Thursday, June 6, 2013

When did Birdhouse's team get so good again?

I've been skating for about 7 years now (since 2006), which means that I was first getting into skateboarding at around the time everyone was eagerly expecting the release of Lakai's "Fully Flared", to be released about a year later in 2007.

Birdhouse wasn't exactly doing it's best work from a promotional or team standpoint. I didn't know too much about skateboarding at the time, but I remember thinking of Birdhouse simply as Tony Hawk's company with some other vert guys and a couple of street skaters I had never heard of. On top of that, the last video they had come out with was "The End" which was 8 years prior, and Mr. Hawk wasn't getting much respect for putting his name on an increasingly repetitive video game series.

With that said, I respected the historical significance of the company- Tony Hawk is an undisputed legend, and "The End" featured career-making parts from Rick McCrank and Andrew Reynolds. But I don't think I was alone in declaring the brand as past it's prime.
But while I was mistakenly not looking, they were making moves. Good ones. They released "The Beginning" in 2007, and just because most of us were more concerned with "Fully Flared" that year doesn't make that any less of a fantastic video.
Here's one of my favorite parts from the video, from the still-am Shaun Gregoire:

 Not only does Shaun have fantastic style, but the good song choice and editing is indicative of that entire video. Oh, and Figgy had a really good part in that video too, but almost nobody cared, because this was Birdhouse, and nobody had heard of Justin Figueroa.

More recently, they turned Aaron "Jaws" Homoki pro out of nowhere after his jaw-dropping (no pun intended) part in "A Happy Medium 2". And in another move from absolutely nowhere, they also picked up Ben Raybourn, who you know as the kid destroying everything right now, previously on Slave.
So right when I thought there was nothing else they could do to prove they had a sicker team, I saw this:

Clint Walker, heartlessly taking down every handrail he sees.
And while I don't have much to say about the rest of their team, it's still really solid. It features the still-ripping Tony Hawk, Willy Santos and Elliot Sloan, plus Shawn Hale and one of my favorite flow guys, Spencer Nuzzi. With a lineup like that, I should practically be throwing money at them for all the shear hypedness that I get from  watching some of those guys skate.Unfortunately, I'm sorry to say that Birdhouse just isn't quite there yet.

Sure, I could use this opportunity to mock David Loy for his antics or Tony himself for being a sellout, but I'm not convinced Tony is a heartless sellout and I don't really hate David Loy (although I don't really like him either).

My main problem, really, is I don't know where I can get a Birdhouse deck- I've never seen one in a skate shop that wasn't part of a complete. This stands true for the mall skate shops that I've browsed around in. It seems that many people are still thinking of Birdhouse as Tony Hawk's poser brand.

Secondly, their graphics and art direction aren't that great. It doesn't suck, but I'm not really feeling any of it either. Check out the first several decks on their products page:

With the exception of the Clint Walker deck, all of these decks seem kind of gimmicky and meaningless to me. Not that I'm demanding that their designs be on par with some of Alien Workshop's stuff, or to mimic the classic simplicity of Real, or be as funny or ridiculous as Skate Mental, but for the love of all that is good, can I get a Jaws graphic that doesn't involve teeth? Can I get a Raybourn deck that isn't about his glasses? Can we quit it with the bird skulls? What's with the smiley grim reaper, am I missing something there? These aren't the worst graphics, but they are honestly all just pretty generic.

Finally, I know that the whole team has been busy filming for other videos, and for all I know, they could all be filming for a Birdhouse video, but it seems sort of criminal to have a team that good and not be putting out full videos (it's been 6 years unless you include a couple of tour videos). I would happily pay 15 bucks to watch a Birdhouse video. You have Tony and Sloan doing some of the best vert skating you can find, plus Jaws and Raybourn being uber-gnarly both on the streets and in the pools. You'd have Shaun Gregoire cranking out awesome lines, Willy Santos getting funky with it and Clint and Clive getting down on some rails. Am I crazy for thinking this would be the most well-rounded video ever?

So Tony Hawk, since I know that you personally are reading this, my incredibly popular blog that gets less than 10 views a day at the time of this writing, my message to you is this: Step it up just a little bit more, because I REALLY want like Birdhouse!

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