In the wake of SOL Crew’s new video trailer scaring up some controversy over what should and should not be permissible in rollerblading, ONE contributor Adam Morris spoke with SOL’s own Todd McInerney, as well as legendary innovator Dustin Latimer, to get a handle on what the act of mushroom blading is all about, and thoughts on its evolution. Then SOL’s Joey McGarry put together a video edit with bootlegged VHS clips to show examples of ‘shroomy tricks from our sport’s early days that have influenced how people today roll. The edit is below and the story inside—check them out!
Mushroom blading is alive, well and as polarizing as ever. Case in point: The teaser for the SOL crew’s next video, “Mushroom Blading.” It set the Internet afire with comments like these at Rollernews.com:
“these guys make rollerblading look so gay that it’s already cool again!”
“Amazingly bad and not even in a funny way.”
“that was the most creative skating ive ever seen”
“chill with that crap, your making us look like shit. go big or go home, this isnt figure skating.”
Amid the knee-jerk reactions, it’s easy to forget where mushroom blading began and where it has taken skating.
The phrase “mushroom blading” surfaced in the late 1990s or very early 2000s. At first blush, it seems to invoke the result of skating while on a mind-altering substance — the world looks different, you see the unseen. Of course, the drugs aren’t necessary or suggested. An open mind is.
“Mushroom blading is exploring new ideas no matter how silly or strange or awkward they may seem at first,” Todd McInerney of the SOL crew says. “It is letting go of self-consciousness, preconceived ideas of what constitutes ‘good skating,’ and fear of shit talkers. It is making a conscious decision to develop strange skills without knowing exactly where they will take you.”
Mushroom blading’s avant-garde nature makes it hard to define. But you know it when you see it. Here’s what it is: Unconventional. Here’s what it isn’t: Skating the traditional rail, ledge or gap in a traditional way.
“It’s not a definitive name for a definitive style of skating,” says retired pro Dustin Latimer. “It’s a way to veer from the traditional spin, lock on, spin off tricks.”
Nick Riggle and his former PELD crew (including Erik and Mike Burke and Mike Choley) were among mushroom blading’s early purveyors. Undoubtedly, there were others. Here’s how Riggle described the essence of his skating to Daily Bread Magazine back in 2003: “I have always tried to look at skating with new eyes. Nearly every time I go rolling, I look at things in a different way, or I deliberately search for things that haven’t been skated. I don’t do this just to be different; this way of skating is the most pleasing to me. This way, rolling becomes much more than a physically engaging sport; it becomes a mental exercise, maybe even an artistic pursuit.”
There are many brands of mushroom blading. The SOL crew, with its wacky antics, is at the extreme end. But mushroom blading doesn’t have to be blading’s ballet (as some would disparagingly call it). Some of the most innovative and influential skaters have been fueled by mushroom blading. Take Latimer, Charles Dunkle, Oli Short and Rory Melehan. They’ve mingled mushroom style with traditional tricks — and drawn far less criticism for it.
“It’s the whole thing where it doesn’t seem like it’s pushing the sport when people do small, little creative things,” Latimer says. “Just starting and learning, you can do the small things and you can show it’s possible, but you have to perfect the tricks you’ve learned and show the potential. People don’t really do that very often. … It’s like, that was cool, but you should have pushed it.” — Adam Morris
Vintage Mushroom Blading Clips Edit by Joey McGarry
such a sick edit! was wandering when jon elliott’s rail roll was gonna pop up!
Great job Adam and Joey. Video was an awesome watch. Wanted to see more Dion Anthony though. Forgot how incredible he was.
that was an amazing compilation of tricks. soo much control and innovation. Puts modern skating to shame.
wasnt nick riggle the first one to say “Mushroom skating?” i remember it was like a quote in db or something, and he said latimer does “peyote skating” which is mushroom type tricks but on a hammer level
and you cant forget tom fry if your talking about mushroom skating
hey alan, good call on tom fry. i’ve been told that he invented the fishbrain while skating very, um, wasted, and just sort of came up with it.
and, we attempted to contact nick riggle to get a comment for this story, but never heard back. we would love to hear what he has to say about it all.
Fuck yeah! I have so many of those old VHS’s but that edit was great to watch, it is all about having fun and these innovations are only good for rollerblading! I showed the mushroom blading trailer to a guy and girl mate and got a text a couple days later asking what it was on youtube again so they could show someone as they thought it was so cool. Broadening skating is only a good thing, SOL is awesome. Can’t wait for the DVD.
Sol Crew is the best! They’re all so techy in a fresh unique way that doesn’t involve doing a 360 into a grind, then into another grind, then out of it. Handplants on flat are the shit. Gotta love Videogroove, Hoaxes, MyDailyRoutines, etc. back in the day. It wasn’t about doing as many grinds in one trick; it was about style, creativity, and fun; somethings that are greatly missed in today’s generation. Mushroom Blading will hopefully be everything I want it to be and not only inspire but educate. Go SOL!
Tom Fry was a difficult one for me as I really wanted to include him in the edit. I tried my best to find a clip of him in Hoax3, and the early VG’s. There was a grind he did in VG6 called the “Heelout” where it’s a back royale with your front foot grinding on the heel of your skate. However, the angle was too far away to tell what it was.
There are some glaring omissions. Almost enough for another 94-99 era edit. Alas, I am missing a bunch of key videos.
I’m bringing back the Med Spin!!!!!
damnit! my mind is now screwed for the day, thanks ONE and JoeyMc for putting me so off that i’ll be staring at the wall all day dreaming of skating…
i remember the heelout and still try to do those on mini from time to time, fry came out fakie too i believe.
the kato clips were friggin sweet, i loved every second of this edit, ha, including the song, “freak to arlo”
This edit changed my life!
SOL is sooooooooooo FTW
Much love to all Todd and Joey!!!!!
Justin, I am disappointed to see that there is no mention of Atlanta or Andy Kruse in this article. That is where the term mushroom blading came from. Good read otherwise.
wowwww… that edit just bought back so many memories
The term was first used in a DB article by Andy Kruse to describe the way people like Nick Riggle skated, Latimer was a “Peyote” blader. Nice edit, makes me feel like an eighth grader again.
i cried a little while watching the clip.
the good old days
To Ben Rogers and robert: Thanks for mentioning Atlanta/Andy Kruse. I searched through every Daily Bread I have (admittedly, I have a large but incomplete collection) and didn’t find any mention of Kruse talking about mushroom blading, although it sounds familiar and I don’t doubt that he did. Do you — or anyone else reading this — know for sure where it may have been first used? If so, some concrete details would be great. At times, it’s too bad rollerblading doesn’t have a definitive history book.
I just want to let everyone know that Andy Kruse has the first trick in the edit… Nick Riggle doesn’t have any tricks in the edit.
I always thought it was either Nick Riggle OR Andy Kruse that came up with the term.
Great article and edit. Sorry I didn’t respond to the inquiry for a comment. I don’t remember getting one. (Maybe you have an old email address?) I’ve always wanted to write an article about mushroom blading, since there’s so much to say!
Let’s get on it!
Nick, I have some tricks of you saved for Part 2. Your earlier skating didn’t have as much Mushroom Blading as your later stuff. Lot’s of really smooth park skating though!
This is digging really deep… But does anybody remember Phil Riley? Or know how to get a hold of him? He was even before Erik Burke.
Phil Riley was the first to thread the needle, was an advocate of 8 wheels down in Db article, and had a famous published trick argument published with BHS.
Phil Riley was the man! Such an early inspirational figure in blading. I remember an old “how-to” in Inline Skater I believe where he talks about commitment and pre-visualization being the key to all tricks. In this case he was demonstrating a basic wallride, but it was still a great article. Someone needs to track him down for sure!
I remember in the “sixty tricks” Inline issue, Phil Riley had all the best photos, best style, and most progressive tricks.
His DB article on riding flat is really great.
How the heck are we going to find Phil Riley? Do we have any leads on this?
Man I have no idea what Phil Riley is up to. Last time I saw him (and this was a very long time ago) he seemed entirely disconnected from reality. (I think he was literally and “acid blader”.)
Joey: Out of curiosity, do you have the first Dyna video? I’ve been trying to track it down because I lost my copy. That video has my favorite section of me in it.
Fuck yeah, SOL crew wins again, best in canada! I love Mushroom blading. Think about it If rollerblading branched off into “aggressive skating” because they were doing unconventional things that no one thought us, how is mushroom blading any different, if anyone says that mushroom blading isnt real blading because you do different shit, then your just a hypocrite. bitch killaz!! cant wait to get my copy, keep it commin Joey, and Todd….btw wheres Mason?
i skated flatrocker for the longest time because in DB #12 (maybe) there was a picture of Phil doing a disaster backside and the caption said: “leading the fourdown movement.” i can’t remember which i thought was cooler—his style, or that there was an alleged “movement” of people like me at the time that were not into skating two big doughnuts on the outside and the multi-colored Spizers in the middle.
according to my sources, phil has been MIA since the portland days.
and to nick, i used to have the mp3 of your song from VG6, “Becoming Wheels.” somewhere at my parents house i have that 3rd World Wheels trading card of you doing that grab 540. always loved that picture.
There is a hilarious story about that Dyna video. Our crew of bladers watched it, and were completely taken by how fucking awesome every section was(really underrated video). Our friend Dayna’s little brother Joel borrowed it, because he was just starting to get into blading from skateboarding… A couple of nights later Joel was out at a famous Kamloops, urban legend, abandoned , deserted (and in the desert) mental hospital… He was smoking pot with one of his friends (who has passed away and has a memorial in BTB) and they left the video on the top of the car, drove away, and it was never seen again. Now it is either part of the earth in the desert, or some recluse is watching it in an abandoned cabin, or maybe it’s still out there somewhere.
I only saw the video once and have been dying to see it again. I wish it would have been some crappier video… It just had to be the Dyna video. I can’t even remember much from it. Erik Garcia to under pressure, Brandon Smith to Mr Roboto, and a Jeff Buckley song to Jeremy Jiminez? I remember thinking your section was so out there at the time with the modest mouse song and everything… I only saw it once dammit.
I only have access to focused and Step two for your later sections. You also have a really good trick in 7 days.
I looked for that “Becoming wheels” song for ages and could never find it. It reminded me of a lot of the music in “The Bottom Line”, which could very well be one of the best skate video soundtracks of all time. So many of those songs are very hard to find.
Phil’s article on riding flat should be posted for sure.
I DO have the DYNA VIDEO if you want it….plus pretty much every video on vhs from 1997. I can send you a dvd copy or post it online, just let me know. Email me or hit me up on AIM @ shadyshannonatx.
Thanks for the edit,..very nice.
The funny thing about it is that it all looks kind of crappy but it is still style. All the progression and perfection in blading is respectable but without being too nostalgic I think it is safe to say that this type of “crappy style” is why I started blading (on a flat set up, the way I still ride today) 12 years ago. Even though we claim blading is a “free” and “limitless” activity it is kind of stupid how much rules and restrictions we created for ourselves. Back then it wasn’t as narrow minded (speakin for myself) which made it fun and creative and about skating like your body is instead of skating a competition without a contest.
Phil Riley’s thread the needle was in a miniramp landing with a one foot coping stall to fakie wich looked really scary. I’m not sure, but I think it was in the “back in black” issue.
Talkin about songs, what is the song you used for this edit Joey? Coolest soundtrack ever has to be VG 9 (sunshine tour…).
Would it be too much trouble to post sections of the Dyna video on Youtube? I would be very grateful!
I just realized that I watched a guy get attacked by a moose while listening to that song. That song was the intro song to Mr. Mooseknuckle, I haven’t seen that video for a few months now.
damn, those were the days.
btw…can’t someone bring Champ B back into the game? he was my role model back in the days. can’t believe that it was like 11 years since I started skating. man…
thanks ONE for posting the vid. big ups!
Let’s get all you old fellas on one bandwagon here and get these old VHS videos preserved in the library of congress or a safe deposit box soon. The quality isn’t getting any better with time and for being only ten years young they are disappearing fast. VCR’s aren’t going to last much longer.
Fakie 360 heel roll? I’m going to upload that section on youtube, I hope V doesn’t mind.
i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again… damn i love being a rollerblader (fruitbooter, freestyle roller, mushroom blader, loser) thanks guys.
since i only started rollerblading in the last three years iv never seen any of that stuff before ,… or any old skate vids for that matter id love to see some … if any one has any on dvd or on their computer any chance they could be uploaded to div x or something id love to watch some
I’m relatively new roller but this stuff looks super tight and really original. Since I’m also a breakdancer this just tells me that I could put some of those skills to work while blading. Awesome Vid.
im with Reyna on this one. You cant find a better family.
yeah i should be able to post it. ill try to do a little at a time. first i have to get it from my parents house, but ill put it up
“cirue de SOL eh?” and “better than baseball” were both hilariously ill…cant wait for this one to drop.
will this have the antics of Cirque, and BTB? or is is serious like the trailer?
and where is mason?
Yet again Frontrow productions has got me super juiced. That edit got me far more juiced than an Aragon section. I just spent an hour tracking down that Mannish album & now have it on my mp3 player, I’ve been itching for those Mannish tracks from Hoax 3 & Mr Mooseknuckle since 96!
Thanks for the clips from old videos I missed growing up & inspiring me to track down that Mannish album.
Heres the link:
Thanks for the informative article, I was never sure on the definition of Mushroom rolling, I thought the term related to the crouching ‘little man’ type rolling which gives increased rolling pleasure. Crouched hill bombing FTW!
Scott, how did you download the Mannish CD?
I’ve been looking for it since Hoax 3.
hey does any-one know where i could contact ” DION ATHONY ”
for examp. an email adress, facebook or myspace link.
i grew up with him. and wanted to get intouch
if so could you email me please.
Wow I am late.
I actually started to make a research on this subject a few months ago, but I never found this thread for some reason.
I very strongly believe that this niche is relevant and essential to rollerblading´s variety and identity. Those white canvas days are far gone now, but we are still cruising through our journey at the moment, and they arent very good times must be said.
What is most relevant is that the actual quest behind a mushroom skater is inside of himself. True artists do not depend on an audience to perform, creation takes place no matter what.
Sean Cullen himself is a niche inside of the niche (should I say Rabbit hole).
This topic needs more coverage!
And the terminology is also to be developed;
What is the antithesis of mushroom blading?
I personally like “orthodox blading”.