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Loveletters Season 10: Aggro Zone | Jeff Grosso’s Loveletters to Skateboarding | VANS

Loveletters Season 10: Aggro Zone | Jeff Grosso’s Loveletters to Skateboarding | VANS


– You can wax poetic all day long, but the bottom line is this
is the Aggro Zone, period. (static noise) (beeping) ♪ Now that we’re old and ugly, ♪ ♪ We’re middle-aged and hurting. ♪ ♪ Love letters with Jeff Grosso ♪ ♪ Remind you of a salad
days, the best of days. ♪ – Welcome back to The Letters. I’m your host Jeff Grosso,
and this is the Aggro Zone. We wanted to bring you a
good old classic love letter. (honking) We wanted to bring you a
good classic love letter, and the Six Stair Boys have diligently and dutifully archived the first ten years of TransWorld SKATEboarding. (electronic music) Aggro Zone started front in ’84
about and went to about ’87. It was Neil Blender’s
couple of pages in the mag to do whatever the hell he wanted to. (drums playing) His original inspiration for
the piece was the Action Zone, the little cards or
advertisements in Action Now, and Action Now goes down. There’s no skateboard
publications, Thrasher’s born. And, you know, they had the
skate and destroy ethos, and it was basically their vehicle to push Independent Trucks. So Tracker Larry and Tracker Peggy came up with the idea to do
TransWorld SKATEboarding. In the first issue, I
believe Tracker Peggy penned the article “Skate and Create.” Instead of skate and
destroy, they would go a much more wholesome, light-hearted, optimistic view of skateboarding. (mumbling) … tracker versus
indie, Hawk versus Hosoi, TransWorld versus
Thrasher, what do you know? Go. – Going versus indie. – They were wise to bring Grant Britain, who was the manager of Del Mar Skate Ranch and also one hell of a photographer. He brought Gary Scott Davis
in who had done Skate Fate. Brought him on board to
help do the early issues. This was back when they had to
do everything cut-and-paste. They gave Lance Mountain a few pages to do his own articles, he did Ramp Locals. They gave Neil Blender his own pages. I definitely think that the
best thing in TransWorld was Neil’s article. (electronic music) So, watch, enjoy, kick
back, take your shoes off. You know, scratch, itch. This is from the February
’84 issue of TransWorld SKATEboarding magazine. “The other children keep
ridiculing the way he walks. “He pays no attention to them. “They ridicule him more and more. “Still he won’t blink an eye. “They tease his hairstyle. “He becomes more aware of their presence. “They then approach him with more insults, “direct put-downs, and
occasional poking and jabbing. “He can no longer tolerate
their bullyish avocation. “He advances forward,
delivering quick, sharp blows “to temples and eye sockets. “He has just entered the Aggro Zone.” I mean the best thing
about skateboard mags, let’s get real, are photos and captions. Let’s just take a caption,
for instance here, off of the April/May ’84
issue of the Aggro Zone, which is Hosoi going straight up and down at Kona on a lean. Let’s see what Neil has to say about that. “Christian Hosoi somehow
manages to consistently bring his so-called ‘Seven Ply Lead Sled’ to a height talked about by
many, yet experienced by few.” Like, you know, and they’re rad, man. They’re super, killer stories. A little side note: I plagiarized this one for an English paper in
high school and got an A. And this guy basically goes up to the roof of a building and jumps off
’cause he’s bummin’ hard on life, and the teacher
wrote a little note, you know, saying what, how talented I was. I plagiarized Neil’s Aggro Zone. (electronic music) Aggro Zone was, it was an extension of, you know, Neil’s world. (electronic music) Of John “Tex” Gibson getting down, of Lance Mountain going frontside, frontside armstand over
Lopes’ fucking chasm. “You only like what you like. “In a way I like graffiti,
but it has no real meaning.” Lance Mountain. You know, quotes and captions. “Long Beach resident
Eddie Reategui delivering “a pile of precious vertical ability “to a long-deserved environment.” “Dave Bedore teeters on the
see-saw of life’s many choices. “Here he seeks out differences
in a terrain so old.” You know, and, like, whatever, we were all influenced by Neil. Phenomenal photographer,
the best ramp anywhere, feel the steel, dude. It’s just the world according to Neil. Steve Clare launching
straight up at Fallbrook. This, by today’s standards, is godhead. God, that’s a good frontside ollie. You know, it’s just Neil
playing with his camera. To be able to continue to do switcharoos at the fucking Tahoe Massacre, you did anything you
could to make ends meet. And they probably paid
him 50 bucks a month. “Call him Jeff, call him Fedge, either way “he is still present, and offers technique “and motivation to all of skating. “Here he operates an Andrecht
under a trusting sky.” “Alan Gelfand brought the ollie air “to the attention of others. “Pictured skater, Lester
Kasai, brings a new touch “to it with a laid down guidance foot, “as he descends to a
more acceptable medium.” The short stories were fucking great. The photo of Lopes at
the fucking Ark in Fresno was even greater. It’s just Neil’s photography
and his hot observations on the absurdity of life. You know, there’re usually two pages. This issue Neil was just, like, fuck it. I’m gonna give Tom Groholski an interview. And people need to know what
Groholski think about shit. – The skate park closed, man, that’s where the weeding out process happened, and we became a tight-knit
group, man, the survivors. That’s when we started making zines to communicate with others
as to what’s goin’ on, if there’s punk shows,
or if there’s gonna be a contest at a ramp, just to
reinvigorate everybody, man. Like, hey, man, we’re still doin’ it. (metal music playing) The backyard ramp scene in the Northeast, it was incredible, man. The skateboarding that was
going down in the sessions, everybody, you know,
we were so tight-knit, and we were just pushing each other, man. Crank up some music and go, man. – Danny Butterfass down at
Sadlands with his buddies. It’s super fucking cool, man. And then they had to go and abuse the fucking Aggro Zone shirt. You look forward to the Aggro Zone. It was the best thing TransWorld did. God, the one of Mike Larmann
doin’ the Front Smith. Neil’s eye for skate photography was… You got Grant Britain and
the way he looked at it, MoFo, the way he looked at it. And you know, Neil was
right there with ’em. The Aggro Zone was a time and a place. And if you were there,
and you got to enjoy it, it was fucking awesome. This is the part where I say, turn it off. Your life is out there. Go hang out with your
friends, go skateboarding. This is all a bunch of bullshit, man. Thanks for watching, but go skate. See you later, thanks. – My name’s Brian from
Los Angeles, California. Right now I’m archiving
the first ten years of TransWorld. I started this project,
and it was already on 1985, so I started scanning this, 1986. And out of like 37
magazines, I’ve scanned over, I’d say, 3,400 pages. That’s how I started
with seeing skateboarding in backyard pools and
ramps, and now I’m seeing the progression from
that to street skating. Oh, man, I’ve been doing
this for the past two months. Honestly, my process is, get
here early in the morning, and just scan. Eh, if no one else do
it, I’ll do it, you know? – [Man] There you go. (laughing)

58 comments

Thanks for all your story bro
Love to see these story and this made me feel like jump into Back to the future's car. Greeting from Thailand 🇹🇭🇹🇭🇹🇭🇹🇭🤘🤘🤘🤘

It took me so long to realize
Mark Gonzales has been ripping of Blender his whole career passed being known as SLAM MAN

Thank's Once Again Grosso for outdoing yourself once again with another Rad Episode Keep it Up This is SKATEBOARDING Period

$1.75 for a magazine. Ohhh the good Old days when boards had no nose and ciggies were 2 bucks a pack! ThankYou Grosso and Vans!

Are the scans that Brian worked to hard on available somewhere on the innernets? I NEED to scan them with my eyes, asap!!!! Please, someone help me!!

What a great love letter, I copied so much on Neil Blender's style for a lot of my writing in high school and college. He is a great writer. We were a lucky few who got to read those words.

I want Neil Blender on the Letters! I want Neil Blender on the Letters! I want Neil Blender on the Letters!

GLOBAL FOCUS story: I was an early subscriber to TWS, and submitted photos that ran in their Global Focus pages.
When I found out I was moving from Edmonton Alberta to Mississauga Ontario in 1984, I wrote the mag, as I had seen a shot of a ramp in Mississauga with a dude named Chris Guild riding it. Bryan Ridgeway wrote me back with Chris' address, so I could write Chris a note to get in on the ramp! Sessioned it first day off the plane, postage stamps, and small skate world lesson for life. Get busy!

Jeff?! You just blabbed the rosseta stone of this maniacal industry that is in 2019! You could use your influence to have The Worlds #1 Skateboard Shoe label put back on every product built by your sponsor. 😄

Fuck yes! Archives of the golden age of skateboarding are crucial and heavy like seeing a long lost love.
Thank you Six Stair, Jeff and VANS!

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