Major Priority of the Summer
August 7, 2011
A cult of sorts surrounded the film Dazed and Confused amongst the dudes I hung out with in high school. Aside from the usual incessant quoting, there was a drinking (or whatever) game in which one chose a character and did everything that character did for the duration of the movie. For example—if that character drank a beer, you drank a beer. It should be noted that I never saw this game in play, just heard about it apocryphally.
Dazed and Confused continues to be an interesting cultural artifact because it encapsulates cultural rituals that have been lost to the sands of time. Hazing? Lawsuit. Driving around randomly socializing with people? Gas is mad too expensive. Driving a hundred or so miles just to get in line to purchase tickets to a concert by a popular musical acts? I don’t even know if going to concerts by popular musical acts is still a “thing.” Granted, there may be some folk who round up the crew and cruise to the local arena to score tix for the YMCMBxMMG tour, but for the most part the internet has doomed that ritual to obsolescence. At least we don’t have to redial 1-800-TICKETMASTER for 3 hours.
However, two rituals that continue to thrive are SONG OF THE SUMMER, and, for dudes that skate, canonizing the video part of the summer. Before we continue, it will be productive to establish criteria for SOTS. First, it needs to be populist–preferably played ad nauseum on Sirius Hits 1. If the only place one hears/sees it is on some list on GQ.com or some shit, forget about it. Secondly–and this will come into play later–optimal release date for SOTS is February or March, in order to coincide with spring break. Thirdly, one cannot contrive a song of the summer, neither by employing Roscoe Dash for the hook nor by incessant #hashtaggery, RTing, or other Twitter-related forms of self-promotion, including the elusive self-RT. Shit needs to happen organically. That being said, let us get into several candidates for Video Part of the Summer, as viewed through the prism of several candidates for SOTS.
1. Dave Bachinsky in Shape Deuce / Katy Perry “T.G.I.F.”
Back-to-back SOTS happens even more infrequently than repeat NBA championships. Perry’s attempt includes seconhand-embarassment-inducing lyrics and a saxophone solo that may or may not have been performed by Kenny G. It warrants mentioning that the new M83 song also contains a sax solo, as does that one Lady Gaga song and the Jimmy Carlin battle commander. I don’t know if this phenomenon is ironic or post-ironic, but in the course of writing this post I conducted some rudimentary internet research and discovered this Slate piece about this self-same cultural phenomenon. Maybe I should start reading that site.
One thing is for certain: you gotta be real quick on the draw [nullus] to scoop Slate in any kind of pop culture analysis.
ANYWAY, Bachinsky smokes no cigarettes through cheeseburgers in this part. However, he comes off like PJ Ladd’s* redneck Western Mass. cousin, or some shit. Over the past few years, Think** has quietly assembled one of the illest squads out–specifically Bachinsky, Milligan, and that Fuenzalida guy with the sick part in the MIA vid. The company hasn’t been this cool since Eric Ricks was on. However, from their most recent internet promo video, their target market niche remains unclear–blues rock dirtbag perhaps? In any event, I look forward to any video effort they release in the near future.
Bachinsky, should, by all accounts, be rich. However, that might just implode his whole vibe–smoking cigars through expensive cheeseburgers and all. In addition to applying Ladd-esque concepts to Philly steps and transition, he also jumps down stuff in interesting ways. However, the core of what makes Bachinsky interesting is the “never switch” ethos. Similar to a Kalis. Same camo five-panel. Same loose-fitting Venture AWAKE shirt. Same loose-fitting jeans. In addition, he also gives off a vibe that if he wasn’t skating, he would be fixing cars or working in a machine shop or some shit. Like an Oyola “thing,” if Oyola had an exponentially more evolved skill set. Maybe I am overromanticizing here; as I mentioned on the twitter, part of the reason why Oyola’s skating continues to fascinate people the world over is some kind of Springsteen vibe of authenticity, where if the dude wasn’t skating he would be working at a carwash or driving a truck or some shit.
There’s no need to TGIF when one lives in a a seven-day weekend.
So imagine my surprise when Oyola reveals in his EL that he does, in actuality, drive a truck for a living. This is like discovering an alternate universe in which Springsteen’s career shit the bed after The River and he ended up working construction in Mercer County.
I would also put forth the theory that a major element of what captivates us about Bachinsky, Oyola, and East Coast skating in general is the more developed cutural history of that part of the country. Note: I am not hypothesizing that this makes east coast skating qualitatively “better” or some shit, but the more developed cultural history enables one to make mental connections that add layers of meaning to skating. For example, New York exudes money and sex. DC oozes power and money. Philadelphia, with its Revolutionary War-era narrow streets, reflects the bro-centric ideals that made America cool in the first place.
2. Morgan Smith in This is Not a Test / David Guetta “Where Them Girls At?” (any remix without the Nicki Minaj verse)
“Where them girls at?” A universal lament–or call to arms, depending on one’s point of view. Again, we find an artist attempting to recreate SOTS transcendence. However, while the chorus almost gets us there, the lyrics lack the narrative complexity of “Sexy Bitch”–SOTS 2009.
Similarly, Morgan Smith rides the wave of his recent Social Withdrawal part and victory in BATB4 into this summer’s Blind amateur video. Re: BATB4 — I am unsure which of the Simmons “levels of losing” PJ’s loss this time reaches–possible “Alpha Dog” or “Stomach Punch”–but the recent B’s cup performance leaves a PJ BATB victory as sole remaining Boston “sports” grail.
ANYWAY, upon viewing This Is Not A Test, Weiss’ non-inclusion of “In the Evening” –which he used in the trailer–vexed me somewhat. ‘Cause that’s the best time for skating in in the summertime–in the evening. In the evening, or six o’clock in the morning. That’s what effective music supervision does–adds layers of meaning. However, Weiss’ thoroughly middle-of-the-road (in a good way) taste in classic rock lead him to choose “Spirit of Radio” for Smith’s part. I always thought Rush*** was underused in skate vids. You had that one Jamie Thomas part, Oyola in Static 2, the SHS intro, and outstanding first-part music supervision in Serge’s part in the Sub Zero vid. Actually, come to think of it, that seems an acceptable amount of use. I always thought it would be tight if someone edited a ten-minute promo to one of their ten-minute prog epics. Indeed, Smith ostensibly could have compiled enough footage to skate to La Villa Strangiato in its entirety.
Like Bachinsky, Smith displays a propensity for five-panel hats and lines at Raleigh Courthouse. That one line there that ends on beat just as Neal Peart propels the song into the bridge (or post-chorus or whatever) is, at press time, the line of the summer and one of the best ever at that spot. It also pleases this site to see someone riding 7.75-ish boards. However, unlike Bachinsky, Smith has focused in on loading dock ledges as his chosen medium. Perhaps his next part, in conjunction with a pro power move, will constitute his Moving Pictures.
Pudwill “Torey Pudwill’s Big Bang Theory Video Part” / “Tupac Back”
Will the Lex Luger scary-horror-movie-music/Wagnerian-death-march style of beatmaking ever fade from popularity? Not that I am complaining–Ferrari Boyz is the only full-length lp release to which I have looked forward in the past five years or so. “Tupac Back” functions like this summer’s “B.M.F.,” which was probably last summer’s hip-hop SOTS. I base this on another SOTS indicator–number of times one hears kids singing it–like a mental patient–while skating.
ANYWAY, in this case, Tupac is not (yet) back, but another early-Nineties Bay Area resident is, after a fashion. A couple years ago I deemed Pudwill evolutionary Sanchez, and since then his penchant for mind-numbing trick selection fueled by power and speed has grown exponentially. Note that the number of pushes before the head-high backside tailslide (seven) equals the number of pushes before Sanchez’s f/s flip at 7th street. I’m also suprised it took almost twenty years after Sanchez’ (mind-munbing at the time) hardflip for someone to do one over a table off flat. If this rate of progressions persists, next year someone is due to switch 360 flip over a table off flat–if someone hasn’t done one already. I think that is some kind of LA urban legend or some shit.
However, vibe is the critical difference between Pudwill and his antecedent. Sanchez–head case, NorCal cool guy. In contrast to that (and Oyola’s mayorization of Love as well), Torey’s overall approach — as seen on the twitter, etc — suggests a SoCal-style no-holds-barred party. More chicks, more beer, more weed. More flip in/outs. And everyone’s invited. A couple of days after this part came out, some kids at the park were suggesting that he would be sicker if he just did power moves, like the aforementioned head-high b/s tail. That assessment is purely subjective, but kind of like saying that Yngwie Malmsteen would be so much better if he played tasteful Clapton-esque shit. Dudes like Yngwie and Pudwill do what they do because they can.
Wes Kremer “This Summer’s Transworld Video” / YC and Future”Racks”
Technically, “Racks” falls short of the criteria for SOTS I outlined above; according to rudimentary internet research, the song came out in late November of last year. However, at a certain point, a song transcends Song of the Summer and becomes Song of the Year; “Racks” deserves a spot in that conversation.
What makes “Racks” so fucking badass? Qualitatively, the vocals are like nothing I have heard before–even within the realm of autotuned singing/rapping. It doesn’t matter what they are saying, the meaning is conveyed by the manner in which they say it. In addition, Young Chris and Future invert a long-standing popular music tradition. Instead of matching depressing words with happy music (i.e. that “Last Kiss” song that Pearl Jam covered, “Girlfriend in a Coma,” and a million others), they synthesize celebratory music with an anxiety-ridden melody. Indeed, the first time I heard it, I assumed they were complaining about skyrocketing interest rates (ratesonratesonrates). However, the authors also go into great detail about the conflicts created by rack accumulation, including obtaining naturalization status for a lady friend and an addiction to a certain brand of jeans that look like something that “The Situation” wears. I am curious to why I have not yet heard a remix–classic tactic for extending SOTS life expectancy–on the satellite radio. Perhaps because it’s approximately as long as Rush’s 2112 overture.
ANYWAY, back to the video part. After the first 1/2 sec. of early Nineties Pete Rock music supervision I’m sold. Funny how, with some video parts, all one needs to hear is the first couple notes of the song and its apparent that some sick shit is about to commence. Carroll’s FF part comes to mind.
Although nothing in this part achieves the badassery levels of the sw heel up/bigspin/fakie hards line from last years DC web part, shit is badass–the most badass Transworld vid part since Bob a couple years ago, or possibly even Welsh. And similar to “Racks,” said badassery stems moreso from the way in which Kremer does shit than what he does–sw crooked to regular, for example. Seems to keep it local as well, which I admire. Must be sick to live in a town with a multitude of downhill ditches with skatable “coping,” or whatever. On the other hand, the City Hall clip makes me wonder if any East Coast footage will surface in the near future.
Finally, as pilot light noted, dude is well-rounded as fuck. Kremer undoubtedly knows that it is essential for a contemporary gentleman to be well-rounded, whether engaged in a furious barstool discussion about the best Rush record, ordering an expensive cheeseburger, conducting reconnaissance missions for loading dock ledges, or selecting the song that encapsulates one’s summer priorities.
And if you ever ask a girl on the beach about the book she’s reading and she replies “Oh, it’s about radical faith,” run.
*As noted in this well-executed review on quartersnacks
**All-Time Think Top Five: Shao, Shafer, Ricks, Johnston, Smyth
***I saw Rush in March 1992. Truth be told, at the time I was more psyched on Primus, who opened. Copped the Pat Duffy shirt, which has since been lost to the sands of time.