A Fragmentary History of Skateboarding Videos – Chapter 8 - Maiden, Motörhead and Dinosaur Jr.

Chapter 8 – Maiden, Motörhead and Dinosaur Jr.

Fragment 49

Mike Maldonado, Elissa Steamer, Brian Anderson, Satva Leung, Donny Barley, Ed Templeton and Jamie Thomas (Chad Muska was there for most of it but left the team shortly before the video was released).

Fragment 50

Lard, Misfits, Van Halen, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Jefferson Airplane, Sonic Youth, Iron Maiden.

Fragment 51

Toy Machine’s Welcome to Hell [1996] is a classic, and not just because Thrasher says so. In hindsight, it looks like a once in a lifetime combination. Almost all of these skaters would go on to join the list of the most respected names in skateboarding culture. Besides that, the question of music rights would come to make it impossible for a skater-owned brand to use half the stuff these guys used. The skating is great. The filming and editing are gripping (check the huge backside 180 when the Maiden song really gets going at 2.05). Pretty much the perfect storm. Who’s going to argue with that?

Fragment 52

In a “first try friday” video for The Berrics, Geoff Rowley misses a trick and explains it by saying “Too much Iron Maiden, not enough Motörhead.” This hints at an underlying idea about the differences between Motörhead and Maiden and also about what you need in order to skate properly.

Fragment 53

Rowley’s remark can be taken to mean that he finds more energy, more raw power in Motörhead than in Maiden, which would rhyme with his approach to skateboarding, for which I am truly thankful. Indeed, it’s hard to find anyone that rocks as hard as Motörhead, but still you can’t say that Maiden is exactly bland, and the power in the Jamie Thomas part we’re looking at is undeniable. However, there’s another level, not exactly that of pure power, at which the distinction between Maiden and Motörhead may prove useful in illuminating certain aspects of Welcome to Hell.

Fragment 54

In Maiden, as with most heavy-metal, there’s an element of drama, of pathos and self-importance that is largely gone from most of Motörhead’s stuff (certainly from the classic 70s and 80s albums, maybe with an exception for the early nineties fascination-with-war-period). This is a difference that one could use to explain the evolution of Toy Machine and Zero, the brand Jamie Thomas started in the year Welcome to Hell came out.

Fragment 55

Toy Machine developed a quirkier, more ironic image. Zero was dark and took itself seriously. So while Toy Machine isn’t exactly Motörhead, probably something more along the lines of Sonic Youth or Dinosaur Jr., rock that nerds liked or nerds that rocked, however you prefer, Zero pretty much followed the Maiden route. In this light, Welcome to Hell has lots of elements of a Zero video. Not only does it actually introduce Zero as a brand, with a comercial halfway through the video, but also, having been directed by Jamie Thomas, it takes on some of the seriousness and self-importance I was talking about, which can be found in much of Zero’s “identity” as a brand.

Fragment 56

f you compare the beginning of Ed Templeton’s part in Welcome to Hell – his trademark ironic drawings (calling himself “loser”, “kill him when you see him” written under his name) –, with the beginning of Jamie’s part, - the American flags flying and the slow-mo skating across the bridge while Maiden are singing about being taken to the gallows pole –, it’s plain to see that these two people didn’t look at skateboarding, skate videos, music and life in general in the same way. Zero was bound to become Jamie Thomas’ thing and Toy Machine needed that in order to come into its own under Ed Templeton. So, yeah, pretty much a once in a lifetime combination.

By Sebastião Belfort Cerqueira

Sign Up for our Newsletter

Join the Trucks and Fins community and receive exclusive news, giveaways, access to subscribers-only-contests, discounts from our partners and much more directly from us!