Wheel companies barely scrape any semblance of the footage submission hierarchy. It’s the board company, the shoe sponsor, the high profile independent video, the Transworld part or Thrasher section, a goof-around section in the hometown video, guest tricks in friends’ parts, and then maybe, if a wheel company is rude enough to ask for footage for a full-length, they get the scraps.
Got Gold? was one of the last true pre-internet videos. Companies could still get away with packaging B-sides and parts from dudes who weren’t going to have full sections in any board company videos (i.e. half the guys in it rode for Lucky Skateboards at the time), and selling it for $20. The line-up on the box looked good, so everyone bought it. Got Gold? was as commonly seen on VHS shelves in the early 2000s as Sorry, Harsh Euro Barge, or any other video of the era worth remembering, even though it was nowhere near as thoughtfully put together. This was right before it became impossible to keep track of every skate video that came out in a given year; Got Gold? became a classic by default, sorta how seventh and eighth seeds in the Eastern Conference become playoff teams for no reason more than that there has to be eight of them.
Between Henry Sanchez’s embarrassingly lovable rapping, a serviceable first post-Wonderful Horrible Life Ryan Gallant part, some solid cameos, and a great Marcus McBride ender, Got Gold? is great at capturing a specific time. It helps that it was one of the first videos in my mind to embrace terrestrial radio hits as music supervision choices around the time of their peak relevance (“Oh Boy,” “Take It To the House,” et al.) This was a time when white widescreen bars were still the standard mode for big budget rap videos and rappers had yet to grow weary of interjecting everything they do with lines from Scarface. Got Gold? ate all that up, and syphoned it into a skate video — because chances are, no proper board company at the time would let their video go as wild with latent feelings of “We’d honestly rather make a rap video.” (Ok, maybe Shorty’s.)
Thirteen years after Marcus McBride skated to “Bonnie & Shyne,” not much has changed. The new Gold video is a bit more tightly edited, and the movie cut-ins draw reference from every facet of pop culture imaginable, not unlike Bronze with A.D.D.
There are no expectations for wheel company videos. They’re a blank canvas, with no rubric of “that’s not good enough for your video part.” When’s the last time a video featured multiple instances of pros simply doing half cab noseslides mid-line, or even a kickflip backside 5-0 on a ledge? A Gold rider’s rendition of lighthearted skating is based around devolved versions of tricks that people are flipping into and 360ing out of these days, rather than no complies and wallies. You can’t ride for Gold and do no complies, are you insane?
The Gold team is something like four dozen people, with many of the more unknown names going the hardest, while an ensemble of established pros stop by for three or four clips that, in many instances, surpass some of their recent, more “serious” stuff (e.g. Desarmo’s Peace Park footage alone is chiller than his tricks in Blood Money.) Darrell Stanton makes a twenty-second comeback, a Stevie cameo is missed, and Rodrigo TX remains the most prolific-yet-forgotten-in-the-“best dude out”-conversion skateboarder of modern history. After twenty-five or so quick minutes, it’s over.
Board company videos are expected to be the defining document of that company for years to come — wheel companies take whatever clips they can scrounge up and make due with them. Gold Goons is the mixtape that everyone ends up liking more than the album, because it’s, you know, fun.