in a sleeve.

Threw the bearings in my back pocket, held the wheels and video in my left hand(I currently only have back brakes on my bike anyway(right handle), due to riding a busted ass bike I’ve had since Middle School and don’t really give a shit about, because the thing is a fucking rock, unless it gets stolen, I’ll put good money down that if I make it into old age, I’ll still be cruising around on it).

I’m only about a ten minute bike ride from Nocturnal, at least on my 21 year old, 21 speed mountain bike(also carrying a heavily rusted chain, which pops off if you go into too low of a gear), I’m sure on something with a little more quality could get me there in five, depending on red lights.

I wasn’t really in a rush to watch album, hitting the skate shop was just one of the errands I needed to run as an adult that day, still had to hit the grocery store, get my dog some walks and actually switch out the bearings and wheels, give my kitchen a much needed cleaning and eat at some point.  Being single definitely keeps life simpler, but everything is on you.

But don’t get me wrong, I wanted that video, I wanted to see it, I wanted to buy it before it became hard to find, it had a few of my favorites(fuck, that’s another post I need to write about, favorites) who I prayed for full parts from.  I knew about the music that went with the video, giving it the title it has.

So that was my first thought, beyond the skating, is it a concept video, not like Guilty, but more along the lines of an Extremely Sorry, but Extremely Sorry had the stop-motion intros, unless Album has some skits or something, can it be a concept video anymore than any other skate video?  I think no, it’s just the fucking style and music choice, like an Alien video, Emerica, or a Stereo video, they aren’t concept videos, it’s just the style.  And this is Manzoori, so it’s style.

I thought about the names and possibilities, I may be a bit cynical about getting excited for videos, but after 24 years of swimming around in everything skateboarding, I can think of a lot of times, pre-internet(as we know it today), around the time where maybe you had a 411 commercial for the video, maybe something at a trade show you could see at some California skate shops, promo around a minute or two long.  But on the east coast, it was just ads in the print and video magazines, you and your friends could hype it up, the internet and message boards seemed to make things getting even more overblown, too much collective hype, you expect too much.  Maybe only the first Sorry video, when it originally came out, and Fulfill the Dream, The Storm too and Welcome to Hell, all the original Plan B videos, they lived up to the hype, I’m sure I’m missing some, but a good amount of videos that were over hyped either took a few years to realize how good they really are, or, unfortunately were solid, but over hyped and became unmemorable, there are loads of reasons for that to go down.

The best are the ones you don’t think too much about, maybe you get a little giddy when you see an ad in the mag for it, like, Can’t Stop.  That was one for me, I was super excited about it, but I couldn’t even think of what to expect, especially when you start to think about the names who are in it, I wanted to hype it, I wanted to to talk about it before it even came out, but you can’t really, not like you can with other videos, Can’t Stop, it had Beach, Mountain, Barbee, Jani, Sarmiento, Burnquist, bunch of ams that killed, like Mikey fucking Chin(!!!!)  It wasn’t what they were going to do, it was how to prepare yourself to watch that video, and Can’t Stop DELIVERED.

Album is just like Can’t Stop, I saw the names, Willow, Tancowny, Reyes, Berger, Trevor McClung, Barney Page, Nick Garcia, Aidan Campbell, Ryan Lay, even the ams/newer additions are heavy hitters… I have to admit, I didn’t know too much about Doogie, or Koichiro, I was expected some gnarliness from Samarria(my ex girlfriend had a large cable package, including Vice, so KOTR plus my bible subscription, I knew she was going to handle some weight), but again, with these names, their skills, can you really know what’s coming, can you hype it beyond, “Pffft, you don’t even know, I couldn’t even tell you.”

Maybe it’s going to suck, maybe it won’t, maybe it’ll be the video of the year, there’s something about trying to comprehend a video like this that’s exhausting, you want to just say, “Shut the fuck up, wait until it comes out to talk about it.”

So after I knocked out all my chores and errands, my cat chilling in her tree with a full dish of food, dog knocked out on the sofa with a tired body and full belly, I snagged a beer and flopped down next to my dog thinking, music or Netflix?

Then I remembered, Album!

I popped up and tore off the wrapper while the disc drive on my DVD/VCR opened, it still had Saturdays in it from the stoke I got on Tony Hawk’s 50 tricks for his 50th birthday, also, we can always use more Hawk in our lives, Riley or Tony.

I sat down and stared at the video’s menu, “hmmm, gotta check for hidden features at some point.”  I don’t know or think there are.

The intro sets you up for what’s to come, spots all over the world, spots you’ve never seen, classic spots, epic spots, some of the heaviest spots, they hit everything and the intro let’s you know it.

The regular footed McClung opens the video with an amazingly solid part.  There’s something really relatable about his style, I think it’s in his arms, his arms do what yours and I do when we skate, the things we may not like about our skating, he has and pulls off, which is sick as fuck.  Plus again, looking and feeling more relatable, makes you, the viewer get that much more pumped up and itching to skating.  You see him doing wild shit, like a switch flip front noseslide 270 out in a line, and you can see yourself doing when you watch his skating.  It’s more than seeing, you feel like you could do the things he’s doing, get what he gets out of skating, super dope.  He’s also unbelievably tech gnar, throwing some wild flip tricks into rails.  He’s got a nollie flip that I think should have been his second to ender, instead of his like fifth, seriously the guy just keeps going.

Then we attacked with the epic power of Doogie.  Raw as fuck, hard as fuck, wrecking spots with wild tricks, like a tall-ass 180 fakie manual, huge switch b/s flips off ledges and over barriers.  He hits tricks with strength! New York, Mexico, Canada, Cali, he’s got the spot and trick selection you’re looking for.  He fucking tears shit up!  Doogie is without doubt, a new favorite, can’t wait to see more.  Guard rails, benches, walls, natural hips, ledge gaps, street gaps, stairs, he seriously fucks with it all and will own you.

Then we get Berger.  Tech Gnar god.  He hits some super sketchy spots, LARGE spots for grinds and slides.  Matt Berger fucking brings it.  Weird shit you don’t know how to feel about, wild shit that gets you pumped and jumping in your seat, he gets BUCK on some long and kinked rails.  It’s what you want and what you’d expect from Berger, he even has you calling out, “no… no-NO FUCKING WAY!” a few times.  Handles it.

Nick Garcia has the next spot.  Kills it with next generation Matt Field hippiness.  Some of his lines, if you explained them to someone, it would be something they could easily say they didn’t want, but once they saw it, whew, he’s how you do that oddball shit, he’s also just a straight beast at natural tranny, bondo spots, he’s got all the tricks and others you wouldn’t even think of.  Super heavy and solid part, on second viewing while I write this, it may be one of my top four or five parts.

Jamie Tancowny up next.  This is a part I would have paid twenty dollars for.  He skates unlike anyone else, plus, there’s a Tony Tave guest trick in his part, so already double bonus points.  He was a guy I was always worried was going to be slept on or dropped by the industry, his skate style is so unique and his abilities DEEP!  But his style, his tricks, he gives off that wild card vibe you worry corrupt shit will overlook him for.  His skating is everything you wanted if you’re a Tancowny fan, if not, I don’t think you care about the right things when it comes to skating.  He still rips hard as nails, he still goes for it.  I really really fucking hate comparisons, but I’m feeling a Dollin vibe, just in skate style and attack, from Tancowny.  He hits some major steep bank switch more than once too.  Jamie fucking Tancowny, one of the reasons I bought this video and definitely has one of my top three parts.

Koichiro is up next and kills it like a plaza version of Barker Barrett, fucking comparisons again!  Koichiro is a damn delight and totally pulls shit I could only dream of doing, reflexes and quick feet have a new champion, I can’t wait for him to put out a new full part.

Shecks and Reyes share a part.  David Reyes is another reason I needed to buy this video.  He’s a stuntman who can also hit ledges and stairs with a Jerry Fowl- DAMN IT!  Comparisons are so hard to avoid when you’re in the moment watching the video(and only for the second time.  In person during a viewing I can see the acceptance of comparisons, but in writing, I’m not a fan, a person is their own, influences, yes, but still, I don’t know, whatever).  Reyes slays in the tech gnar fashion you’ve come to love(Etnies has some wicked riders, tech gnar is Cole level skating and I’ve been using that a lot).  Shecks, I don’t know anything about the dude, but I remember when his MTV show came out and skating at the park, the amount of kids that talked shit and said they hated him, but spent hours at the park quoting his TV show and talking about him, I thought that was more ridiculous than anything Sheckler did, I mean, watch early interviews with him, he straight says he wants money, he got it, he did proactiv commercials, MTV reality shows to get it, but he got his money, he’s still skating, still making money, love him or hate him, he throws his body down some wild stuff in his shared part with the beautiful work of Reyes.  They both fucking deliver, if you ever doubted Reyes in the past(which, how?), there will be some times you have to double check if it’s Shecks or Reyes tossing themselves down something insane.

Willow!!!!  Willow is up next. fucking christ, Willow.  I only found out about him through Extremely Sorry, I think I saw an ad or photo before, but only remembered because of the name, not the ad.  I didn’t want him to vanish after Extremely Sorry, like some of Flip’s ams did during those pre-Sorry and Sorry years, I’m so stoked he’s still mainstream and easy to find when you need the fix.  Him and Pfanner, both German, skate… see again, comparisons while watching.  But both those guys, so damn epic and totally their own within skateboarding… wait, is Pfanner German, or Swiss?… Maybe Austrian, damn, I think the last interview about where he’s from that I read was in a Skateboarder Magazine… Willow though, fuck, hammers, hammers galore.  The happy stoked attitude in bleak, cloudy and cold skate spots, his part is so good, so raw.

We’re taken from there to Arizona, where Ryan Lay begins to destroy in his bizarre, one of a kind way, while also still being super gnarly, nollies, awkwardness, he handles smoothly, his curled wrist style during high-speed lines.  He hits some REAL big shit, gets weird on some heavy spots we wouldn’t think of.  Lay is always a treat and a motivator, those nollie kickflips and nollie heels are how you want to do them, watching him throw them down gaps just makes you want to run out to the street and throw a couple on flat, like when you throw a front board and think Arto, fuck it, video reviews are too hard without comparisons. Ryan Lay brings so much to his part, another one that I just didn’t know what was going to happen when his intro started.  So good.

Then we get us some Barney god damn Page.  Such a treat, such a fucking delight.  That old school Euro spot/background mixed with world traveling and Page’s approach.  Enjoyment, that’s what you get from a Barney Page part.  The, “fuck it, let’s skate anything, I just want to be in it.” attitude and energy is what I get from watching Page.  The attitude of just skate and feel good about it.  Plus he does it so right, he – damn it, another comparison – Ron Deily-esque- but at the same time his own skater entirely and like, 90’s skating but on steroids, fuck, he’s so good.  Can’t get enough Barney Page.  If you don’t want more Barney Page after watching this, then, I don’t know.

Then we get another one I was stoked on seeing, Aidan Campbell.  Being in my 30’s, having so many of my early idols and later idols still ripping and owning as they continue to grow as skaters, it can sometimes be a bit of an easy choice to write some new kid off, I did that with Aidan Campbell, but it was one of those random thoughts of seeing something from him and thinking, “Meh.” to immediately challenge, “No, see, you know nothing about this person, this kid, you’re about to write them off as nothing.” so I made myself find everything Aidan Campbell that I could online, made me fall in love with the dude’s skating.  His part is everything I could have hoped for.  I’m super down for this guy and can’t wait to see what more he brings to skateboarding.

Then we got the closer, you know it’s coming after Campbell’s boardslide, there can only be one thing left.

The Terminator – Chris Joslin.

I watched his Nine Club, I own Plan B True and love his part in that.  I’ve seen him in the magazines and read some interviews with him.  He just fucking wrecks.  The man is just destroying, I know he’s paying on the rehab end, just physically, but he’s fucking eating it up while he can and if you can’t get into it, you’re a god damn hater.  He devours, period(.).  Fucking slayer.

That nollie flip, though.  It was straight on…  And that fakie heel down the double, fuck Joslin, man… dude isn’t halfway done with skating yet either.

If you didn’t see two songs coming from this pitbull, then guess what, your shoes untied, now I got your wallet, peace bitch.

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