Alien Workshop knew exactly how to package and present teenage Fred Gall and his part in Timecode is a brilliant mess that set the template for his next couple decades of parts. Black Sabbath, locomotives, beanies over the eyes, heaved flatground 360 flips and large drops into embankments will all become standards. While the spots might not be as crusty as future episodes, the aesthetic of the part is grimy enough.
The clips are often dark and filmed terribly, sometimes the result of LSD on both the skater and filmer’s part. The footage was pieced together from several years of clips scattered from various sources but the product is cohesive. Fred is blurred but powerful, having graduated from the crisp bright ledges of Love Park to the dimly lit nighttime streets of cities nationwide. Freddy ollies onto parked cars, nearly gets clipped while bombing hills in SF, and utterly destroys Hubba Hideout. Only one of his three Brooklyn Banks tricks is your typical over-the-wall affair. The opening line is mostly just ollies and pushing in Philadelphia’s Underground and it fucking rules!
Listen to Fred talk about the tricks he filmed that got lost (at around 12:55)… tricks that couldn’t be replicated without psychedelics. I’ll be referencing this Bobshirt interview a lot, to be sure.
When I asked Fred what the greatest trick of his career was, he responded: “The tricks I did on the Hubba Hideout were really important. So I guess maybe the switch crook was my favorite.“
As mentioned by Fred, it would be neat to see these tricks filmed clean and from multiple angles, but the way it is feels like an authentic reflection of Fred’s skating at the time: rugged, raw, and without pretension. It fits well.
Overall, Timecode presents a team in flux. The Workshop was wisely transitioning from its opening line-up of fading Florida bruisers and no-name laser-flippers to a team built around a still respected Dyrdek with Freddy, Josh Kalis, and the bright but brief flame of Lennie Kirk. This lineup would last another year before Joe Custrucci would take control and thing would enter their next phase. By 1999, Fred would star as the DNA brand continuity for that most successful Workshop spin-off, Habitat.
Fred had just a handful guest tricks in Dan Wolfe‘s 1996 masterpiece, Underachievers: Eastern Exposure 3. They were mostly slow-mo jams in the almost entirely slow-mo (and even the non-slow-mo was pretty slow) minute long part of (1 of 3 Ams) Jerry Fisher.
It is a real shame we didn’t get more of this era of Freddy being filmed by Wolfe. What we did get was the legendary Love Park ledge gap to flat rail 50-50. A trick that was great at the time and later revealed to be executed on a borrowed board not long after Fred had smoked crack from the first time. Moves like this, for better or worse, helped cement Fred’s status as a reckless party animal, a prophecy that would self-fulfill again and again throughout his career.
Bonus Bonus Fred:
Although released in 1994, I group Fred’s peppering of footage in Thrasher’s Feats video with the Timecode era (plus, the last post already had so many bonuses). It is a real treat to get to see some extra San Francisco Gall.
Bonus Bonus Bonus Fred:
Somebody uploaded some footage of the jump ramp at the Love Park contest in 1994. The backside flip in Feats was from this, and here is an obscene (in a good way) switch pop shove from that day. There is even more footage from this contest in 411 #9. Fred tied for 2nd place with Ricky.
Bonus Bonus Bonus Bonus Fred:
We’re all pining for more Fred footage from the 95-97 years: that sweet post-Philly Timecode era before he tied his hair up. Here’s some random demo in Australia from 1996:
Bonus Bonus Bonus Bonus Bonus Fred:
I found another frame from this dope-ass 1995 session of Fred skating the Underground in Philly by Ryan Gee. Hell yes. This and lots of other amazing East Coast skate history prints are available from Gee here.
Tune in next time when Freddy rolls one pant leg up and helps launch Habitat, a team that he is still professional for to this day.