So there I was, drinking a beer, putting fresh wheels on my skates, and watching Pariah. Sometime after B. Free ends a trick by jumping into a motel room and before Erik Stokely proved he’s got the best wall rides in the game, and I got to thinking, Man, this stuff is the shit.
Really, the youth in our sport has incredible talent, in both technical and buck qualities. And the image they’re bringing with them is fucking dope.
I mean the hard rock ‘n’ roll, the shredded fucking duds, and the pure energy and speed of the skating involved.
And the attitude! Hoo-fucking-whee it’s good to see some people getting pissed off about something instead of this apathetic, narcissistic bullshit that goes on everywhere else.
My personal favorite, which I hope continues to a certain extent, is the FUCK YOU OF THE DAY, brought to you by those lovable little scamps, Shredweiser:
No one wants to get into rollerblading when we all look dirty and poor?
Have you ever heard of hipsters, one of the largest fashion/lifestyle trends of this century? There you have tons of kids purposely dressing like they don’t have money when they have $200 to drop on a pair of Ray Bans?
Hipster bullshit aside, some people want that image.
Yes, people want that swag-laced Dubstep bullshit where you’re awesome because you tell yourself you’re awesome, but that’s not for everyone.
And, in case I haven’t been clear enough in the past, I personally do not want into that shit. It would wholly disgust me to see everyone in rollerblading conformed to a certain standard.
God knows where the Standards of Fashion, Appearance, and Music in Rollerblading Committee (SFAMRC) would take us. Maybe the Powerblading thing would take off and all of our time at the skate park would be devoted to things like this:
(And Jesus H. Christ on a Popsicle stick before you get your Internet titties in a bunch about Powerblading or anything else, realize I’m fucking joking around, something I know few are allowed to do anymore.)
For those of you too young to remember, rollerblading started off with dirty punks, especially here on the West Coast, the bi-coastal epicenter of rollerblading. (NYC, you know you rocked that shit hard, too! Jacklone, Ortega, and Rawlinson “The Johniest Nigga You Know” Rivera, what the fuck is up, boys!)
Personally, I was attracted to rollerblading not by dudes like Tom Fry and Chris Edwards (although they are dope as fuck), but the big belt buckle, big jeans, and graphic Ts worn by Arlo Eisenberg, Mike Opalek, B Love, Brian Smith, and Brooke Howard Smith. Yeah, Hoax II was like a training manual on how to live life: loudly and waving a pierced cock out the window of a Winnebago.
Senate was THE company to take the sport off of the boardwalk and into the streets. They celebrated angry youth in slogan, marketing strategy, and lifestyle.
Their claim to national news fame wasn’t some polished bullshit, but rather from offending women’s groups with the tag on their shirts:
I was, and still am, one of those kids.
I had two bumper stickers on my first car. One, was SENATE in Old English. The other said, “My son beat up your student of the month. Senate supports angry youth.” At it had this guy on it:
(For more history on Senate—if you need to see it for the first time or you just want to remember you history—check out the piece ONE Magazine did on it in 2010.)
Holy hog balls! Would you look at that? A shaved head, a wife beater, and bloody baseball bat? And those guys in those videos, with their funny looking hair and big pants. Seriously, what look are they going for? No one would ever like that.
That. That is what you fucking sound like.
You sound like a bunch of piece of fucking shit Valley Girls who snub their noses at anyone who does anything different that your perfect fucking existence.
Sitting there, hating on shit for no fucking reason other than the fact you don’t like it—and no, I don’t see the hypocrisy in saying this, thank you very much—makes you sound like an absolute bitch.
Just a punk fucking bitch with nothing better to do with his spare time than bitch and moan about things he doesn’t like.
As someone whose tried to commit suicide—and then wrote a book about bit—I can only say this one thing to you fucking people who complain anonymously for days upon days, please, for the sake of all that is good and fun in this world, kill yourself.
Okay, great. Now that those guys are gone, let’s get back to what really matters: style.
That’s right, style. It’d be nice not to have to be worried about exterior appearances, but we’re an artistic sport and style plays a very fucking important part in what we do, from how we do a trick to the clothes we wear to the music we listen to.
But, before I babble on further, I wish to offer the words of many of a wisemen: no matter what you do in life, you’ll never make everyone happy. Never.
Senate never tried to make anyone happy other than themselves. And it fucking worked.
I remember buying only Senate T-shirts and jeans in high school. I still own some of the packaging. I want my blueberry-scented anti-rockers again. (Seriously, I’ll pay good money if someone has a set.) I think I should start carrying my fat handle comb in my back pocket. Arlo, Opalek, and the rest of those guys are still gods.
That, my wee little babes, began a long time ago in a magical land called Spohn Ranch. My one regret is that I’ve never been there, but for what seemed like an eternity growing up in a boring little small town that was closer to both Canada and Mexico than Southern California.
Now, most of us that remember the red cores of Pleasure Tools and know what Team Paradise meant aren’t so young, but that doesn’t mean our anger has gone anywhere constructive.
We’ve grown up from hopeful little kids to grown men with day jobs, serious relationships, and personal business ventures. Some of us grew more than others, and others want nothing more than to hold onto the spirit of our youth.
When you grow older, you have to think about the future and what the payoff might be. When you stay young, you keep clinging to the greatest moments of your past and are eternally grateful for anytime you can recreate that feeling.
Still being able to blade today, for most of us old cats, can never be explained to a bunch of precious online-anonymous bitchy little shitheads, who have yet to learn anything about pain, disappointment, fear, rejection, or realizing that those daily aches and pains aren’t temporary and the one body you’re given in this life is slowly preparing to expire.
So if you have any problem with what I’m about to say, count your fucking permanent scars from blading and if they don’t equal your age, I’ll pay for your flight to come to California so I can show you fear and pain that would make Freddy Krueger shit his pants!!!!!
Whew. Now that that’s over…
We need to get back to the dirt, and grease, and anger, and frustrations our grandfathers toiled through to make better lives for all of us. They drank hard liquor because they knew it’d work. They drove cars with big engines because they wanted the world to know they were on the road and there would be hell to pay for getting between them and their destination.
They worked their fucking asses off—just like every generation before you, I, or even the oldest person you’ve ever met—in hopes that the generations they left behind might have it a little bit easier than those before them.
And just like our hard-boiled, blue-collar grandfathers used to say, “If you don’t like it, then fuck off!”
I think that is pretty much the motto of Shredweiser in all they do.
The difference between Shredweiser and real “drunken hobo/derelict” assholes is that Shredweiser is putting in work. You’ve heard of them for one good reason and one good reason only: they wanted you to know about them.
It worked on me and for damn good reason.
They’re the guys that gave a dog—but not just any dog, but one named Steve that will acid drop from a van roof—their one and only pro wheel. You tell me there wasn’t one pro with a wheel that didn’t take it as a jest of some sort and I’ll call you a liar.
They’re the ones that sold their wheels for $19, pissing off others in the industry who use Labeda just like soooo many other companies, yet others charge more for their product.
They’re the ones who have all their art hand-drawn by Austin Barrett, a fucking rad-talented dude who also happens to skateboard, completely fucking up your plans to wear a Shredweiser shirt and talk shit on skateboarding.
Fuck, I’m so sold on their shit that I’m proud to have my Blade or Die tattoo designed and inked by Mr. Barrett, himself, in the middle of the Shredweiser house while drinking beer, smoking hash, and Steve supervised.
One of the best conversations about blading I’ve ever had was with wife beater-wearing Damien Wilson. Of course it had to take place in the early morning hours of one of many nights at Bar at BCSD.
Basically, I fan-boy thanked him for really fucking doing something. For trying different shit, building shit, and destroying shit. He said the element of masculinity has been missing that was really fucking with blading’s potential. Call me old (fashioned), but that’s what I think being a man is about, now that we’ve civilized our point past our usefulness in the hunter-gatherer way of life.
When Senate lost itself in its image instead of its message, Fight Club—and, yes, it was a book before it was a movie—came into my life and telling me what, as a man, I was supposed to do with my life. Yeah, whoah-is-fucking-white-boy-me, but, like Senate, it gave me some kind of idea of what to do with all of this anger when I wasn’t dumb enough to buy into the bullshit.
Yes, we are a male dominated sport, so maybe a wee bit of the testosterone could do some good.
When a real man sees something wrong, he doesn’t sit behind a computer screen, pretending to be something he’s not, and fucking complains.
What the fuck does he do?
He rolls up his sleeves, sucks up his pride, and puts in the fucking work to make things fucking better.
They start companies.
They host parties, BBQs, and competitions.
They make videos. They make Pariah (and you fucking buy it.)
They start blading.info.
The real heroes that do shit in blading—the shit anyone is going to remember—aren’t online comments or stupid shit columns like this one, but the bladers who put in work in front of the camera and behind the scenes.
The message boards and other cool shit you useless piece of shit mother fuckers do day in and day out, calling out people for the smallest fucking shit, that’s the shit that really fucking kills people and takes the enjoyment out of skating.
Seriously, fuck all of you.
If I had a time machine, I would use it for two trips. First, I would travel to the future to break into your home in the middle of the night so I could kill your children in front of you, and second, I would travel back in time and kill your parents so you’d never be born. I’d suffer the Parkinson’s just to do it.
Basically, what I’m saying is…
If you don’t fucking like it, don’t fucking buy it!
While you’re not going to spend the $20 a week your mom gives you for allowance or the money you make working at Subway on skating stuff so you can make sure your ISP bill is paid so you can talk shit on Rollernews or Be-Mag, I will be. I’ll continue to spend money on blading while you’re out buying “swag,” whatever the fuck that may be.
I challenge you put your money where your mouth is.
Blading needs money. Lots of it.
I challenge you to actually start buying blading gear in a good amount. I challenge you to try new things and then give honest product reviews based on your personal experience. I challenge you to expand your vocabulary beyond “shit’s gay,” and expand your vantage point beyond the six inches between your snobby nose and your computer screen.
Like all things in life, you don’t really know something until you experience it.
That’s what I always told people in high school when they asked me what Senate was about. I’m still not sure what Senate was about, but I know for sure it wasn’t about keeping the status quo.
Shredweiser is the most American thing ever made, in the most tragic and horrifyingly beautiful way.
There’s this crew from New Jersey—the same state that supplied us with celebrities like soon-to-be bestselling author Snookie—and they decide to relocate to mother-fucking Oakland, one of the toughest, most dangerous cities in America. Fuck, the other day some dude went nuts at a college and killed seven people. It was a bible college, for Christ’s sake!
Oakland, when not busy being Oakland, is where cops in riot gear will routinely blast Occupy protestors like the Orkin man would love to do to your mother’s crotch.
Oakland—much like Shredweiser—embodies the hate and frustration that boils under the skin of many Americans, which is why we’re on so many pills and drugs just to get through the day.
When antidepressants are prescribed at a rate of 2.88 per 100 people, Shredweiser is the face unafraid to show its anger.
When Americans want everything sterilized and door handle-less bathrooms, Shredweiser wants to wallow in sweat and blood.
While everyone is chasing the American Dream, Shredweiser is attempting to construct the American Nightmare.
Sometimes, that’s pretty easy to do. It seems all they have to do is pretend to not follow the mystical man in the sky, but rather follow the red guy living in the basement.
Americans view Shredweiser like Europeans view American tourists: angry, loud, uneducated heathens that wouldn’t know class if the Queen herself handed it out at soup kitchens.
And God bless the Queen for them.
This entire country is built on some bullshit perfection of rock star ambition for a soulless pre-fab home out in the middle of some -ville-named city away from the core of America’s cities’ biggest product: drug addiction and other vices used to cover up what scars this life has given them.
The image of the American man is becoming diluted with this swag-infused pockets of complete bullshit idiots who spend more time on their hair than they do creating something authentic. Or it’s some kind of Vice-fueled smug sensibility that all you do is inherently better than everyone else because you say so.
Which, of course, is what America is really all about. Or, at least the view from the streets of San Francisco with its vegan, all-organic, yoga cult ideals and hyper politically-correct sensitivities.
I say enough of that.
If skating really takes off again it’s going to be of it’s anti-image.
Just as Senate’s anger and image took blading from the idea of Spandex-clad Valley Girls to one of Frech-kissing Blue Beasts on national television with bleach-blond devil horns, this anti-movement is going to be more powerful than anything else.
Now that everywhere you go there’s a million clean-cut pretty boy skateboarders cruising around, those who want out of that shit might come looking into rollerblading.
And it won’t be because of slow-motion cameras and poppy techno. It will be for speed, blood, and death metal.
They’ll be sick of the action figures, Target clothing lines, and parent-approved Tony Hawk, Travis Pastrana, and Shaun White. These will be the new children of a new angry era who grew up privileged and want nothing more to do with it.
Those who rise will be the dudes who smell, yell, and dedicate their life to be anti-everything American, yet celebrating its worst parts.
This is the return of the new Senate.
It may be in Shredweiser, or Fester, or Southern Scum, or Low Life, or some other dirtbag company, but it’s on its way.
Then again, don’t listen to me. I’m just another 30-year-old white dude who has no idea what he’s doing with his life and is just trying to find an entertaining way to die.
And that’s why I’m proud to support Shredweiser and companies and personalities just like them.
At least they give me someone to root for.
TL;DR: Fuck you.
Blade or Die,
— Brian Krans
P.S.—If you found any of this entertaining, please support my longer rants, whether about college and suicide, or kids and drugs. All of my books are on sale from our Big Cartel site because I need to pay off the loan before I can afford to print the next one.