Dusting off the VCR: Bloody Chicken Boots at 16

Bloody Chicken Boots Title Screen

 

My first viewing of Bloody Chicken Boots

Rarely do I remember the exact moment I watched a skate video for the first time.  That is unless I attended the video premiere, or the video made some sort of immediate impression on me.  The impression doesn’t necessarily have to be good either, it can be bad too.  With that, I do distinctly remember the first time I watched Ambush’s first skate video, Bloody Chicken Boots, and it wasn’t because the video was particularly spectacular.

I remember rolling up to the shop with some friends on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon sometime in 2001.  This was Ambush’s old location, the one with the infamous three stair.  Anyway, I was posted up on the couch, which sat across from on of those antiquated big screen televisions.  You know the type…the old projection ones that have the VCR’s timecode burned into the screen.  Admittedly, I was a little hungover from the prior night’s endeavors.  Still, I had no idea a skate video contained the power to augment my hangover.  Was it was the filming or the odd techno songs that caused my stomach to churn.  Who knows?  What I do know is that my first viewing of Bloody Chicken Boots was nauseating.  This made the viewing permanently burned into my brain, just like the timecode burned into the big screen it played on.

Recently I noticed that BCB wasn’t online and it had been ages since I’d seen it.  Seeing this opportunity, I set out to capture the VHS and expand Ambush’s digital archive.  During my efforts, I watched it a few times and, surprisingly, it’s  better than I remembered.  The video holds a special type of nostalgia reserved normally for old awkward photos.  The photos can sometimes be slightly embarrassing, but also rad.  While digesting the video, I decided to reach out to some of the people involved in making it.  After all, Blood Chicken Boots is now 16 years old, and what better time to get their respective takes on the video.

Stormy Pruett

Stormy Pruett at the 40 Yard

Q: Pretty hard to believe that Bloody Chicken Boots is 16 years old.  When do you think the last time you watched it was?

A: Dude, I probably haven’t seen the video in about 10 years.  So long ago.  The random thing is that people still bring it up in the store, every once in a while.  For one reason or another, the video stuck with them and they totally remember everyone’s part and the most random stuff about it.  Crazy, right?!

Q: What was your initial perception of the video and your part?

A: First perception was, what is up with the name?!  Me and Brian Hutch had just got on right [the Ambush skate team] before the video was to come out.  It was Ryan Taylor’s baby as far as I know.  But, Ryan is a rad dude and knows what’s up, so I had faith in him and the video.  Music was mad crazy on most of the parts.  I think that Ryan and the homies made most of the jams themselves, I could be wrong about that one.  Regardless of the name and music, Ryan’s and Brian’s parts ripped!!!  I have a lot of respect for those guys.

Q: If you had the chance to pick your music, what would you have ran with?

A:  It would have probably been something by the band Fifteen.  I was so into those guys back then.  I was convinced that, if every person listened to their first couple of albums, that the world would be a better place.  Those early songs by them are life changers, brother.  A bunch of us got to see them here in Atlanta at the old Somber Reptile before they broke up.  Randomly, when I was skating in SF, I noticed a flyer on a street pole that said Fifteen was playing a reunion show that night.  We got to see them in their hometown.  Funny thing was that to us they were THE band and we thought the show would be sold out.  When we got there, there probably were only 50 people at the show, but we went ape shit.  One of the best shows that I have ever seen.

Q: What’s up with that slam at the beginning of your part?  Did you break your wrist or something?  I always hated that it was shown over and over.

A: I’m at a loss on that one.  Not sure why, maybe it just look funny…I guess.  I didn’t put a lot of direction into my part because I had just got on.  Shit, who doesn’t like a good slam anyways.  Damn feebles.

Stormy Pruett Slam

Q: For the time, it seems like most Atlanta videos were all mashups of each other.  Was any of the footage in your part specifically filmed for Bloody Chicken Boots?  I only ask because nearly all of it was in Dirty South too.

A: At that time we only had a few filmers in and around Atlanta, so some clips got shared here and there for sure.  And like I mentioned before, Brian and I just got on, so we had to make due with what we had to fill the slot.  We skated mostly the city or close to it at the time, so we didn’t get to skate a lot of the Ambush team guys then.  As the years went on, I was hyped to skate with all those dudes and hit their spots.  I really think that my next Ambush video part is the one that I’m most proud of.  The one with the skateboard with the wings on the front.

Q: It doesn’t really seem like your gear has changed over the years.  The only faux pas I can point out is the bulky shoes, but everyone fell victim to them then.  Was there any particular shoe from back then that you were particularly fond of?

A: Same dude through the years, mostly my style stayed the same because that was all  I could afford.  Cheap and easy just to rock the same pants everyday and whatever shirt that was somewhat clean…ha.  The one shoe that I loved besides the ‘eS Accel (which I probably, no joke, have had hundreds of), was the Marc Johnson Emerica shoe.  That shoe was the shit!  Lower profile and looked sick.  I have a lot of fond memories rocking those old MJs.

Ryan Taylor

Surely, RT needs no introduction, but in case you didn’t know, he’s a true OG.  He’s certainly one of  the most dedicated skateboarders I know.  Hell, he’s built his life around it.  The sole man behind Drifter Skate Mfg., Ryan continues to fine-tune his craft of not only making skateboards, but shredding them too!  Here’s what he had to say about the flick.

 

Ryan Taylor | Drifter Skate x Ambush Board Co.

RT screeching a B/S crailslide. 📷: Gasaway

 

Q: First things first, where on Earth did the name “Bloody Chicken Boots” come from?  Any story or meaning behind it?

A: Way before Ambush even existed in 1990, I was skating with a good friend, Matt Clark.  One of us just said it.

Q: It’s hard to believe that Bloody Chicken Boots is 16 years old.  When do you think the last time you watched it was?

A: Not sure.  At least 14 years ago.

Q: What was your initial perception of the video?  Your part?

A: Back then we were always filming and just wanted to make a shop video.  It was fun.  Nothing serious.

Q: Who’s “Trashman” Turner?  Did he edit the video?  What was the deal with “Trashman” Turner Studios?  I was always under the impression that you put it together.

A: He was the kid with the PC with all the cool editing stuff.  His name was Taylor Turner.  Brandon [Gasaway] and I would go to his house and play with it.  We sucked at editing, but it was super fun to play with it.

Q: Some of the parts were set to traditional songs, but Stormy’s & Rhett’s parts both had those weird techno songs.  Was there any reason for the electronic music?

A: Not at all.

Q: Who were you skating with the most back then?  Were you filming specifically for this or was the video an afterthought?

A: I skated with Brandon a lot.  I was filming for other sponsors at the same time.

Q: I kind of view this video like that old awkward school photo that is both awesome and bad.  That said, what is the worst and/or best trends from back then?

A: Puffy shoes had to be the worst.  Everything else was pretty cool for its time.

Q: What was your favorite trick from your part?  Any tricks that got away?  

A: Any hand rail tricks.  I don’t touch ’em anymore because I’m old and not conditioned for it.

 

Frontside boardslide fakie

RT with a hefty front board fakie

Q: What are you up to now and how often do you skate still?

A: I’m usually working, making boards at Drifter Mfg.  I skate about once a week.

Ryan Taylor | drifterskate

Putting in work.

Rhett Freeman

Surely you’ve watched Rhett’s standout parts from Matt Swinsky’s Southern Comfort (’06) or Chris Thiessen’s Meanwhile (’09).  Watching those parts, it’s apparent that Rhett spends a lot of time/energy looking for spots.  Over the years I’ve gone to several of these freshly discovered “spots” (some are too sketchy to call spots) only to leave scratching my head thinking, “How’d he skate this garbage?”.  Rhett is a true spot seeker and he’s seemingly always out hopping fences in search for what’s next.   That’s why I was hyped to get his take on what may be was his first part ever in Bloody Chicken Boots, and get the video up online.

Rhett Freeman's kickflip in Bloody Chicken Boots

Just a little kickflip to end a sick line.

Q: It’s hard to believe that Bloody Chicken Boots is 16 years old.  When do you think the last time you watched it was?

A: Wow, I can’t believe it’s already been that long!  It’s been a a while!  I used to have a copy.  I think I watched a few parts at Brandon’s house a few years ago. However, I haven’t watched it all the way through in probably 15 years, though.

Q: Did you have any input into the editing process?  If you had the chance to pick your music, what would you have ran with?

A: I actually moved to California right before they started editing.  My friend Trevor had all of my footage, so I assume he gave it to them, but I never had any input into it.  I wasn’t sure anything was going to ever happen, so when I got a copy in the mail I was surprised it came together.  Back in that time frame I was listening to a lot of the Misfits and Descendants, so I would have leaned towards one of their songs.

Q: What was your initial perception of the video?  Your part?

A: My initial reaction was that I was stoked!  I was 19 so just being a part of anything like that was rad.  Never thought I’d actually have a part in a video with my name on it, so it was really cool.  I was skating a lot during that time frame, so to see it all put together in a part was satisfying.  However, I would have loved to pick a song that I liked, but I heard they wanted to play it safe with music rights, so what can you do?

Q: Who were you skating with the most back then?  Were you filming specifically for this or was the video an afterthought?

A: I was skating the most with my friends from Gainesville; Jesse Melton, Brandon King, Aaron Kirstead, and Trevor Wallis.  We were already skating and filming everyday, so we had a bunch of stuff before they [Ambush] even planned on doing a video.  But, once they talked about doing a video we started going on night missions and really trying to get better stuff.  We were going out until the sun was rising some nights, and sometimes I would just drive right to my job and start working at 6:00 AM after skating all night.

Q: Worst and/or best trends from back then?

A: You know your getting old when you can’t even remember the trends from that time frame.  I would say that the handkerchief hanging out of a pocket was pretty lame.  In fact, I thought flare of any kind was pretty lame.  My least favorite trend was when a dude would land a trick then 3 seconds later drop a knee as if to add style to the trick.  It’s always very obvious to me and not genuine.  I like to see dudes just skate and do a trick how it was.  We all know that shit was hard, quit trying to make it look effortless!  Haha.  I don’t really like trends in general, but if I had to pick one that was tolerable, I liked when pants got slimmed down.  I never wore baggy pants, but just had pants that were normal for the time.  Whatever was sold for cheap at Walmart or wherever.  I had this one pair of pants that were sloppy and long and they would hang over my shoes when I skated.  Somehow they got caught on the ground bailing a trick and I rolled my ankle.  I was over them right then and there!

Q: Any memorable sessions or notable things that happened while filming?

A: I feel like a lot of random stuff happened almost every time we went out.  The looks on these security people’s faces when they saw lights, generators, and cameras at the front of their buildings at 4:00 AM was priceless!  I can’t remember where this was, but I remember a security guard coming out and seeing the whole production.  Instead of kicking us out he decided to participate.  He told us that he could jump a car on foot and wanted to prove it.  So he requested we move the lights to his car where he’d perform his stunt, the dude doesn’t even warm up or stretch, just runs to jump his car and pulls a hamstring and is laying on the ground in pain!  Someone has this on film and I’d pay top dollar to see it!

Q: What are you up to now?

A: These days I’m working a lot trying to grow a business and pay the bills!  Living in the suburbs, but aiming for the country life with some property.  Still enjoying skateboarding in my mid 30s, but I’m currently taking my longest break from constant skateboarding in the 20 years I have been doing it.  These knees and ankles needed a break!

i had to stop off and hit this one because its too perfect. 📹 @kellrenae

A post shared by Rhett Neck (@idiotbait) on

Conclusion

I’ve now re-watched this video several times, and I’m glad I dusted off the old VCR.  The skating was definitely ripping, and who doesn’t get nostalgic seeing Trader Vic’s before it was tagged “Bubba” or “Bong”?  I speak for everyone here at Ambush when I say that we’re thankful for all the hard work our team riders have put in over the years.  A special thanks goes out to Ryan, Stormy, and Rhett for taking the time to answer a few questions.

I think I’ll be dusting off my DVD player for Ambush’s 2nd video soon…

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