LA Premiere of “Blood and Steel: The Cedar Crest Country Club Documentary along with special guests Scream, June 1, 2017 at the Regent Theatre, located at 448 S Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013.
Filming and Photos by Dan Levy © Juice Magazine
“Take a trip into the time machine of “Blood And Steel: Cedar Crest Country Club” for a reminder of what skateboarding is all about at its very core. You’ll be transported to a place that elevated East Coast skateboarding into the stratosphere: the Crest. Not only does this documentary feature the saga of an 11 gauge steel monument to ‘build and destroy’, it’s a mach speed ride down the memory lane of East Coast hardcore skateboarding.
The treasure chest of early skatepark footage and backyard ramp clips that filmmaker, Michael Maniglia, and producers, Frank Scheuring, Mike Mapp, Bruce Adams, Mark Hooper and the crew pulled together for this new skate documentary is spectacular. “Blood And Steel: CCCC” is a firsthand look at the brotherhood of skateboarding and its fierce dedication to building terrain where none exists.
Cedar Crest not only defied the impossible, it defined the impossible. The Crest launched zines, parties, music scenes, skate crews and skateboarding careers by providing a coliseum for some of the gnarliest skateboarding known to mankind. It was an epic clash of punk rock, hardcore, blood and guts, and do-or-die-skateboarding super sessions. The music scene that developed around the C.C.C.C. ramp and the bands that played there including GWAR, Scream, Coathanger Delivery and many others, only served to amplify its historical status.
“Blood and Steel: CCCC”, which features interviews with Mark Hooper, Mike Mapp, Bruce Adams, Wade Herren, Fred Smith, Paul Wisniewski, Sam Boo, Allen Losi, Bob Umbel, Randy Jansen, Dave Tobin, Ian MacKaye, GWAR, Tony Hawk, Bucky Lasek, Tony Magnusson, Dan Heyman, Derek Krasauskas, Pete Stahl, Franz Stahl, Keith Lanharr, Rob Mertz and more, will make you laugh and remember and want to annihilate the next vertical surface in sight. Remember what it’s all about and never forget Cedar Crest. May its legacy and spirit live on forever!
JUICE MAGAZINE’S DAN LEVY spoke to some of the primary players from the Cedar Crest scene…
MARK HOOPER and his dad were the creators of the Cedar Crest Country Club, and Mark talks about those years of mayhem and the behemoth ramp they constructed...
“That ramp was fast! Dropping in on that thing, when you got to the other side, you almost had to slow yourself down, so you didn’t fly out of the top. It had 9 1/2 foot transitions of steel with a foot and a half of vert with pool coping. The flat bottom was 12 feet, not 16 feet like the newer ramps. There is a photo of a guy standing on stool with a squeegee in his hand and he’s raising it up and Tony Magnusson is doing a 12 foot backside method air overhead. That was the kind of cool over the top kind of shit that happened there… Cedar Crest was the best and the worst of times, the beginning and the end of a rise to total rage to the zenith of fun to the pinnacle of camaraderie. YEAH!!! It’s hard to say all of the memories because there are so many, but here’s what I can say, “All of the bands that played, all the girls that got laid, we definitely slayed!”
BRUCE ADAMS O.G. skater and creator of Lapper shared this memory of the Crest.
“In 1985, Cedar Crest was built, and it was unlike any other ramp I had experienced because of the steel surface. We all grew up skating rough concrete parks (with admission fees), and crappy, splintery backyard plywood ramps. We also skated Masonite with PVC coping that was slippery as hell, and deteriorated after a few sessions. Steel was a whole new world to me. It was fast and quiet, the perfect surface, but it was slick. Our plan to fix this was to paint it. We started with a coat of red primer, and it seemed to work perfectly, so we left it that way. Over time, it also became too slippery. Our next solution was to pop a pin hole in a Coke can and spray the ramp with the can. That worked great, but it attracted a lot of bees. We began mixing sugar with water and mopping the ramp with it. Bringing a bag of sugar and water became a regular thing for the locals. The sugar-water had to be a certain ratio to work or the primer would stick to your wheels. Once the primer stuck to your wheels, it was like having a bunch of flat spots on them. Despite all of this, the ramp was perfect in every way. It was in the middle of nowhere and there were no complaining neighbors, no law enforcement, it was open 24/7, and it was free! It was a dream come true, and I had some of the best times of my life there. I will never forget what Mark Hooper and his dad did for skateboarding. Above all else, I will always remember the feel of the steel.”
MIKE MAPP a.k.a. "Micro" designer of the steel skate coliseum has this to say about the documentary...
“It’s awfully hard to put seven years into one movie, but I feel like Mike [Maniglia] did a great job. This is an East Coast story. What I mean by that is that you kind of had to be here to experience it, but this movie is going to bring you back to that time and place to get a taste for skating as it was in the ‘80s, and an awful lot of music too. There was a big music scene going with Cedar Crest too, so even if you didn’t skate, it put skating and music in the eye of people that would visit there. We always kind of pinch ourselves that it was there and that it’s probably never going to happen again. Looking back now it’s like, “Was that a dream? How did that happen?” Sure enough, it happened. When we got Cedar Crest, we had a central point for all of the tribes of the world to come to.”
MIKE MANIGLIA director of "Blood And Steel" also worked at the Cedar Crest Country Club...
“When I first arrived at Cedar Crest, it was the mecca of skateboarding in that brief time period of the skateboard renaissance. I was there in my formative years; a total grom looking up to the Toke Team, who were the definition of antiheroes, and they were the dudes that ripped the Crest. The story of Cedar Crest is an American story and the do it yourself aspect of Cedar Crest, was a cornerstone of the DIY movement. To have that ramp was a completely unique situation that every skateboarder should see because Cedar Crest was truly born of the American spirit. Cedar Crest was this bright shining star in a dark hole of disenfranchised people that had nothing… To have the opportunity to get together with all the guys to make this film happen all started with Mike Mapp, and then we had skateboard historians like Bruce Adams too. Bruce and I skated Cedar Crest together. Frank [Scheuring] and I are professional filmmakers, so that’s what we do. Everyone involved in the film skated Cedar Crest 30 years ago, so it was a close-knit cadre of the right people who had the wherewithal to put it together. We could have done a thousand more interviews, but we got Fred [Smith], and Freddy is the backbone of the whole movie. We tried to give an unbiased perspective of the top rank and file skateboard legends and, of course, Ian MacKaye is in there too. It’s unreal. It’s all love and Americana DIY…”
DAVE TOBIN shared his experience of the Crest and the Toke Team traditions..
“Cedar Crest was a grand adventure. I felt like I belonged there, never wanting to leave. Being there and seeing a trail leading to the woods, as time went on, that trail turned into a path that would change everyone’s life. From campouts to meeting pros, which were only heard of in magazines. Cedar Crest gave people and skaters alike hope – hope to practice a new trick and get away from the metropolitan Rat Race. I mean who can learn EggPlants while watching Neil Blender doodle on a scratch pad? After choosing a fire to pee on, I would follow the sounds of GWAR or a Dischord band back to the ramp. I think before it closed down, I moved to Florida to start Mechanical School. It was wizard because when I moved back years later nothing was the same. That’s when I had to rethink why I moved back. Cedar Crest was gone and there was this big void to fill. I felt deprived. Spoiled for so long… knowing that I would have to spin the wheel soon and continue on my skate journey without her…”
DAVE TOBIN talks about the evolution of Cedar Crest in Juice Magazine #67 with Jim Murphy.
Tell us about the evolution of Cedar Crest.
Well, we had a ramp back in Gaithersburg, and then we heard that Micro’s buddy owned this million-dollar golf course, and the guy’s dad said, “Build whatever you want to skate.” So they started building the ramp. We wanted to be part of it because we heard it was going to be mega. Then we heard it was metal. I’d never heard of a metal ramp. I’d heard of aluminum ramps, but not metal. There was this ramp called the Sign ramp made out of a bunch of highway signs, but it was dented. They were planning to build this huge mega steel ramp. We were like, “No way.”
Micro was the man that was managing to have that thing fabricated and built. Was he on the cutting edge of building ramps back then?
I think that’s when he started. He had a ramp or two before that though. He was on the Annandale crew. We skated there weekly. He built that with another guy that has dreadlocks and lives in California. He was ripping. That was Micro’s best buddy, Mike Kresky. That was the Annandale crew. It was this guy named Mark Hooper whose family owned the country club. They built that ramp and we started going there. You would not believe how much better we got just by riding that thing. Since it was metal, you knew when you slammed, you weren’t going to mess your knees up on splinters, so you could try all these new tricks. Your pads would just slide.
When you were riding metal, how blown away were you when you first started dropping in?
When you dropped in the first time, it had pipe coping and then we realized we needed coping, so we butted the coping together and bolted it down. It was good for six months and then it got super chunky and you had to power over that shit or replace it. Now we’re back to why they called me Sketchy. I used to pump big airs at Cedar Crest and I used to come in and hit my back wheels, and sometimes my trucks, and pull it off. They’d say, “Oh man, that was sketchy.” Later on, The Toke Team would go to see Fred Smith and get tattoos. We’d go up to Providence and skate and see Fred in his little office. After my first Toke Team tat, I wanted to get my initials for some reason on my lips. He was like, “Okay, I’ll write your name.” It seemed to take longer than it should have, so I was like, “What the hell are you doing?” He was like, “Oh, instead of writing your initials, I’m writing your name.” I was like, “Okay.” I was halfway passed out from drinking from some bottle of something. Then I looked in the mirror and he had written “Sketchy.” I was like, “What? I didn’t ask you to write that.” He said, “You told me it was okay to write your name.” That was my second tattoo. It’s still there on my lip. It’s super sketchy too because the “y” is faded out. It’s a sketchy tattoo. It’s like Losi. That was the only other guy that I saw hanging up on really big tricks and making it. All of those guys used to come visit that ramp. It was so sturdy and you could pump airs. Magnusson and Blender came out there too.
ABOUT “BLOOD AND STEEL: CEDAR CREST COUNTRY CLUB” DOCUMENTARY:
“Blood and Steel: Cedar Crest Country Club” tells the story of the East Coast skateboarding mecca of the late 80’s – The Crest. It was a steel monolith of a ramp, tucked away in the countryside near the nation’s Capital. Legendary bands and skaters from around the world came to celebrate the scene and push the limits, taking advantage of the freedom that brought skateboarding, punk rock and art together during a time of social disenfranchisement and uncertainty.
Blood and Steel: Cedar Crest Country Club documents the roots of the D.C. DIY backyard skateboarding scene and the artists, bands and the characters that made history there. It features some heavy hitters such as Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat / Fugazi) and members of GWAR, as well as boasting a who’s who of famous skaters including Tony Hawk, Bucky Lasek, Rob Mertz, Fred Smith, Tony Magnusson, Allen Losi and many more.
Utilizing a vast collection of archival photos and video, punctuated with interviews of the people that were there, the film is a compelling story underscored by the music that fueled the era including artists from DC’s own, Dischord Records, GWAR and Metallica.
Directed by Michael Maniglia. Produced by Michael Maniglia, Frank Scheuring, Mike Mapp, Bruce Adams, Mark Hooper
Stay up to date on more info about the film premiere at https://www.facebook.com/events/1853695188234498/
For more about the film go to https://www.facebook.com/BloodAndSteelMovie/
Unfortunately, not everything made it into the final cut of the film, “Blood and Steel, Cedar Crest Country Club”. This story from Ian MacKaye was so good that they had to put it out on its own. Enjoy! – “It’s art, it’s a skateboard”. Ian MacKaye reflects back on the time he loaned his skateboard to the Corcoran Gallery of Art in D.C. for the “Pump me up” curation.
Premiere night featured special guests Scream… Here’s just a taste…
Scream is a hardcore punk band from Washington, D.C. active from 1981 to 1990. Scream was formed in Northern Virginia in 1981 by singer Peter Stahl, his brother Franz Stahl on guitar, bassist Skeeter Thompson and drummer Kent Stax. They are considered one of the benchmark bands in the history of the Washington, D.C. hardcore music movement. Along with bands such as Minor Threat and Government Issue, Scream ultimately merged the attributes of the movement, which were blinding speed, heavy political and social connotations in the lyrics, unpretentiousness of attitude, and shunning of commercialism. Their music is faithful to the roots of rock, but spun itself into other genres by employing sounds that predate the raunchiness of grunge, while saluting reggae and speed metal. Scream hated the classification of bands into certain types and considered what they played as simply ‘music.’ Recording their music in the basement of the now legendary Inner Ear Studios in Arlington, VA, Scream became the first band on the Dischord label to release a whole album, Still Screaming, as opposed to singles or 12 inch EPs. Like the hardcore band Bad Brains, they could play clearly at breakneck speed, but also played mid–tempo songs like “American Justice” and “Hygiene,” which were metal–tinged reggae.
For their second album Scream added another guitarist to their line–up, Robert Lee “Harley” Davidson, (a veteran of the local heavy metal band Tyrant, who later became know as Saint Vitus), to thicken up the sound in the studio and in their live performances. In turn this eventually led to a powerful dual–lead guitar style, with complex guitar tracking, a more powerful live sound and an over–all crunchier sound for their third album. For a few compilation efforts and some live shows they added a keyboard player, Bobby Madden, who was a colleague of Davidson’s from the same metal scene.
After the 3rd album Banging the Drum, Kent Stax left the band for personal reasons and was replaced by local drummer Dave Grohl, who then played on Scream’s 4th album No More Censorship. The band then toured Europe; with their May 4, 1990 show in Alzey, Germany being released by Tobby Holzinger as Your Choice Live Series Vol.10. Scream then recorded their 5th and final studio album Fumble, (which was much later released in 1993 on Dischord Records) and then called it quits in late 1990. Pete and Franz moved to North Hollywood and gave rock a major–label shot with the band Wool, while Grohl joined Nirvana and helped make Grunge the sound of the ’90s. In 1997, Franz Stahl joined Dave Grohl’s newly formed group, the commercially successful Foo Fighters, for a two year stint. During this time Pete Stahl worked as a road manager for both the Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age, while continuing to record albums with several bands, including the Earthings– and Goatsnake. Skeeter Thompson remained in the DC area and continued to work in bands, as did Kent Stax with the Skinhead/Oi! –tinged bands: the Suspects, United 121, Spitfires United, and Alleged Bricks. Stax has also committed himself to a family life. Davidson continued in the band Angelstorm, (in Huntsville, Alabama), from 1993–1995 and created the new bands Orangahead, Festival of Fools, (with Madden in 1998) and two different bands both named God Is Dead, (one in D.C. and one in Huntsville, AL) from 2002–2005.