INTERVIEW & INTRODUCTION: EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: KEVIN LITTLE, @KEVINMLITTLE
PHOTOGRAPHY: HERMAN WINSTELCHURCH, @FOREVERUNDERGROUNDMEDIA
The Montgomery Monsters have been one of blading’s hottest social media accounts for awhile now. Their constant flood of highlights from some of blading’s best videos give a new life to the featured skaters & give a new generation a bit of a history lesson of our past innovators. In this day and age, videos have a very small window in rotation before they are seemingly forgotten about due to the all powerful internet algorithm. So the Monsters have played a major part in educating the masses about blading’s vast history as well as have started to write their own history by releasing their own videos and sharing the skating talents of the all-too-often overlooked Southern United States skate scene. The Monsters have recently released their second edition of their ‘Forever Underground’ video series featuring a collection of the South’s best and brightest up-and-coming stars.
We had the amazing opportunity to speak with the main Monster in charge, Mr. Herman Winstelchurch, about the filming process behind ‘Forever Underground 2’ and what the crew have lined up for the future. Peep the interview and the full video here.
KL: First off, thank you for taking the time to speak with us! So the Montomery Monsters have developed a large following on social media by sharing content from historic skate videos but you have now transitioned to creating more and more of your own original videos. To start, can you tell me who you are and tell me about how the Montgomery Monsters came to be?
HW: My name is Herman. The Montgomery Monsters started 20 plus years ago with me, Marc Senn, Lil Joey, and my homie Brian Bradford. But the idea for starting an Instagram for blading content was me and Marc. I wanted to put as much blading content out there as possible to get people hyped on blading daily. I guess it worked because we have a whole crew of new kids in Alabama and I get messages everyday from people of all ages from all over the world who thank us for getting them hyped to either come back to blading or to start blading. It’s an amazing feeling!
KL: Alabama’s impact on blading is still very large to this day. The difficulty of tricks and level of creativity laid down by Bama legends such as Charles Dunkle and Rob Thompson is still very influential. How important was it for you to continue that legacy they helped create and show the world all these talented rippers down in the south?
HW: It was really important for me to showcase the South’s best because I feel like not many people do, Rob and Charles pushed blading to the next level, Rob with his insane hammers and Dunkle with his creativity in skating, but also I wanted to showcase all the other homies that I grew up skating with, basically all the Rejects crew. They inspired a whole slew of new rippers in the South that still skate to this day. Rejects Magazine holds a very special place in my heart. Charles, Wes Driver and Shawn Engler made in my opinion some of the gnarliest blading videos ever.
KL: I agree! So let’s talk about your new video ‘Forever Underground 2’. Your video has a huge roster of skaters from all over the US. Where are all the places that you traveled to in filming for your new video?
HW: We traveled all over in the Monster bus! Mostly Georgia, the Carolinas, Alabama, and Florida. We also filmed a lot of street while we were in Detroit for Bittercold. We got a lot of the homies to send us footage as well.
KL: I have been a huge fan of Marc Senn’s skating for awhile now so seeing a full profile of Marc made my day. For the people that might not be aware, Marc is a true underground legend that has been killing it for a very long time. Tell me about how the filming sessions usually go when Marc’s around.
HW: Marc is incredibly talented man, he usually does all of his tricks within a few tries!! It’s truly amazing to watch him go so hard at 41 years old. Usually there’s no planning, for us the best shit happens spontaneously when we are out looking for new spots to skate, we had a list of things we wanted but most of the time we are just riding around looking and if we see something that catches our eye we skate it. Marc filmed his whole section in a couple of weeks, he’s just an incredible athlete.
KL: I had heard that Rob Thompson had suffered a pretty serious injury and wasn’t sure if he would ever skate again so it was quite awesome to see even 2 new clips of him in your video. Tell me how that session with Rob came to be.
HW: Rob and I had been talking a lot and I was always trying to convince him to start skating again, it was the FM Invitational that got him juiced enough to buy a pair of Mesmers and start shredding again. He’s getting better and better everyday and I’m hyped to see what he’s gonna do next.
KL: Now Mr. Herman, your section was one of my personal favorites in the video. The level of creativity and spot selection was off the charts and I can tell that the Charles Dunkle influence runs pretty heavily in you. Can you tell me out of all of the incredible tricks you laced in your profile, which one were you most proud of?
HW: Thank you so much man! I’m most proud of the soul grind where I frog hop the pole to top pornstar and the negative makio 3 out on the chain was special because it was the same chain that Dunkle used to shred back in the day.
KL: Yeah that negative makio 3 out was absurd! I also loved seeing all the random clips of both skateboarding and BMX riders in your video. Are the “action sports” communities in Montgomery pretty close?
HW: Yeah we are all cool we had some beef back in the day but these days we all shred together here. I actually started off riding BMX and skateboarding, I’ve always just loved action sports, I grew up watching the X-Games and playing all the videos games that were out at the time like ‘Tony Hawks Pro Skater’ and ‘Dave Mirra BMX’ game and of course ‘Aggressive In-line’, to me they are all rad and I respect anybody trying to do what they love.
KL: What I find particularly interesting about ‘FU2’ is that there are many different generations of bladers represented within the video. From seasoned professionals, to the best up-and-coming amateurs to fairly newer skaters as well. But the skaters you paired up together seemed to accompany each other’s styles quite well. I assume that this was intentional or was it just something that happened organically?
HW: Yes it was intentional, I wanted to show that skating is dope regardless of what level you are at, it has been awesome to watch all the new guys that we skate with progress so fast! Marcus, Cae and Malachi have only been skating a year and they are all getting so good. We all mentor and teach them the correct way to do tricks which has been so rewarding, I’m so proud of those dudes! The Carolina homies are on another level, Montre, Phil Gripper, and Arsenio Patterson came to Montgomery and filmed a whole section in a fucking day. Cody Forrester and Tucker Freeland are incredibly talented as well, I don’t know what they eat up there in the Carolinas because those guys are savages!
KL: The Monsters recently held a competition down in Montgomery, can you tell me a little bit about what made you want to throw a proper skating event there? I went to a street comp in Montgomery about fifteen years ago but there hasn’t been any contests there since.
HW: We had never had a proper skating contest at our local park and we felt that we had enough skaters to finally do one. Joey, Tuttie, and Ghetto Community did all the hard work organizing the event, I just showed up and filmed it. We plan on throwing a bigger competition at the new skatepark in Birmingham Alabama, later this year hopefully, so if anyone is interested in helping out with sponsorship contact me or Blade Calender on Instagram.
KL: So what is next for the Montgomery Monsters? Will we be seeing possibly a new installment of ‘Forever Underground’ on the horizon?
HW: We want to continue making full length videos, I feel like social media can be a waste sometimes, it’s definitely a useful tool for growing and getting people into skating but for me it’s more rewarding to do full length projects, I want to keep going with the Forever Underground videos, probably drop one every year at the Crowder Power Contest. And Videogroove reached out to me about his new project and would love to film and be a part of that! I will definitely continue posting on Instagram everyday, our goal is to get as many people as we can to start blading.
KL: Is there anyone that you would want to thank for their support in making the video?
HW: I would like to thank Boschi Pope, Gaby (Velasquez) and E-Rod (Erick Rodriguez), without them we wouldn’t be where we are at today. Huge thanks to Lil Joey and Tuttie, they’re my rock and the Montgomery Monsters wouldn’t work without all of their hard work! Huge thanks to all the homies who sent us footage for the video! Thank you Ghetto Community, Gawds Brand, Franky Morales, and Shredware!! And a Huge thanks to Chris Crowder, for letting us premier our video at his event, that dude is killing it!
FOREVER UNDERGROUND 2 FEATURES:
Malachi Da Ripper, Marc Senn, Rob Thompson, Lil Joey, Carlos Montenegro, Herman Winstelchurch, Cody Forrester, Tucker Freeland, Phillip Gripper, Montre Livingston, Arsenio Patterson, Chris Barboza, Patrick Andersen, Jimmy Cisz, Anthony Alari, Matty Schrock, Julian Bah, John Legend, ‘Marcus’ Ronnie Raskal, Ghetto Community, Franky Morales, Chris Padilla, CRXCK, Robert Michael Arias, Chino Sin, Palow Lemke Jr., Jokap, Cae, Metha, Cody Smith, Jeremy Hicks, Cam Phillips, Josh Appleton, Dan Wiewiorka, Sam DeAngelis, Logan Anderson, Ghetto Bird, Swigidy, Chris Crowder and Tim Franken.
Filmed by The Montgomery Monsters | Edited by Herman Winstelchurch