Benny Needle’s Top 5 Videos of 1991

From time to time we like the idea of bringing in friends to contribute to our site with their own experiential opinions on a matter. I’ve known Ben since 1992. Met him in Santa Monica at the infamous Ponds spot. Being enthusiastic about the era of skateboarding we now in hindsight more than appreciate, Ben is going to be posting up here giving his two cents now and again.  Ben currently works as assistant manager at Supreme Los Angeles.  – RM



It makes sense that street skating’s popularity began to rise around this time. The popularity of skateboarding itself were dwindling and skateparks were closing left and right. Skating was going back to it’s more underground, anti-establishment roots. At this point the big corporations saw that there wasn’t any more money to squeeze out of vert, and they pulled out and went on to Pogs, Pokemon cards or whatever else their marketing departments told them was “in” with the kids back in those days.


One of my favorite things about street skating is that it is very democratized. By that I mean any kid with a board can open his front door and have the streets at their disposal. Most skateparks consisted of having to pay annual fees, having your parents sign a waiver, and sharing the facility with other skaters who will snake you at every opportunity. The streets had way more to offer than a confined park setting with obstacles that were rarely changed. Street skating made you look at the urban environment with a whole different view of a city than the average joe. While most people saw some nice marble benches to sit & eat on during their lunch break, we, as Skaters, were wondering what time the office building closed so we could try to NoseGrind the same very bench.  It’s my personal opinion that street skating breeds way more evolution and forces you to be more creative. Park skating tends to be confined and claustrophobic if you ask me, especially nowadays. With street skating you have a vast array of terrain with obstacles of endless possibilities. Think about this- would Gonz & Natas have boardslid handrails if they only skated in a park environment? The answer is no, because what skateparks provide is what the current climate of skateboarding is, not what tomorrow will bring.


Enough with my rant. Here are my top 5 favorite videos from 1991 and why:


1. Video Days by Blind


I don’t even know how start to describe the impact that this video had on myself, but skateboarding as a whole. It is hands down my favorite video of all time and I’m sure I’m not the only one who shares the same sentiment. I could write a 10 page essay on why this video is so important to skateboarding. I’ll say this; all you younger kids out there that haven’t seen this video should watch it ASAP and see how fun and spontaneous Skating was back then. People didn’t take 4 years to make videos. You went filming and you got what you got. The team looked like they had fun making this and it comes across in the video. The soundtrack to this video ranged from Michael Jackson, John Coltrane, Milk (a band whose members included Jeff Tremaine and Andy Jenkins) and using “Low Rider” by War for the intro. It all worked together seamlessly.  Plus, every part is a banger. I could go on & on about this video but I’ll end it with this, If you haven’t seen this video or don’t plan to, quit skateboarding immediately.


2. Memory Screen by Alien Workshop


At age 13, I had never seen anything like this before but I knew I liked it. It interested me and kind of creeped me out at the same time. Talk of New World Order, Aliens, and at least 3 Dinosaur Jr. songs on the soundtrack were all very new to me, but yet so captivating. This is why I love Skateboarding. It has introduced me to so many things that I might not have otherwise known about. All the random Super 8 footage & editing was like no other skate video I had seen a the time. While I’ll admit, the gaps in between the skate parts annoyed my 13 year old brain, I now have come to really appreciate how much effort they put into the video…especially for back then.


3. 1281 by New Deal


This video definitely ushered in a new generation of skaters and progressive street skating. New Deal’s team at the time were so deep, almost comparable to H-Street. Danny Sargent, Andy Howell, Rick Ibaseta, Justin Girard, Chis Hall, Neal Hendrix, Rene Mathesson, Ed Templeton, Mike Vallely, & host of others. This video could’ve been split in 2 and both would be good. All the aforementioned names were responsible for shaping and molding what was to come for modern street skating at time and were early  representatives of  the new era to come.


4. Celebrity Tropical Fish by Powell


In my opinion, this was the last good Powell video (Although Wade Speyer and Chris Senn’s parts in Hot Batch are sick). At this time Stacy Peralta had left the company and it showed in the videos. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, if anything I liked the video better because it was more raw skating than the theatrics the earlier Powell Peralta vieos had. They had one of the best Am Teams back then. Adam McNatt, Chris Senn, Pat Brennan (RIP), Eric Ricks, even Euro Rippers like Curtis McCann and Sami Harithi. A young Bucky Lasek, Colin Mckay was still on the team and Mike Frazier had a sick Vert part that I would never fast-forward (Also rare for me back then.)


5. Debunker by SMA


This video had a similar quality to Memory Screen. Weird footage spliced together in between parts, dealing with Government, Crop Circles, Alien Abduction, Etc. It was an odd time for SMA. This was when they were transitioning from Santa Monica Airlines and becoming SMA. This meant no parts from Julien Stranger or Eric “Tuma” Britton, as a local kid from Santa Monica, this was my only complaint about this video (and Jesse Roach). Beyond that, this vdeo had sick parts from Alan Petersen, Dave Leroux (Vert guy who was doing switch stuff before a lot of people were doing it on the streets), Corey Chrysler & Nick Foster (RIP), who had a shared Am part but were doing stuff pros weren’t even doing. They both killed this part, big gaps, tech stuff, handrails and wrecking Derby Skatepark. Plus, I love that they skated to Lard’s “Drug Raid at 4 AM”. Karma Tsocheff’s Part really put him on the map. I know he had a part in the DogTown video but this part I felt was so much better. Karma did the first switch heelflip I had ever seen down a set of four. Karma Tsocheff is/was always one my favorite skaters.


Honorable Mention:


Dancing In The Dirt by A-1 Meats


I’m not trying to be “weird, obscure guy”, but this video has my favorite Jason Dill part. The main reason is that he was so young and small, that his part gave me a ton of inspiration in a “If he’s doing those tricks, so can I” kind of way. You could also tell that he probably filmed the whole part in 2 days  I had just started skating, was naive, 13 years old, and soon realized that I did not posses the same ability as Jason Dill. Nonetheless, Dill is and will continue to be an inspiration. This video also features really sick parts from Kareem Campbell, Kris Markovich, and Ryan Fabry.


Troops of Tomorrow-Santa Cruz


Two Words: ERIC DRESSEN. Plus, this video features a young Gershon Mosley, Richard Paez, Ed Devera, Roger Browne (OG Love Park Local). And Jason Jesse’s part is a certified classic. I wish i could describe it in words. take a look for your self: