For the last 18 years of my life, few things have influenced me as much as Hot Water Music and the solo folk career of Chuck Ragan I've been fortunate enough to hang out with him on several occasions and also interview him. The most recent was before a Red Bull Sound Select Show in New Brunswick last fall with Cory Branan, Jared Hart of the Scandals, and Matt Pryor of the Get Up Kids.
We put away a massive amount of sushi while we talked about punk, travel, fishing, and Chuck's past. When this guy tells stories about angling excursions while on tour and bringing fresh catch into a restaurant in a random city and asking them to cook it, it's priceless. He also relayed a chapter of this youth that I had never heard. He took incarceration in a juvenile detention center and turned it into something inspiring and positive.
We walked back to the Court Tavern and Chuck proceeded to blow our minds until the early hours. I reconnected with Chuck and his entire band, The Camaraderie, in Atlantic City in early December where my friend Bryan Derballa took some amazing portrait shots.
Busy, busy times here on LBI. We're fighting to get those early mornings and evenings on the beach these days with heavy work schedules - impending projects, Liquid Lines columns, photo shoots, feature articles and everything else that comes with the summer workload.
But we had to take a few minutes this week to celebrate the releases of the Beachcomber. I again wrote and edited the Beachcomber watersports issue.
Apparently, it resonated. My editor, Nick McGregor felt that it exposed a few truths about the game and some of the players. Plus, I got texts from a few of New Jersey's pro surfers saying it hit the nail on the head. At the very least, it gave respect to some guys and girls who have been putting in their time and producing some great imagery.
There are also some epic shots accompanying it.
Our good friends at Jetty have just released their Summer 2015 campaign featuring shoots from Barbados and The Keys. We are extremely excited about Jetty's summer gear and the work that Creative Director, John Clifford did with these images.
One of the coolest parts of my job is that I get to interview some serious badasses. This was particularly fun because Freestyle Motocross pioneer Ronnie Faisst is originally from South Jersey.
I actually met Faisst back in 2006 while covering a winter X Games. It was my first and only experience covering moto - intense dudes, backflips on ice, and the Godfather of the sport trashed the competitors tent and told everyone to go fuck off. And when it was all said and done, this solid guy from New Jersey took the bronze metal. They pulled freestyle moto from Winter X a few years later because it was just psychotic.
So this time I got to chat with Faisst about coming up, shaping the sport, staying at the top of his game for two decades, his new career in off-road truck racing, and of course, tattoos.
“I was like 14 and got tattooed by this biker guy in my town in South Jersey. His name was Al—long hair, big burly beard. He basically just did flash off the wall, typical biker tattoos,” laughs Faisst, “No shading, straight outline… real basic. He used to tattoo at the 4-H Fair in my town out of a little ghetto trailer.”
It’s been about seven years that I have been contributing to Huck Magazine. From a feature on gender identity and sexism in punk music to the Superstorm Sandy rebuilding efforts, an interview with a photographer from the 1961 Beatnik riot, to wooden surfboards and snowboards, I have always enjoyed the subjects I get to cover.
Huck recently released Paddle Against the Flow a creative bible that “features lessons on life – original artwork and words of wisdom – from inspiring individuals previously featured in the magazine, who we love and admire. It's a celebration of independence, freethinking, creativity and collaboration.”
For the book they selected quotes from my interviews with influential street artist, Shep Fairey and Fugazi/Minor Threat frontman, Ian McKay. Needless to say, both of these guys were pretty inspirational to me. It also features tidbits from Mark Gonzales, the Beastie Boys, Spike Jonze, Kim Gordon, Judd Apatow, and many others. The book is available through Huck, Amazon and you can find it now in Urban Outfitters too.
Ok, so maybe this is an excuse to post the new Tim Barry video for "The James" that Archie and I watch now every night when I put him to bed.
But I was fortunate enough to review the whole album, Lost and Rootless on Chunksaah Records, for Eastern Surf Mag. Of course, Barry's former band AVAIL still influences me every day, but I've now reviewed three of his solo records going back ten years and done a full interview for ESM's "On the Record." Personal and stripped down, this one is another keeper.
Today was a great opportunity to watch democracy in action. A dedicated group of people from coastal communities went to tell Chris Christie to "Finish the Job," of helping them get home 26 months after Superstorm Sandy uprooted their lives. Before the State of the State Address, they banded with other activists to get the word out to the national media that New Jersey has some more work to do. I got to write about and shoot the event today for The SandPaper which is running the story as breaking news. (Yes, I was next to CNN's Dana Bash with a GoPro...)
Recently, I connected with our friend Cyrus Sutton about his latest documentary focusing on food production. It's called "Island Earth," and it's really taking a look at the nature of farming in Hawaii, where the Islands have become the test lab for chemical companies. Surfline had me do a short feature on Cy's new project that ran this week. Check out Island Earth: The Movie, Examining Cyrus Sutton's new film on food production on Surfline.
“There’s an underground movement of young people who are going back to the land to grow their own food. This is in direct response to corporate corruption of our food supply and an understanding of the instability of the current way we grow and distribute food,” says the Californian, who also runs Korduroy.tv. “After months of research, I chose to focus on Hawaii as a case study on this phenomenon. Food is probably the most important cause of the environmental and social ills of today and I'm trying to communicate the complex issue of industrial agriculture through the medium I know best -- documentary.”
This is a big issue. There are still a few days to support his project via Kickstarter if you're interested in helping out. It's also been years since I have submitted to Surfline and it's good to be working with them again.
Toms River/NYC photog Danny Clinch just released his latest photo book edited by our friend Tim Donnelly entitled "Still Moving." I got to do some moving with Clinch last year when he drove me to his studio in Hell's Kitchen. On the ride, he told me the stories behind five epic music photos from his book: Eddie Vedder, Radiohead, Tupac, Springsteen, and the Foo Fighters.
Danny started with the story of meeting Pearl Jam in 1992 at Waterloo Village in Stanhope, NJ because he knew I was there that day. I was 17. It was the first and only time I saw them live. I transcribed the stories for my Clinch piece entitled, "I Shot Tupac and Chilled with Thom Yorke" for Huck Magazine. The story ran in issue 43 of the print mag. Check it out for some great anecdotes. Congrats to Clinch and Timmy. You can find the book at DannyClinch.com.