“Yo, we gotta go to Colombia and skate” – Fred Gall in Pasado Presente Futuro

It is just so easy to lose hours or even days going down the internet rabbit hole in the name of research. Looking for that long lost skate graphic or trying to confirm who filmed that clip. And with the bottomless skate video machine that is the internet, you can believe that for every word I’ve typed here at least ten minutes was wasted consuming ephemeral content in the name of skate history.

But occasionally our meandering minds stumble upon pure fucking gold and one wonders how such a shiny piece of treasure has been hidden all these years. Such is the case with Fred Gall‘s part in the 2009 Frontside Skate Shop video Pasado Presente Futuro.

also Tim O’Connor and Brian Wenning, if that’s your thing.

As far as I can tell, Frontside uploaded this video to Vimeo within a year of its release over a decade ago and (as of this writing) it has only been viewed 2085 times. And at least 20 of those are me! For a comparison, the Nine Club Experience episode where Freddy facetimes in for a few minutes has been viewed over 36 thousand times in just 2 years.

Now, this part isn’t just throwaway excess from some trip to South America. In addition to what I assume are clips of Fred skating spots that are local to the shop and some demos, this part is chock full of never before seen US of A footage, some dating from all the way back in 2003. There’s Pyramid Ledges footage here and wallride variations from that Mosaic opener spot. So how did a skateshop in Medellin, Colombia get all this gold?

Fred recalls: “My boy Hector from Colombia started a skate shop there. And my boy Don La from Jersey is Colombian, so that’s where that connection came. And then Hector came and stayed with us, and then me an Tim O’ where like ‘yo we gotta go to Colombia and skate.’ So we went to Colombia. We paid for ourselves. And we were like, holy shit, this place it rad. And we went back a little while later to do a Slap article. So that’s how that came about. We had Brennan [Conroy, Habitat videographer] with us. So that shit should have made it somewhere but I guess it didn’t.” 

Freddy, Hector Cataño of Frontside, and some rando who probably didn’t amount to anything

Snooping around on Instagram, it became clear that Frontside is a force in South American skateboarding and has been a regular stop for Freddy, the Habitat team, and lots of other professionals for a while now.
A side note that Frontside, despite being from his hometown, does not seem to have any association with David Gonzales.

Pasado Presente Futuro video gives us a lot of the Freddy you didn’t know you needed until just now. Freddy ollies from the wall into the Brooklyn Banks again, but now that fence is there and it is filmed long lens. Freddy bombs into traffic switch. Freddy with the stalefish grab at a demo. Freddy switch frontside 180ing into a wallride down steps. The only filmed Fred Gall nollie 360flip in existence.
Freddy skating to Kool Keith and Ultramagnetic MCs.
And then this:

Pasado Presente Futuro is a gift for us Freddy fanatics. I hope you enjoy it as much as I continue to. If you find yourself in Colombia, tell Hector “Gracias” from us here in the Warm Up Zone.

Bonus Fred:
You can watch the Freddy and Friends Frontside part in higher quality on Instagram here. Interesting to note that with the help of Google translate it seems while the release of the Frontside video was 2009, most of this footage was filmed in 2004. Here is a picture of when Fred Gall, practicante de skate, was in a Colombian newspaper in 2004:

Bonus Bonus Fred:
I was going to delve into the whole moving-bus-wallride thing here, as that also went down in 2009, but let’s save that for next time. In the meanwhile, here is a picture (again from the Frontside IG) of Freddy holding a jar of Juan Valdez coffee wearing a Rodeo Time hat and a Hewlett-Packard parody shirt that says “Son of a Bitch”.

“You can outrun and outsmart the cops at the same time” – Fred Gall in Brutality, Ipath, and more.

The latter half of the first decade of the 21st century is fuzzy time in skateboard video history. It is after the decline in dominance of VHS tapes but before the birth of the stand-alone online part. Internet video content was mostly contest footage, tour edits, or Ask the Phelper. The real heavy tricks were saved for the few and far between DVD releases. Sure, we got some classics like Mind Field or Ride the Sky in that mix, but a great deal of decent parts have just been lost in the mist of shop videos, second tier video magazines, and low resolution uploads to early youtube.

It is in this fog that Fred Gall released part after part, about 2 every year for several years in a row. Freddy’s chief collaborators through this period were Habitat videographer Brennan Conroy and Andrew “NJ Scum” Petillo, who could be described as Fred’s primary filmer from Inhabitants onward. While Habitat would release plenty of Gall footage through a couple of videos and many, many internet ‘Field Log’ cuts, NJ Scum would bring us the majority of Fred footy sliced and diced into various projects.

Ipath ad in Transworld, 2009

Further exacerbating the blurring of all these parts is the fact many tricks are used twice (or even three times) in separate projects. Other times it is a different variation on a previously seen trick, or unrelated tricks at the same spots during the same session. While the overlap might not have been disorienting when these videos were being released with limited reach and and big enough gaps in between, but when one is surveying All the Gall consecutively, the results are a not-unpleasant haze of graffitied ditches, noseblunt stalls, and crusty frontside ollies.
I’m not gonna lie, it was a bitch trying to log all these tricks for our statistical analysis of all these parts over at 4plymag (article coming soon). Just as we thought we had witnessed every drop in and yank out, a new part would pop-up from the aether featuring wonderful new footage with stuff I swear I had seen elsewhere… or had I? You will forgive me if I get confused. Such were the wondrous days of digital video before instagram let you post videos, not that shit got less hectic from there.

This whole odyssey of lesser known parts starts with a real treat: Thrasher magazine’s rarely mentioned 2008 video, Brutality, of which Freddy had the opening segment.

Clocking in at nearly 3 minutes and over 50 tricks, Brutality is the third longest part Freddy has made, which is saying something considering it came right on tail of his mighty efforts in Inhabitants. In fact, it is much more of a companion to 2005’s Decade of Destruction (of which it shares a couple of clips). And it certainly isn’t just Habitat leftovers. There are some sweet tidbits in here.
We got a couple of pole jams, which is a surprisingly rare trick from Fred. That nose grab blunt to fakie on the parking garage bar is fucking crazy. Have you ever tried to skate one of those things?!? We also get the only Fred Gall Burnside clip ever released here, another oddity considering Fred is an honorary member of the “Nobodies” gang of local PNW Burnside toughs.

Also coming out in 2008 was Joe Perrin‘s full length Last of the Mohicans, a video that started out as just a made-up title for a non-existent project but eventually blossomed into a classic of New York skating. Freddy has a solid 90 seconds of footage as part of the first “Loose Cannons” montage. The whole video is tops.

Let’s round out this era of Freddy with Ipath’s 2009 Promo video. Around this time, as clear as I can tell, Ipath released the signature Gall Jersey Devil mid-tops. I have no recollection of this shoe, but maybe it was just me not inspecting the velcro-strap section of the footwear display closely.

The later-era of the Ipath team was pretty tight, featuring Matt Rodriguez, Adelmo, vagabond Kenny Reed, Danny Dicola, a few tricks from Richie Jackson, and a young Ben Raybourn. Fred’s gets his licks in with a rooftop backside 360, the wall-footplant-Sal-flip-to-fakie, and plenty of crust.

Freddy’s part is at 6:15

There was yet another full part by Freddy that was released in 2009, but that one is so special I’ve decided to wait until next episode to dig into it. Check back soon, you won’t regret it.

Bonus Fred:
This 2-part ESPN.com interview with Freddy from 2009 is good. Read it before it gets lost to the internet black hole of dead links.

Bonus Bonus Fred:
Searching around the web, I’ve found a grip of images of Fred’s Ipath shoes from 2009:

NJ Skateshop collab

Bonus Bonus Bonus Fred:
I also found some evidence of the Fred Gall Low Life shoe from a 2010 Ipath catalog PDF.

Heading even further down the rabbit hole, I found this image, also apparently from an Ipath catalog, on an old SLAP thread. It appears that the Gall Mid came equipped with Fred’s ‘personalized stash pocket’. The quote to go with this photo is a classic, but I really don’t see Freddy ever actually saying, “If you are smart and want street cred, buy my shoe…”

I don’t believe the Low Life or the updated Gall Mid ever got fully produced, and consequently Fred, and countless others, did get busted.
Ipath switched ownership in 2010 and dropped a bunch of their team along with a nearly completed video. Fred did remain on Ipath into maybe 2013 when it fully died, and that video with another full Freddy part did get released eventually, but that is a tale for another time.

Bonus Bonus Bonus Bonus Fred:
The plot thickens: After I did a social media post about the Gall Ipath shoes, the good folks at Metal Skateboards clued me into the Derelict, Fred Gall’s low model that was around from maybe late 2010 into perhaps 2012. The 2011 Ipath catalog highlights that the Derelict features “…our advanced More Cushion for the Pushing footbed”.

“It’s wild out there” – Fred Gall in Inhabitants

Habitat took the successful formula laid down a few years prior with the Metal video, turned up the volume, added some world travel, animated graphics, and footage of stuff being broken and gave us Fred Gall’s 5 minute magnum opus in Inhabitants.

(Ignoring the Classics introduction) The video starts on a quiet afternoon in New Jersey with a broken television and a M80. Black Sabbath introduces us to Freddy in his various elements: in the train yards, trying to skate collapsing piles of debris, breaking fingers, and traipsing through ruined abodes. And with a quick acknowledgement to him being a Sect Original, we’re off.

This part sets a lot of high water marks for Freddy’s career. It has:

  • The most number of tricks: 68
  • The most number of lines: 8
  • The most number of wallrides: 10
  • The most number of ledge tricks: 25
  • The most number of flip tricks: 15

We are getting the full arsenal on display here. Alongside all the pretty Barcelona architecture we have plenty of crust, some skatable construction site objects, window wallrides, and a fucking big flip disaster in a pool!
Big nollies, shove-its out of bluntslides and into wallrides, and my favorite Fred Gall trick of all time… this thing:

I reached out to Freddy to get the lowdown on the Peace and Unity Go Hand in Hand blunt 180 transfer to grind down on the world greatest street spine and here is what he told me:
That grind was a full accident. But I landed it and was like ‘yo, I just grinded’. Fuck it, we’ll use it anyway.

One can go on and on about Fred Gall in Inhabitants, but, seriously, just watch it. It’s Freddy’s favorite part of himself. And, most importantly, it makes you want to go out and skate whatever terrain you can find.

While Freddy might not ever again match Inhabitants in term of quantity or diversity of tricks, his video output was far from declining. Coming up, we have at least 14 more parts released over the next 8 years to contemplate, and I’m not even talking about any of those Habitat Field Logs.

Bonus Fred:
While watching the Inhabitants DVD, if you hit play while Fred’s name appears at the beginning of his part you get access to this nostalgic edit featuring the best tricks of the Philly years.

Bonus Bonus Fred:
Fred’s got some great footage from around this timeframe in Cliche’s Gypsy Tour 2 video. The Behind the French Fred Scenes footage is fun.

Bonus Bonus Bonus Fred:
Oliver Barton talks about this fabulous Fred photo from 2007 in a 2014 Transworld Photographic Memory feature.

Bonus Bonus Bonus Bonus Fred:
Freddy was on the cover of Skateboarder magazine in 2008. It was hard to find a decent scan of it but I did dig up this picture (of apparently Ecko Unlimited’s copy) off the social medias.

“…and we’re already in deep shit” – Fred Gall, Mosaic and Metal

Habitat’s Mosaic video from 2003 is just cram-jammed with memorable sections… Renaud’s opener, the last legitimate efforts from Steve Berra, Dill’s 3 song banger, Poppalardo, Janoski, Garcia, and so on. One could be forgiven for not taking notice of Fred Gall tucked in there towards the beginning.

But isolated from the rest of the video and taken within the context of his entire oeuvre, Mosaic finds Freddy reinvigorated after an unproductive spell and finding his comfort zone. Some soon-to-be regular East Coast spots make their appearance, such as that bench-ledge between the brick banks or that crazy narrow street-quarter piece of architecture. There is plenty of time spent on walls and on curved concrete, plus a smattering of prime Barcelona spots.

Some favorite segments from this part would be the opening flatground backside 360 line, that line that has Freddy looking like Weird Al that features both a fakie heelflip and a switch varial flip down stairs, and that sweet gap kickflip into a tiny banked wall. Honestly, put this part to some heavier music and it would hold its own towards the top of the heap.

Two years later, in 2005, when Asbury Park New Jersey skate company Metal Skateboards released its video Decade of Destruction, Freddy had evolved into the fully actualized skateboarder he was meant to be. He was still pro for Habitat at that time, and Habitat and Metal would occasionally team up, but Freddy had been collaborating with lifelong pal and Metal boss Lou Cuccaro for at least – well – a decade, and this familiarity seems to shine. Surrounded by friends, family, and the roughhewn terrain of the Tri-State area, Fred Gall was presented as the skater he was destined to become. The Dirt is undeniable.

The actual skating isn’t all that different between Mosaic and Metal. Freddy still busts out the switch ledge skills and varial heels. Yet it feels as though he had found his new voice in the cracked pools and shitty banks of his home turf. A voice that would sustain him indefinitely. Habitat was always a very polished brand and Freddy was not designed to be a clean skateboarder, at least not any more. Metal Skateboards understood that.
With this new taste for crust, Freddy would no longer just be known for the tricks; He would known for the spots. Another thing he would be known for, occasionally to his own detriment, was his oft-intoxicated carefree attitude. Where Freddy went, the party followed, frequently accompanied by property destruction, arrest warrants, holding cells, and unpaid penalties.

Decade of Destruction, Freddy’s longest part up to this point at 3:40, is golden. It’s got Black Sabbath. It’s got shirtless Freddy skating pools. It’s got Freddy pushing through ditches. It’s got Freddy launching off that street-quarter thing to backside tailslide on a cafe table at night. It’s got backside 360s over gaps made of rubble. It’s got Freddy’s footage from not one but two Slap magazine covers (plus this).
Does Freddy do a hippy jump with his long hair flowing while holding and open bottle of beer? Damn right, he does.
Metal is still around (quarter-century of destruction?) and produces the Brebick cop shirt. Brebick is the Fred’s childhood doppelgänger who lives in the mirror. There are still some DVDs of Decade of Destruction available.

Bonus Fred:
I had one smith grind ever in my entire life. It was a back smith down the Phoenix Hubba and it was in a Habitat tour section of a video or something.
It took some doing, but we found it in the “TriSect Tour” section of 411 #58 from 2003.

Bonus Bonus Fred:
Habitat’s Regal Road video also came out in 2005 along with the Kalis in Mono Jammie. Freddy’s got some good stuff in there. Rather than embed the whole video here, I’ll just loop the best timed 360flip ever recorded.
I’ve got eyewitness confirmation from South Bank that the hooligan in the gray hoodie was knocked out by that step stool just seconds after this clip ends. Typical Fred, grinning and having a good time skating through the dark side.

Bonus Bonus Bonus Fred:
Listen to Tim O’Connor‘s commentary of Freddy’s Mosaic part. If you find Tim funny, then this is pretty funny. If you don’t find Tim funny, then this is most definitely not funny.

Bonus Bonus Bonus Bonus Fred:
Some more Gall in Ipath’s Summer Preview from 2005. Freddy had finally landed a somewhat steady shoe sponsor at this time in Ipath. They would eventually release some signature shoes for him, but we’ll get into those another time.

Freddy starts at 0:41

Bonus Bonus Bonus Bonus Bonus Fred:
Lou Metal and our hero Fred have been pretty intertwined throughout this whole adventure, with both ending up just one missed flight away from joining the Real skateboard team together back in the mid-90s. Check out this history of Metal and NJ skating in this local Anchor magazine article.

photo by Ryan Gee

“It actually feels pretty good” – Fred Gall at the end of the century

Before we contemplate the birth of Habitat, Mr. Dibbs, and how it feels to skate New York City with one pant leg rolled up, let’s catch up with historic Fred Gall to see what he has been up to since our last episode.
First, we contemplate Fred’s 7 clips from Transworld‘s 1997 video, Interface. While this video was released the same year as Alien Workshop‘s Timecode video, it is a much more contemporary look at the style Freddy would be rocking for the late 90s. Although just 10 tricks, it features a few weighty moves like the varial heelflip over the Brooklyn Banks wall and the ultra tech switch shove nosegrind to fakie shove out.

The dust had barely settled on the grey VHS tape that is Timecode before things started to shift. Lennie Kirk quickly slipped through the looking glass of militant Christianity and off the pro skating landscape and, significantly, Jason Dill and AVE joined the Sect. Most importantly to Freddy’s career, Alien hired a new video and team guy name Joe Castrucci, and the first order of business was to make a 411 Industry Section. By the time 1998 was in full swing, Freddy had more or less detached himself from the Philadelphia scene and, when not touring with the Alien team, concentrated his attack on the New York / New Jersey area. His hair was long and tied up, his pants were baggy and cargoed, and for some reason all his footage was in black and white in that segment.

Freddy starts at about 1:56.

Freddy and the AWS team immediately started filming for their next full length video following the 411 section. But by the time Y2K rolled around, a new team had formed around Castrucci’s vintage tourism aesthetic, a trio of East Coast professionals, a couple of future stars in Danny Garcia and Mark Appleyard, and the heir to the dirty Jersey ledge crown… young Brian Wenning. Also Rob Pluhowski. Fred Gall was the human link from the old Workshop to this new team.

But before we get into all that, once again peep Freddy’s 3 New York tricks in Zoo York’s Peep This video from 1999 (as seen in our All the Gall intro post).

Habitat was introduced with its own cohesive 12-minute segment in the middle of Alien Workshop’s monumental Photosynthesis in the year 2000 (runner-up for the unofficial greatest skate video of all time competition); And Freddy’s got a solid minute and a half in there. His part displays a skater within a transformation, perhaps not yet quite finding his lane entirely. Timecode-era teenage Fred was gone and the Mayor of Dirts had yet to arrive.

The stock Gall tricks are all kicked up a notch: The switch 180s to 5-0 grinds are on a handrail in a line. The backside 5-0 to backside 180 out is taken to Los Angeles’ famous J-Kwon gap to ledge. A full 2/3rds of his tricks are switch. We see one of the first filmed wallrides of Fred’s career and it’s a doozy – kickflip to backside at the Brooklyn Banks – good enough to get Fred his only Transworld cover. We even get a pair or rare glimpses at Fred’s badass nollie hardflip [see the triple-bonus note below]. The level of competition from the rest of the team is intense, but Fred holds his own. And unlike his parts in Timecode and 411 #30, the Photosynthesis footage felt cohesive within itself and the rest of the video. The days of just gathering whatever clips could be found from friends was over… for now.

On the clothing side of things we witness some of his more memorable/forgettable kits: Cinched up baggie pants and lots of yellow t-shirts. Fred seems to be dabbling into fresh territory and it just doesn’t suit him, in my opinion. It does make footage of this era distinct and easy to spot when later sliced into retrospectives and such; It is definitely ‘of the era’.

Fred has admitted to not stepping up and pushing his potential during the years immediately before and after Photosynthesis. Those were times when big money was to be made in the skate industry and a few short-sighted decisions for quick cash in the shoe game along with a generally laid back attitude towards his career kept him from those true superstar paychecks. Fred Gall, of course, is not big on regret. And while he might not have won the Y2K shoe sponsor sweepstakes, how many professionals can claim a single board sponsor for 30 years?

Bonus Fred:
If you ever wanted to bask in the warming glow that is new millennium Fred Gall fucking up the Venice pit ledges switch stance with his cargo pants cinched up, today is your lucky day cause that is precisely what happens in Danny Minnick’s 2001 Collage video.

Fred at 0:25

Bonus Bonus Fred:
Digging deep into Quartersnacks using the command-F function unearthed this Jim Hodgson footage from a 1998 Vans Triple Crown contest from Asbury Park, New Jersey. The video starts with 20-year-old Freddy dropping in off the top turnbuckle and the entire run is excellent. Fat stalefish airs, steep varial heelflips to fakie, and a nollie hardflip on the flat bank. Further research shows Willy Santos won the contest (of course) and Freddy didn’t even place in the top ten.

Bonus Bonus Bonus Fred:
I asked the man if he still has nollie hardflips, a trick we shan’t see again after Photosynthesis. He told me, “Thats another one that I can still do. I don’t know. I haven’t done that one in a while but I know I can do it.

“Obviously, I’m not in my right mind…” – Fred Gall in Timecode

Alien Workshop knew exactly how to package and present teenage Fred Gall and his part in Timecode is a brilliant mess that set the template for his next couple decades of parts. Black Sabbath, locomotives, beanies over the eyes, heaved flatground 360 flips and large drops into embankments will all become standards. While the spots might not be as crusty as future episodes, the aesthetic of the part is grimy enough.

The clips are often dark and filmed terribly, sometimes the result of LSD on both the skater and filmer’s part. The footage was pieced together from several years of clips scattered from various sources but the product is cohesive. Fred is blurred but powerful, having graduated from the crisp bright ledges of Love Park to the dimly lit nighttime streets of cities nationwide. Freddy ollies onto parked cars, nearly gets clipped while bombing hills in SF, and utterly destroys Hubba Hideout. Only one of his three Brooklyn Banks tricks is your typical over-the-wall affair. The opening line is mostly just ollies and pushing in Philadelphia’s Underground and it fucking rules!
Listen to Fred talk about the tricks he filmed that got lost (at around 12:55)… tricks that couldn’t be replicated without psychedelics. I’ll be referencing this Bobshirt interview a lot, to be sure.

When I asked Fred what the greatest trick of his career was, he responded: “The tricks I did on the Hubba Hideout were really important. So I guess maybe the switch crook was my favorite.

As mentioned by Fred, it would be neat to see these tricks filmed clean and from multiple angles, but the way it is feels like an authentic reflection of Fred’s skating at the time: rugged, raw, and without pretension. It fits well.

Overall, Timecode presents a team in flux. The Workshop was wisely transitioning from its opening line-up of fading Florida bruisers and no-name laser-flippers to a team built around a still respected Dyrdek with Freddy, Josh Kalis, and the bright but brief flame of Lennie Kirk. This lineup would last another year before Joe Custrucci would take control and thing would enter their next phase. By 1999, Fred would star as the DNA brand continuity for that most successful Workshop spin-off, Habitat.

Bonus Fred:
Fred had just a handful guest tricks in Dan Wolfe‘s 1996 masterpiece, Underachievers: Eastern Exposure 3. They were mostly slow-mo jams in the almost entirely slow-mo (and even the non-slow-mo was pretty slow) minute long part of (1 of 3 Ams) Jerry Fisher.

It is a real shame we didn’t get more of this era of Freddy being filmed by Wolfe. What we did get was the legendary Love Park ledge gap to flat rail 50-50. A trick that was great at the time and later revealed to be executed on a borrowed board not long after Fred had smoked crack from the first time. Moves like this, for better or worse, helped cement Fred’s status as a reckless party animal, a prophecy that would self-fulfill again and again throughout his career.

Bonus Bonus Fred:
Although released in 1994, I group Fred’s peppering of footage in Thrasher’s Feats video with the Timecode era (plus, the last post already had so many bonuses). It is a real treat to get to see some extra San Francisco Gall.

Bonus Bonus Bonus Fred:
Somebody uploaded some footage of the jump ramp at the Love Park contest in 1994. The backside flip in Feats was from this, and here is an obscene (in a good way) switch pop shove from that day. There is even more footage from this contest in 411 #9. Fred tied for 2nd place with Ricky.

Bonus Bonus Bonus Bonus Fred:
We’re all pining for more Fred footage from the 95-97 years: that sweet post-Philly Timecode era before he tied his hair up. Here’s some random demo in Australia from 1996:

Bonus Bonus Bonus Bonus Bonus Fred:
I found another frame from this dope-ass 1995 session of Fred skating the Underground in Philly by Ryan Gee. Hell yes. This and lots of other amazing East Coast skate history prints are available from Gee here.

Tune in next time when Freddy rolls one pant leg up and helps launch Habitat, a team that he is still professional for to this day.

“That shit flat-out stuck” – Fred Gall in Philadelphia

And then, in 1994, it all came together.
Rather than simply crossing Newark Bay into New York City to skate, young Fred Gall started heading down into the city of Philadelphia. There, amongst the abundant stairs and ledges of such storied spots as City Hall, Muni, and Love Park, he thrived. Surrounded and elevated by a close cast of friends built around the Sub Zero skate shop that included Sergei Trudnowski, Matt Reason, Jerry Fisher, Eric Ruwadi, and mayor Ricky Oyola, Fred put himself in the vanguard with his switch-stance ledge skills, inebriated proficiencies, and slouching style. Amongst the constant training that was aggressively skating from spot to spot and an adherence to the unwritten code including pushing with your back foot when skating switch, Fred emerged as the skater to watch.

Fortunately for those wanting to watch, this entire scene was diligently documented by lensman Dan Wolfe and released throughout the year by way of several VHS videos. Let’s check them out.
Please note that a lot of the footage from these three videos has been sliced and reedited into both the Eastern Exposure Zero video as well as Fred’s easter egg part hidden within the Inhabitants DVD.

First up we have Freddy’s Rookies section from 411 video magazine issue # 8. To announce his ascent into the pro rankings for Alien Workshop, Fred gives a sampling of what he at the time would be known for: Lots of switch and nollie ledge tricks around Philly, with an occasional handrail thrown in there. The part, like the Digable Planets song it is set to, is meandering and leisurely with a lot of casual lines. Not a bad thing, especially when you have an appreciation for the rarity of quality non-mongo switch pushes happening at the time. This part exudes “East Coast”ness with its spots and its pacing, which is significant considering how California-centric the whole skateboarding industry was at the time.
The highlight of the part would be the City Hall line that features a nollie noseslide down a hubba, a 180 into a switch nosegrind on one of those amazing granite benches, and then a pedestrian buzzing switch 360 flip. This part also has Freddy giggling during his brief interview overdub and Jerry Fisher snuggling in bed with a cat, which is adorable. Not a legendary part, but a great overview of his talents and probably the most seen part released that year as the others were in much more regional (although now much more celebrated) videos.

Next up we take a look at Fred’s footage from Wolfe’s fabled Eastern Exposure 2 video. While the video is a smorgasbord of spots and skaters and Fred does have a trick here or there in other parts, the bulk of his tricks are grouped together between Serge and Reason in the Philadelphia section. Clocking at just a little over a minute, the footage, with only one exception, was filmed entirely at Philly’s Love Park and City Hall and scored by a frantic John Coltrane saxophone solo. With just a handful of sessions documented Fred again manhandles the area. The complete ambidextrous nature of the skating with fluidity and grace from both stances was novel for the time. We also get treated to some stair skating with Fred’s always solid but underutilized heelflip and a monster straight nollie.

My favorite clip of Eastern Exposure 2 is Fred’s opening line on the upper plaza at Love: backside flip, switch 5-0 180 out, the hairpin turn pushes, nollie nose slide, and then the only fakie 360 flip the Fred ever committed to video. That sequence with the front foot shuffle after landing the bs flip, two switch pushes, badass ledge trick and then Fred tucking his hair behind his ear while cutting the tight turn and heading back towards the camera has all the subtleties that make this just so emblematic of Fred Gall at this time. This is how every young skater on the East Coast, including me, wanted to skate.

I thought I had every scrap of Fred’s skating memorized from this time period, but, for the life of me I could not locate a single instance of a switch 50-50 grind. No photos neither. This seemed odd, as a switch 50 on a handrail in City Hall was famous enough to get mentioned specifically in Fred Gall’s amazing Chrome Ball interview. When I had the opportunity to speak to Freddy about the missing trick, he immediate pointed me in the right direction: “Its in Thrasher: On The Road. You will find that there. I have kinda a little part in there.

And so he does, and there it is, along with some other Philly bits you might enjoy.

The pinnacle of Fred Gall’s amazing year was the final part of the Sub Zero shop video Real Life. While the other part of 1994 may have sampled the goods, this is the footage feast. Set to the unlikely soundtrack of the flute-filled summertime Canned Heat jam Going Up the Country, Real Life has Freddy savoring all that Philly splendor. Sticky handrails, those amazing Afro Banks lip tricks, a pair of street gaps, and well curated lines at all the notable plazas in the City of Brotherly Love.

Real Life premiered the day before Freddy’s 16th birthday.

This part features two incredibly pleasing heelflips: the quick footed up the bench to over the trashcan at Muni that would get homaged 19 years later by Habitat teammate Mark Suciu, and the mammoth Pulaski planter gap to end the part.

Memorably, Real Life gives us some bonus credits scenes of an intoxicated Fred and Ricky clowning around the late night streets of Philly after, apparently, about 8 beers. Just to be clear here, that’s a drunk 15 year old Fred Gall nollie frontside 180 to switch 5-0 grind a ledge in the dark, and it is amazing.

Photo by Kelly Ryan

After 1994, Fred would slip off the video radar for a bit, traveling here and there with Alien Workshop, dropping out of school, dropping acid, shooting photos in SF for Slap magazine, and enjoying the life of a pro skater while not generally worrying about capturing every session on camera.

Bonus Fred:
A pair sweet tricks including one of my favorites, the bs 180 to switch bs 5-0 on that SF ledge-rail, from the Chaos section of 411 #9.

photo in SLAP by Diggity

Bonus Bonus Fred:
Fred also had a Fine Tuning segment in 411 #9. While the literally phoned-in trick tip is worthless (as they always were back then), the footage of the straight-on backside noseblunt slide at Love is priceless.

Bonus Bonus Bonus Fred:
Fred also had a trick tip in 411 #7 from early 94. It’s at 35:30.

Also check out Jamie Thomas Pro Files in this issue.

Bonus Bonus Bonus Bonus Fred:
Youtube user Skate Video Vault uploaded Sub Zero Real Life in its entirety, but somehow Fred’s part has the skate noise but no music. While I happen to love the Canned Heat track, it is interesting to see this part without music:

Fred starts at 9:41

Bonus Bonus Bonus Bonus Bonus Fred:
Fred did a lot in 1994, so much so that some of the bonus bits will be grouped with the next episode. Or, as is the case here, I’l just keep updating this page with more bonuses. With that in mind, Fred won the Love Park contest in the “Sponsored” division (he wasn’t pro yet at the time) in the winter of 93/94. He talks about selling weed at this contest in his Bobshirt interview (around 5:00), and you can find the 411 #6 contest footage here (around 23:50).

My Hat is a Helmet – Fred Gall’s early Tracker videos

Young Fred Gall

When one looks at the skateboarding career of Fred Gall, if we consider him to be in the final chapters of the epic right now (and I hope to god we don’t), there is a poetic completeness to the how it begins and ends. In a public life on video that will span 3 decades; a life full of adventure, bondo, beers, and beanies, the whole wild ride is bookended with an onslaught of lip tricks on wooden ramps at Granny’s house. It feels right that Fred made it through alive and by some miracle is safely back home,  skateboarding in Sewaren, New Jersey.
In fact, Fred recently confirmed with us that the parking block he brought to Granny’s yard over 30 years ago, which we saw again in Fred’s Epicly Later’d episode from 2007, is still at the house. Against all odds, a couple of poor choices, some amazing luck mixed with some real tragedy, Fred is here with us, skating nearly every day, and apparently working on a couple new video parts for release later this year.

But let’s start towards the beginning.
By the time Fred Gall was 11 years old he was already well on the road towards skateboarding success. Despite living in the East Coast, he had already attracted a sponsorship from Alva skateboards (which would then rebrand as New School), as well as affiliated truck manufacturer Tracker. By the time Fred is 13 years of age he has had parts in no less than 4 videos.

Fred’s part starts at 30:20.

Lil’ Fred’s footage from the 1991 New School video Minus One is mostly just a smattering of park miniramp tricks and recordings from a pair of plywood contests in some dilapidated lot. But we also get treated to a couple of street tricks including a decent curb cut backside 360 ollie.

The Brotherhood (1991) appears to have been filmed in a single afternoon and features all the crud camera handling, early 90s post-punk skate music, giant pants, and late shoves you would expect from the era. Fred is presented quite literally as a “12 & Under” child and the B-roll of him playing in Gymboree reinforces that image. This is just acorn footage. But there are glimpses of the mighty oak he is to become in that short-stair 360 flip and even some switch ledge action.

The companion piece to Brotherhood, also from 1991, is Tracker’s Stacked. I’m honestly not sure which video was released first between these two Tracker vids and the New School part.

Similarly filmed in a day or two, Stacked gives us a sampling of young Fred’s transition skills. From Granny’s driveway to the Brick Town skatepark, this part is actually quite clairvoyant. Noseblunt backside reverts? Backside 360 ollies? Quarter to quarter frontside ollies? We will be seeing these tricks again. A lot.

The final slice of Freddy’s prehistory is from Tracker’s 1992 Disturbed video. With just 40 seconds of footage from Fred’s California adventure, we can see the first blooms of unmissable Gall. The switch skills. The slouch! And that backside 50-50 attempt on a handrail was gnarly.
By the time Disturbed was being filmed, Fred had been recruited by Dyrdek as the first non-inaugural member of the Alien Workshop team. The switch frontside 180 down the smaller Carlsbad gap was featured in his TWS checkout. He was on Spitfire and was just starting to make pilgrimages down to Philadelphia where he would start to push the boundaries of switch ledge skating, the impact of a shop video, and how many beers one can drink before having late-night Wawa hoagies.

KellyRyan_LovePark
photo by Kelly Ryan

But wait, according to Fred, somewhere out there is a missing New School video part. Fred told me, “I know what song I skated to, but I haven’t seen the video in like 20 years probably. I skated to the Magical Mystery Tour. You know, the Beatles. And it was all footage from when I went to the Atlanta finals and they just had a camcorder. They filmed me skating the gas station across the street.” I still haven’t found that video on the internet.
Any help out there, people?

Bonus Fred:
Here is a tiny bit of young Gall from a Sub Zero contest in Woodbury, NJ as featured in the rare Eastern Exposure 1 video from 1993 (starting at 9:21):

You might have to watch this video on Youtube.

Bonus Bonus Fred:
Joe Hiddleson, who was there, man, has posted some raw footage he and Dan Wolfe captured of the 93 Sub Zero contest. Joe’s instagram is chock full o early 90s East Coast treasure.

Young Fred is at 3:40

ALL the Gall – every Fred Gall skate video part, ever.

Join us here in the Warm Up Zone as we explore ALL the Frederick J Gall skate footage we could find.

In collaboration with the supercomputer algorithms over at 4ply magazine, we welcome you to the odyssey of Dirt. A journey that will take us through the crust-covered back alleys of greater New Jersey, beyond the banked ledges of Barcelona, down into the deep end depths of long abandoned pools, to the familiar surfaces of apex Philadelphia, returning triumphantly to the transitions of Granny’s house.

Burning monasteries, moving buses, abandoned warehouses and psychedelic hill bombs. We will traverse the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, and the creamy middles. We will analyze the crust, compile the crooked grinds, and hopefully emerge a little more enlightened. We’ll even get a check in from Uncle Freddy himself here and there regarding what we are seeing.
Mostly we will watch and discuss nearly every piece of footage Freddy has blessed us with over the past 30 years and talk about how awesome he is.

Switch tailslides, cargo pants, crack, nudity, love, loss, bank-to-walls, explosions, blood, bondo, guest boards, plywood, tuk-tuks, tucked junk… Get ready for a lot of fun and excitement.

Check in at the Warm Up Zone in the coming days for new posts, new insights, and maybe some Fred you haven’t seen before. Check out 4ply Magazine for the ultimate in Fred Gall statistical analysis. Check Freddy’s insta for the best in crust-side Spot Checks.

Need a little something to tide you over until our first official installment… here’s a tasty sampler of vintage Droorsy Fred footage taken from Zoo York’s Peep This video from 1999:

Mason Silva. Mason.

I don’t typically feel the need to jump in to point out a video that is up presently. More often I want to spend my blog writing efforts on celebrating the parts of yore and those that might have slipped through the cracks in the internet age. But, holy hell, that recent Mason Silva part for Nike SB is just on another level of monstrousness.

Kids that come up through the Element camp are guaranteed talented from the get-go, but increasingly the top of the crop is quick to move elsewhere for fear that they’ll forever be high-fiving Chad Tim Tim in the shadow of Nyjah and reissued Bam boards. Peacing out since Peace is Tyson Peterson, Evan Smith, Nassim Guammaz, Greyson Fletcher apparently, and perhaps the skater with the most to gain, Mason Silva. After floating for a bit, he is now comfortably in the stable Real/Spitfire family, getting decent checks from Nike SB, and completely taking things up a significant notch with his video output in 2020.

Every trick in this part is huge. Just take a moment to analyze any trick in the video and it dawns on you just how incomprehensible nearly all these tricks at these spots are.
How about that 4 trick line around 1:00 which should serve as a breather after a just humongous and stylish bump to bar hardflip. A huge crooked grind on the top of a bench back, landed perfectly, frontside tailslide launched to fakie on the next bench back, a quickie switch 360flip, and then a straight-on fakie ollie to switch manual and let’s just 180 out of that for good measure. And that is one of the less memorable clips in this video.

Speed. Power. Style. Trick variety. Decent spot selection. This video requires multiple viewings, several rewinds, and maybe even a pause here and there to give a proper look at just how damn steep the bank is.

The only criticisms would be the camera angle on that last ollie, which just seemed so much more monumental on the Thrasher cover, the video being titled “Mason” (which utilizes a titling concept that should’ve been retired with Dylan), and the song selection. I could see where some folks might like the Roxy Music track, but I feel like Mason’s skating is strictly hardcore.