Most skate videos by the big companies get flowers and praise from the skate industry. If people buy these videos on DVD or Itunes the companies will keep making them. As a librarian I read scathing reviews of books, and I sometimes wonder if that honesty or voice could have a place in the skate world.
I bought Zero’s new video ‘Cold War’ about two weeks ago, and even though the skating is gnarly and crazy good I’m not too into watching it. My most negative thought on this video is that they used two songs by the same group Minor Threat. Plus the video uses a song by Fugazi, the group of the lead singer of Minor Threat, Ian MacKaye, about ten years later. I’ll give the Fugazi a pass because the song is different enough, but two songs by Minor Threat on the same 40-minute skate video is pure laziness by the music department.
Remember H-Street and the original Plan B? Hokus Pokus in 1989 may have used the same bands for their soundtrack, but it was original or at least non-mainstream bands. In 1990 H-Street came out with ‘This is Not the New H-Street Video.’ The skate world immediately was memorized by Matt Hensley popping a full cab over a picnic table in slow motion in the intro of that video. The rest of the video had about 7 ‘Operation Ivy’ songs. Yes everyone went and bought that Operation Ivy CD with 20 one-minute songs, but H-Street played that group out.
Life, a company under the H-Street umbrella, came out with ‘A Soldier’s Story’ in 1991. Again everyone was glued to Sean Sheffey’s part and his huge pop. However, I recently watched that video on youtube, and they used some of the same Operation Ivy songs that they used in the 1990 H-Street video. That is lame, and no wonder a lot of those H-Street skaters jumped ship to World Industries.
In 1992 Plan B had the amazing ‘Questionable Video.’ A year later in ‘Virtual Reality’ I think they used several of Casual and Hieroglyphic songs, they were bay area rappers, and they were popular in the skate world. Too much though makes the music played out. In 1993 a lot of the Plan B and World riders left for Girl Skateboards.
Music selection is important for skate videos. I think it makes or breaks a video. Tony Cervantes part in the new Zero video uses the first Minor Threat song. The part starts with him insanely dropping in a rooftop, carving into a lower roof, and then he ollies a huge gap. The song kind of fits the part. However the second Minor Threat is s longer song, and is the choice for the Friends section. The song amps the viewing and was a really good choice. If they consulted me, I would pick another tune for Tony Cervantes part.
Quickly I’ll review some of the parts. James Brockman has the opening part to a solid heavy metal song. He does some ridiculously huge frontside 360 ollies and they look good. Tommy Sandoval’s part is the one I’ve watched the most out of all the parts. His caveman appearance and skate style of doing huge drops while still being tech is incredible. One trick is of simply a huge ollie, I paused the video, and it was like a twenty stair. He also frontside kickflips a huge staircase I think larger than the ones Andrew Reynolds is famous for. I’m surprised that Jamie Thomas had a full part. There are a lot of pro skaters in their upper thirties at this point, but Jamie Thomas is still skating big rails and huge drops. Other street skaters of a certain age like Daewon Song and Guy Mariano are pushing tech as opposed to testing gnarly skating like in the Zero video. Dane Burman has the end part for good reason. The last trick of the video is one of the gnarliest 50-50 grinds ever. It’s like an 8 stair rail to a long flat rail to a 10-foot drop. Plus from the top one side is a straight drop to the ground.
Zero has promoted this video for a long time, and I think the music department did not match the level of skating. I’m surprised because I thought the soundtrack of their 2009 video ‘Strange World’ was amazing. With DGK’s video ‘Parental Advisory’ I thought having an all hip-hop soundtrack was redundant. I could say the same thing about this video that they over did it on the punk and heavy metal. I think a skate video soundtrack should be like a good mix tape, variety but still a stamp or preference for a type of music and lifestyle.
For a similar style of skate video that I do watch frequently on my itunes is The Deathwish Video. In that video they use a David Bowie song and an Alice Cooper song. Those two songs are similar n genre and tone, but are two distinctly different artists. Here is my review of The Deathwish Video from last May. I still watch it regularly.
Below is a free video, ‘WTF’ by Foundation that has an amazing soundtrack and opens up with Minor Threat!