Tas Pappas – Mad Circle Let The Horns Blow (1996)
How the hell did Tas hit the roof on his second air?
When Mad Circle released their debut video Let The Horns Blow in 1996 it was a celebration of a team with dope style and jazzy vibes. Barry ‘Twist’ McGee’s titles and graphics floated on and off screen as Moses Itkonen, Justin Girard, Edward Devera, Scott Johnston and Co. gave a tour of the streets with an aesthetic as warm and soft to the touch as a stroll in a pair of plush suede rubber soled Wallabee Clarks.
While the rest of the team cruised through the streets, Tas Pappas stomped across the walls and platforms of the vert ramp indoors like a wild beast prowling back and forth in it’s cage, just waiting for that moment to be released outside and decimate everyone in it’s path.
I can’t quite remember when I first heard of Tas Pappas but I am quite sure it was during the annual contest circuits that pitted top pros against each other in Munster, Northampton, Vancouver and Encinitas during the mid-Nineties. Straight away Tas was a force to be reckoned with. The Big Pants Small Wheels era had almost killed off vert skating forever and the only chance for survival was to participate in endless demos or the dreaded Extreme Games freak show. It was dire times for the padded few.
With vert skaters few and far between, it was easy to identify the different faces and styles on the ramp. Tony Hawk had the technical skills. Andy Macdonald had his yellow helmet and Danny Way was the alpha male. Suddenly there a burly Aussie dropping in and he was giving the American older guard a real run for their prize money.
Tas’s part in Let The Horns Blow opens to a wolf howling, the grave warning of “Madness and mayhem”, visions of open caskets and the heavy guitar riffs of Slayer’s Raining Blood. It’s pretty much the polar opposite of everything Mad Circle represented. But somehow this hardcore moment of folly unskipable.
Vert sections in skate videos almost always get the Vert Button – the clue is in the name – but not Tas. This Australian attacks the transitions from the get-go with loads of nollie heelflip variations, several no grab rotations (including a nollie heelflip to fakie), and the mandatory coping tricks inspired by ledge tricks on street. All of this in under two minutes.
During the mid-Nineties lines were the bread and butter of respected street skaters. Lines were also the bread and butter for vert skaters that sought the rewards for climbing the steps to the top of the ramp for every bailed attempt.
Tas finishes his part with a bonkers six trick sequence of which the second trick is a tweaked Japan air that hits the roof. The grainy hi-8 footage is tangible proof that Tas foreshadowed the Tony Hawk Pro Skater gameplay commands that involve powering up a player’s energy stats to suddenly increase speed, precision and essentially points. With his skill bar at full tilt, Tas reaches for the rafters again two tricks later with a fully extended 540 varial. He ends with a full cab heelflip and rolls out atop the opposite deck as onlookers scream.
Tas’s vert part is the only vert section that denies the affliction of the Vert Button. For that it is timeless.