Anti Hero ''Cow'' (1998)

Second Anti Hero's misdemeanor, after ''Fucktards'' released in 1997. It was already original and creative for a skateboard video at the time, for its crazy in-your-face & don't give a fuck attitude, along with some almost arty parts. ''Cow'' is mostly done to hurt your eyes and remind us what skateboarding really means : a mix of savagery, vandalism, excessive risk taking, full speed, punk attitude, and mostly a whole lot of fun ! What surprises me is that it must probably be one of the most important skateboard videos from this era, but is barely mentioned in magazines, and was never re-released in DVD. Only the original VHS from more than 20 years ago can be found (for big money obviously), because in the end the whole industry prefers to ignore Anti Hero.
I would say it has a lot to do with their antisocial, could-not-care-less and marginal attitude, even if famous skateboarders such as Bob Burnquist or John Cardiel got excellents parts in the video. ''Excellent'', I should even say that all the parts are legendary. ''Cow'' is purely and simply iconic.

Iconic, for several reasons. The imagery, the strong identity of the video and of the Anti Hero team. We have rarely seen such a strong and independant attitude since Blind's ''Video Days'' (1990) with Jason Lee and Mark Gonzales, or ''Welcome To Hell'' (1996) by Toy Machine, in which Jamie Thomas and Ed Templeton destroyed every spots with an unique style and class.

Concerning Bob Burnquist, that you may know from the thousand hours spent on Tony Hawk Pro Skater (1999), you can admire an intimist portrait of a young skater spending his life riding ramps and bowls without any crowd around him. A piece of history, before his fame, before getting signed at Flip, before his first place at the famous Best Trick Contest in 2000 at the X Games with an impeccable fake 5-0 fakie kickflip on the bar, and the 900 fakie to fakie on the Mega Ramp.

On a personal level, ''Cow'' struck me when I was younger, living, thinking and bleeding skateboarding and hardcore punk. And this, mostly due to Andy Roy's part. To me, he could represent the Anti Hero spirit all by himself. Before the skateboarder, he is also a character, a human tornado. And sometimes, cataclysms lead to a good amount of damages. He is real, every cells of his body live for skateboarding, fights and drugs. The GG Allin of skateboarding, the anti hero than nobody wants but that everybody need.

A spiderweb tattooed on the top of his head, Andy has his face stuck to a mirror in the bathroom. ''I broke my nose, I split my nose open'' he says, giggling. Fuck the world. Goosebumps. He shrugs his shoulders smiling like a toothless child and whispers ''I'm so exciiiiiiteeeed'' to the camera. Instant classic introduction. Feedback, the sound crackles and Void's ''Who Are You'' is melting the speakers. Andy throws himself to the ramp and brutally destroys everything with huge grabs and boneless landed sloppily or violently crashing on the ground with his mouth full of blood. If you think that it's lacking of style, it's just that you don't get anything about skateboarding. Andy Roy is not a technical skater, and he never will. It doesn't even interest him. He doesn't think twice, he has this comunicative visceral punk energy that gives me the chills, motivates me, and reminds me how free you can feel riding a board. Feeling of freedom for the pressures of daily life, from mental illness, and it reminds me why this video was so important for me when I was a teenager. It even made me buy a board again in one of the most critical moments of my life. Respects to Andy.

Let's get back to the rest of ''Cows''. Sean Young, Eric J and Julien Stranger's part are great, nothing else to add. Pure class. Tony Trujilo's one is crazy, with ''Landshark'' by Fang in the background. Ten meter ollies coming out of nowhere. But the one that will stay in the annals of history is the style and aggressivity of John Cardiel, destroying everything on his path, with Brotha Lynch Hung ''Return Of Da Baby Killa'' in the soundtrack, echoing like a Glock 9 in a back alley at 4 am. But mostly, mostly, this insane bet of dropping from the roof of the Sunset Car Wash in Los Angeles, to land on the sidewalk and the road in full night trafic. A successful bet that became legendary. Mark Gonzales, who was with them at the moment, unfortunately tried to do it as well, and after a few minutes thinking if whether or not it was reasonnable to risk his life for a skateboard video, dropped and landed successfully on the sidewalk but slipped and banged his head on the concrete, knocked out cold. A really nasty bail that he still hasn't forgot.

This drop is famous, but who remembers Anti Hero and ''Cow'' ? Not many people, and it's a shame. Run to your computer and check youtube to see by yourself how genius this video was. Balls of steel, amazing soundtrack and lot of attitude made one of the best skateboard videos ever.


Enjoy some great ANTI HERO's ads from back in the days:




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