Cell phones weren’t really around In the early ’90s, let alone ones with cameras and video capabilities. There was no internet available to watch the latest clips shot just hours before from halfway across the world. No, we Canadian snowboarders had a small selection of polished movie projects that came out each fall and focused heavily on an all-American cast. But, we did have handy-cams, which became the gateway to the DIY video craze in the early ’90s, and in particular one low-down, boozed-filled displays of washed-up-and-coming Canadian snowboarding named, Whiskey! Somehow this video from the bent minds of the two Sean’s (Johnson and Kearns) went on to inspire a generation and launch a new genre and class (or lack thereof) of videos.
Whiskey started as a collection of home videos shot when the opportunities arose which were usually fuelled by some sort of brown liquor. These video were to be enjoyed by the Whistler, Vancouver and Kelowna homies over more of those same spirits. However, on one road trip south of the border, amidst the filth of a Reno casino, Johnson had the epiphany of turning their collection of, "America’s Worst Home Videos" into something for the masses. Thus spawning the idea to film the intended craziness with snowboarding and skateboarding being the clever disguise for the video project.
There are far too many stories to tell from these days and even more that are too inappropriate for even these pages. However, there were many highlights that I will never forget like, “Fight Your Friends Night.” Which was exactly as it sounds. Johnson bought a 60 pounder of Jim Beam and invited a bunch of the crew over to Allan Clark and Murray Siple’s house and offered free booze on the sole condition that you would participate in the night’s activities of being randomly matched up to fight with your friends. Or there was the time that Johnson came excitedly rushing into Kevin Young and Anthony Vitale’s house to brag that he had learned how to break bottles over his head. After pounding a few brews, we scurried outside only to witness the open scene of the trilogy and a series of blows upside his head and nothing breaking the bottle other than the frustrating smash on the ground.
But as many of you know, the bottles did break, the fights were real, and the birth of Boozy the Clown helped propel this simple collection of crazy antics mixed with snowboarding and skateboarding by Canadian legends into nearly every VCR at the time. The video caught the eye of several big-name sponsors and publications including Big Brother magazine. The bible of shit causing skateboarders in the ’90s. They soon came out with their own video series with the debut of Shit that had an all too familiar vibe and context to their movies and starred one Johnny Knoxville doing various stunts like shooting himself in the chest with a bullet proof vest on. This was soon followed by CKY which took Bam Margera to fame and landed him into the TV show Jackass, which became the movies that earned hundreds of millions and spawned other shows like Nitro Circus.
Can you draw a direct line from some broken bottles all the way to multi-million dollar grossing film franchise and TV shows? Guaranteed if you played connect the dots from the blood spatter starting north of the border you would end up in the right neighbourhood.