- Originally printed in issue #19 (April 2011) of Blue Skies Magazine.
- Buy a reprint of this issue.
“God dammit Cartman! You’re such a fat fuck that when you walk down the street, people say GOD DAMMIT, THAT IS A BIG FAT FUCK!!!”
Jerry Fox sat back with a rather large grin of satisfaction on his face, knowing that neither Kevin Love nor I had ever seen or heard of South Park. It was the first episode ever made, where Santa Claus and Jesus battle for control of Christmas with Jesus calling St. Nick a fucking pussy and vice versa. It was a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy, and was laid down on a badly overused VHS tape that had been passed around the entire drop zone a dozen times. The show was made all the better by the fact that we watched it on a beat up 13-inch TV with fading color, sat on top of the non-working stove in Jerry’s 17-foot trailer buried in the back of the Ghetto behind the Perris Valley Bomb Shelter. It was my first year in the sport …
Kevin and I had made the trip down to Perris from Las Vegas on a whim and had given Jerry just enough notice of our arrival for him to stock up on Coke, Slim Jims and weed as the now famous Primus song screeched the close of the show that still breaks the rules today. Both Kevin and I were pretty new to the sport, and I believe that’s one of the main reasons that things from those days stick in my memory so vividly.
Skydiving seemed to hyper-focus my attention on everything that was part of the skydiving experience. The culture of the sport, the style of the people and everything we did in life to be able to jump is burned in like a brand. Jerry Fox worked the wind tunnel and set up concerts in Vegas to afford his habit, Kevin Love became a pirate at Treasure Island while jumping full-time, Mary Tortomasi was at the Vegas tunnel and worked part-time as a personal trainer, and I, well I worked weekdays in the tunnel and weekends as a stripper in a Vegas club.
Name this little tune now … “Down in Mississippi where the sun beats down from the sky, they give it up and they give it up and they give it up and they never ask why … Daddy was a rolling rolling stone, OHHHH, he rolled away one day and he never came home”.
If you were a part of the skydiving scene when I was getting started, then this song always brings one image to mind: Olav Zipser running to the camera on his head, cranking out three or four cartwheels in a completely impossible way, then running back the way he came. The man was a fucking God and we all knew it … When that video came out, Olav showed us that what Skydiving Magazine had once called a “fad” was most certainly the future, and the song was the exclamation mark to one hell of a sentence.
I don’t know about any of you, but my entire skydiving career is marked indelibly with the music and images that I soaked up while I found my place in the sport. If I had to pick one band that stands out during the most fundamental times, it would have to be Sublime. The Flyboyz, Olav and the Freefly Clowns, Chronicles One, Two and Three each had songs attached to them that stood out. Listening to the end of one of the Chronicles and hearing “Bad Fish” for the first time while watching Frank Gambali hand a cop his stash bag to hold while he loaded his BASE canopy into it after flicking an antennae in front of the guy was EPIC!
Just like Sublime, South Park marked the beginning of my time in skydiving, and has been a part of it ever since. It was one of the things I looked forward to about our sport, and one of the very things that kept me working in the “real world” in order to return to “our” world more and more often. Mary with her personal training, Kevin with his pirate show, Jerry’s stagehand work, and me … Well, it kept me working as a stripper long after I would have preferred to quit, all for the sake of the next jump, the new rig and the next great song to dub onto a kickass vid. The music continued to blur the line between jumping and the rest of my life, and was just as much a part of what drew me back to the DZ day after day as the jumps themselves. It’s also a fundamental part of what eventually made all of this my real world.
After all these years in the sport, all this time in the air, and all the changes that I and all the others have seen, one of the coolest things ever is seeing South Park still playing on DZ televisions, and hearing Sublime on skydiving videos all over the country and the world. Times change to be sure, and skydivers seem to change with them a bit quicker than most, yet we also seem to have the ability to hang on to the really good shit for a long long time.
Most new jumpers have never seen or heard of a Chronicles video. They may know nothing about Skysurfing’s Troy Hartman or Vic Pappadato and may have never even heard of Olav and the Clowns (horrifying I know!), but they damn well have seen jump videos with Sublime adding fuel to the fire on a cool ass jump. They may not have been around when the first wingsuits were being flown, or remember when almost nobody knew how to fly in a wind tunnel, but they’ve all seen South Park playing on a DZ television or heard somebody quoting Cartman or yelling “Timmy!” across the DZ.
So what’s your skydiving soundtrack? What song or band says, “Go fucking jump!” to you?
[team_member image_url=”123875″ name=”Dean Ricci” role=”Monthly Columnist”]About the author: Dean “Princess” Ricci has more than 8,500 hours of flight time; 5,000 of those have been piloting jump ships for skydiving. [/team_member] [products_mixed layout=”listing” orderby=”ID” order=”asc” ids=”26630,121868″ title=”Get more like this!”]