A Year in Review…
Most people make their New Year’s resolutions on the last or first day of the year. I give myself the entire month of January to come up with mine. I’ve always been akin to making my own rules, so why change with resolutions? And why only a few? Traditionally, I draw up a list of ten things I want to accomplish in the year. That way, even if I score seven or eight of the ten tasks, it’s still a big win in my book.
And while I still have another three weeks to design my intentions for 2013, I also use January to reflect on what happened the year prior, and what I can do to build upon it, or make adjustments. Here are ten highlights from 2012 that I intend to build upon in the future.
1. We started the year off on New Years Eve at Kerry King’s house, a get together of friends, and baby tigers. Kerry and his wife are strong advocates of the Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary www.foreverwildexotics.org – they’ve even named a tiger after Kerry’s wife, Ayesha. Members of the preserve brought a couple of baby Siberian x Bengal tigers to the house to share their stories. All guests at the party contributed funds to provide care for the animals.
After a fun night at the King’s we took a skateboarding trip to Santa Monica for the day, which ended at Ben Harper’s house, his backyard actually, to skate his mini-ramp. Perfect first day of the year!
2. Early in 2012, Rita Haney, Mike Vallely, Stone and myself set out to Rita and Dimebag Darrell’s Texas home for a weekend to create a video dedicated to a new Dimebag Darrell skateboard to be released by Mike’s company – Elephant Brand Skateboards. We visited the house that Darrell grew up in, skated and filmed in his neighborhoods, even drained his backyard pool and skated it! The project was a huge success, the video is in the realm of 100,000 YouTube views as of this writing, and the boards have been selling steady since their release. To describe the experience would not do as much justice as if you watched the video, so I’ll leave you with that. Enjoy!
3. The ASkate Foundation helps provide experiences to children with autism through skateboarding, a perfect charity for Stone and myself. We’ve contributed financially, artistically and physically, by skating with some of the children who attend the clinics. Last spring, I had the honor of contributing some of my art and photography to the 1-in-91 Art Exhibit in Costa Mesa, California to raise money for the cause. Other artists and photographers included Neal Hendrix, Mark Gonzales, Christian Hosoi, Arto Saari and many others. The event was stacked with art, food, drinks, live music and good people who came to support the cause.
4. Over the past couple years, long time friend and musician Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne band / Black Label Society) and I wanted to write a book, making light of the silly ongoings of the music business, but also to help young aspiring musicians on their path to the enchanting world of the music business, based on may of the changes that have occurred since the advent of digital media. What we came up with was a book called Bringing Metal to the Children, released on April 10, 2012, a tome that I invite all but my mother to read. Released by HarperCollins in hardcover, the book outsold our expectations, and stands as a landmark in time. I could write an entire book about the experience of making this book, but for now, I’ll leave you with this video.
5. On April 1st, 2012, Stone and I ventured up to Camp Woodward West in Tehachapi, California to skate for a couple of days with our friend Mike Vallely. Upon our arrival, we met our friend Ben Harper, who coincidentally had come up for the same reasons. It was a magical weekend of friends, laughing and skating. I photographed Mike skating and tried to capture some of the fun we had during the trip, one moment being Ben laughing hysterically at a funny story Mike had just told us. The photograph of Ben laughing ended up being a perfect fit for a limited edition print, signed by Ben, to raise funds for the Askate Foundation. A few months later, I was able to send a few thousand dollars toward the cause.
6. In the Spring of 2012, Stone qualified to compete in a skate competition in Minnesota. We started planning our trip and then thought we could do something much more with the money. We envisioned a skateboarding tour, with nine skaters, traveling by tour bus from Orange County to Seattle and back, skating major cities and skate hubs along the way. What came to fruition was the first annual Northbound and Down Skate Tour (NBAD). Rita provided the tour bus (one of Pantera’s original buses from the Vulgar Display of Power tour), we hired a bus driver, and each of the boys had their own bunk on the bus. We traveled eight days, starting on Father’s Day, and skated and filmed during our 3,000 mile trek. Sponsors came out of the woodworks to help and provide for the trip including Monster Energy, Etnies, Element Skateboards, Olley, Iron Fist Clothing, Freshpark, Dimebag Hardware, and more. Here is the first video from the trip. If you are interested, there are five videos from the trip and can be found by searching YouTube for the phrase #NBAD TOUR 2012
7. In Spring of 2012, I partnered up with a business associate and founded a commercial construction company – Lion Core Construction, developing a number of commercial building improvements throughout Southern California. The launch took a lot of planning, my acquisition of a general contractors license, insurance, bonds and accommodations for office staff, superintendents, sub-contractors, laborers, and clients. The project is nearing its first year in business and has been a true success, having completed a multitude of design and tenant improvement projects for many major building owners and property management firms. We wrapped up the year by inviting our clients to join us on an eighty-foot yacht in the Newport Beach Holiday Parade. Lion Core Construction has already started off busier than last year and promises an awesome future, employing a number of fun, creative thinking individuals. “Pride and Family” is our creed.
8. As Editor of Skateboarding for Revolt In Style Magazine, I had the honor to interview and photograph with a number of people I admire for our publication. Some of my favorites from last year included Ryan Sheckler, Neal Hendrix, Dave Grohl, and Kilian Martin. Stone had his own column in the magazine as well, “StreetSpotting”, where he took his readers on a guided tour of many cool skate spots throughout southern California, with a video companion in the online publication. www.RevoltInStyle.com
9. Stone and I love to travel. Aside from the NBAD Skate Tour, we went to New York, Phoenix, Seattle, San Francisco, and Texas to skate and film. One of my favorite videos we did is called “Beautiful Day,” titled after the U2 soundtrack of the same name. The video shows New York City through the eyes of a skateboarder, pushing around the city and doing what he loves to do. We captured this video over a few days, and a quart or two of blood left in the streets (mostly mine).
10. The most unfortunate event of the year, a highlight with much learned nonetheless, happened during the San Francisco leg of our NBAD Skate Tour in June. I was skating after midnight with the boys in the downtown area and hit a piece of metal in the dark streets, hurling me into a concrete block, right on my lower back. The next morning I couldn’t feel my left leg, caused by the internal bleeding and ruptured disc in my back. We continued on our trip, and, after an MRI upon our return home, my orthopedic surgeon advised me I needed surgery right away. I spent the next four months fighting the possibility of surgery with medication and physical therapy, but the end result left me on the surgery table on November 27, 2012. The good news? Immediate relief from the injury after the Hemilaminectomy, removal of some bone and disc material in my lower back, sealed up with twenty staples. And here we are, five weeks later, and I feel fantastic, well, relatively great at the least, with plans to be back on my skateboard and snowboard within sixty days.
My list could go on to include the Johnny Romano Skate-a-thon, where we trekked nine miles on our boards to raise awareness and funds benefiting families with cancer. I could tell of my experience with Ben Harper at Carnegie Hall for his solo acoustic performances, and the Bones Brigade skate premier we attended. I could reflect on my birthday trip to Seattle with my son Stone. But I think I’ll leave the list at ten for now, the rest can be found on my website www.EricHendrikx.com — a site we launched in 2012 as well.
It was a fortunate year and we’re looking forward to building on it, bigger and better in 2013, with less injury. As I look back, I’m entirely grateful for everything that happened and everyone who was with us on our journey. I wish you all an incredible year and, if you’re still reading this, I apologize for my long rant. It’s really more for me than anyone else, to go back and appreciate some of the great things that we did, and forward thinking of what we can accomplish next.