Ten Years of Static III: Olly Todd & A New Jersey Minute

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"I remember traveling in London while filming for what was supposed to be the last video of the Static series, 'Static II,' and meeting Olly Todd for the first time. It was immediately obvious that there was something a little different about him, from the way he dressed, to his appreciation of simplicity. He soon explained himself to me as a neo-Luddite, which was something I had to look up online later that night (I'll let you look it up too). But it wasn't until I finally got to see Olly skate in person that I understood how classic and timeless his skateboarding was. It was this discovery that inspired me to get started on a new Static video, and Olly was the first skater to start off the line-up"  - Josh Stewart

How did you initially link up with Josh Stewart?

Josh was over here in London filming Paul Shier and Bobby Puleo for their parts in Static ll. Summer 2003? Me and the London locals would end up on the sessions with those guys, and I guess Josh was keen to include a London section for the video, so he’d film us guys, too. I filmed a couple of things with Josh which ended up in Static ll, together with some stuff I’d filmed with Chris Massey. A little later, maybe later that year, Josh was back in town for a day or so on a layover or something. I’d just got on Stereo and they wanted some footage for the Way Out East video, and Josh was cool enough to spend an afternoon with me working on that before he got his flight.

What was filming like? How long did you film for? Any favorite memories from filming, or a particular story or trip that really stands out? What, and why?

I think Josh was actually reluctant at first to make another video after Static ll. But he suggested we should film a part, and had some other guys in mind too, so he decided to get the ball rolling on a new project. Once he’d committed to Static lll, he came back out to London and rented a flat near Stratford for six months. That was a productive time because I was able to go out every day, often just me and Josh; I’ve always felt more comfortable filming with a small crew so that was good. Over the next year or two there were a couple of Miami trips and a couple of New York trips, including one trip that linked the two as we drove up the East Coast hitting cities like Atlanta and Philly. That’s the trip I’d say that stands out. The crew was Steve Durante, Pat Steiner, Puleo, Frankie, Andrew Portillo… Sick crew, amazing spots, budget motels, good laughs.

Were you satisfied with your part, as a whole? Who had your favorite part?

I was satisfied on the whole, stoked in fact. I liked the fact that it was London and East Coast US based, and there was a couple of tricks I really wanted to film that I was lucky enough to get. My only bugbear is the opening line, the standard of skating in which is pretty basic. Josh wanted to keep it in the edit because the camera angle showcases a famous London landmark – Tower Bridge. It was a classic case of the skater’s ego clashing with the filmer’s, something which I’ve struggled with a lot over the years. As far as a favorite part, I'd have say Danny Renaud. It was a treat to witness some of those moves go down in person. So sick.

Where was your career at the time? How did being a part of the Static series impact your career? What kind of feedback did you get?

I was riding for Stereo, living between London and LA. I can’t say I noticed a direct impact on my career. I was already pro and had a solid shoe sponsor and stuff, so no discernible change, but I imagine my part being in Static lll probably afforded me a bit more longevity in the eyes of my sponsors, which is cool if indeed that was the case. I got pretty good feedback yeah; my Dad came to the premiere at the Prince Charles theatre in London’s Leicester Square (the spiritual home of skate video premieres in the UK) and he liked it so that’ll do me. Josh seemed to like my part too, which helps.

A decade on, where are you now, and how do you feel about your inclusion in the Static legacy?

There’ve been a few periods in the last ten years when I didn’t skate much. Trying to figure out the transition between skating full time and working full time was a difficult balance to strike. But it’s all good now and I’m stoked on skating again. A decade on from the release of Static lll, I ride for Palace and we just released PALASONIC, our first full-length video, which was filmed exclusively in London on VHS. I had a small part in that, and have had a couple small parts in various Palace online edits, but I think Static lll was my last full part. I feel privileged about my inclusion in the Static legacy, because the Static concept is dedicated to the type of street skating I like best. That is, essentially, street skating that takes place between the buildings. The whole quintette of Static videos reads as both a record of raw street skating and a love letter to it, so to have had a small part to play in that is an honour. The final product of any video project – the finished video itself – is awesome but it is merely a by-product in some ways. You don’t know it at the time because it’s stressful and freighted with pressure, but the physical act of filming is the most satisfying part of the process. I identified with Josh’s vision for Static lll, so the process of filming for me was a really rewarding time; collaborating to achieve a particular aesthetic, for want of a less wanky explanation. Looking back on it now –  those summers, those night sessions, those road trips – it was fucking rad.

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"There's a long history of amazing talent to come out of New Jersey, from Ricky Oyola to Bobby Puleo. Mark Wetzel and Steve Durante are important characters in that legacy. I mostly owe the involvement of Mark & Steve in 'Static III' to a filmer named Andrew Petillo. Andrew submitted a bunch of random footage for 'Static II' originally and I remember being shocked by Steve Durante's footage and wondered how I had never heard of him before. When I moved to Philadelphia in 2006 to start working on 'Static III,' I ended up editing the first Traffic Skateboards promo for Oyola and that was when I was first introduced to Mark Wetzel's skating. I honestly felt like Mark embodied the mid-90's spirit of street skating better than anybody else in the new millenium. His approach was unique, distinctly his own, and always very entertaining to watch. As the 'Static III' video started to develop, I knew I wanted Mark and Steve to have a presence, but it might have been Petillo who suggested they share a part. Since the lineup was already pretty stacked and we were pretty far along in the process, a shared part seemed the most feasible for meeting our deadline. But it worked out beautifully and the New Jersey Minute is still one of my favorite sections from 'Static III.' East coast skateboarding owes a lot to the state of New Jersey and I would go as far as to say that the idea of "east coast" skating in general probably wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the amazing talent that has come out of the Garden State." - Josh Stewart

How did you initially link up with Josh Stewart?

Mark Wetzel:  I can't remember when I first met Josh. I believe Josh and Pat were staying at Rich [Adler] and Jack [Sabback]'s house and filming for Pat's Static part or Via, the Traffic video [2006]. That is probably where we met. But, I also remember meeting him and his mother at Love Park, and talking with his mom about becoming an art teacher. Haha! Pretty random. I can't remember which one came first, but that might be our first meet. 

Steve Durante: It was definitely through Andrew Petillo. He was helping Josh with Static III and Andrew and I skated together every day at that time. The first time I met Josh was on a trip to Atlanta for Static III that somehow, I got to tag along on.

What was filming like? How long did you film for? Any favorite memories from filming, or a particular story or trip that really stands out? What, and why?

Mark Wetzel: I wasn't aware that I was filming for this video until the end. I was living in Spain and linked up with Andrew Petillo and Steve Durante while they were on a trip. They asked me if I wanted to go to Italy with them, and I tagged along. A bunch of tricks from that part were in Spain and Italy, and we had no idea it would be for a Static part at that point. Steve was filming for a Habitat video and I was just tagging along. That trip to Italy was amazing. Andrew and Steve were friends with Reno and the Chef skateboards guys and they took us in. We "Laced the Boot." I came back home shortly after this and was living in Jersey. Even though I had known Andrew and Steve since I was a kid, we didn't really start skating together until this point. Steve and Fred Gall were filming for whatever Habitat video they were working on. I went along for the ride, and that is how there are some Ohio clips in there. This trip is where I saw firsthand how amazing Fred Gall was. He would get two or three clips a day. I think Andrew was sending Josh our footage. And, I'm pretty sure I ran into Josh skating in the city and he said he would be down to use footage of Steve and I in the Static video he was working on. So, Steve was on fire, getting a ton of stuff and had more then enough for his Habitat part, and I was skating a ton so I had clips too. I remember thinking, "Aren't there like a million people in this video? He is not fitting us in there?" We might have given some people the bump. I ended up having a bad knee injury and had to have two surgeries taking me off the board for almost a year, so it kind of got cut short. But, it was only supposed to be a short part so it didn't really matter.  

Steve Durante: I actually wasn’t doing much around the time Static III started, kinda just being a pile, but Andrew rigged it to where I could possibly have a little section in Static III, so that sparked me to try and film. I started getting clips often, but during that same time, Andrew filmed for Habitat. I guess when he was sending Habitat clips of the guys, he’d throw my stuff in there, too. Alien Workshop and Habitat had hooked me up since I was young, and I came to the realization I would never be put on as an am, but I guess all of the guys over there liked my stuff and wanted me to be in Inhabitants! That was a dream come true, but I didn’t want to screw Josh over because at that point I was already committed to Static III. Luckily, it worked out where I had enough for both videos! And I couldn’t have been happier sharing a section with Mark Wetzel!

One particular story filming for the vid was my last clip in Static III, at the Staten Island ledges. [When we were filming] that clip, I did it, watched it, and didn’t like it, so I tried it again for like, three to four hours, and didn’t do it again. We went home, watched it on the computer, and it was totally usable! Worst part of that was it was Andrew’s birthday that day, so I made the dude film for hours when we should have been relaxing, drinking beers. But, it ended up being my last trick, so I guess it was worth it.

Were you satisfied with your part, as a whole? Who had your favorite part?

Mark Wetzel: I was happy to be included in the project so, I was pretty psyched. Just getting a little part in a Static video felt like I made it. I had a trick that was sent to Josh for Static II, the nollie nosegrind over the main ledge at Love Park, but it did not get used and I remember being bummed. It wasn't filmed on a VX, so that's why it didn't make the cut. Puleo's part is one of my favorite parts of all time. Pat's part would have to be my favorite in Static III. Good use of spots, clean style, trick selection, plus he was on Traffic. He does tricks that are based around the spot itself, and he does hard stuff on them. So, its not some gimmicky bullshit.  

Steve Durante: Yeah, I was really hyped on it! Music, editing, etc, plus Static is one of my all-time favorite videos. Being an east coast kid, it was just an honor to be a part of one. I haven’t watched the video in a long time, but Pat Steiner and Danny Renaud’s parts I was really hyped on. That, and Olly Todd’s.

Where was your career at the time? How did being a part of the Static series impact your career? What kind of feedback did you get?

Mark Wetzel: I really don't consider myself having a skate "career." Any footage that came out before this I filmed while having a full time job and being in college full time. Skating was/is my release to get away from lifes daily bullshit, its very therapeutic. Being in this video probably helped make me known to some skaters outside of the east coast. I remember people liking the part, but also hearing that they would rather see me skating in NJ/NY/Philly instead of in Europe. 

Steve Durante: Career? That’s a good one. Haha. While filming that entire video part, I was collecting government unemployment checks from my seasonal job over the summer, which gave me time to skate and not work. But, if it wasn’t for Josh giving me a chance and Andrew motivating me and doing everything he’s done for me, I would have never got on Habitat, which led to me traveling and making a little loot in the years to come! So, it did a lot for my “career” that I actually never thought about until now. Fuck, thank you, Josh and Andrew!

A decade on, where are you now, and how do you feel about your inclusion in the Static legacy?

Mark Wetzel: A decade later, I am still skating a ton, just not in front of a camera. Being able to step on my board for a few hours and forget about everything is the fucking BEST! I don't know how people go through life without something like that. I have a full time job as a high school art and graphic design teacher, and I also have a house painting business. I make some of the graphics for Traffic and sometimes some other small companies. If I wasn't in the Static videos I would still be a big fan, so of course I am honored to be a part of it. Luckily, I was able to weasel my way into Static IV, where I think I had a better showing.

Steve Durante: I can’t believe it’s been ten years! As of now, I have a three-year-old daughter, so between her and work, that takes up a lot of time. I’ve been skating when I can and trying to get clips with my childhood friend, Devon Connell. He’s making a video, so keep an eye out for that. I’m just thankful to have been in a Static video. I blew it not getting clips in IV or V, but if there is a Static VI, maybe I can rub the sticks together to salvage a clip.

Interviews conducted by Andrew Murrell.

Now enjoy a peek at Mark's latest little cameo in Calzone, the latest video by Matt Velez.