Tag Archives: Rodney Mullen

Ronnie and the 20 Year Itch.

After a solid 20 year run Blind and Ronnie Creager have parted ways. Ronnie is the last link to a time where Blind skateboards was actually a groundbreaking company. Although, Blind should have been dismantled as a company after Mark Gonzales left the brand. All of the key ingredients that separated Blind from other companies were missing. The entire roster from Video Days were gone, they all left after The Gonz split. No Jason Lee, no Rudy Johnson, no Guy, and no Jordan Richter. That Team was so unique and the vibe you got from Video Days was so good, it should have ended there. Nothing against Tim Gavin or Henry Sanchez, Pack of Lies was so good. Brian Lotti was such an innovator and kept that style through all the pressure flip madness. By the time Lavar McBride was on it seemed like Blind was just a completely different company. It might as well been World Industries 2.0 and again, this isn’t a knock against the actual team or the skating. It’s like watching your favorite movie then when the sequel drops, it’s not the original cast and they story is bad. Because the first movie made a lot of money they have to make a sequel. “Conan the Barbarian” is a good example. It was raw, brutal, bloody, violent, and rated R. The sequel was “Conan the Destroyer” and it was awful. Rated PG, soft, weak, and senseless. By making it not so violent and controversial it made more money. Gonz was the Barbarian and anything after was the Destroyer. Literally, think the Reaper character they use.

Mark Gonzales also started ATM Click and was rad. Then he left and they kept it going as just ATM. It wasn’t the same either, $30 boards can be found at Dumiez in every mall across America. The thing with Blind was they always had some of the best guys on the team. I’m friends with guys who rode for Blind and they are still killing it to this day. With Creager, he never stopped innovating or even came close to slowing down. Despite all the team changes, it was always “Yeah but, Creager’s dope.” and he would come through with that smooth style and tech degree from the early 90s. That OG feel that made Blind have some form of roots and a relatable past. That style of skating that reminds you of why people say he should have been on Girl or Chocolate. Style like that doesn’t get old no matter what the current stair count is.

Not every company can be Girl or Chocolate. They seem to have a game plan unlike any other skate company. It must be nice to be Gino, Koston, or Chico and jump in the van to go on tour with a company that turned 20 years old. The same van that has the Trunk Boyz in it. They cared enough to take away Guy’s Pro Model board until he got healthy. Even when times were probably not the best, they didn’t retire Gino for lack of footage. Want to talk about a family vibe? The Crail Camp has it on lock. Steve Caballero has been the face of Powell/Powell & Peralta for three decades. He has riden for them for almost 34 years. Along the way I’m sure he had plenty of offers to leave and he stayed loyal, even when Powell kooked it and took away his Pro Models for a couple of years in the late 90s.

20 years is a long haul in any career. Think of how many 90s pros have disappeared. Sometimes we get comfortable in our position in the work field and change is good. Change usually breeds new life and creativity in people to find something new. Skateboarding is no different. Hopefully Ronnie gets sparked up and drops something heavy on our heads to remind us of why he’s on so many skater’s top 10 lists. That board control, trick selection, and style separates the Kostons, Howards, Daewons, Mullens, and Creagers from the “whoevers”. It always has and it always will. -ERL

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Flame Boy vs Porn, Suicide, and Racism

It’s hard to describe to young bucks that there was a time in skateboarding where Blind and World Industries were so in demand. It wasn’t always parent friendly cartoon characters battling each other. My friends and I would call to see when the “World Boxes” were arriving and would be waiting to see what new graphic was out. All the brands out of the World Camp overproduced new graphics, so by the time a catalog came out they already had newer boards out. Shop owners hated it. We loved it. A lot of the time a new board was waiting in that box that was never seen before. Sometimes, that board was too raw to be on the board rack at all. More often than not actual Shop owners couldn’t seem to find to find a spot next to their Hawk Skulls, McGill Skulls, O’Brien Skulls, or Zorlac Skulls for Crack Pipes, Napping Negros, or Satan. Mom’s weren’t too thrilled seeing altered Romance Novels or White Girls sucking on Chocolate Popsicles let alone a busty brunett fucking a giant spark plug. Skaters on the other hand were stoked. Steve Rocco pushed the envelope and with Mark Gonzales, Natas Kaupas, and Rodney Mullen by his side World was unstoppable.

The Natas Challenger board actually offended me. I thought it was in poor taste because that event was a major impact on my life at the time. How dare Rocco poke fun at a national tragedy! In retrospect I was as guilty as the moms pissed about the Randy Colvin board. Pearl necklaces and poorly drawn vaginas were ok but, the Challenger was off limits? Not by a long shot. The Lynch Mob board was probably my favorite because it confronted rasism head on by using ALL of the no no words. To say the World Camp was ahead of the rest of the skateboard companies is not fair. They were light years beyond them. A small independent company changed the format of skateboarding and the big companies had to fight to survive.

There will never be another time like this in skateboarding. It was such a drastic change and it was so raw that it was a one time event. The riders, board shapes, graphics, advertising, videos, and business ethics out of World Industries camp was genius. If people didn’t like it, they were probably old fucks afraid of change and losing control of “their” industry or Bible Thumping weirdos. As bad as the 90s got, they were one of my favorite timelines in skating. Hate Rocco? More like Hail Rocco. -ERL

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World Spring 1991

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Blind & 101 Spring 1991

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Liberty Spring 1991

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World & 101 Fall 1991

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Ghetto Wear Fall 1991

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Blind & Liberty Fall 1991

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World 1992 Spring

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Blind & Plan B Spring 1992

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101 & World Spring 1992

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Blind, 101, & World Spring 1992

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World Spring 1992

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The Wonder Years

Style. Eric Dressen had it and still does. This picture says so much and certainly comes from the wonder years. The amazing years before the digital onslaught of too much information. You didn’t “friend”, “follow”, or “tweet” Pros in the wonder years. You saw them in the mags, on posters, in the vids, (which came out once a year if you were lucky) or at a demo if they came to your town. That just added to the mystique of your favorite Pro. You didn’t hear about his opinions, see his pictures, or watch his video footage everyday. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. Although, there are several Pros as I’ve gotten older I wanted more coverage of. Joe Lopes, Lee Ralph, John Lucero, Jeff Grosso, Gator, and Jason Jessee probably had so much unseen footage.

Style. Every Professional custom shaped his Pro Model. There were so few Pros at the time you didn’t need to see the graphics to know who’s model someone was riding. The rails, Cell Blocks, OJ II Team Riders, Anodized Indys, Rip Grip, Wheel Wells, torn up Converse, and the mystery back foot placement belong to the wonder years.
Bright, powerful, stylish, and all 80s made for a hell of a shot and a poster to always remember.

Style. Rodney Mullen invented 99% of the tech tricks being done to this day, all on a board around 7 inches wide. Mark Gonzales, Natas Kaupas, Julien Stranger, Ray Barbee, Matt Hensley, and the wonder years generation from the mid 80s to the early 90s reinvented Rodney’s work on what is now called “cruiser boards”. Only they weren’t called cruiser boards, they were called skateboards. 10 inch to 9 inch boards with a ton of plastic and 2 – 3 inches of nose were flipped with style and flow. Feel like cruising? Get a fucking longboard bro. Cruising is apart of skating, you really need a 100ft long plank to get cruisey?
A skateboard with shape is just that, a skateboard. I wonder what these years will be remembered as? Make a scene, don’t be apart of it. -ERL

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