These days, it seems that more and more of London’s venues are covered in corporate branding, so it’s comforting to arrive at the Brixton Windmill and find it still resolutely independent and reassuringly shabby. Certainly, Lucero seem to have adopted it as their home from home – this is the third visit for Ben Nichols’ crew, and tonight is the first of a four night stand.
Sweetheart Contract are Londoners, but their sound is steeped in Americana, with alt-country rhythms, twanging rockabilly bass and even a touch of harmonica in the mix. You could argue about authenticity, but the numerous folks tapping their feet along to the catchy ‘Summer Heist’ and ‘Honesty Is Comedy’ would rightfully ignore you. Singer/guitarist Dexy is blessed with the voice of an indie-pop angel, but sprinkles everything he sings with a touch of gritty defiance. Check them out – you won’t regret it.
Lucero arrive to a heroes’ welcome from a sold-out crowd, but neither crowd nor band seem quite as invigorated as they did five years ago at this very same venue. Still, it’s a cold Wednesday night outside, and old favourites ‘Sweet Little Thing’ and ‘Nights Like These’ are a fine tonic for weary souls, whilst a few tunes from recent album ‘Women & Work’ are lent a welcome ragged edge in the live setting. They play for nearly two hours (but for some reason ignore 2007’s superb ‘Rebels, Rogues…’ album), and by the end, it feels like we’re part of the congregation in some kind of alt-country chapel, with the preachers bashfully enjoying the devotion on display. Six old Memphis road-dogs they may be, but Lucero know – as ever – how to create a sense of occasion.
The Death Skateboards team have ended 2012 on a high. Once again, their commitment to UK events, making great products and general scene dedication has seen them flourish into one of the longest serving skateboard companies in the UK.
Five years ago, Death delivered Better Than Life, an amazing collection of footage which saw their worldwide squad up the ante tenfold. Since then, this dishevelled crew have worked hard to deliver another full length DVD, ‘Ordinary Madness’. A full length production that is UK’s video of the year. The UK premiere party was another dose of disorderly fun, screened at the Trinity Pub in Harrow in front of a packed house. The film itself, is by far their best production, featuring sections from all of their pro riders and also the undercurrent of flow riders on the team that are upcoming.
This latest Exposed feature delves into the filming trips behind the scenes with recollections of how OM was stitched together by Death aficionado’s. Their most animated ambassador, Mr DAN CATES, will get this party started sharing his tales of the unexpected from the sessions that made the final cut:
“For me, the funniest and most memorable moments in the making of any video usually come while on a filming mission abroad. ‘Ordinary Madness’ was no exception to the rule! Sometimes it’s the excitement of exploring uncharted territory, sometimes it’s the (usually hot) weather, and other times it’s just the fact that the crew is together once again. That generally sparks off high spirits and “good vibes”, but regardless of the reasons, fun times always occur.
One such time was on a dead of winter trip to good old Barcelona. I had organised it with Zorlac and photographer Rob Shaw, but at the last moment decided we would stay at our good friend Troy West’s new apartment instead of the hostel we had all agreed on. This ended up being not such a good idea (sorry boys!), as the apartment had no heating, Troy got ill and couldn’t skate with us, Rob and our buddy Josh Cox had to sleep together on a small sofa at night (and were not particularly stoked about it), and Moggins was going through some weird phase where all he would talk about was working on site. On top of all this, Boots, who had recently got divorced from his wife, spent most of the trip on the phone to his new girlfriend. I hate to say it, but people were starting to get on each others nerves and spirits were for once, unusually low. A few days in, the normally tea-total Boots, who had by now hurt his neck and couldn’t skate properly anyway, decided (after a lot of encouragement from Moggins and I) to start drinking Sangria at breakfast. This ended up having a knock on effect and by night fall most of the group was 2 litres deep into a Sangria binge with the now paralytic Boots leading by at least a litre and a half!
Whilst I tried to hold it down at the bar, everyone else spent hours chasing Boots around the back streets of Barcelona, bundling him and giving him ‘digs’ as pay back for being “that guy” on his phone all week. This all culminated at the water front with a cornered Boots taking both of his shoes off and throwing them into the Mediterranean in a hilarious attempt to prevent anyone else having the pleasure of doing it. After the entire crew (including Boots) had finished rolling around on the floor laughing, the ever mischievous Moggins decided he wanted more and bet me another litre of Sangria if I stripped down to my boxers and dived off the docks into the (not so warm in January) Med. I obliged and after drunkenly clambering out of the sea feeling strangely content, we began the walk back to Troy’s place dripping wet and cold with a shoeless Boots and a happy crew. We had finally found the high spirits we were searching for!”
Don’t ever bring a KFC bucket into the Death van.
“Early on in the filming Nick Zorlac aka “The Boss” came to Atlanta to visit for two weeks and get some filming in the bag too. As most people know, Nick is a night owl, usually going to bed about 5am and waking up at like 12 or 1 in the afternoon. As Atlanta in on Eastern standard time (EST -5 hours), it worked out pretty good for Nick as he never had to adjust his body clock. Most days we sat having breakfast at 8am! I kid you not, Zorlac was not only up before Midday, he was functioning like a ‘normal’ human being too! We even raked the leaves up one morning together.
So the first week went pretty good but on the Sunday I managed to twist my knee trying a disaster revert in a pool, tearing my meniscus. I was in agony and the doc said I needed surgery to fix it. Not wanting to spoil his holiday, I said I would wait a week until after Nick had left before I went under the knife.
As I couldn’t skate, we decided to go and do some tourist stuff. Atlanta is the home of Coca-Cola and they have a museum there called the world of Coke. So we borrowed a wheelchair from them and set about taking the tour. Nick was pretty useless as a wheelchair companion and kept leaving me behind and then having to come back and get me.
In the tasting room where you can sample and mix all the drinks they make, they have this huge Coke bottle. Nick wanted to take my pic next to it so, without thinking I got up and sort of walked lock legged a few paces to stand next to it. A cleaner saw me get out of the chair to walk, and proclaimed it was; “a miracle!”. She was gobsmacked. Her face was a study of wonderment and she rushed off to tell her work mates. Nick and I were pissing ourselves laughing as I got back in the chair and carried on with the tour!”.
Paws for celebration.
Cates goes feeble for the lens.
“Well, basically I was that dipshit guy who was holding the deadline off. I kept asking poor Mark (Nicolson) for a little longer, a little longer and a little longer. I was going back to this spot to film a last trick for the video and I think I ended up going there like 7 or 8 times with great experiences- like getting kicked out, windy conditions, screaming children, Skooner, body becoming too wrecked, splitting my head open, broken board, the mentals and just plain sucking! In the end it was all worth it I guess because I never landed the trick. Sorry guys. Haha!”.
10 urban shits with TIMMY GARBETT while filming for Ordinary Madness by MOGGINS:
“I’ve been skating with Timmy for over 10 years and I’ve never seen one person shit in so many obscure places. Anyone who knows him is well aware of his ‘talent’ and know that he could drop a log at any given moment. Here’s 10 shits that I came up with off the top of my head but there’s many, many more.”
1. Timmy’s first Death trip was a summer tour a couple of years ago and pretty much the first spot of the trip he decided to recreate the DVD menu from the ‘Ravenous’ video by kicking the seat out of an old chair then forcing one out whilst sat on it. Unfortunately, the result was nowhere near as impressive as the original and all he could manage was a golf ball sized piece dotted with sweetcorn. He then picked it up on a stick, smelt it, almost threw up then threw it in the water where everyone had to paddle through to get to the full pipes we were skating. Welcome to the team scumbag!
2. For some reason one evening, Timmy decided it would be a good idea to curl one out on the driveway at Chesterfield skatepark, he then proceeded to spray paint it red.
3. We went to skate some new benches at a school a few months ago and of course Timmy needed to relieve himself as soon as we got there so he took his empty pringles tube and aimed a brown torpedo perfectly into the small opening of the tin. He then wiped his arse with a banana.
4. Another one on the Death summer tour, without needing much encouragement Timmy found himself squatting over the edge of a roof laying an egg, when Steak appeared out of nowhere with a fire extinguisher aimed it high at the squatting Timmy and emptied it all over him!
5. One evening a crew of us were skating Harrow skate park and had the half-pipe lit up with a generator and lights. In the darkness, Timmy dumped a load on top of the snake-run, then kicked it into the stagnant pool of water sitting in the bottom. An hour later my skateboard ran away from me and ended up in the water. Stoked.
6. One Sunday afternoon we were skating the DIY spot in Sheffield and our mate Dead Dave was trying a wallride pop into a quarter-pipe. After a few tries of jumping off, he was given an incentive to land the trick where every time he jumped off he would have to smell Timmy’s wretched dogshit breath. After a few tries (and blasts of stench breath) Dave pulled the trick and Timmy celebrated by taking a shit off the roof into the quarter pipe.
7. The final entry from the Summer tour happened at a KFC, where we had to wait ages to get our food and weren’t allowed to sit in and eat. Timmy was upset over the poor service so after we had finished eating in the car park he decided to refill an empty family bucket with his own secret recipe, and he left the 2-piece meal on the bin for the employees to deal with.
8. After skating one night at a house party, Timmy decided to do his bet chef impression. He squeezed out his own brand of ‘special sausage’ into a frying pan, but of course this wasn’t enough, and he needed some sauce to go with it. So he pissed and puked on top of the smelly sausage and proceeded to fry it up on the hob for half an hour. Delicious!
9. Another standard evening skating down Chesterfield skatepark, Timmy got a call from work telling him that he didn’t have to work the next day. This obviously excited him as he dropped his trousers and rolled a few logs into the bowl corner while people were skating the ramp.
10. The final story was when we were skating a handrail at the bus depot in Sheffield. Dead Dave was trying to 5050 the rail and was having trouble commuting to landing it so Timmy offered to drop a celebratory egg if he made the trick. A couple of tries later Dave had put the trick down and ridden away. We all gathered round to congratulate him and to check the footage, when we turned round to see Timmy already squatting, pushing a little baby out without any encouragement from anyone, just out of pure love for a street shit.
“So there you are, a collection of short stories from my wretched mate Timmy Garbett. If you ever see him, ask him to lay an egg for you, and if it’s your lucky day, you will witness something special!”
Rob Smith enjoys ditch life with Melcher and Jackson.
“Van boredom springs to mind. Always funny shit happening in the Death fun wagon on filming missions. Whilst in the van filming for this video, I drank petrol, ate glass, deep throated a banana until puking over everyone, bleeding everywhere. People got naked. Timmy shat in the van and also in a KFC bargain bucket! That was a funny one. I also snapped my foot in 3 places whilst filming for this video in the fun bus. Not so funny story.
We also stayed in Skegness when on a filming mission and smashed an apartment to pieces, to the state where every plate was smashed, every knife and fork was bent, even the sofa was snapped in half! We left paint on the ceiling! I managed to climb inside the sofa and put it back together but when I got out I couldn’t find my phone, so we rang it and the sofa started to light up and vibrate! I’d left it inside the sofa, so I had to take it apart again to get it back! Haha! We couldn’t be arsed to fix it again. Nothing was ever mentioned by the apartment staff, in fact we have even stayed there since.”
Melcher and Jackon. Ph: Richie Valdez
“Obviously we took a new and fresh approach to making a video part on this one. Richie and I decided that, not only was innovation in the physical realm of skateboarding a necessary evil, but there must be more in the production as well.
Taking the standard “doubles” part and tweaking it into an actual “duet” proved to be a lot more mind-bending than we initially thought it would. Finding a duet song that suited us both and actually spoke to our individual styles was only the first hurdle. Whilst filming, in order to get the tempo in synch, we would bring along a boom-box and listen to the song several times during the session, mapping out the exact points where we should be doing tricks. Timing was everything. There were sessions where we must have listened to a certain part of a song 50 times before we even set foot on a board!
It’s hard enough to film a trick solo, add in the fact that you both have to pull tricks, and then on top of that, they have to fall exactly within the designated vocals of our musical counterparts. Needless to say, there are plenty of outtakes! So many times we would be so close and both pull our tricks flawlessly, but the synching was off with the music! It really got to be maddening after a while.
In skating, as we all know, you can have it down in your head so perfectly but the physical variables compound so heavily that you will surely go mad. Luckily we had a couple of filmers who understood the art of what we were tying to accomplish and were patient on these sessions.”
“The sketchiest clip to acquire was the one where Melch hangs out on that wallride to fakie while I carve underneath him. That spot is the rear of a carwash in a relatively sketchy part of LA, which is only closed for a few hours after midnight on Sunday’s. We headed over there with a crew of 4 dudes in total. Once we got the lights in, Melch started going straight for it.
The footage gives zero indication of what we were actually dealing with, but the wall Patrick was hanging off was literally someone’s back fence. There was a pitbull right there on the other side going bonkers, which at 2:00 AM woke up whoever lives there. I can only imagine what the poor guy over the fence was experiencing. He would have seen two hands in a leather jacket pop up over his fence, rattle his awning, then drop back down, again, again and again! It’s only right that the only words he spoke to us were “I’m calling the cops”.
All I had to do was get up onto the wall under Patrick, and just hope that we timed it right. We handled it as quick as we could and then rushed to pack everything up and get it in the car. I’ve never dismantled tripods so fast. We drove out of the carwash after a 15 minute session, took one right turn at the bottom of the street and drove straight past the cop car that was on it’s way to get us. Tales of Ordinary Madness indeed.”
Jackson loves walls. Ph: Melcher
“The last summer tour we did was so much fun, a.k.a the ‘Lady Luck’ tour. It went something like this:
The Death van was too small to fit a massive crew in.
– Monster Energy gave us a 17 seater bus to use stacked with drinks.
I wanted Crazy Pete to come along as co driver, but his driving licence was at the DVLA and he needed it to get insured on the tour vehicle.
– His license arrived back in the post the very morning we were leaving.
It rained, pretty much every day.
– We drove to spots that we wanted to skate through the rain anyway, and the sun came out as we were driving and dried up where we were going.
We needed lots of footage for the DVD.
– Every spot we went to multiple riders landed sick stuff, it was mental. We didn’t know where we were going. In each area we had the coolest locals with us showing us about. Lots of spots were a bust. People kept making stuff ‘last try’ literally as the security were arriving.
We needed lots of floor space for people to sleep.
– There just happened to be a spare room at the house that month, as our friend had recently relocated. (Miss you Hitcher!) And so it continued. Good times.
I also just found out that a lot of places we skated on that tour were demolished soon after or unskateable for whatever reason (new buildings etc), so if we had not visited there at that point, we would have missed out.
Oh, and we managed to skate a real transitioned backyard pool (stupidly rare in the UK) and Benson shot a photo in there that ended up being a Sidewalk cover! In a world where ‘if things can go wrong, they generally do’, it was a welcome change.”
“For this video we drafted in my good friend Jake Martinelli (the genius behind Harlow’s “Crazy Ass White Bitches” DVD) to help with filming duties so we all have more time to concentrate on skating. Every filming session was fun cos I got to skate all day instead of having to film people! Stoked! I wanna send Jake and all the filmers round the world who contributed to this video a MASSIVE thank you! From us all.”
The Death team will be repping the Crossfire Xmas Jam on the 15th December. Look out for the DVD in your local skate shop this week and enjoy Andy Evans documentary to get even further behind the scenes of Death.