Philadelphia in 1995: My Idea of Skateboarding

OK, not to post two back-to-back items about SLAP features but I really dug Mark’s blog post about skateboarding in 1995. I dug it because I’ve always felt similarly about a lot of the videos he mentioned.

“I’m 22-years-old and I’m from Philadelphia.”

As I type this Matt Reason’s part in 411 #12 Pro File 1995 is playing in a browser window right behind this one. Matt Reason’s skating is skating on brick. Seriously. This part is included in the first skateboard video I ever bought (when you’ve been moved from Hawaii to Iowa, your local shop goes from being Hawai’i Kai’s Town & Country to California Cheap Skates): Best of 411, Volumn 2. This is the only part of Matt Reason I’ve seen (Mark says it’s his best), although I vaguely remember footage of Matt Reason skating in color while wearing camo cargo pants (which would cut to painful footage him getting a psychedelic sun tattoo on one of his shins). Does that ring a Liberty Bell?

What I do know is the Ricky-Oyola-barging-about-City-Hall-talking-into-a-mic “Philly Metrospective”. I wrote about it in my post about Pops.

Also included on that Best of 411, Volumn 2 VHS, don’t forget, was the Flip team’s “The Industry” section, replete with a British brass section soundtrack and some guy with a real cool red jacket writing his “dat” a letter while drinking tea and eating Cadbury Creme Eggs and marshmallow Peeps. “Don’t worry I’m eating well and getting plenty of rest. Did you know you can get a hamburger 24-hours a day ova’ here?” That’s what I would have written if I was 12 and on living out some skateboard pipedream anywhere remotely urban and skateable. Mark really liked Tom Penny’s part, and I guess I did, too, but I thought Geoff Rowley and Rune Glifberg were a bit more interesting. Tom’s skating looked fun, but I always thought it was weird the way he would hunker over and stare at his new skate shoes between the tricks in his lines. Did his eyes get watery in front of the camera?

Dan Drehobl in Think’s Damage. Honestly, I only became aware of Dan Drehobl’s skating in 2006’s Krooked Kronicles. Soi-wee. But I do remember that year–I had just graduated college and was delivering pizza and doing data entry 60 hours a week to save for my move to San Francisco. I watched Kronicles every Friday afternoon after skating–my only day off–while shoveling down take-away sticky rice ($1 at Taste of China) topped with white chicken breasts ($1.50 at John’s). I really dug Dan Drehobl’s skating (and affinity for skating while smoking cigarettes–a habit I gave up 23 days ago) because I feel like he was skating “urban transition” in a way that was really interesting…bla bla bla. I actually told Dan Drehobl this my first night in San Franciso at some punk rock dive on Mission Street past Cesar Chavez (that was also the night I spied Brad Staba’s name on the door guy’s guest list and, incredulous, I asked him “Does that read Brad Staba?”). Anyway. Later that night Dan Drehobl and I actually had an even-level conversation during a smoke break outside. I told him I really wanted to start contributing to Thrasher. “Oh,” he said. “You gotta talk to Schmitty. Hey Schmitty!” He called over Schmitty, who was real nice, and he said if I wanted to pitch to the mag, I had to contact some guy called Ryan. “And bug the hell out of him,” Schmitty said. “That’s all–you keep calling and pitching and bug the hell outta him.” Eventually when I got Ryan on the line, months after I’d settled in SF, he was ready to hang up when he said, “hey, are you that guy who said in his emial he’d talked to Schmitty?” Yeah. “Oh, OK. In that case, yeah, do that story. 1000 words by the end of the month.”


Oh, yeah. Heath Kirchart and his part in Foundation’s Rolling Thunder. I actually saw this quite a bit closer to 2000 than to its actual release-date. It was probably a CCS clearance item. Compared to the other skaters on the team (the young Steve Olson does flatground tricks at an inch-a-second…), Heath Kirchart was, I was keenly aware, far ahead of his time. Kickflip back lip on a seven-stair. Gnar. In college in Iowa City, the Alien Workshop team rolled through on a demo tour. This must have been 2002. Heath Kirchart, obvs, had made the switch, and I recall talking to him on a bench outside the Full Kit. Very much the insecure, star-struck kid, I told him I appreciated what he said in this video about being himself and being a dork (in the dark-roomed interview, you notice, Heath Kirchart hits his chest with the retard hand). I said I thank you for being a dork and wearing tight pants. I was, in all my nervousness, speaking metaphorically–very confusing. Heath Kirchart, along with benchmate Jason Dill, glanced down at my ratty, baggy jeans. I guess, judging by the way they both quickly looked away and launched into an unrelated, private conversation, they did not appreciate my metaphoric message.

Finally, yes, Josh Kalis’s tre flips. I neither can figure out the embed so I’ll link to the same site hosting Kalis’s break-out part in Toy Machine’s Heavy Metal.


4 Responses to “Philadelphia in 1995: My Idea of Skateboarding”

  1. yeah there was some good stuff in the air back in the 90’s. “back in the day when I was young, I’m not a kid anymore, but sometimes I sit and wish I was a kid again” -Ahmad-

  2. Matt Reason’s part is still pretty decent by today’s standards. Sick post.

    • Yeah, right? I wonder what happened to Matt Reason. Or Vern Laird. Surge Trudnowski. It seems like for a minute they were at the center of East Coast skating and then I never heard of them again.

  3. […] run-up, one of the brohans, walking past me on the sidewalk said, “Hey, this ain’t no LOVE Park, is it?” I was thoroughly confused. “You know. You’re from Philly, right?” […]

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