First off, this will be the ONLY entry to ever have a lyric from a non hip-hop song.
Second, I'm not as lazy as one would think from the amount of time since I last updated this page.
I'm married to an amazing lady, I'm a dad to the raddest little dude ever who makes grind sounds when he sees a skateboard, I play in a band that tours for months out of the year and when at home is always recording or producing other artists, I'm half of a screenwriting team that is busy on 3 projects, I am building a motorcycle that will hopefully be done by the time my son graduates junior high, and when my age isn't catching up to me I play hardcore 5 on 5 basketball with a bunch of other geezers, skate like someone who still watches Future Primitive, and Surf like Arizona's own, Rick Kane.
So lest you think your humble narrator a pile who sits around just looking pretty, I have finally found some time to post a little sumfin' sumfin'. (Not that anyone is reading this), and since to quote Rakim, it's been a long time, I've got a lot of ground to cover, so brevity will not be high on the list , so let's get started, shall we?
Note - There will be more than the usual amount of opinion on this entry, so if you are easily offended, afraid of heights, allergic to awesome, or just a pussy, I would skim over the words and just look at the pix.
What can be said that hasn't already been blasted into your living room for the last week nonstop? Still, I have my two cents that I'll throw in the piss bucket.
I don't know if he molested kids (and though I personally don't think he did, that's between him, the kids, and god if you believe in one), I don't know why he fucked up his face to the point of making the cat lady look like Kate Moss (It was all downhill after Thriller), all I DO know is that I knew him personally from the period of Off The Wall through Bad, and he was one of the coolest motherfuckers on the planet.
There's no question his dad did a number on him worthy of a hundred after school specials, and any substantial childhood fame let alone of this magnitude would send most kids straight to a long pilot season in MacArthur Park, but the inner workings of his mental state is not something I can speak about.
What I can speak about is my experience.
I first met ALL of the Jackson brothers and Janet at the family mansion in Encino (My dad worked in the record industry and promoted all the Jacksons and Michael's albums).
I later went to an in-store signing/meet and greet at Freeway Records And Tapes (Old school...and yes, at this point he was still able to do that shit without a riot ensuing).
I saw the Jacksons play live in Los Angeles on one of their final tours. (Probably Triumph, but could have been Victory, still trying to work this out with my folks).
I also went with my dad to a movie theater for the world premiere of a little music video called Thriller.
And finally, following his record 8 wins at the 1984 Grammy's, Michael invited me to hang and have a celebratory dinner with him at his table at the afterparty. (See earlier post for photographic evidence).
Why do I say all of this? Because I fucking IDOLIZED him when I was a kid, as did almost everyone my age. The only difference was I knew him and called him a friend.
This is not to say his death hit me any harder than someone who didn't know him. On the contrary, I would say it made it a bit more strange and surreal, but not any heavier.
When I found out about his passing, I didn't get exceptionally sad as others did....and with the exception of one moment when I saw a childhood picture of him, I still haven't, really.
I can't tell you why, but it's been more of a low grade shock, disbelief, and sadness toward the circus that not only happened following his death, but that has been going on for the last 20 years of his life.
He hadn't been the Michael I knew, nor the the Michael we all knew for a long, long time.
I choose to remember him like this, on the coolest night an 11 year old could ever dream of.
And yes, the Jacket was amazing in person.
And yes, when we shook hands, I shook, "The Glove".
And though I'd hate to disappoint you, no....he didn't touch me.
Meanwhile, someone was having a good time at the BET awards tribute afterparty!
I take great pride in being from The Valley. We spawned a bad Zappa song, Fast Times, the classic Nic Cage flick when he still had hair, and countless other things that don't have to do with the Sherman Oaks Galleria.
That being said this picture rules. As a kid I used to see this phrase tagged on the ground in surfboard wax, painted on walls, and on the faces of angry Santa Monicans (is that a word?)
Venice. Late 70's or 80's.
Not sure, jacked it off someone's facebook.
No doubt these were some of the dudes doing the writing.
Another facebook photo jacking, sorry, but I had to show off two of the homies....
The ruler; Christian Hosoi, and the ever handsome, Scott Oster, if you haven't seen him skate, you haven't seen shit.
Before MJ, Farrah and Ed McMahon died, before South Carolina's Governor Mark Sanford had a Eli Cash type breakdown on national TV, and before Nevada Senator John Ensign broke his "promise" and stuck it in another woman, a little thing happened in Iran, not unlike this little discrepancy we had at the polls in 2000.
I guess one difference between us and the Iranians (though you wouldn't know there were any if you've ever been to Urth cafe on Melrose) is that rather than turn the channel and roll over, they took to the streets.
Actually, I take that back....we take to the streets in protest as well.
Only this demonstration was because some of our most gifted Los Angeles athletes beat some of Orlando's most gifted athletes. This is somebody's mother dancing in the streets as nearby, cars are overturned, buildings burn, and LA pride swells once again.
File under: Embarrassed.
At least that whole Minnesota senatorial race is settled.
Despite putting in a million dollars to help Norm Coleman fight at every level of court, the GOP lost this one.
I don't know what the big deal is, this seems like a perfectly respectable ballot to me?
Does anybody have any Flanders U-Risers they wanna give me for free, just for being awesome?
No? OK. In that case, if you know of a really cheap set that isn't bent, holler at your boy, cause the auction I'm watching on ebay is getting stupid.
The Mayor Of Sunset Junction. Some of you may know of him as "Fi-dolla", "5 Dollar", or "That Guy". But I call him the mayor. It's rare to see him without a huge flag in tow or his little dog in a baby stroller, but here he is with a fucking teddy bear in a wheelchair, just holding it down between Sanborn and Maltman, being epic.
Now guess what they caught from my cousin? The vapors.
I stole this photo (I know, recurring theme, but until anyone reads this blog with any regularity and sends me good shit, I will continue to Robin Hood my way to bloggy goodness) - from Show And Go (amazing site), only for the simple fact that it's my bike as it appeared in 1956, it's year of manufacture.
They shipped some of the first few off to Bud Ekins in Los Angeles, and on that bike he went on to win the International Six Day Trials in Big Bear.
If you are Googling Bud Ekins right now, we can't be friends.
OK, some exceptions.
The Chosen Few.
I absolutely LOVE these dudes, so please, if you are a patched member reading this, don't hurt me for posting this.
When I was sitting with my friend, musical cohort, and motorcycle builder who is doing my bike with me, Michael Barragan (Evil Spirit Engineering), he asked what the theme or"vibe" I wanted my bike to be about.
I showed him this photo.
OK. Everybody is on his jock, posting pix of him, wearing his shoes, running his grips, rocking his boards, I know, I know.
And yes, everything in motorcycle culture is SO fucking trendy now, be it Jason Jesse, flannel shirts, hi-top vans, frisco'd sportster tanks, flake helmets, z-bars, chopper bobber, blah, blah, blah.
But fuck all that, cause this dude is THE REAL DEAL.
I loved him killing it on vert for Real all these years, and I love what he does with motorcycles, specifically his paint. He is so talented, it's almost annoying. I have a tremendous amount of respect for this man and support his business however and whenever I can.
I posted this a while back, but can't for the life of me find the link to the blog of the Danish/Dutch or Belgian dude who sells these for a mere 50Euro!!! So if you know who sells this, please, hook a brotha up. I probably stole this pic off your blog anyway.
Totally misleading box, classic film.
Shout out to my boy, André Boutillier, aka, "peg-leg".
Just one more reason Steve Olson is cooler than you.
An old friend of Steve's, an old friend of mine.
I miss you, Teeks.
I fucking love my wife.
I know, every blog on the interweb has already posted every last Life magazine shot of the Angels, but this one is just off the charts ruling.
The definition of an 'ole lady'. The nose bandage is so hot it hurts.
I've always been obsessed with NYC street gangs of the 70's.
Perhaps it was a product of watching The Warriors too many times as a kid and fantasizing about this mythical place that my mom and grandfather had told me about.
Even though I'm a native Angeleno through and through, I still feel the tug of my family's Brooklyn roots, specifically Brighton Beach and Coney Island.
This image always makes me happy.
Side note - I've been planning this as a black and white piece on my body somewhere, so don't jack it, cause if I see you in the streets running it, I will scalp it right off you. Tonto style.
And a new segment: NYC STREET GANGS OF THE 60'S AND 70'S.
First up, The real life Warriors.
Brooklyn's "Crazy Homicides".
The illest gear ever, perfect style, and a hardcore NYC street gang back in the 60's, 70's and 80's.
They ran the boardwalk for years, and some of these dudes are still around.
They called these "Jew" hats, I call em Hendrix hats, but the truth is I buy em where the Hassids dwell, so maybe they were onto something.
Moving into the early 80's. Prison shot.
Another Brooklyn set.
The Sex Boys.
The name alone is the greatest thing ever, let alone the vests, so simple, so clean.
They are like the Calvin Klein of top and bottom rockers.
There was an LA crew back in the 80's called Sex Jerx that some of my boys used to run with, but this is another level. Late 60's.... "I say, god damn!"
I love them, but wouldn't want to be in this abandoned lot when these dudes blazed through.
Plus, look how they freaked the Essex St. sign.
The Majestics. Early 70's-present. Brooklyn.
It seems like the few gangs from the 60's and 70's that are still standing all transitioned at some point to being MC's.
The Majestics became The Majestics MC.
Their patch changed, no longer bearing a swastika, but still a skull and cross bones with the 13 in the top-hat.
(Side note: being a black man and a Jew, I hate the fetishization of swastikas in moto culture, and yes, I know why it started, as a way to say FTW, and an outlaw stance to piss off citizens, but it's 2009 and anyone running one on a bike or otherwise is sending out a very strong message to both WP skinhead dudes who will think they found an ally, as well as to most people who will just be like, "really dude?" or supremely offended.
My friend is running a few on his pan/shovel, and though I've tried to talk him out of it, he's dead set on it. He was friends with Indian Larry, and he's an old NYC harley guy from the 70's and 80's who came up around the real dudes in the East Village, so I get it, it's in the spirit of the old guys, a big "fuck you", much like what riding a bike in the beginning was anyway - so yes, I get it, it's just an extremely fucked up symbol and I'm not down with it in any way.
But I dig the guy, so what am I gonna do, not be friends with him in protest?
To quote a great man -
"They'll have theirs, and you'll have yours, and I'll have mine, and together we'll be fine, cause it takes different strokes to move the world, yes it does".
One more thing, let's call them what they are, swastikas, cause people in the MC world calling them "swazis" only serves to minimalize the impact of the symbol and underplay it's historical significance, which is rich with ugliness, genocide, modern day hatred, ignorance, and not fresh in any way, and though words and symbols shouldn't have that kind of power, they do.
So, though I swore I'd never run one in my blog, in this case, it's more of a cultural curiosity that a group of black and latino men wore them on their gang vests....not at all uncommon back then, btw.)
End of rant.
If you're still with me, there's some epic pictures below.
The Dirty Ones, Brooklyn.
These dudes weren't playing.
What's amazing, is these dudes were from the Williamsburg chapter of D.O.
Imagine the look on some Am-App-Hipster's face if he came pushing his fixed gear bike up the stairs of his stoop to find these dudes posted up.
When is it OK to start rocking fringe again?
All of the above photos are from an absolutely amazing website that I'm so ob'd with, I almost don't even want you to know about it.
Come to think of it, I'm giving them props right here cause they deserve it and since I jacked their photos to shine some light on classic NY sets, but nobody hipped me to it, I didn't find it on some blog, and neither should you, put in work, beaches!
So if you have fingers and a keyboard and have a search engine in that fancy box you're staring at, I've given you enough info to find it. Ball's in your court, slick.
Meanwhile, back in Los Angeles.
Sugar bear. King of the springer.
Though the white cycle mags of the day were resistant to publish his picture, everyone was influenced by his style.
He still builds and sells his extra long front ends, but like everyone, he looked a whole lot cooler back then.
My friend Michael is just now discovering soul music and black psych rock.
For a starter course, I turned him onto Rotary Connection, Funkadelic's Maggot Brain, Roy Ayers, Gary Bartz, and Sly.
He sent me this with the caption -
"I'm into black people".
I'm kind of ob'd with this guy.
One day about a year and a half ago, my dear friend Kevin Staab set it up so that I could skate his friend's backyard.
I was trying to blast a frontside air over the hip and was having a hard time finding the line to do so.
Luckily said owner of the pool is also a goofy footer, so he did it once and gave me a few pointers. I tried it again, and stuck it. He quickly pulled out his sidekick camera phone, got in position, and asked me to do it again, then when I landed it and rode away he cheered me on like a kid stoked that he landed something for the first time.
I still can't believe that not only did he coach me on it, but snapped the shot himself.
Photo: Tony Hawk.
My band just finished a 4 day tour. It was fun.
It reminded me why I love making music and playing it in front of people.
In San Francisco, while leaving Grubstake, I heard the sound of running and looked up to see this guy booking full speed down a hill wearing only flip flops and a windbreaker.
No pants. No underwear.
We got in the van, and luckily he stopped to make a phone call so we could grab this pic.
Play it W. Axl style -
"Do you know where you are???????"
Legend had it there was a wall in an old Soho building that was like a tomb of graffiti past.
Well it turns out the legend was true, and Fab Five Freddy, Futura 2000, and Basqiuat all hit up on this wall that was recently uncovered just as the spot was about to be turned into condos. (Shocking).
Word is they're taking the wall down whole and putting it in a gallery.
For graf heads, this is some Indiana Jones shit.
Holidays have passed since my last blog entry, let's not be strangers.
Happy Independence Day.