Branding Masterclass — Trucks

March 27th, 2018 | 5:00 am | Features & Interviews | 21 Comments

Words by Frozen in Carbonite
Collages by Requiem For A Screen

Few choices in life communicate as much about their owner as the skateboard truck. Board companies vary by woodshop, clothiers get bought out by global conglomerates, shoe brands come and go at the mercy of the vicissitudes of fashion, but the Big Three (plus one?) truck brands remain with consistent brand narratives that — for whatever reason — synergize with the most mindblowing slogans in the culture.

With that in mind, and with no end in sight to the #trend of starting brands, we will deconstruct the marketing tactics of the Big Three (plus one?) truck companies, focusing on their most iconic and immortal slogans.

Join me, won’t you?

Sabotage 5 — #theprocess Continues…

January 4th, 2018 | 5:00 am | Features & Interviews | 12 Comments

Photo via @brian_panebianco on IG

Words by Frozen in Carbonite

“The Process” refers to the Philadelphia 76ers’ management philosophy under former General Manager and President of Basketball Operations, Sam Hinkie. In a nutshell, The Process contains three guiding principles:

A. Minimize competitiveness in order to obtain high draft picks.
B. Stockpile those draft picks in order to maximize trade values.
C. Delay “trying to win” until the team drafts a transformational, once-in-a-generation player. Based on the history of the NBA, this is mainly how teams have set themselves up to win championships.

This strategy requires a shit-ton of patience. Nevertheless, over the years “Trust the Process” has become a mantra, a philosophy, and a rallying cry for 76ers fans.

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Back in the essay on the Philadelphia sports mythos, I focused on #toughness as Philadelphia sports’ guiding principle. Nothing exemplified this in 2017 more than Sabotage 5, in which Brian Panebianco and his usual suspects — plus some new additions — skated Love Park until every last slab of marble had been extracted and nothing remained but a few dirt banks into which to ollie.

On the other side of town, perhaps as a form of karmic balancing of the universe or some shit, something happened to the 76ers basketball club: They became sick-ass fun to watch.

So here we are, at a crossroad in which the Sixers are displaying flashes of basketball genius, Process believers looked ahead to a promising future, and the Sabotage crew released their final video chapter. As an homage to both #theprocess and the extensive Sabotage legacy, let’s take a deep dive into how the two crews match up.

An Interview With Ross Norman

November 30th, 2017 | 7:23 am | Features & Interviews | 6 Comments

Photo by Corey Rosson

Words & Interview by Frozen in Carbonite

The American archetype of The Cowboy as a metaphor for an “outlaw” lifestyle is around 150 years old. The New Jersey classic, “Wanted Dead or Alive,” which just flat out states “I’m a cowboy” is probably the least subtle example of this. Ross Norman’s 2008 Last of the Mohicans part, on the other hand, is more cerebral. The juxtoposition of the Highwaymen classic “Silver Stallion,” and Norman’s technical-yet-relatable #lowimpact skating stood out in a sea of women’s jeans and Modest Mouse edits.

Through the sands of time, the Mohicans part developed a cult following — devotees including Hjalte Halberg, who stated on the record that he stole all his tricks from Norman. Recently, the dude made a comeback of sorts, going pro for The Vacation and branding himself as a North American plaza specialist, an almost impossible job description. Indeed, based on the current state of North American plaza skating, one could even call him a desperado or some shit.

So we caught up with one of your favorite skater’s favorite skaters to, A) get into what he’s been up to for the past decade, and B) shed some light on one of America’s last standing organic plaza spots.

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Where are you from, and how did you get into skating?

I was born in Torrance and then moved to the Santa Ynez Valley, which is near Santa Barbara, CA. That was when the Powell SkateZone was open. I started going there in 1992 when I was twelve years old, and saw some contests that got me stoked on skating. Kinda started from there, and skating street after that place closed.

How did you link up with Joe Perrin and all those Florida guys?

I skated for Status Skateboards back in the early 2000s, and Mike Rosa was on the team. He’s from Orlando and skated for Westside, so he knew John Buchanan, Dowd, Renaud, all those dudes. I met Rosa on the first Status tour — it was a two-month tour that Van Styles talked about in that Nine Club interview. We went through Florida, so I met Renaud and Nix when they were like fourteen or fifteen — like, tiny little kids. And Josh Dowd skated for DNA, which was the sister company to Status. Dowd moved to Hollywood, Rosa and 80s Joe were staying at his place, and I’d always go and stay with them. Rosa and 80s got their own apartment, and I basically lived on their couch for years.

Who was most influential on your skating coming up in Santa Barbara?

The Church of Skatan guys were the local rippers. Dylan Gardner was kinda like the hometown hero dude. He skated for Neighborhood and was in magazines. He was super sick in the mid-to-late 90s before he got all hesh. I learned nollie flip nose slides just because he did them. But I grew up on 20 Shot, Trilogy, early 411s — all the classic mid-90s videos. L.A. was really close, so I Iooked to that kind of skating as being influential. Gino, Pupecki, Pepe, Welsh… those dudes were and will always be my favorites.

The Ethos of the Forbidden 14 With Dana Ericson

November 8th, 2017 | 5:00 am | Features & Interviews | 51 Comments

Words & Interview by Frozen in Carbonite
Photo by Lee Madden

“A man must have a code.” — Omar Little and/or Bunk Moreland, The Wire (HBO, 2002-2008)

You might remember the Code of Hammurabi from 9th/10th grade world history or some shit. Long story short, it functioned as the first written code of law in the history of human civilization.

Four thousand years later, from a socio-anthropological perspective, skate spots — and more specifically, the almost-extinct inner city plaza spot — are mini-civilizations with their own dignitaries and codes.

Love Park — don’t push mongo. Embarcadero — don’t get in Mike or Henry’s way. Along those lines, Boston’s Eggs has developed its own code, a central component of which is the infamous “Forbidden 14.” When I first heard of it, it took me back to the days of vibing anyone that did a street grab or railslide. On the other hand, when you saw someone with a nose and tail worn down to the wood grain and a pristine graphic in between, you knew they weren’t fucking around.

When I referenced it here, a substantial amount of #engagement erupted in the QS comments section. So, we hit up Eggs local and Alltimers rider Dana Ericson to shed some light on one of Eggs’ most elusive and #controversial hidden codes.

For the culture.

Frozen in Carbonite Presents — Song of the Summer x Video Part of the Summer 2017: The Summer of Angst

September 27th, 2017 | 5:00 am | Features & Interviews | 7 Comments

Words by Frozen in Carbonite

I turned 40 this summer. Eschewing a crazy-ass party, trip or any other type of midlife crisis-type behavior, I kept it mellow and went out to my local™ bar. Street skating over forty is unknown territory, but if you manage to stay fit, there’s what I call the Reggie Miller Effect: one’s physique remains essentially static, but one’s capabilities — whether because of reflexes or vision deteriorating — decline exponentially. It’s all about managing expectations. 360 flips might flip slower than in the past, but maybe one adds backside nosegrind reverts on small ledges to the repertoire. Other summer activities function in a similar manner; one might not be able to make it to OVO Fest, but maybe one could chill at one of those tiny New York hotel pools with a bag of tequila taped to one’s thigh.

This #frame gives one hope heading into the fall A.K.A. skate season. Indeed, while this may be the first S.O.T.S. x V.P.O.T.S. post without a part from an according-to-Hoyle physical release, at press time, we were still digesting the 917 and Traffic vids, plus anticipating the release of Sabotage 5. So with an eye towards hoody season, let’s take a look back at the songs and video parts that fueled summer ’17.