Five Favorite Parts With Josh Wilson

Intro & Interview by Farran Golding
Collage by Requiem For A Screen
Skate Photo by Mike Heikkila
Illustration (via Board Graphic) by Will Gaynor

Having left New Jersey to go tomb raiding with Dick Rizzo in this series’ sister production, we return with Josh Wilson for an installment of “Five Favorite Parts” underpinned by the QS-backed tenet of “your friends are your favorite skaters” – whether they’re childhood acquaintances or personal heroes turned teammates.

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Guy Mariano – Blind: Video Days (1991)

The first video I ever got — when I picked out my first skateboard — was Blind’s What If? and it has an easter egg for Video Days, which Herb Newman, who owned the shop SkateWerks, told me about.

I’d watch Video Days instead of What If? I was ten years old, so I wanted to learn what Guy was doing because he’s this little kid too. The rest of the video was inspiring, everyone can say that about Gonz’s part – Jason Lee’s style is so good too, he has some great lines – but watching Gonz back then, I was kind of confused. His skating was out of this world, whereas I could relate to Guy because it was standard-ish tricks and maybe I could hop on the curb outside my house and do some of them. To this day, I find myself skating curbs, mimicking lines, thinking about what Guy would have done in Video Days.

I think it showed me what’s possible. I didn’t know you could get on handrails; I’d never seen that. At J-Kwon, when he does the little ollie on the bank, boardslides the rail, stops and picks his board up – it’s up to his chest. It’s huge for him. It’s funny that watching a video from the year I was born inspired me to do that versus a video that came out in 2002 or ’03.

This and Mouse are my favorite Guy parts. I’ve liked some of his Instagram stuff lately. He did a line where he skates a curb cut and crooks this cart out of it, goes back up the curb and switch crooks this other thing out of another cut. That’s what I want to see from him. I’m thankful Herb showed me that bonus feature.

Fred Gall – Alien Workshop: Time Code (1997)

It’s a very telling part of who Freddy is. It’s edited in a way that’s, like, “This is Fred Gall and he’s from New Jersey.” There are trains and he grew up next to a train track, the skating is powerful – cruising through the subways of Philly at night – and I know he filmed a lot of this part on acid. How the fuck do you do that?

There’s that clip of him in S.F., skating down the street super hard, and he and the filmer almost get hit by a car. That always stood out. I like all his parts but with this one, it’s young Freddy, it’s true to him and there’s no kitschiness about it. It’s raw skating filmed on some shitty Hi-8 camera.

In Jersey, I think we – or I – grew up thinking you don’t need a spot list to go do your thing. You can come across a spot and just know what trick is right for it, and I think that’s how Fred skates. Fred was an attainable Jersey character, for me. I was actually there for one of his tricks in Inhabitants when I was a kid. That day I was like, “This guy’s my favorite skater.” Then I dove in.

It goes back to liking local videos more, because with some of the spots he skates, I’d know that’s here or there, or that’s Philly and I could go to that spot. I could relate to him pushing down the street in New York and crooking a ledge more than anyone in California grinding a handrail.

Alien Workshop – Transworld: The Cinematographer Project (2012)

Mind Field very much informed how I view skating and what I wanted to skate, then Cinematographer came out and it felt like Mind Field times a hundred. It’s a special part that I find myself coming back to all the time. It’s really the last piece of the Workshop in the form I knew it as, and can relate to.

Benny Maglinao killed it on the edit. It’s only seven minutes long, but all the footage is so standout. I can remember almost all the tricks. The impossible over a table by Dylan Rieder – I heard about it a year before I’d seen the footage. Donovon boardslides this across and down rail, Tyler Bledsoe back tails between those stairs, Jason Dill is back three’ing over benches in a school yard, Gilbert is doing tall bump-to-rails. [Jake’s] kickflip to front tail in S.F. will forever be one of the craziest examples of that trick. That block is huge and I don’t understand how Jake did that.

I’ve gotten background on it from Chad [Bowers] at Quasi, because he was the Workshop team manager. Like, they were at that blue pool in Pittsburgh, and had to go to New York for something, but Dill didn’t get his trick, so he made them drive back the same day – which is amazing.

I was inspired by Gilbert and Jake when I was younger. I am now, but it’s different. Skating with them made me revisit this part and start thinking I needed to step up or approach skating in a different way, because some of what they’re doing isn’t “traditional” but it’s incredible. Jake nollies into backside wallride and I don’t think anybody had seen that before.

Getting on Quasi, I almost didn’t feel like I was deserving at the time. Like, “I’ve put out two or three video parts in New York, I’ve never travelled or done anything like this.” Filming for Mother, I’d watch a bunch of Workshop stuff with Gilbert and Jake, and try to do something similar or figure out, like, “They have this thing that’s their thing. What’s my thing?”

It made me think about what’s different in skateboarding.

Brian Clarke – Outdated by J.P. Blair (2012)

I live with J.P. and I’ve filmed with him since I was 12 or 13 years old. I’ve known Brian since I was around 15. He’d come to Drop-In Skatepark in the winter if it was snowing, while he was going to school in the city.

When I first moved to New York at 18, I wasn’t skating much. Brian and J.P. would call relentlessly, leave me voicemails and force me out skating again, so I have to thank them a bunch. With this, a bit of it comes down to that connection, but it’s all the tricks too. A lot of people from that era of New York skateboarding kind of got skipped over. It’s the generation before the likes of Dick and I who were doing the skate thing really hard: Kevin Tierney was getting some shine but Brian Clarke, Adrian Vega – even Jason Carroll – weren’t getting that much.

I guess I just know the work Brian put in for it. He does this backside noseblunt to fakie that’s, like, twenty feet long and over a grass gap. I was blown away. I couldn’t believe someone could slide that trick that far and he’s not hooked up. That pink rail he does the gap-to-feeble on is insane, it’s level with where you pop. He did that, then got on a train back to college for his finals.

On a local level, it showed me how things are possible in your area. We didn’t really have “the industry” growing up, so when I’d see a [local] skater come out with a part I’d think, “Whoa, that’s crazy. Look at that spot! Let’s try to find that. I’ve never seen anyone else skate it.”

He put this out and then he was like, “Alright, I’m over it. I’m going to be a firefighter.” He was in that process while filming for Static V. He’d already taken the test and I think he thought, “I’m going to get this last bit of footage because I don’t want to get hurt before I get hired.” That’s pretty epic.

Eric Dermond – In Crust We Trust by Wes Van Heest (2013)

Derm and Wes are from my area of New Jersey. I grew up filming with Wes and skating with Derm.

He skated since he was two years old. I think his dad skated, so he’d ride a board all the time as a kid. He was very inspired by the likes of Quim Cordona and older skaters with interesting styles. He’s very natural and it’s crazy because he doesn’t skate anymore. I haven’t had contact with him for four or five years; I don’t think anyone has. He got into massage therapy and started taking that more seriously.

It’s very well put together, the music is good, his style is on point and it’s nostalgic to me. This was probably my favorite part when it came out, and I can still list it as one. It might not be the craziest skating, but it looks good and stands out. Instead of skating a classic spot everybody knows, there are all these other things which make for a great clip, like the weird bluntslide to bluntslide on the inside of the red pyramid.

At the time, I was watching all the “industry” videos, but I was more inspired by things I saw in real life and people I was interacting with on a daily basis. We had a good skatepark [Drop-In] with a good community growing up; a bunch of older people who guided us in the right way of thinking about what skateboarding should be. That helped in deciding what we wanted from skateboarding. There were a lot of little different crews too. I don’t know too many Jersey crews now, but maybe it’s because I’m further removed.

Previously: Maité Steenhoudt, Jahmir Brown, Una Farrar, Chris Jones, Mason Silva, Beatrice Domond, Mark Suciu, Justin Henry, Breana Geering, Sage Elsesser, Bobby Worrest, Nik Stain, Anthony Van Engelen, Dom Henry, Bing Liu, Andrew Reynolds, Cyrus Bennett, Jacob Harris, Jamal Smith, Paul Rodriguez, Gilbert Crockett, Ben Chadourne, Tom Knox, Louie Lopez, The Chrome Ball Incident, The Bunt, Lacey Baker, Andrew Allen, GX1000, Brian Anderson, Gino Iannucci, Josh Kalis, Sean Pablo, Wade Desarmo, Chris Milic, Chad Muska, Hjalte Halberg, Danny Brady, Bill Strobeck, Aaron Herrington, Jerry Hsu, Brad Cromer, Brandon Westgate, Jim Greco, Jake Johnson, Scott Johnston, Josh Stewart, Eric Koston, Karl Watson, Josh Friedberg, John Cardiel, Pontus Alv, Alex Olson, Jahmal Williams

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