Countown: Dying to Live.
FOR PROFESSIONAL SKATEBOARDING, the video is king. It's the demo, contest win and feature interview all rolled into one blazing package. If you've got something to prove, the VHS tape is your audition and the skaters of the world, your audience. A sick video can turn a hometown hero into a household name and a middling pro into a legend.
Few have had a bigger influence on the modern skate video than Jamie Thomas. Starting with Toy Machine's Welcome to Hell, the ground-breaking skating got the treatment it deserved. JT sped up the action, tightened the filming and editing, and put more than a bong-hit's worth of time into choosing the music--an all-killer, no-filler approach; the result of which was a freight train of a tape that made folks cover their eyes, scream out loud, and most importantly, want to get out and skate.
The follow-ups, Zero's Thrill of it All and Misled Youth, further refined this ultra-aggressive video style while the team, a crew of relative unknowns (many of whom were just as happy to acid drop as switch crooks), helped push the then-narrow boundaries of tricks deemed acceptable. The intense level of the skating, punctuated by Jamie's monster rails and unreal drops, was coupled with a new work ethic long forgotten in the style-conscious early '90s. Gone were the days of "Here, film this" buddy cams and Saturday afternoon hangover sessions. Late nights with generators and two-day trips to secret rails in the Midwest became the norm. Their passion for production and focus on the gnar has influenced a lazy industry and a generation of kids who, with heavy metal ringing through their heads, are ready to throw themselves down every handrail in sight.
To ask the Zero team when they started working on Dying to Live is pointless. The truth is, they started the day after Misled Youth premiered. To be on the Zero team means always being in production mode.
After some roster changes, the present crew is probably the most well-rounded bunch yet. The mix of seasoned vets like Jamie, Rattray and Mumford with young bucks Lopez, Smith, Cole, Bobier and secret weapons Allie and Lindsay promises Dying to Live will be another tape that will hold court in the VCR for a long, long time.
RELATED ARTICLE: LEE DUPONT INTERVIEW
BEHIND EVERY VIDEO there are the selfless Individuals who hold the cameras. These renegade artists not only drive to the ends of the Earth for the stars of skateboarding; once there they sweep away the rocks, plaster in the cracks, then play cheerleader as the stunt man decides whether or not he's "feelin'. it." Lee Dupont has been around since long before the death lens and company card, and knows shit from Shinola when ii comes to video work and professional skateboarding. With experience comes wisdom, and maybe a little bit of jadedness, but the Zero boys know Lee's got their back and will nail the shot when they're laying their nuts on the line--even if, as he's happy to point out, he'd rather be golfing.
How does it feel it have it all finished?
Ha-ha! That's the worst fuckin' feeling alive! It's not almost finished though, that's the weird thing. I wish it was finished. So two days bolero the premier it's not finished?
I mean it's a lot more finished than it was a week ago. As the time gets shorter, the stuff you have to do gets longer. Seems to be you leave the stuff that takes the longest until the very end. You end up fuckin' yourself in the ass. Do you see what happens, Larry?!!
Let's get some of your stats.
I'm 6'1", 195. I'm a Scorpio. I like walks on the beach after videos are done.
What was the first video you ever had footage in?
It was an old Shaft video--my first foyer into video publication. It was Ian Ross doing a trick over a hip.
What was the pay like for a Shaft trick?
As you may have heard, McGill's not afraid to spend the big bucks. I don't know. I think I maxed out at maybe store cost for a board
Where else might we have seen your work?
Depends on how far you wanna go back. I've had some stuff in the Prime videos, 20 Shot Sequence, some World videos. I had some stuff in Plan B, J Wray and what not, couple tricks of Rodney. Jamie's part in Welcome to Hell. That was a big one. I've filmed a big majority of Fight Fire with Fire, that Prime video. I filmed the majority of the Prime video called Five To this day, that's probably my favorite video. I spent so much time on that one and then it just came out with no ad or nothing. Before that I did Stars and Bars, the XYZ video. That was a pretty, big one.
Did you film the previous Zero videos?
Jamie had asked me to be the main filmer for Zero, but it never really got figured out due to budgetary constraints or whatever. I filmed the majority of Jamie's part in Thrill of it All and not, that much in Misled Youth due to a brief falling out. Back in the day he had asked me to film with some of his guys and at the time--I had filmed a little with them before--but at the time, Ellington's my homie now, but back then I thought he was crazy. Mumford, I thought, was out of his fucking mind, back in the day. We knew each other from around Encinitas but we never really clicked. So I filmed with Lopez and Jamie and shut all the other guys down. I wish I would have now, 'cause it would have been fun, but at the time I was off it. Whatever. I have no regrets.
Is it true you haven't been on a skateboard since your Chomp perfermance?
Well, I'm standing on one now, but I'm not actually riding around. I'm actually more of a professional bushings-breaker-inner, I'm standing on Jamie's board now, just kind of rocking back and forth. The new Zero park got built, so I'm gonna set up a board. I'm gonna get back on it.
Describe your role, both in production as well as in your relationship with the riders.
Well, I'm part-time baby sitter. I pick them up in the morning. They watch their videos and look at their magazines the night before and pick out their little spots and then I pick them up in the morning and take them to wherever their little hearts desire. That's about it.
Who is the most difficult to motivate?
That would be the ol' Mutt himself--Mumford.
How do you get the guys to come out of their shells?
A lot of bullshit. I give them a lot of empty promises. I tell 'em what could be. A lot of, "You got its!" I compare them to other kids--let 'em know what other dudes would be doing. I often tell them, "You know, I could be golfing right now." We're somewhere in the Valley, it's 100-degrees and they're looking at the spot going, "You know I'm not really feeling it right now," and again I bring up the golfing. That usually does the trick.
Describe a time when you wanted to kill a team rider.
Which one? Well, on the US tour it gets pretty bad. Imagine being in a hot van for weeks with the best of your buddies--you're going to argue and get sick of each other. Now imagine the same van but with the three most annoying kids on Earth. They're getting better now. I mean, these guys just don't know how to get along with other people too well. Lindsay He's from Florida and I'd imagine back there he's the cream of the crop but I don't know. I'd imagine the folks back there are more... peckins, I guess is the word I'm looking for He's basically a country bumpkin kind of kid--not too bright. So many, many times I've wanted to kill him. You're on a tour in Topeka, Kansas and things aren't going right and you're wondering if you should even he on this tour at all and then he comes up and he s going to tell you how it is?
Didn't one of the team riders pee on you?
Yeah. This was in New York. Jon Allie, he's not a dumb kid. He's pretty bright but really lacking in what you might call street smarts. if you're at a spot and there are a bunch of mean looking local teenage thug kids he'll be the first one to barge up to them and say, "Hey, can you guys move over?" He has no sense as far as that kind of stuff. So we went to this skate spot and while a normal person might go around the corner or find some bushes to take a leak, Jon pees not 20-feet from the spot, right on the concrete, exactly where you might logically suspect the filmer would need to be. It's night. You can't really see too well. So I set the lights up and set up to get my angle and notice that my ass is all wet. Jon's all, "Did you just sit right there? 'Cause that's where I peed."
When you're in the van late at night, what do the conversations tend to migrate towards?
If it's Jon, it's usually skate talk. With Bobier its more towards the sex talk, 'cause he's coming of age what with the sex and the drugs, and I can kind of recall that time in my life and give him some insight. Lot of marijuana talk going on with Lindsay. Lots of random talk with Lopez. Friends episode wrapups, our next golf outing. He's very organized so he likes to tell you what he's going to be doing two months from now. With the younger guys, finger banging is always a big topic. We got a couple kids who've spent every waking hour of their lives skating up until now. They haven't got to do many of the social things like other kids do--not too many high school dances or movie make-outs, so yeah, finger banging is a hot topic.
Let's talk about the van. How fast can that thing go?
I've maxed it out at about 120.
Did it feel like It was going to shake apart?
Oh yeah. When it's filled to the gills with a 150-pound generator, eight kids, lighting equipment, two camera bags, a box of boards--pretty much everything you might need, it does'nt handle too well.
Have there been any problems with not having a license plate?
Yeah. I don't know if it's something to tell the kids to do, but we roll without a license plate just in case someone wants to get funny and write down your numbers or report you or what ever. Nothing really happens if they report you, but if something happens at a spot, a window gets broken or whatever--something that we didn't do, we don't want to take the blame for it.
What's the worst legal run-in you've had?
Jamie's not afraid to pull up on a sidewalk or whatever if he sees a spot. All over Europe he was pulling up wherever--on a curb, on the median of a freeway, just to skate a spot. We haven't had anything too crazy. We went on this Arizona trip. So some of the guys are into the ganja and were worried that Arizona might be short on it that week, so they decide to bring some along. So you've got Jamie Thomas behind the wheel--sleeveless T-shirt and Willie Nelson headband, not exactly looking too normal, so our chances of getting the van searched are at an all-time high. They pull us out of the van and I do the talking. "Do you have any drugs in the vehicle?" "No," I tell them, "We're skateboarders." So they say, "This is your last chance to tell us, 'cause if we find any you're all under arrest." So Lopez whispers to me, "Hey, I've got some weed in there." So I think hopefully they won't find it, but sure enough, 45-minutes later, they find it. "OK. Is this all?" No, it turns out Smith has some. They go and find that and then are all, "In that all?" Nope. Another guy has some. So there were three separate marijuana stashes in the van.
What are you, drug runners?
It would seem like it. Maybe this skate company and video thing is all a front. So they yelled at us for an hour, reprimanded us and what not and then they let us go.
Who Is your pick for MVP for the new video?
The easy one would be to go with Chief, but I don't do anything the easy way so I'm going to with Lindsay. He's going to be a big surprise He has'nt had anything come out as of yet. He's out of his mind at all times so he's going to be a character to watch. And I'm always a fan of a guy with glasses. I've been a big Steve Olson fan for a long time. Maybe if he slams they pop off his head--stuff like that. That always makes the video that much more fun to watch.
What was the most hard-fought battle in the video?
Trying to get Mumford to not give his entire video part to Globe. I lost that one, as you might have seen in the Globe video. It's called Wonderful World of Australia or something like that.
What do you do to amuse yourself on tour?
I'm a big TV fan so I like to watch the most jacked TV I can find. It's really a calming thing, a soothing thing, to watch a truly jacked person on TV and know, "Hey, my life will never be as bad as that." I zone out a lot, lots of bad hip-hop music. I'm not a fan of it, but like to check it out. Sportscenter. I Iike to check in with that.
What kind of snacks do you like to have on the table for a long stint of editing?
Snacks go from whatever Jamie's a wife brings out to my beverage of choice which is Coors light A six pack keeps me sane while locked in an editing room with Jamie for six hours straight.
Are you still not speaking to Biebel?
I spoke to him the other day. There was a time when I wasn't speaking to him but were working that out. It's getting better.
If copyright was not an issue, what songs would you want to be in the video?
Is it an issue? I don't think we care. We've got a devil-may-care attitude.
What's the worst part of your job?
Worst part? There's so many.
What's the best then?
Yeah. I guess being able to be at the bar eery night and then never being late for work. Showing up for work promptly at 1:00pm. That's nice. Traveling and all at stuff is gravy but to tell you the truth, it's cool, but we're skating the entire time. It's not like we're going to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I've been on trips where dudes go off and see the sights or whatever, but not on this video at all. Jamie doesn't care for that too much. He'll go sightseeing when he's old. I'm in Paris. It sounds fun. But it's not all that it's cracked up to be. I'm at a skate spot the entire time.
Describe a perfect day for Lee Dupont.
It usually involves Adrian Lopez. He's an early riser. He sleeps maximum of four hours every night. Some kind of chemical imbalance keeps him up all night, so he's up early and can get me up. We get something sparked by 10:00am. We get a trick. He's not too good late in the day due to the four hours of sleep a night so we have to get the trick early. We round it up, leave by noon and head the golf course. Have a quick round, go home and catch the evening game, go straight to the bar and then start it all over again.
What's the worst part about being Lee Dupont?
The fame. The fans. Two days ago, I'm not kidding you, I'm in the In-n-Out drive-thru on Sunset and the guy goes, "Hey, aren't you Ty Evans?" and I'm like, "Yep." He's all, "Yeah, I thought it was you!"
IN A DISPLAY OF SOLIDARITY, Phelper came down for the the day and after a round-robin attack of SD skateparks, we found ourselves behind a massive crowd that was spilling off the sidewalk and into the street in front of the Spreckel's Theater.
Apparently a kid had gotten pushed through one of the glass doors moments before our arrival, so by the time we made our way to the frnt we were greeted by a crew of crazy cops who were hysterically trying to control the throngs of mostly well-behaved Zero fans waiting to get in.
"Stay back! Stay back!" a lunatic officer in bike shorts started yelling. He had his mace in one hand and his stick in the other and soon grabbed a kid who asked him a question and choked him against the wall while a buddy helped. A smaller cop with a mustache shoved me back hard even though I was a good five feet away from him.
Hey, you don't have to push me," I told him.
"You have five seconds before you're arrested! Five! Four! Three!"
Not wanting the choke-out, I stepped about three feet away which seemed to satisfy him. It was the usual cop bullshit, but it sucked it had to happen at an event so many kids were excited to attend.
After some confusing attempts to thin the crowd (which included Jamie himself riding on a friend's shoulders in an attempt to direct traffic), the cops announced the show was cancelled.
We want to the nearby hotel and met up with some other kids who'd been denied. Following a tip from Ty Evans, we ran to the back door of the theater, just in time for Jamie and Lee to pop out and get us in. Jamie fought with a guard as he pulled me and Jake through just as the lock went down. We headed through the backstage area and out onto the stage to see the place less than a quarter full. The slim audience consisted of the lucky few who got in before the cops shut it down.
Jake and I yelled and cheered through the whole thing. The kids were going nuts and everyone was stoked, except, of course, the hundreds standing around in the street out front. The Video really is something else.
Afterwards we went to the party thing where got a photo with everybody but Bobier in a collection I like to call Zero Team Meets Tomato Face. The Heartaches (featuring Svitak on skins) rocked out and I walked around not feeling especially stupid because I was kind of drunk while Jake talked Scientology with Berra then briefly wrestled with Mumford. It was a cool time.
Congrats, Zero team. You've done it again! I'm so proud of all of you!
San Diego police, your shameful behavior and inability to handle the situation in a peaceful way will be remembered by all those kids in attendance. Just be grateful that Ice T's Body Count was not a very good band. --MB
The Zero team really combed the globe for this one. The following is a list of all the cities they filmed in for Dying to Live:
SALT LAKE CITY
NEW YORK CITY
MISLED YOUTH PREMIER IN SAN DIEGO, CA
TEAM VACATION TO HAWAII
JAMIE GRINDS EARL WARREN RAIL-FIRST TRICK FOR THE NEW VIDEO
JAMIE'S FIRST THRASHER INTERVIEW
TEAM JAPAN TRIP
LINDSAY ROBERTSON PUT ON FLOW TEAM AT TAMPR AM
MUMFORD'S THRASHER INTERVIEW
JAMIE JAPAN TRIP
ZERO US SUMMER TOUR (JAMIE RE-HURTS KEE)
FIRST AD FOR DYING TO LIVE
JON ALLIE PUT ON FLOW TEAM AT TAMPA AM
JON ALLIE PUT ON THE TEAM
FILMING TRIP TO MIAMI
RATTRAY JOINS THE TEAM
ZERO US SUMMER TOUR
ZERO CANADA TOUR
FILMING TRIP TO VANCOUVER
RYAN SMITH ON THE TEAM
FILMING TRIP TO FLORIDA
LINDSAY ON THE TEAM
ONE DAY DEMO AND FILM "DAY IN THE LIFE" IN KANSAS CITY, MO
FILMING TRIP TO JAPAN
FILMING TRIP TO ATLANTA
CHRIS COLE JOINS THE TEAM
FILMING TRIP TO KANSAS CITY. MO
PROVIDENCE, RI FILMING, TRIP
FILMING TRIP TO ATLANTA AND PHILLY
FILMING TRIP TO PARIS AND BARCELONA
FILMING TRIP TO ARIZONA
JAMIE DEMO TRIP TO DUBLIN, IRELAND
FILMING TRIP TO BARCELONA
FILMING TRIP TO SAN FRANCISCO
FILMING TRIP TO SALT LAKE CITY. UT
DYING TO LIVE PREMIER IN SAN DIEGO, CA
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|Date:||Jan 1, 2003|
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