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December, 2011: It was a bleak, very overcast day in late 2011 in Redondo Beach, California. I had just moved across the country from the East Coast and was a bit lost, disconnected from the culture and familiar surroundings I had grown to love. The week I had moved, a few days before Thanksgiving Day of 2011, Washington D.C. label Dischord Records had released a new album from a band called Office of Future Plans. I didn’t know the band’s work — I only knew that it was the latest project of J. Robbins, formerly of Jawbox, Burning Airlines and Channels, all bands I had championed and loved in my late teens, 20s and 30s.
I had found the local train station in Redondo Beach. I was doing manuals on the curbs, and I pressed play on my iPod Shuffle. The first lyrics of the album, (“In the kingdom of the dead/we don’t talk about the weather”) hooked me (see video above). I was new blood in an alien place, listening to music from an artist that had accompanied my life for 20 years, in search of familiarity. J. Robbins and the Office of Future Plans record was unknowingly comforting that cross country transition for me. I needed an old friend on that day. Continue reading J.Robbins: A Return To Channels
Re-adding the BS some bot deleted. Thanks for the nothing…
In January of 2015, I moved to Austin, Texas from Redondo Beach, California and decided that I should eventually get around to filming a new video. My dear friend Stew Johnson volunteered his time and effort and skills, and together, slowly but surely, we amassed enough footage to put together something I was happy with. I then DM’d Patrick Kindlon of Self Defense Family to see if we could make sweet, beautiful love together (I.E. use their song) and he said 100% use it. With help from a clip filmed by Robin Fenlon in Newport Beach, we spent the day after Thanksgiving 2016 sitting in Stew’s office and came up with the following. I owe dear thanks to so many people for pushing me to keep going on this bizarre BMX journey for over 30 years now, and this is dedicated to each and every one of them. Thanks for watching a 42-year-old no one…
“I’m sorry, it’s 6:18, you need to check your bag 45 minutes before your flight departs, and you’re officially three minutes late Mr. Tunney,” said the ticketing agent.
“I was here, it’s just that the line was very long and that added extra time in line to me actually getting to give you the bag made me later than expected,” I replied.
I looked around, women were crying, a German man was screaming that he needed six hours of his life back, my friends were slowly making their way through security already and I was left wondering what to do in an unarguable situation: Do I mention my status? Do I say pretty please? Can I just get on the next flight in an hour? Will she stop accusing me of being late and scowling at me? Continue reading Aspen to Denver
It’s a piece of bedroom furniture. It’s old, it’s wooden, and it looks like grandparent furniture. The reason I probably think as much is because it was just that. And by the time I first recognized the behemoth of a combined mirror and chest of drawers that takes up one wall, I was a young child and my grandfather and grandmother were living together but enjoying the solitude of their own bedrooms. Continue reading Furniture has some say in life?
By the 2012 elections, I was alone, in a desolate apartment in North Redondo Beach, wondering about the news and the election and the debates and the inter-afters of what I would hear on NPR during my brief drives throughout the South Bay. I wasn’t particularly “trying” to be disconnected, it just happened and I went with it and figured Mitt Romney versus Barack Obama in my tiny bubble of California was an afterthought that I would explore when the actual election happened.
My town, the surrounding areas, the local NPR affiliate, everyone seemed more preoccupied with getting the “ensure porn actors wear condoms” law passed. I voted for it, it passed, and then the porn industry started their various Los Angeles loopholes around the law involving Arizona and Vegas (at least that’s what NPR said…) Continue reading Assembled arguments
(I originally had this titled “Brain Trauma” but it might as well be called “Young and Dumb.”)
I was young, naive, i was trying these forward rolling backyard glides. I was sitting backwards on the bike, the bars were behind me, my hands were on them and I was trying in earnest to pull the front of the bike up so I could balance on the back pegs while standing backwards and rolling forward.
It wasn’t working and I was five miles from home without a car. At the time, my bike was pretty heavy. This was the accepted truth about BMX bikes. If they weren’t heavy, they weren’t strong, and you risked your life if it broke in the wrong circumstance. On the converse though, when you did go down with the ship, all 40 – 45 pounds of that bike came down with you. And I was stuck trying something and not coming close. Continue reading Young and dumb
A few months ago, journalist Abigail Geiger reached out to me about a story she was writing for the York Daily Record on the Plywood Hoods. I was unable to speak with her by phone about the Hoods (it was a hectic day) but she e-mailed over some questions that I rattled on too long about. The Plywood Hoods and Dorkin’ videos remain my bible to this day, and I am always honored to even just speak about them. Once, I even got a clip in a Dorkin’ video (“Balancing Act”) and really, if I’m being honest here, I probably could’ve given up bike riding when that video came out and told everyone that I had achieved everything I had ever wanted to as far as getting noticed in BMX went. They are that important to my roots as a lifelong BMX rider and the reason I can recite by memory Rob Base’s “It Takes Two.” They also remain my go-to example of a Malcom Gladwell-ian combination of the right people in the right time, excelling at flatland while also progressing in avenues that allowed them to self-publicize their exploits in media, from video to photos to writing. They were the perfect mashup of misfits that bordered on genius. I can shut up now: This is the full Q&A that didn’t make it into the original article, published for 5-10 people here on the advice of Bob Scerbo. Continue reading A Hood No More…
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Vic Dicara’s guitar playing was a marginal character in my life for a few months when I was 16, mainly because I was an unfortunate fan of the East Coast based Krishnacore band Shelter. Dicara spent a few months in an early incarnation of Shelter, and at the time, I saw them at least a half dozen times. I don’t even remember too much about the playing of the music, but I vividly remember the conflict that a Krishna-fronted band presented for the youth, the parents and everyone in between that dared to question authority and rallied against the establishment. It spilled out into the parking lots of shows and bled onto every fanzine of the time. It pushed my father to ask me, “You’re not joining a cult, are you?” Continue reading Creation, Sustenance, Destruction: 108 lives on