Tag Archives: 2015

“Straight outta Jersey. Come check it.” – Fred Gall – Domestics and OJ Wheels

Fred Gall and friends (specifically Joe Dorsi) started Domestics as a skate shop at some point in the early years of the 21st century in Carteret, New Jersey. Finding more success with making clothing (and not properly zoned for clothing production at the shop), it eventually moved to a warehouse where it continues churning out screenprinted shirts and hand-sewn jackets, bags, and other soft goods to this day, made right here in the US of A; Including the Fred Gall Signature Lightweight Work Pants. They also make pandemic face masks. In 2013, they released a little Fred Gall promo part. It’s pretty badass.

It’s got some all-time Freddy moments in there like the kickflip backside noseblunt to backside revert, a dump truck into a dump truck, and a heavy gap into bank ollie in front of a dozen mesmerized Cambodians. And I bet you missed that crustition fakie kickflip.

Freddy didn’t do many fakie flips.

Most monumentally, Freddy takes things up a notch at his hometown Metropark narrow street quarter pipe thing, a spot he has been continually fucking up for a while now, with a this beauty:

Fred talked about the origin of the name ‘Domestics’ in a 2008 Thrasher interview:
There was this bar next to my mom’s house when I was 18, and I would go and drink beers in there. I would order Budweiser by telling the bartender, ‘I’ll have another Domestic.’ I got kicked out of there so many times, but I lived next door so I would put on costumes and go back in there. I’d dress up as different factory workers.

Habitat also released Search the Horizon in 2013. Not a bad video, but very much focused on the newer riders like Al Davis, DeLa Torre, and Mark Suciu. Freddy only had 3 tricks.

Freddy’s tricks are at 11:30

A few months before the release of Search the Horizon, Pacific Vector Holding Inc. had bought a controlling share in the DNA brands: Alien Workshop, Habitat, and Reflex bearings. Within a year they would be dismantling it. This, along with a lot of highly publicized departures, led to the temporary end of Alien. But Habitat, thanks to a lot of Castrucci efforts and a short-lived distribution deal with Tum Yeto, kept itself more-or-less together. Fred stayed on the team, but found his role being diminished. As Kerry Getz and Tim O’Conner would fade into retirement, now Gall would not only be the last of the 1990s Alien Team to remain, but the final member of the original Habitat line-up still standing.

photo by Xeno Tsarnas

Fred, like so many skateboarders before him (and along with him (and also in the future)), lost a lot of productivity down the black hole of the NYC party scene around this time. Somewhere in the haze he found himself spending a brief amount of time locked up, a brief amount of time being married, finding a job in the construction industry, helping build the Shorty’s Place DIY park, and skating regularly in front of Andrew Petillo’s lens.

Which leads us to our (almost) final Fred Gall part (for now). A two and a half minute promo for his new wheel with OJs, released in 2015, called, logically enough, Freddy Gall for OJ Wheels!

As has become the trend, several tricks in this part were seen before. Regardless, the part itself still holds up pretty well. 82% of the tricks are on crust, 24% are wallrides, and 52% are on some kind of transition. A couple of key moments would be the backside 270 ollie nosepick to 270 revert out, the hefty quarter to quarter frontside flip, and the 1-2 punch of the gap to frontside tailslide on the banked ledge followed by a quickie hippie jump.

But wait, there’s more… I just learned that in late 2015 Freddy shared a part with Al Davis and DeLa in John Valenti‘s Local Express video. John’s filming is always impeccable, and Fred, as usual, destroys some banked ledges from both stances.

Freddy starts around 11:20

Bonus Fred:
Fred Gall tours the Domestics warehouse and talks about spots in this early video from Jenkem:

Bonus Bonus Fred:
In Search the Horizon, Mark Suciu did a little homage to the master…

Bonus Bonus Bonus Fred:
The Scum League, sponsored by OJ Wheels, returned to a rain-soaked Shorty’s Place in 2013.

Bonus Bonus Bonus Bonus Fred:
Now you can learn to patch spots with as much skill and craftsmanship as master bondo artisan Fred Gall in this 2014 Jenkem instructional video:

Bonus Bonus Bonus Bonus Bonus Fred:
Some Thrasher content featuring Freddy’s First Look at the mag from 2013. Some great moments here such as Freddy pining for Geoff Rowley’s Vans’ paycheck, giving ex-teammate Austin Gillette some sass, affectionately calling Dylan a “ladyboy”, and counting stairs like a skate rat.

Check back in the Warm Up Zone cause we ain’t done. Uncle Freddy hasn’t released a ‘part’ since 2015, but he hasn’t been silent either. We still have plenty more Fred to ponder including the dark years that culminated with whatever the fuck it was that happened at Bam’s, our hero gets sober and then gets busy, and Freddy tells us what he his cooking up for the future.

Infinite by Design – the Alien Workshop reboot of 2015

Chris Carter. Rob Dyrdek. DNA LLC. Joe Castrucci. Burton Snowboards. Mike Hill. AVE and Dill. Neil Blender. Pacific Vector Holdings Inc. Don Pendleton. Dinosaur Jr. Bo Turner. The saga of the Alien Workshop, both on the board and in the boardroom, is long and complicated.

In 2014 it all came to an end and the skateboard world mourned the shuttering of an institution after 24 years.

Within months Castrucci secured Habitat and developed a brief courtship with Tum Yeto. The remaining Workshop riders whom hadn’t fled to FA started their own brand called Mother (forcefully renamed Quasi within months). Meanwhile, Carter moved into a decommissioned nuclear bunker.

And then, while we were still in mourning, Alien Workshop was hastily reborn once again out of Dayton, Ohio. I may be going against the grain here, but I feel that the Workshop benefitted from this all am reboot. Some team continuity (and amazing skating) from Crockett and Jake Johnson would have been even better, of course. But, I’m pretty happy with where this all ended up.

Bunker Down debuted the new Workshop team in late 2015 and while still drawing from the classic Alien video iconography and style, the video production is surprisingly crispy.

Skip that 2+ minute intro (a very Alien thing) and go directly to the good stuff with new team tentpole Joey Guevara (Yaje didn’t join until a few months later). The spots are unexpectedly gritty and urban with more cellar doors then sunny schoolyards. Joey glides through the sidewalk cracks overgrown with weeds and I get the impression he doesn’t slam very often.

The rest of the team follows up with their own flavor twists, but the over video style is cohesive. Frankie Spears checks all the multi-kinks and ridiculously tall loading dock flat rail boxes needed in this day and age. Frankie goes big and it is easy to see him slipping into to Foy/Walker/Nyjah club of casual death defiance. Max Garson samples most of the the streets have to offer, from serious-consequences-if-you-fuck-up handrail grinds to the sweet little dish spot line. Those orange street barriers are generally not to be skated as ledges from flat. Brandon Nguyen ends the rebirth with a precise style the conceals just how gnarly some of these tricks really are. I can only imagine how difficult it is to smoothly dismount a kinked hubby frontside smith?

And a special reminder to take a second look at Paul Liliani. With a team popping with so much star potential, from a brand identity so infused into our skateboarding bloodstream, His mid-video tricks can easily be overlooked. His switch loft and clean haircut brings to mind a young Paul Sharpe. Liliani skates casual, making 180-manuals look like afterthoughts and generally not break a sweat.

Will this new Alien era ever approach the cultural impact of the Sect’s past eras? There might not be bigger shoes to fill. My enjoyment of the new team is definitely aided by the clean break and reboot brought on by total bankruptcy. Let’s face it, you aren’t going to ever adequately replace a Kalis or Gall or Kirk or Dylan. I’m hoping the new team stands a chance by having it’s own identity disconnected from the riders of the past, while still entrenched in the traditions of an Alien Workshop video. I’m pretty psyched on these dudes and have high hopes for another Alien full-length issued on a color cassette tape.

A heads-up, though… The mute your computer before watching Bunker Down. The music soundtrack is unforgivable.