Despite the fact that all skate videos are, in a way, specialized music videos, it is still a risky proposition to attempt to make an actual skate music video. The most obvious precedent that comes to mind is Peter Smolik‘s ill-advised music video part featuring The Fedaralz in Shorty’s Guilty video. While not exactly career ending, it certainly is an embarrassing marker for the upcoming rugged descent that continues to scrape the real life pillage of rock bottom. The lesson is clear: Skate to the music, edit to the music, but don’t put the band in your part.
Not that all skateboarding-music crossovers have been quite so susceptible to ridicule. They range from all time classics (Danzig’s Thrasher cover, CKY, this photo of Eazy E) to reasonable (Suicidal Tendencies, most of the board collabs), to forgettable (Geoff Rowley hanging out with Lemmy, all the shoe collabs), to downright atrocities that tarnish several legacies simultaneously (Mike V in Black Flag, Morrisey x Supreme). And we’ll save the whole skaters-scoring-their-own-parts thing for another article.
And so I found myself apprehensive back in September when I realized the new Chirs Colbourn part was not just going to have music from Worble affiliated ‘Power Disco’ duo Cobra Man, but actually be a Cobra Man music video of sorts. As a fan of all the Worble‘s previous works, including their social media montages, I figured it would be a decent watch, even if it was just an attempt to pad some footage Element had passed on. I was wrong. Heatwave isn’t good. It’s wonderful.
Let’s start by observing how well positioned the Worble Crew is to doing something like this. Their approach has always been a literal family-affair sprinkled with self-deprecating humor and skits of the both spontaneous and elaborate variety. They partner with hamburger restaurants and sell hot sauce and made something as gimmicky as Man Ramp legitimate. The connection to Cobra Man has been well established. And there is always a serious dose of quality skate tricks in the mix, so all the silliness isn’t just misdirection. Colbourn’s nickname is “Cookie” for crying out loud, so something like this is completely on-brand, more so than his excellent War & Peace part.
It helps considerably that the Cobra Man’s song is legit. 80s-tinged synth jams with a beat you can dance to often go well with skateboarding footage, but I find this track exceptionally ear-wormy. The song isn’t full-blown parody, but it is fun enough to not take seriously. And fun summertime jams are just what we needed as summer transitioned to autumn in the year the earth broke. I admit that on several occasions this fall I found myself, when skating as often as not, with Heatwave pleasantly stuck in my head. Especially the guitar solo part.
Even more helpful to the project is that the Cobra Man music video non-skateboarding portion of the video is damn good. Slow motion lip-synching in the snowy piano lounge dreamscape with a couple of Cookie appearances at the keys that are just stupid enough to give lighthearted breathing room to all the skate stunts.
And, of yeah, the skateboarding. I’ll just say that Chris Colbourn is really good at skating. Like, really, really good. The show-stopping tailslide hardflip ender has gotten a lot of attention, but for me the easy vibes of the of lump line at 1:45 really indicates just of how a skater oozing talent can get smooth and expressive with their trick and spot selection.
It is easy to foresee Cookie following the path of many of his recent ex-teammates and leaving Element to find a board brand that better fits his voice. Or perhaps, as Boil the Ocean hints, Element has learned to “manage at arm’s-length” to slow down the talent hemorrhage that has been happening. It is hard to say if Cookie and Cobra Man should try to recapture the magic with another part like this, or if they should take the win and just enjoy each other’s company alongside the other Worblers. Either way, I look forward to more output from both of them.
Cobra Man also made a full-on music video for Heatwave that has no Colbourn connection at all. It’s pretty enjoyable all on its own.
I reached out to Cobra Man’s Andy Harry, who co-composed Heatwave and Produced/Directed the music video, to try to get insight into the process and decision making behind the project. “The music video came first and we thought it was a perfect combo, that was all Tom Mull’s idea. The video was planned and shot during the pandemic which was tough to work out.“
I asked if the video has brought new crossover fans from the skate scene: “Cobra Man was born with Worble, so the fans have been with us all from the beginning.“
Presently, the non-skate Heatwave video is sitting around 45k views (not bad for a youtube channel with 800 followers), and the Cookie cut on Thrasher’s channel is nearing 125k. I like numbers.
BONUS BONUS HEATWAVE:
A little space here to acknowledge that even though it isn’t mentioned anywhere else in the post, Heatwave is my favorite part of 2020.
To be slightly more accurate, it is my favorite part that wasn’t Tom Knox Atlantic Drift 11, which was a best of all time thing and has been recognized as such (and already written about here on the Warm Up Zone).
But all Knox aside, I recognize that this is now 2 out of 3 years I have chosen a Los Angeles-area white guy who rides for Element as my favorite part. Yikes.
BONUS BONUS BONUS HEATWAVE:
More Cobra Man, Cookie, and Worble in Party Destroyer from earlier in 2020: