Someone like James is bound to have videos/video parts that they cherish from their years in BMX, so I got in touch with him to find out what they are and to hear what he had to say about each.
S&M BMX Inferno (Whole Video!)
I’ve said it before in other interviews, but I still think this is one my favourite BMX videos ever made. BMX Inferno was one of the initial factors that made me such a loyal supporter of S&M. On top of the riding, I loved the music they used…Circle Jerks, The Dwarves, The Melvins, Devo, The Misfits…I wish more videos nowadays still had cool music like that in them. It all just sums up that golden era to me. I’ve always been a big fan of the punk rock / BMX crossover, and this video to me is one of the best examples of that. The team at that time were all absolutely amazing too, and the sections proved it- Mike Griffin, Shaun Butler, Josh Stricker, Keith Treanor, Ian Morris, Fids, Brian Castillo, Mike Ocoboc etc, plus that P.O.W section at the start with Thunderkiss 65 by White Zombie over it was so good – it just made me want to be a part of it all. This is the video that I would always watch before going riding. Basically this whole video and everything about it is fu*king awesome. If I had to choose a part, I suppose for the purposes of this interview I’ll choose the intro, as it’s got almost the whole crew in it, and sums the video up well. It’s also one of my favourite tracks in the video, June Bug by The Melvins.
Bicycle Union, Nails In The Coffin (Whole Video!)
When I was growing up, despite being a huge fan of them, I was always terrified of the Bicycle Union crew. Whenever I saw them at any BMX event they just looked like an intimidating bunch. They were one of those crews you just wouldn’t want to fu*k with. This video has a similar effect. Before I watched this, I wasn’t really aware of bands like Slapshot, Cro-Mags, Hard Skin etc. So I can pretty much attribute a fair amount of the music I listen to now to John Dye and this video. Among others, Jerry Galley, Stuart King and John Dye kill it in this video too. I just couldn’t get my head round what they were doing on their bikes, and I loved how the majority of it was filmed in the UK. When the intro kicks in it’s just the heaviest Indecision song, there’s flaming skulls, marching hoards of sword brandishing skeletons, horrible crashes, it’s just fu*king nuts from the outset, I love it – so much character in there. Nails In The Coffin is very firmly in my most–watched pile, as I’m sure it is for a lot of UK riders from my generation. This video in particular had a lot of influence on me when it came to making videos myself too.
James Newrick, NSF 3
Right from when I saw Newrick’s NSF 2 section I became a fan of him, and NSF in general. A lot of the stuff that Newrick and Ben Lewis especially were doing in their parts were pretty far ahead of their time, and NSF2 became a staple video that we’d watch before going street riding. By the time NSF 3 was made a fair few years later, not only had I met Newrick and the NSF lads, but I had become good friends with them, quit my job and moved from my home on the South Coast up to Newcastle, where I was living in a small cupboard in the same house as Newrick, and had been lucky enough to watch a lot of the video being filmed and edited. Aside from the fact that this section reminds me of the good times I had living in Newcastle and what I consider to be an all-round good era for BMX in general as far as I was concerned, there is obviously some really good riding in this section. Newrick was the first person I’d ever seen doing ice hardways, smith hardways, 360 hardways, huge long 360’s off stuff, the list goes on. I just see James Newrick as a very influential and progressive person in general, in the UK scene for my generation, as both a rider and one of my favourite videographers of all time. Always a good person to watch ride, I feel pretty privileged to say that nowadays he’s also one of my closest friends.
Rooftop, Dirty Deeds
This whole video is pretty mind-blowing to be honest. My favourite parts were Mike Griffin’s, Dave Parrick’s, Brian Foster’s and Rooftop’s, but I’ve chosen Rooftop’s here in particular because at the time the stuff he was doing was just so crazy. Even now if you watch that part, there’s a lot of clips in there that would still be more than worthy to use in a video today, and bear in mind that this was filmed in 1993, and Mike was 16! Dirty Deeds was another video that i absolutely loved the soundtrack to. I particularly liked the Iron Man intro, Parrick’s Butthole Surfers song, Treanor riding to Slayer, Mikes Griffin’s section that was just unbelievable, and this Rooftop part, set to Paint It Black. The song matches up really well to what’s undoubtably an epic section. There’s a hell of a lot of grinds in this part that I’m pretty sure had never been done before. Every section in this video is so expertly filmed and edited, and the excellent music choices set over such ahead-of their-time riders makes this video a real classic as far as I’m concerned.
Mark Gralla, Cuts
I wanted to list a modern video in here as well as the old ones, so I thought I’d include Mark Gralla from Animal Cuts, as he’s one of my favourite riders of late. Such a great style, and a master of spot discovery and usage. I really like all the East Coast videos that he’s involved in, especially the AM:PM and Skapegoat videos. That crew ride a lot of cool stuff, and watching the Ratman in particular makes me want to go find some spots!
On The Down Low
Well this whole thing is a huge mix, so I can’t really pick one part of it but it has to be in the list. I’m a big Ells Bells fan. I like how weird the videos are…Ells used lots of interesting footage of the spots he was filming at, whether it’s fu*ked up people, flickering lights or derelict run-down areas amongst the riding clips. A lot of the footage was filmed at night and there’s also a fair amount of black and white footage in there too, which really adds to it all…And that’s without mentioning that soundtrack. Gonz and his Arizona crew just seemed like a pretty wild group of riders who were taking street riding in their own direction, and I really liked that. I definitely took a lot of influence riding-wise from Ratboy and Gonz at the time. To sum up the insanity of this video, the last thing in the video is a night-time clip of Chris Toth horribly crashing a huge kinker, which if i remember correctly was the crash that broke his back, which then suddenly cuts to a parking meter flipping up the words TIME EXPIRED,which then transitions into some footage of the sea in reverse…Normal…
Dave Young, Nowhere Fast
Another video that it’s pretty hard to choose a single section from, but I’ve gone for Dave Young’s because that one had the biggest impact on me when I first saw it, and he ended up being my favourite rider in the video. The crash section at the beginning is absolutely brutal…Then the song kicks off and he starts actually pulling stuff, going 100 miles an hour…It just blew me away. Also, that clip of him flipping off that car in slow motion is an excellent bit of footage! After that video I definitely thought Dave Young was mean as hell. I think that Nowhere Fast in general was groundbreaking, both in the standard of the footage being filmed, and the way it was put together. This was also another video with an excellent soundtrack – The Cramps, Black Flag, Sabbath, Slayer, Bad Brains…Dave Parrick definitely hugely influenced / encouraged my musical taste with his song choices.
Edwin Delarosa, Animal 1
I once made a VHS mixtape with my favourite sections on it all back to back, and this one was repeated on there about three times, I absolutely loved it. What can I say about Edwin that hasn’t been said? It’s that timeless style on New York spots. This one had to be in there…
T T T Tech T Tech R R R Rat Booooyyee!! Yeah, he had a pretty kooky style, but to say this part had a big influence on me is quite an understatement – I basically studied this part religiously and set upon going out every night to replicate every clip in this section, minus the red FUBU gear. It was funny watching this part back now, as I still do so much of the stuff I learnt from watching this back in the day. He has to be one of the pioneers of the street suicide too…
@ 37 minutes 24 seconds
Lou Rajsich, Blueprint
Blueprint is great all the way through, really under-rated – but Lou’s part was my favourite in there, closely followed by Jeremy Davis. The thing that I liked the most about Lou Rajsich’s part was that there was a lot of opposite stuff in there that I hadn’t seen much of before at that point and there were a lot of hammers. But what stood out the most was his style – not just the way he rode, but his bike setup with those chrome 4 piece bars with a brake, and the clothes he was wearing, he just looked cool as fu*k basically. And he could do backwards grind down rails both ways…Watching this video always makes me want to go ride something.
VERY Honorable mention to 1201 and Domination.