I've made jokes about my technological incompetence before (although, sadly, they really aren't jokes), but once upon a time I was a pirate force to be reckoned with in electronic waters. Soon after I started skateboarding in the fall of 1986 in the city of Stevens Point*, Wisconsin, I realized that my meager paper route earnings were not going to suffice in funding what undoubtedly was my new purpose in life. Skateboards were not cheap, nor were the countless—and mostly useless—plastic accessories that I was suckered into believing were an absolute necessity. For this I give due credit to the companies for their marketing prowess and savvy (cut me some slack ... I was an impressionable Midwestern kid, no different than those gullible idiots that became America's worst milk chickens in the '90s); however, it did force me to turn to a life of crime at their expense.
I was fortunate to have two VCRs in our family household at the time, the combo of which I learned to hook-up and make duplicate copies of VHS tapes, give or take a generational degeneration. And with winter about to drop its chilling, white blanket of frozen death upon our scant supply of local terrain, the only lifeblood that remained for area shut-in skateboarders were the few skateboard videos that existed in our town at the time. Primarily the Powell-Peralta classics The Bones Brigade Video Show (1984) and Future Primitive (1985). Someone had a copy of Summer Sessions, too, but aside from the T.S.O.L. soundtrack it wasn't exactly what you could call a source of inspiration.
I was already watching these videos three-to-four times a day, so running off copies while doing so was by no means a waste of time. And the guerrilla entrepreneur in me charged a buck per bootlegged copy to local skaters—the grand sum total of which probably afforded me a pair of Powell-Peralta Short Ribs and, quite possibly, a Tracker lapper. Maybe even a "Board to Death" sticker, too. So although the money was ill-gained, it was equally ill-spent and went right back into the industry pot.
Unfortunately this business acumen did not stick with me in life—such is my half-brained lot as an artist—and this new online deal of mine is simply further proof. I suppose I could have sought out some other company to host this. Better yet, maybe even a company that actually paid me to do it. But no: it's simply another extra-curricular "labor of love" that I'm going out of pocket on. Not that I mind, though, because the other day in the mail I received a complimentary copy of The Bones Brigade Video Show Special Edition from Michael Furukawa at Powell (technically, I guess the company is called Skate One now, but old habits die hard).
I'm not sure if I was meant to review this or not, but it does seem like the right thing to do after my former crimes against the company as a profiteering teenager. Speaking of which, I'm pretty sure there is a statute of limitations on that stuff, right? There better be. If not, perhaps this review will wipe the slate clean and we can both call it even, because the last thing I need right now is Interpol knocking down my door on an obsolete video format charge.
So what makes this DVD a "special edition"? Well, aside from the fancy lenticular hologram image on the front cover, the disc includes the "original" Bones Brigade video feature Skateboarding in the '80s (with early footage of Steve Caballero, Mike McGill, Rodney Mullen, and a Tinker Toy-size Tony Hawk circa 1981–1982), rare interview footage with Cab on the "Turning Point" ramp construction, equally rare Del Mar Skate Ranch contest footage circa 1983 (with a guest high-flying appearance by non-Brigader Tony Magnusson), and a slew of commentary tracks by Stacy Peralta.
One of the most interesting extra features, though, is the inventive way in which Powell went about showcasing the additional footage, outtakes, bloopers, and off-camera bickering. This was primarily done through a "re-cut" of (nearly) the entire video using an excess stock of never-before-seen material featuring Lance Mountain, Hawk, Caballero, McGill, Mullen, Steve Steadham, Per Welinder, Kevin Staab, Eddie Reategui, Dave Duncan, Adrian Demain, Todd Hastings, Chris Iverson, and Stacy. The additional commentary track provided by Stacy on the re-cut is particularly entertaining, and I'm glad he had the honest presence of mind to call out and question why he was tucking his shirt in back then (the shot of him in the pigeon park with his Vato Rat T-shirt tucked into his jeans really is pretty uncomfortable to see).
My only criticism of The Bones Brigade Video Show Special Edition is that Lance Mountain wasn't involved in some behind-the-scenes commentary aspect—especially since he played such a key role in tying a good portion of the video together [incidentally, shown at upper right is one of the original prototype boards skated by Lance in the video with a custom graphic by C.R. Stecyk]. Well, that and if there's one thing I've learned in my 23 years as a skateboarder it's that everything is only made that much better when Lance is around.
* This seems as good a place as any to state that my former hometown just may be getting a decent public skate park facility built in 2010. For more information: stevenspointskatepark.org