Saturday, January 24, 2009

Abandon ship!

Watch out peoples, I just moved the whole Memory Screened blog to greener pastures, aka on Wordpress -not only because they say embarrassing, geeky shit like "code is poetry", or "yes, I read these fascinating terms of service" [add canned laughter right here].
That means I won't update over here anymore, but where Memory Screened is now located, right here. See ya on the other side!

I also moved my other blog A Visual Sound, now to be read here.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Extra : Rudy didn't mean to turn this into an interview

Switch flip, 1993 © Lance Mountain (Thanks Lance!)

You know exactely when you've become an old skater. It's easy: you can be out for a week from a back ache, not a sprained ankle. I mean, paralyzed-style out, seriously. Brutal. That was my wonderful, horrible life for a second. 
Anyway, dry up your tears, let the horns blow, here's the little Extra blurb to accompany the Rudy Johnson post below -I'll try to figure one out for every actual boards page.
Basically, when I went meet Rudy to ask him about his favorite boards, who happens to be the coolest person ever, we ended up talking about a lot more than this, and next thing you know I had a sort of career/little-known-fact nerdish hour of (Ipod) tape. Here are a bunch of interesting things from it. Maybe they were known, maybe they weren't. Enjoy !

1. Me llamo mister Johnson
“My mother is from Mexico and my father is from Costa Rica. I’m first generation here, in America. I got my name Johnson from some weird affair, my great-great-grandmother had an affair with a priest. And the priest was from Costa Rica and she was English. So she stayed in Costa Rica, and her baby was born but he couldn’t carry the last name of the priest, cause he was a priest. So it was 'Johnson.' It’s funny cause people have asked me how I ended up with this sirname my whole life."

2. Comet-ment
"I started skating in 1986, and I remember it was 1986 cause my first board was a 'comet Haley' board! And you wouldn’t see it again for 76 years, so it was a big thing. People were putting it on everything. I was 13 years old."

3. The half pipe conspiracy
"I knew Gabriel Rodriguez before we even skated, we played Little League baseball when we were 10 years old. We both had a quarter pipe and we decided to put them together, to have a half pipe. That was by mid-Wilshire, mid-City, LA. Then I met Paulo, through Gabriel, and then Guy."

4. Do not surpass
"We filmed the whole Ban This part in two weekends. Then Skate TV, that show that Stacy was doing on Nicolodeon, came about and Stacy told us to not surpass in skating what we already filmed for the video. So we just kinda goofed around."

5. Gonzo phonism
"Rocco always wanted Guy Mariano, cause he was into getting the little kids. And for me… I mean, we became good friends with Lance Mountain, we would go and he would let us stay at his house, we were really psyched. He would invite us to his ramp to watch sessions. We’d see Cab, it was so cool. So Lance was really good friends with Mark Gonzales. I guess Mark asked Lance for my phone number. So I was just at home one day and my mom’s like, 'Hey, you got a phone call. I was like, 'Hello, who’s this?' '- Hey Rudy what’s up, this is Mark Gonzales.' I was like whatever, someone is crank calling me. And I hung up. I was like, 'Dude, fuck off.'

6. The Old English saveur
"The 40s board thing was fun. Mark thought of that: ‘It’d be cool to have a board with a ‘40s on there. It’s random.' I remember it coming out, and I don’t even drink, you know? I drank this one though, cause it’s on my board. It got me so drunk man, I was sick. Horrible."

7. Actually, a nice Rocco story...
"You always hear negative stories about Rocco. For once, here's a nice one: when I was with my girlfriend, he let me borrow his $80,000 Porsche from Thursday to Monday, so I can go to the prom."

8. ... And back to normal
"One day Rocco invited me for lunch, and he had this recorder hidden under the table. His plan was to have this be my big Brother interview but I couldn’t let him run it. At this point I was in a really bad relationship with my girlfriend, she’s now my wife but when we were dating it was really really hard, so all I did was talk shit on the tape, and her brother was a sponsored vert skater who was on Powell, we were friends. It was really bad. 
Then Rocco showed me the interview like it was rad. I was like, 'Are you fucking kidding me? Dude, no.' I was really stressed about it, I begged Rodney to change it up, maybe I threatened to quit or something. He told me it was too late to re-do an interview. I was like, 'You don’t have time? Make it up, dude.' Everything. It’s all made up. It’s not even real. Kinda like my Check Out, Mark did it, they just took a piece of litterature from a book and put it as is."

9. Win-win situation
"Around 1999 with Guy we thought that we needed to do something to stay in the skateboarding world, so we started Royal. It's not that difficult, you just gotta come up with a mold. The first person we did with, they never did skateboard trucks. The thing is, with boards you gotta change them constantly. With trucks, you just change them once every two, three years. In almost 10 years, we're  on our fourth model now! We just have to come up with ads. Still though, we were I think the first ones to come up with a logo and graphics on the hanger."

10. Feel the music
My fingers being somewhat numb after typing all this, those with enough courage to have read this far can go check what Rudy has to say about music right here

Monday, January 5, 2009

Rudy Johnson: "I kinda had my own VCJ graphic"

Originally published in Skateboarder # 101

There are a few treasures in the Girl warehouse. One is of course Rick Howard’s Vespa used in the Mouse intro, but any Crailtap reader knew that already -as well as Tim Gavin’s latest lunch pick. A more elusive gem took the form of anonymous cardboard boxes on a long-forgotten shelf, with just the word “Rudy” written on them. As Rudy Johnson guts them all, one after the other, you realize that Indiana Jones only found some worthless, cheezy crystal mask: this is where Royal trucks’ mastermind, of former Powell/Blind/Girl fame, keeps all his past pro-models, most of them shrink-wrapped. This collector’s wet dream has an explanation: “My wife”, Rudy laughs. “She’s the one who made me keep them all in such good condition.” After crossing out a bunch of mythical boards, it takes him only a few minutes to come up with a definite choice of his all-time five favorite decks. Here’s the skinny on them, with a little help from the designers behind.

1. Blind Rudy Johnson “Experimental” (1991)
Artwork: Mark Gonzales
“This was my first pro-model, in 1991. Powell Peralta, which I was riding for before, always had these Experimental stickers on the boards of the people who were about to have a pro-model. They were the coolest boards you’d see in videos. If you could put your hands on these stickers… I was telling Mark [Gonzales] how cool those boards were, so he just wrote “Experimental” all the way up, on the whole board. We kinda improvised it. Then my first car was a Toyota, that’s why he wrote “Toyota”. It’s funny cause in the beginning a lot of people were confused, they were asking who Toyota Johnson was. It was a cool board. The body parts, I don’t know, he just started to throw them there. I was stoked on the colors, those colors are hot now, you know? It was ahead of its time, man.”

2. Blind Rudy Johnson “jock skull” (1991)
Artwork: Marc McKee
“I was definitely stoked on this graphic because we [Rudy, Guy Mariano, Paulo Diaz and Gabriel Rodriguez –Ed. note] were going to be the next amateurs to turn pro for Powell before we left to Blind. I’ve always loved their artist VC Johnson, classic Powell, he’s incredible… So in a sense I kind of had my VCJ graphic. That was probably my fourth model on Blind and I know they had been talking about this series for a while, cause Rocco had this thing with George Powell.
So Marc McKee picked the Powell graphics he wanted to work off with, I was the last one and the others had already chosen. I got the fake Per Welinder one but I liked it cause it’s hilarious. This one and the spark plug board were my two models that sold the best, I think.”

3. Blind “spark plug” (1993)
Artwork: Marc McKee
“I was never really into slick-bottomed boards. I never really like the gimmick about them, I barely ever rode them. Anyway, I was into drag racing my Mustang, I’d go out on weekends and race in Fontana, or on Milliken Avenue in Ontario, out there. So I’d come back and talk about it at World, that’s how Marc McKee got the idea.”
Mark Mc Kee: “That one was a combination of pencil, acrylic paint, and some airbrush for the white highlights and the fade in the background. I was trying to mimic the style of one of my favorite artists, Hajime Sorayama, who does these awesome pin-up paintings of super slutty girls, and in one of his books he had a step-by-step guide to his painting methods that I followed. That was the only time I ever used that technique. I came up with the image of the girl on my own, using a few different photographic sources. Her face is taken from this ‘90s porn star Teri Weigel. The idea for the graphic came from an article in Adbusters magazine on the topic of sex in advertising.”

4. Blind “Lego dragster” (1993)
Artwork: Daniel Dunphy
“This is a rare one, it’s one of my last boards on Blind before we started Girl. Super small run, I don’t think it did that well. It’s the only board where I’m here live, as a person. I mean, there’s the [Blind] “Rear-end Rudy” but that’s cartoon… This one came up when they started to be able to photoimpose people onto graphics.
To shoot this, I had to sit outside of World, just on a regular wall. That was my Hollywood debut [laughter], I had to look like I’m racing and I’m taking off. It’s so different now, the style of graphics.
Probably right now in the market it’do great for kids from 6 to 12 years old. I love it though, it’s a cool little theme going”.
Daniel Dunphy: “If I remember correctly, it was a crash test dummy Lego set and Sean Cliver built it... I remember going to a photo studio with him to have it shot.”

5. Girl “charango” (1996)
Artwork: Johannes Gamble
“I went to Bolivia in 1995 with Paulo Diaz, on a non-skate vacation, for probably two and a half weeks. We were really young, like 22 or something, but we went out there, and we learned about all these strange instruments, including the one represented here, called a charango. It’s a strange instrument with five double strings, and it’s made out of an armadillo, a real animal. We went to Bolivia cause it’s one of the only three countries where they make it, with Peru and Chile.
The actual graphic is a poster that I brought back. Instead of my name, it said : Ernesto Encarvo, a charango master player. It just said that, it was the exact same layout. I was so happy to ride this board, and people loved it. I still own two of the posters.”