News Tagged ‘alien workshop’

Neil Blender’s The Heated Wheel skateboard company

Monday, August 1st, 2022

It’s been a long time coming but the announcement of the existence of Neil Blender’s The Heated Wheel skateboard company was met with glee. Arguably one of the most influential pro skaters of all time despite being largely absent from mainstream skate media since his 2005 section in Vox Footwear’s ‘Destroy Everything Now’ video.
(See below).

For those of you too young to know who he is and why Neil Blender’s The Heated Wheel skateboard company is a big deal: here’s a very basic overview.
Born and raised in California, Neil Blender was classically trained in the huge concrete parks of that late 70s/early 80s and as such became one of the top pro skaters on the scene of the time. His skating was fast, powerful, stylish and always innovative. Stalled inverts? That’s down to Blender. Originating the idea of using the nose of your board long before boards really had noses? That’s Blender too.
Trick names as diverse as the ‘no comply’, the ‘wooly mammoth’ and the ‘lien air’ (Neil backwards) – all NB.

Neil Blender's The Heated Wheel skateboard company

Alongside his contributions on the board, Neil Blender was also one of skateboarding’s founding polymaths.
A gifted writer and a photographer with a regular column in Transworld, a musician (with his music still being used to this day by the likes of Polar Skate Co), an artist (one of the first professional skaters to do their own graphics) and, most importantly, a hugely funny iconoclast as adept at making up trick names as he was lampooning those he saw as overhyped ‘widdlers’. If you don’t believe our hype, let me hand you over to Lance Mountain who said of Neil Blender in the Transworld Mag ’30 Most Influential skaters of all time article (Neil Blender was 19th).

“He was one of the first guys to draw his own graphics. He was the first one to give tricks different names. He was our ringleader. Neil’s myth is more hidden and harder to find, but there would be no Mark Gonzales without Neil Blender.”

High praise indeed eh? After a long stint on G&S skateboards throughout the 1980s and into the 90s, (see above for his truly classic G&S ‘Footage’ section), Neil Blender was one of the three people (along with Mike Hill and Chris Carter) who set up the Alien Workshop brand. Whilst Blender did have a short avant-garde section on the first Alien Workshop video ‘Memory Screen’, his role at the brand was primarily artistic. According to some accounts, the original AWS logo, sketched on a Denny’s napkin by Blender actually reads ‘Neil B’ in reverse.
Proper head fuck stuff eh? Anyhow, Alien Workshop went on to dominate the industry for two decades despite being one of only a few skateboard brands based outside of California.

Neil Blender's The Heated Wheel skateboard company

Blender’s distinctive art work continued to adorn Alien Workshop boards, along with appearing on album covers for the likes of Dinosaur Jr and many other bands. Whilst all of this was happening, the man himself disappeared by design, resurfacing for Vox footwear in 2005 and then reappearing sporadically on Instagram.
As one of the most well-loved skaters and artists of the formative 80s period, it always seemed odd that Blender never joined many of his contemporaries like Lance Mountain, John Lucero and Steve Douglas in starting their own brands. Most people just shrugged and passed it off as another of NB’s mysterious decisions.
Then, just when everyone had forgotten about the idea of ever seeing an NB led brand, Neil Blender’s The Heated Wheel skateboard company appeared, seemingly from nowhere.

There’s way, way more to the Neil Blender catalogue than we have space for here so, if you want more – check out this forum archive of obscure and not so obscure Neil Blender related ephemera then watch the Bobby Puleo doc below.

We’ve just had our first drop from Neil Blender’s The Heated Wheel skateboard company and it’s banging.
Varied shapes and concaves all adorned with incredible Neil Blender art work.
This stuff will sell out fast – don’t sleep.
Now listen to Worked World.


Speedway Mag The Greg Hunt Interview

Friday, June 8th, 2018

Speedway Mag The Greg Hunt Interview: Transworld to DC, Alien Workshop’s ‘Mind Field’, remembering Dylan Rieder & ‘Ninety-Six Dreams, Two Thousand Memories with Jason Dill

 

Our mate and occasional shop worker/opinionated high trouser enthusiast, Farran Golding, has published a lengthy interview to his Speedway Mag website chronicling the life and work of Greg Hunt.

 

The interview covers Greg’s early days in San Francisco as a sponsored skateboarder for Stereo, before quitting the pro ranks as his career seemed to peak to pursue cinematography. The interview goes into how Greg approached his first solo project, The DC Video, before delving into a myriad of behind the scenes information of the creation of Alien Workshop’s Mind Field – with plenty of stories about filming with Anthony Van Engelen and Heath Kirchart thrown in for good measure.

 

Greg candidly discusses his friendship with Dylan Rieder, sharing many touching stories of the times they spent together with particular focus on Greg’s short film for gravis footwear, dylan., which enforced Rieder as one of modern skateboarding’s greats.

 

Finally, the interview touches on Greg’s upcoming book with Jason Dill, Ninety-Six Dreams, Two Thousand Memories, which depicts their friendship over the last seventeen years.

 

There’s also plenty of photographic gold from Greg’s personal archive, scans from Workshop catalogues and numerous renowned photographers alongside a small selection of the Mind Field photo book unearthed (good luck finding much of it anywhere else on the internet.

 

Stick the kettle on and click the or image below to get reading [Speedway Mag The Greg Hunt Interview].

 

Nice one, Alan.

 

“Dylan was someone I had, who was one of those friends who really loved you for who you are. He really respected you and you were really important to him. If you ask Van Engelen, Dill or anyone who knew Dylan they would say the same thing. He made it clear, in his own way, that you were special to him. A real friend of his. That’s something a lot of people don’t have. All my friends are special to me but I don’t have the ability to project that. Being a human is complicated. Dylan had this thing about him where he really loved his friends and his friends all knew. That’s one of the saddest things about losing Dylan. A lot of people aren’t lucky to have anyone like that in their life and when I look back– having a friend like that is what made those times so cool.”

 

speedway mag the greg hunt interview photo chris johnson

Follow Speedway Mag on Instagram at @speedwaymag.

Follow Greg on Instagram at @huntfilmwork.


Quasi Skateboards

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

 

Ever since the demise of Alien Workshop skateboarders across the world were waiting for the aftermath which came in the form of ‘The Mother Collective’. Everything seemed good in the world until last month when Mother announced they had to change their name to ‘Quasi Skateboards’. Have a look at the ‘Jenkem mag‘ interview with the founder to see why.

 

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Quasi Skateboards‘ main intentions are “Paying the team, independence, free boards. No rules.”. Letting some of skateboarding’s finest let loose in doing what they do best. Sounds good to me. Yes, it’s another board company for you to indulge into, which may be hard as many are popping up every other week.

But let me just put it out there… This is definitely one to watch out for. They’ve already sold 3 months worth of stock in just 3 weeks under-estimating the demand. So as you can tell they’re already flying off the shelves. Later today (20/8/15) you can expect to see Quasi on sale here at The Black Sheep Store. Hyped!

 

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The graphics are looking dope, simple and pure yet the pro models are reflecting the pro to the best they can. Main focus at the minute is the boards but the apparel, that is still strong will increase in time. Focusing purely on skateboarders, really excited to see this company grow.

There’s also word of a video being made which is exciting. Mainly because you’ll see the likes of Gilbert Crockett, Jake Johnson, Tyler Bledsoe and a few more additions to the team in the near future shredding Quasi. Really powerful crew! It’s a shame ‘Mother’ couldn’t have been kept although the way I look at it, its the same brand, only a different name but to be honest none of that will matter in a few weeks. Keep them eyes peeled!

 

Mother_Skateboards_RIP

 

Still not sure what the deal is, well why not watch these two sections from the new Quasi Skateboards team members Mr Tyler Bledsoe and Jake Johnson. Jake’s section from this years Static 5 then a dope Tyler Wu Tang remix part. Take note as these two could be some of the most stylish skaters to set foot on a board. Now a Quasi board…

 

Keep up with Quasi Skateboards on Instagram and check out the latest  Quasi Skateboards product on  our store