LOOKBACK #12: Harvesting The Crust

“There are going to be individuals that stand out and there are gonna be kids that follow their example and one day stand out for themselves. Any pro now, at one point, skated like someone else except for the original rollerbladers like fucking Arlo and Brooke and all them dudes from Minnesota.” — Jeff Frederick (Daily Bread / August 2000)

This video has been on my mind the past few days with sessions going down amid piles of melting snow and ice on wet concrete sprinkled with salt and sand. It’s that time of year when the cold air stings your face when the wind blows and keeps you alert no matter how out of it you feel, and falling hurts more than usual when your bones hit the frozen concrete. Continuing to skate in this weather takes dedication, an almost religious dedication. I’ve often heard people describe blading as their religion, but the crew in Minnesota from Scribe Industries in “Harvesting the Crust” helped create that religion.

It has been 15 years since that random guy spoke those words to a group of early bladers in “Harvesting the Crust.” The words sink in and mean a lot more to me now than they did when I was 12 seeing it for the first time. Magazine articles and documentaries about skating have wasted countless time and space trying to put into words why we skate and it has never been put so well and so simple. “What you’re doing is true and whatever’s true to you, you do. You know? It’s yours; that’s the only thing that you can really hold onto.” That is exactly what the crew in “Harvesting the Crust” did. They did what felt right and in the process invented a lot of the tricks that became the foundation of rollerblading. Jon Robinson summed up the immense contributions the guys from Scribe Industries and Minnesota made to blading’s early history in Issue 17:

Minnesota has always been a great Midwest scene. Describe it back in the early ’90s?


Minnesota rollerbladers had a strong bond in the early ’90s. When you saw another rollerblader on the street or at a park you’d go over and say what’s up. We had a core group who always went skating together but were constantly into meeting new people and skating new places. There was very little media awareness/exposure, so making edits/filming/getting a sequence photo rarely entered into relationships. There weren’t any “crews” or 10-page fights on message boards. We even got along fine with skateboarders. There was skating and innovation. That’s not to say innovation wasn’t all over (Omaha, California, New York) but early-’90s Minnesota skaters have many claims: the backslide (Shane Nelson/Steve Thomas), the fastslide (Shane Nelson), the “reverse-royale” (full torque/farv — John Schmidt), naming the acid soul (Dan Jensen) and unity (Steve Thomas), first sweaty down a kinked rail and first misty-flip at a comp (me). I suppose the biggest issue we had then was if someone got a girlfriend and wasn’t skating every day, or if someone wasn’t driving enough.

I’m pretty sure Dan Jensen did the first zero spin at the ’95 Am Jam in Dayton Ohio, true?

Sounds right to me. When I made that list of “firsts” from Minnesota I was pretty sure that some of my Minnesota friends would tell me of the other “firsts” I was missing. It exemplifies the endless innovation that comes out of Minnesota. Presently, the stuff Chris Farmer and Kevin Yee (Minnesota native) are doing is progressing the sport with each section they put out.

In the March 2000 issue of Box, Jon Robinson states, “Ever wonder who invented the Backslide or the Acid Soul? Well, that man was Steve Thomas, a man with a plan. If you’re curious, a bum made up the name Acid Soul, and Steve randomly came up with “backslide” on the spot when asked by the “Hoax II” T-Bone crew what the trick was called.” I guess the inventor of the Acid Soul is up for debate. Japanese skater Hidekazou Itou did one on a straight ledge in 1994 in “Mad Beef” and I always heard that Brian Konoske was the first. Also, if you didn’t notice, Jon Robinson says in his ONE interview that it was named by Dan Jenson, and in Box Magazine claims that a bum named it. (You all can debate it in the comments section.)

LOOKBACK

“Without Steve Thomas, CDS Detroit might dominate this sport.” — Jon Robinson (Box Magazine / March 2000)

Before continuing, everyone should read this history of grind plates and anti-rocker wheels written by Shane Coburn; which was originally at antirocker.com to introduce Mindgame’s Higgs Boson anti-rocker wheel. It will give you a good perspective of the time in which “Harvesting the Crust” was made. Scribe wasn’t the first company to produce grindplates, but in 1994 became the first to make an all-plastic, rollerblade-specific design. It is fitting that the state which invented rollerblading also created the product that helped revolutionize street skating.

Something that occurred to me while working on this piece, and is a recurring theme throughout several LOOKBACKs I’ve worked on, is that since the very beginning we have fought the companies which have made our existence possible. I hear people talk about supporting skater-owned companies like it is a new thing, which couldn’t be further from the truth. When Rollerblade and other early companies refused to make products that fit our needs, skaters took it upon themselves to create companies and products to fill the void. It is not much different than what has happened in recent years. Instead of adding plastic grind plates to TRS Lightnings to keep the frames from wearing down, we are taking boots created by Razors and Roces, cutting the toes out, and adding better soul plates. Bladers have always taken what has been given to us and improved it ourselves.

From Daily Bread #8.

A few videos like “The Hoax,” “Mad Beef,” and “Dare to Air” were released before “Harvesting the Crust,” but it holds the claim of the first video to be made entirely for skaters by skaters. As an early Daily Bread ad for the video said, “The first 100% street video. All footage was shot in the heart of the Midwest. Featuring riders from Team SCRIBE & Team SENATE. MADE BY SKATERS FOR SKATERS. This video will set a new standard for all videos that follow.” — Ben Rogers

Leave A Comment

Anthony - Friday, December 31st, 2010

Sweet! I figured you guys would do the Lookback on Scribe. Excellent read as always

Alan - Saturday, January 1st, 2011

I never actually saw this video and its a real disappointment to find out where they got the name for it. That dude was just another douche bag boarder and got a boner when the one dude said half of them were boarders also. So then he regurgitated the same old shit about keeping it real and being true (referring to them skate boarding) like he is some guru with all the answers like a lot of skate boarders think they are because they started playing with some toy before we started playing with our toy. Its always cool if someone can get where you’re coming from and respect it, but for some backwards reason a lot of rollerbladers seem to put skate boarders respect on a pedestal like its something special. But fuck that, they didn’t start shit either, they don’t have any kind of wise knowledge to bestow upon us. Just because someone talks a lot of shit about you doesn’t mean their respect is something special and definitely doesn’t mean they deserve our respect.

Rolling-a-mindgameinfocus - Saturday, January 1st, 2011

a good lookback no doubt and somthing to educate you guys that havent been around for that long in the sport/lifestyle ;), awsome!

Mikal - Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

YESSSSSS!!!!! SCRIBE has just as much influence on me as SENATE did in the 90’s. I’m from Utah so you can only understand why. Blading in the winter has and will always be my favorite time of year to ride. Even before this movie existed my friends and I never let the elements hold us back. But it was HTC that pushed even more and solidified our winter dedication. I’ve been blading since 93′ and I could go on about how HARVESTING THE CRUST changed my life….literally.

Something that is always neglected when referencing legends is Steve Thomas and Shane Nelson. I ran into Shane a few years back and he found he films for free skiing movies. But where in the hell is one of the original innovators of style Steve Thomas? Find him for another LOOKBACK please.

Thanks for always putting out legit history pieces. True bladers need to know!

Tim Taylor - Monday, January 3rd, 2011

great video.

Dan Fabiano - Thursday, January 6th, 2011

WOW! Thank you for putting up this piece! People need to fully understand where Scribe is originated from, and the full understandings of the roots. Harvesting the Crust was a stepping stone in rollerblading history, and Scribe was probably one of the most influential companies in rollerblading history.

I am glad Steve Thomas and Shannon Grendahl let me take over the Scribe Industries legacy.The following since 2008 has been amazing, and the impact Scribe had on so many is shown dramatically through emails, facebook requests and the sales. Thanks everyone who has been loyal to Scribe over the years!

With this being said, Harvesting The Crust II will be starting to be film in April of 2011. Paul John, Sam DeAngelis and Myself will be working on the project. It will also be a 2 disc set that will include the original Harvesting The Crust.

Should be out sometime in 2012.

(Aragon – Bagozzi – O’Brien – John)

Steven Edw. Thomas - Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

That is a really great review. Thanks for bringing back all the good memories. I can’t explain how happy it makes me to know that you guys are maintaining the community with this mag. God Bless. Skate fast.

As a side note to settle the Farside Acid Soul question. I did what could very possibly be the first one at St. Mark’s Cathedral for Dan Jensen’s camera. The goal was to take a photo of a brand new trick for a Daily Bread cover. (We never got a good enough shot and ended up using a backslide in the rain shot for the cover instead.) There was indeed a homeless man there watching us, and we asked him what we should call it. He said “Acid”. Thus, the Farside Acid Soul.

Steven Edw. Thomas - Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Pssst. Hey Dan Fabiano. I have the original master SVHS of Harvesting the Crust. I had it converted to disc a few years back. Helpful? Find me.

Mikal - Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

@ Steve

Where are you??? What are you doing??? I will buy you blades if your knees still work!

A post from you is like Bobby Fisher coming out of hiding!

@ One Mag

In the conversation of All Time Legends… Steve is on the short list of candidacy. Refer to Steve’s outspin 270 backslide bonk during HTC’s secret section for burned in my brain steez back when steez in blading barely existed.

A “Lookback” with the Mr. Thomas is a must!

david jenkins - Thursday, January 13th, 2011

epic.thank u so much for doing this,finally i can see this movie again.ahhhhhhhhhhhh relief.

Kai Carlson-Wee - Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Thanks for running this lookback article. I’ve always felt like Harvesting the Crust was one of the purest examples of the rollerblading vibe and I’ve always worried that it would go unremembered and under-appreciated. Skating in the early 90s in Minnesota was something fresh and radical. I don’t think people often realize how creative and DIY it was when it all began. You would drive to the federal building in downtown Minneapolis, get out of your car, and see about twenty bladers skating the stairs. People would skate there all night, cruising around downtown, skating in packs and hoards, dicking around, innovating, innovating. There’s something careless and punkish about the skating in HTC that current rollerblading has lost (crazy bums, NOFX, tattered JNCOs, shitty editing, cheap credits, cheap cameras, whack-ass sections of belly-slapping, etc.). Most of the companies that existed at this time (Heavy, Senate, RB, K2, Team Paradise, DB, VG) embodied this kind of slackerish punkishness, but Scribe seemed to do it with a little more style and class. The rubber dude skating a rail in space is hands down one of the best logos in rollerblading history. I honestly wish this vibe would have never left skating, but it’s easy to nostalgize that scene. Maybe I just wish rollerblading still felt original.

john stoll - Sunday, May 29th, 2011

Wow! Great job. Steve, you are still my idol. I remember the day I met all the Scribe guys. I was skating downtown by myself. They let me tag along with them and showed me all the best spots. These guys were the key to the progression of the industry. I have no clue as to the status of the industry today, but, I do know that a group of guys out there like Steve, Shannon, Shane and john would not hurt it.

Billy - Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

I remember telling Steve this video was “really awesome” at the Eisenbergs grand opening in ’97 to which he replied: “it’s a really old video”.

15 years later I still watch it at least once a year.

Julie Arsenault - Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Steve Thomas, how do I get a hold of you?

Bryan Parsons - Monday, September 10th, 2012

First skate vid I ever owned and a huge inspiration at the time! Also it had the best soundtrack ever. I owe my love of Punk rock to this video.

John Schmit - Thursday, July 4th, 2013

This rules!

Aaron - Friday, September 13th, 2013

I was there when Scribe first started. I was…shit, I was little. I ran into Shannon downtown mpls and he was impressed by my tricks. And we started skating together along with our friend Joe whose father owned Rolling Soles on Lake and James in Uptown MPLS. Anyway, I can still hear my voice in the video, and see Joe in the video. And see Shane Nelson’s FS-BS that I videoed in Harvesting the Crust. TeaHea! All great memories. Cool to find all this info on Scribe. I remember skating with these guys a lot and they began to make me feel like a crappy roller blader. Very innovative and awesome bunch!

Aaron - Friday, September 13th, 2013

Oh yeah, the guy who is loud and saying Harvesting the Crust… I was at that shoot at Loring Park in Mpls. That is actually the quote I remember that made me remember the name of the video when searching for it. We all had great laughs then!

dane g - Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Mid-Coast? I had the smallest wheels ever, Lil’ Shooters. Back around VG6 days I was digging in the back of Pinewski’s since Paul was eating in front, and found a copy of this and had no real idea what it was, i begged him to watch it and we did and couldn’t believe how long those rails were.

Andy Mast - Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

Been seeing to many pics like these lately… Got some bones swiss ceramics, senate liners, n wheels off amazon for cheap, n some rb solo troopers on sale. I’m 34 now n have kept somewhat up to date skates all these years. I see all u oh hoax 2 mofos in here. Steve-I was stealing 1/8 think airplane aluminum out of my friend’s dad’s garage because of u 20 yrs ago lol. I got a pic of a bunch of 96-98 senate gear brand new with the boxes i was trying to figure out how to send, or post it on here. Somethings in the air this year tho. People have been talking about inline skating again. If my skating is worth filming still, i’ll have something up on youtube by the end of the summer haha we’ll see. I do have some old stuff up, mixed with some skateboarding. This year it’s strictly gonna be inline for me. If anyones around the pittsburgh park scene, i hope to see you soon. Its been half my life since the shady skates comps, n skating with the vg tours. Im super excited about getting back into it. I hope others are doing the same!

Gordon K. Johnson - Friday, July 12th, 2019

I am so glad I stumbled onto this article. Mad Beef started it all for the crew I skated with out of East St. Paul MN. After Rolling Soles opened up in Minneapolis, we would take the bus and skate all the way there just to browse and hang out. I think they had a small ledge out front that was waxed if I remember correctly. Steve invited our crew out a few times and he was always way better than everyone else. Once we all went and bombed downtown St. Paul. I remember Steve Sole grinding this huge sketchy marble ledge. The side of the ledge he grinded had loose decorative rocks that he was just barley missing with his wheels and on the other side was a rail, a 20 set staircase and certain doom. Steve hit that fucker at about 20 MPH, stood on stop of that ledge like a man and like a gazelle, gracefully 180’d himself along with his massive balls over the sidewalk and into the street. I am now 38 years old and have been back skating for 2 years now. It is one of the great joys in my life and it is awesome to see that us early 90’s MN kids had such an influence on the sport. If you are reading this and live in MN, find me on Facebook and let’s skate!

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