Overthinking: the Static Series
To celebrate Static VI's release and the triumphant conclusion of the Static series, we convinced Josh Stewart to plumb the depths of his memory for the trivia, stories, connections, and personalities that made each Static video so special, and to dig through twenty five years of tapes for the accompanying footage. Tune into @overthinkingskatevideos every day this week (or just scroll down!) to learn something new about each Static video and get hyped for Static VI, hitting shops very soon.
- Jake Rupp’s part in Static, 1999, got him on, and then kicked off, the nascent Habitat team. Joe Castrucci was starting Habitat out of Alien Workshop around the same time the first Static video dropped, and told Jake he was on the team based off his Static part alone–that is, until two of the main pros at Alien Workshop saw the Love Park line in his part starting with a nollie backside lipslide on the main ledge and ending with an FS 180 over a tall square rail. Supposedly, these two pros didn’t like that Jake did a nollie backside lipslide on a ledge, and said that nobody that does nollie backside lipslides in a video part can ride for a Workshop brand. After barely a month on the team, Castrucci had no choice but to kick Jake off… all because of a nollie backside lipslide.
- The Super 8 shot of the Statue of Liberty in the beginning of the Northeast section is actually the statue of liberty at the New York, New York casino in Las Vegas. Josh Stewart never made it to NYC while filming the first Static video.
- Paul Shier and Kenny Reed’s parts in Static II, 2004, are linked in several ways: Both parts have lines that start with a half cab double flip, a weird trick choice chosen as an inside joke; both pros lived together in Barcelona while filming, which prompted the infamous postcard scenes at the beginning and end of the video (Fun fact: during Paul Shier's "You Know How We Do" intro, there's a hidden photo of Paul and Josh wailing on guitars at a nightclub in Miami but it's barely visible in regular motion); and at the start of Paul’s part, he’s wearing what would’ve been considered a “Kenny Reed hat” he found at a thrift store in Texas, as a nod to his friend.
- Ricky Oyola never wanted his part in the video and only agreed to film a part as long as Jack Sabback, Rich Adler, and Damien Smith could share the part with him. Josh was looking for “a classic Ricky vibe of mostly Philly street footage” but with two young kids at home, it would be nearly impossible to get Ricky out of the house and filming for significant amounts of time. Traveling to cities like Barcelona and Miami freed him up to spend multiple days out skating and get some strong clips. Once it was time to edit the video, Ricky didn’t think his part was good enough to put out (and he was not feeling the Rush song, an intentional nod to the Sub Zero video and the “working man” concept Ricky embodied). “I put up a fight and insisted it had to be in the video and people were gonna be hyped,” Josh said. “I remember that phone call where he was like ‘well, you're gonna do what you're gonna do… but I don't think my part should be in the video.’ I know Ricky was capable of way more, but as an adult with jobs, kids, etc I was extremely hyped that we got what we did for his part. The funny thing is that literally hundreds of people over the years have told me that was their favorite part in the video.”
- Soy Panday filmed a huge chunk of his Static III part, 2007, in a single day. On the first Static III filming trip to Miami, Soy was coming off an injury and wasn’t at 100% yet. Plus he wasn’t really accustomed to being in a car all day driving to spots. Due to those factors, he only filmed 2 clips in Miami and flew home thinking there’s no way he was gonna end up getting a part in the video. But he got another chance when Josh Stewart flew out to Paris to work with him again, and this time Soy was READY. Josh flew in at 7am on his first morning and when he got to Soy's apartment he was setting up a fresh board ready to immediately get out filming....on that first day out, Soy filmed his opening line with the nose manny nollie 360 flip out, the marathon line in front of the Eiffel Tower, the channel gap to nose manual at the white tiled bank spot, the 16mm intro stuff, and the “Friends” titles with Vivien Feil. “He’s also wearing the same outfit from all those other clips during his last trick but I can't remember when we filmed that,” Josh said. “Was it the same day as all the other miraculous footage?..I don't remember, but regardless, Soy should wear that outfit more often.”
- Mark Gonzales' Brooklyn Banks trick in the first montage was actually done on Pat Stiener's board. Josh and Pat were chillin’ at the banks one day, for whatever reason, and Gonz just randomly showed up. He asked to see Pat's board that he was sitting on and he started pushing around on it commenting that he liked the trucks or something. Next thing, he was messing with that dumb wooden ledge thing someone built atop the banks. “I asked Pat ‘Umm...should I film that?’ and he was like ‘I mean, it's the Gonz, I think yeah you should film.’” So he did that nosepick on Pat's board and then gave it back to him and wandered off.
- In the "St. Louis Breakdown" montage section, each time the lyrics mention a city a skater is skating a spot in that city. This was still in an era where filmers would help contribute footage to other people's videos, and it all worked out so serendipitously that Josh just so happened to have footage from every city mentioned in that song – SF, NYC, Chicago, Atlanta – except, ironically, no footage from St Louis.
- Josh Stewart broke Static IV and Static V into two videos so Aaron Herrington and Kevin Tierney could both have opener and Quim Cardona and Jahmal Williams could both have ender. According to Josh, his biggest conundrum the final year of working on the video was deciding who’d get first and last part. Aaron Herrington was the shoe-in for first part because he was mostly unknown at that point and his part was gnarly and very complete and was going to make an obvious splash, but Kevin Tierney was an actual native New Yorker and this was gonna be his strongest part and “he's the raddest kid.” Last part was another big mind-fuck because “both Jahmal and Quim are legends” – Jahmal still hadn't had THE part of his career yet, but Quim is such a legend of style and east coast history, if he wasn't last where would he go? Josh was also battling with how to keep the video a reasonable length, without cutting too many people, when the inspiration came to him. “I was out shooting b-roll in the city and I looked at the Subway sign for the 456 train line and I was like "HOLY SHIT!!" I realized I could just make a surprise two-disc set with two separate videos, Static 4 and Static 5, and then Jahmal and Quim could both have last part. It was like a gift from the gods!. And the subway signs display each train number in a circle just like a DVD, it was just the perfect solution for my problem.”
- There's a fake train in Static IV… sort of. “I had been shooting tons of 16mm footage along the train lines throughout the city, but after the idea of naming the video "Static 4-5-6" came about, I decided I had to capture the 4 train in the tunnel, shot from a train alongside it as it left a station, for the intro of the video to give the idea that this was the start of 'Static IV',” Josh Stewart said. “But I soon realized that it's literally impossible to get that shot because the 4 train is express, [so] the only way to achieve the shot in the intro of the 4 train entering the tunnel, is to shoot it FROM the 4 train. So, realizing that is impossible, I worked with motion graphics artist Marcus Manoogian to change the number 5 on the front of the train to a number 4. He pulled it off flawlessly.”
- Charlie Young’s ender in Static V, 2014, is at Fairfields, the legendary Croydon ledge spot Paul Shier helped put on the map in the late 90s. This was an intentional nod to Shier, since the two of them are from the same town in North London. The guest titles in Charlie’s part are also shot on the same bridge as the ones in Shier’s Static II part, 2004: in Static II, Nick Jensen pushes Shier off camera, and in Static V, Shier pushes Nick Jensen, and then Charlie pushes Shier back out of the way....but Charlie took it too far and slammed Shier to the ground. “That was not planned, by the way,” Josh added. “Charlie’s just a hooligan.”
- Out of respect to the NYC skate scene, Josh Stewart split the New York montage into two sections: the opening section, edited to Funkadelic’s “Tales of Kid Funkadelic,” only features skaters from New York State; and the second section, edited to The OC’s “Time’s Up,” only features non-NY skaters. For an added bit of nerdom, the New York section is edited to a group formed in New Jersey, and the non-NY section is edited to a rapper from Brooklyn. “I made a mistake and there’s actually one New Jerseyite in the New York section,” Stewart told me. “Can you name which skater that is?”