Saturday, July 27, 2013

Todd Congelliere #4.

Hardcore with a drum machine.

Vert Is Dead will be back on Monday, August 5th.

The photos are by Christian Kline.

Poweredge - October 1991 Issue Number 36

Friday, July 26, 2013

Todd Congelliere #3.

"So, when Mike Smith asked me to skate for Liberty, I said sure. He, at least, had seen me skate, unlike Powell, and I looked up to him, not just as a great skater, but by the way his business was run. Yes, it was always run on a shoddy level, even at its peak, and as far as income and all that jazz goes, well, I did get some pretty crazy offers as far as money's concerned, but the fact that I liked going to contests with Mike and didn't want to go with a bunch of buffoons helped me resist. Plus, I never had any pressure from him as far as the contests went, simply because he's still a skater, running a skateboard company, not a skateboard coach." - Todd Congelliere.

The bigspin.

Programming update: There will be a rare Saturday post tomorrow. I will then be taking a short break so Vert Is Dead will be back on Monday, August 5th. Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments or email me if you have any requests. I'm not sure what I'm going with next. I've been mucking about in the very comfortable early 1990s a little too long and want to switch it up. I'm thinking maybe late 1990s or early 2000s, but I don't have anything planned. Some early Krooked might be one option.

For the quote: Thrasher - September 1995 Volume 15 Number 9

Transworld - October 1990 Volume 8 Number 10

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Todd Congelliere & Mike Smith.

Today we have Mr. Congelliere and Mr. Smith out for a quick jaunt on the open seas.

Transworld - November 1990 Volume 8 Number 11

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Jake Sharp.


Jake had the opening part in Liberty's Horror video. He did some solid street skating around LA by early 1990s standards. He might be the only person other than Mike or Todd to be in a Liberty ad.

Transworld - March 1991 Volume 9 Number 3

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mike Smith #2.

This is classic World Industries advertising spin from the days of yore. So wrong and so funny.

Mike also had some sort of music project called Ape Rock. Did anybody ever order the tape?

There was a Liberty video called Horror. It's from 1990. I'd never really heard of it.

Transworld - December 1990 Volume 8 Number 12

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mike Smith.

Ape Rock.

Liberty was Mike Smith's company in the late 1980s and early 1990s. For a while Mike was partnered with Steve Rocco's burgeoning World Industries empire and that resulted in some funny ads that you will see over the course of the week.

Mike was pro for Madrid prior to starting Liberty. He invented the frontside Smith grind and the Smithvert. He was also on Speed Wheels and had a part in Speed Freaks. The only other pro on Liberty was Todd Congelliere. The ams included Jake Sharp, Chad Fernandez, Erik Villalobos, Ofer Moses, Erik Ricks, and Ron Resurreccion. There possibly was a Liberty video in addition to a section in World Industries' Rubbish Heap.

I'm making a few educated guesses this week so holler if anything is a little off.

Transworld - February 1991 Volume 9 Number 2

Friday, July 19, 2013

John Pryor #2.


John had a short part in Memory Screen with a few big tricks. I think the extent of his coverage was in that video and two Tracker ads, both of which are now on Vert Is Dead.

Liberty on Monday.

Steve Sherman took the photo.

This is a Tracker poster from 1991. I think the print version ran in Thrasher, of all places.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Memory Screen.

"For full effect, hook VCR to stereo and view in total darkness."

Memory Screen was the first video from the Alien Workshop and was released in 1991. At this point it is probably a little redundant to sing its praises as I've said I think it's one of the best things ever made by mankind, but whatever. I'll keep it short. The video showcased new pros Rob Dyrdek and Duane Pitre, along with veterans Neil Blender and Steve Claar. The ams were Scott Conklin, Thomas Morgan, John Pryor, and Bo Turner. Conklin, Morgan, and Turner would all turn pro for the Workshop in the next year or two.

Working off ideas that began with G&S's Footage video, Chris Carter and Mike Hill created something otherworldly that moved beyond just a basic skateboard video. In between the tricks, were clips of life in Ohio, random stock footage, weird montages, Chrome Ball animations, and video feedback. The soundtrack featured Dinosaur Jr., a J. Mascis solo tune in "A Little Ethnic Song", Don't Mean Maybe, Eddie Boy, and the Painteens. There were also several bands that Neil Blender was involved with, such as Worked World and Toxic Death Sentence.

I feel Memory Screen is a valuable documentation of a variety of underground scenes that were happening in the early 1990s. You have the skateboarding obviously coupled with the music and art, both visual and video. It registers as a motion picture version of a 'zine that focused on all of those things.

"Saw the Royals on the screen today."

Note: Rather than tease you with two years worth of video coming soon ads, Alien ran multiple ads for Memory Screen in a row once it was released. These are two that I liked the best.

Top: Transworld - September 1991 Volume 9 Number 9

Bottom: Transworld - December 1991 Volume 9 Number 12

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Alien Workshop #2.


Obviously if your company is called Alien Workshop you are going to have to do something with aliens and UFOs at some point for art direction. I think it was a good choice not to totally beat that angle to death with graphics. Alien has used the visiting little guy and the occasional UFO reference, but they have never overdone it with flying saucer imagery. It is much more fascinating to have vague and mysterious art that doesn't directly match up with the name it is being sold under.

Transworld - April 1991 Volume 9 Number 4

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Alien Workshop.

"The big move east this month is by Neil Blender, who sold his house in Anaheim, California and transplanted himself to Dayton, Ohio. Neil, Mike Hill, and Sarge Carter have the new skate company Alien Workshop. Who knows what to expect from them." - Transworld's gossip column.

The first one.

Transworld - March 1991 Volume 9 Number 3

Monday, July 15, 2013

Andy Howell #2.

A little more.

Andy is from Virginia Beach and relocated to Atlanta. He skated vert a lot, but a knee injury caused him to focus on skating street. Andy started riding for Schmitt in 1987 and turned pro for them in 1989. He was a key part of helping start the New Deal in 1990. His graphics really helped define the company. As the Deal grew larger and expanded, Andy created Underworld Element. The team included Jeff Pang, Rick Ibaseta, Julien Stranger, and Harold Hunter. He had a clothing company called Zero Sophisto in the 1990s. H-Bomb was one of the early practitioners of skating switch and taking noseslides down big handrails, too.

Last man standing.

Note: This ran upside down in the magazine.

Bryce Kanights took the photo.

Thrasher - March 1989 Volume 9 Number 3

Friday, July 12, 2013

Andy Howell.

“What scares me is people who don’t have a sense of history.” - Kim Gordon.

Happy trails, Chrome Ball Incident.

Charles Harmon was the photographer.

Thrasher - February 1989 Volume 9 Number 2

Thursday, July 11, 2013

John Fabriquer.

Fab rode for Santa Cruz, Schmitt, and Dogtown. That's about all I got. I like the photo and simplicity of the ad. Feel free to chime in with any extra knowledge.

Bali Sahota took the picture. Bali went along with Mark Waters and Pete Ha on a six week trip across the USA in 1989 that was featured in the February 1990 issue of Transworld. He was a San Jose local. Mark said the kid ripped since Bali was 14 at the time. I want to say Dave Carnie mentioned him a couple of times in Big Brother.

Thrasher - May 1989 Volume 9 Number 5

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mike Folmer & Danny Sargent.


Mike is from Florida and was pro in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He rode for Sims before Schmitt and was on Tod Swank's Deathbox in the early 2000s.

Danny rode for Schmitt and was part of the New Deal. He had some epic parts in Useless Wooden Toys and 1281. Switch backside 180 the EMB 7.

The photo of Danny is by Luke Ogden.

Thrasher - June 1989 Volume 9 Number 6

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hans Lindgren.

The Crow Bar.

That's actually awesome.

Hans was a freestyler who rode for Schmitt and was part of the group that started the New Deal. He has a few tricks in the New Deal promo video, which is tacked onto the end of Useless Wooden Toys if you fast forward after the end credits. Or it's probably on YouTube these days.

I should do a week of freestylers at some point.

Rick Kosick took the action photos. I could use a first name for the lifestyle shot credited to Putnam.

Thrasher - August 1989 Volume 9 Number 8

Monday, July 8, 2013

Andrew Morrison #2.

"New Zealand pro Andrew Morrison knows that Sawblades cut through the bull! Totally resharpened to perform where others don't. Available now to those who want to be on the leading edge of cutting 'thane."

A Vert Is Dead favorite. Andrew rode for Schmitt Stix and was part of the New Deal. He could stall inverts for a long time and bust out some street moves. I liked his part in 1281.

I'm doing a week of Schmitt Stix for the purpose of getting some Andy Howell on this website. Schmitt was the brainchild of Paul Schmitt and there was an emphasis on creating highly functional products. The company was distributed by Vision. The team included Chris Miller, Joe Lopes, Allen Midgett, Steve Douglas, Reese Simpson, John Lucero, Danny Sargent, Ed Templeton, and more. Schmitt Stix lasted until early in 1990 when a bunch of the team broke away from Vision to start the New Deal.

A guest post from Julien Stranger is pretty epic. What if the ender is a Blender interview?

The photo is by Chris Ortiz.

Thrasher - January 1990 Volume 10 Number 1

Friday, July 5, 2013

Jason Maxwell & Quy Nguyen.

We've got the straightedge.

There's a good chance that Color week used all the ads the company ever ran. I couldn't find any more after this one and Prime started up later in 1994.

The Chrome Ball Incident is in the process of wrapping things up with a series of informative interviews and guest posts. Eric has done a great job over the last five years illuminating the hidden stories in the history of skateboarding. After checking my site for Russian spam comments, CBI is my second stop on the internet every morning. Thanks, man.

There should be more, but there isn't. Work's a mess today.

Keenan keep on shining.

Transworld - January 1994 Volume 12 Number 1

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Caine Gayle #2.

Feeling free.

Caine is always good for a well caught flip trick on any terrain.

The picture is by Chris Ortiz.

Transworld - December 1993 Volume 11 Number 12

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Jeremy Wray #5.

"How'd he do that? It can't be possible. I don't believe what I just saw."

Was that the theme from Northern Exposure?

The photos are by Chris Ortiz.

Transworld - October 1993 Volume 11 Number 10

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Kris Markovich #13.

Five piece chicken dinner.

It's a whole bunch of video grabs filmed by Mark Oblow.

Transworld - August 1993 Volume 11 Number 8

Monday, July 1, 2013


Color was around from mid 1993 to early 1994. It was Kris Markovich and Mark Oblow's company that was backed by Richard Metiver of Union Wheels. Markovich started Color after riding for 101. The team included Jeremy Wray, Jonas Wray, Mike Santarossa, Quy Nguyen, Kyle Yanagimoto, Caine Gayle, Nate Lyons, and Jason Dill.

After a week of fine guest posts on the Chrome Ball Incident, it looks like Jeremy and Jonas Wray's new company will have boards out soon.

Happy Canada Day to all readers north of the border.

Transworld - July 1993 Volume 11 Number 7