Northern Illinois

Northern Illinois

Northern Illinois Words By Patrick Melcher

Northern Illinois Words By Patrick Melcher

If you are one of the pro’s who have come out of the Midwest section of America, you’re in a very small collective. And when Migdol calls you up to hear what you think about your home terrain you think, “It’s cool that Automatic decided to do their article on Northern Illinois instead of just the city of Chicago.” The suburbs of Chicago have got plenty of good spots and you’ll never see it all in a Chicago article. Chicago is great and I still think of it as home. I grew up in Rockford, which is way outside of Chicago. When I was young and still living in my hometown, the weekend trips to the city were the most exciting times of my life. When you’re young and hungry you’ll drive all day just to get out and roll around for five minutes. We’d think nothing of driving an hour and a half to Dekalb, to skate the campus of Northern Illinois University, which also happens to be the birthplace of Cindy Crawford.

KEVIN ERST in Northern Illinois. PHOTO BY BRAD BISHOP

KEVIN ERST in Northern Illinois. PHOTO BY BRAD BISHOP

Going into the city (Chicago) meant you really needed more than just one day. I always scheduled the weekend trips to coincide with some punk band that I was in love with that’d be playing at the Fireside or one of the other all-ages venues. Sometimes Uprize or RQ Boardshop would be hosting a video premier, or some sort of skate jam. Those were the premium trips. In a city like Chicago there is never a lack of shit to skate, new spots are popping up all the time.

STEVE FAUSER. NOSE GRIND in Northern Illinois. PHOTO BY BRAD BISHOP

STEVE FAUSER. With a clean Northern Illinois NOSE GRIND . PHOTO BY BRAD BISHOP

When I decided to move in and set up residence in Wicker Park, I was stoked. Summers seemed to go on forever. This was right around the time that Matt Hensley moved back to California and Chicago was still buzzing from the incline in the popularity of skateboarding. X-games were on TV all the time, and everybody’s little brother wanted a brand new complete for Christmas. When I turned twenty-one I realized that there was this whole other life to be found, “The night-life”.  Bars stay open really late on the weekends, some ‘till five in the morning. And in the summer, the sun comes up at like five thirty. You go out, meet some pretty girl, the next thing you know you’re sitting on the lakefront watching the sun come up together. Of course you’d have to listen to her spew on about how all the guys she meets don’t ever respect her and how cool it is to meet somebody with a unique take on life, why can’t all dudes be as cool as you, all the while what you’re really thinking is, “Should I be getting to sleep? Tomorrow is Sunday and I want to skate the bank at UIC.”

Steve Fauser HURRICANE in Northern Illinois. PHOTO BY BRAD BISHOP

Steve Fauser HURRICANE in Northern Illinois. PHOTO BY BRAD BISHOP

The weirdest thing living in the city is taking day trips out to the suburbs to skate the crap in some mall in Crystal Lake or some shitty ditch in Palatine. You’re thinking, “Didn’t I move into Chicago so I wouldn’t have to skate all the shit out here in the burbs?’

KEVIN ERST. STALE FISH. PHOTO BY BRAD BISHOP

KEVIN ERST. STALE FISH. PHOTO BY BRAD BISHOP

There is a lot of uncharted area outside of Chicago and the rippers that have been coming up, from out in the burbs, are taking it over. Then there is the phenomenon known as winter. I don’t have to go on whining about how it’s all cold and you really gotta appreciate the times you get to skate outside. That’s all bullshit, you can have plenty of fun in the winter. You have to get over the fact that you are stuck in some indoor park waiting for the rollerbladers to get out of your sight because looking at them is like smelling a constant fart. After the bladers leave, you are still in prison, I mean a skate park, but so are the rest of the skateboarders in the state. Winter is when you check out everybody else’s footage and go steal their spots come warmer weather. Summer is a no brainer, you go to any of the all day free cement parks that have been popping up over the last four years and sweat your ass off. At the end of the day, you go down to Oak Street Beach on Lake Michigan and try and catch a look at some of the wannabe models in their bikinis before the sun goes down. You wake up the next morning thinking “Fuck California, there’s plenty of shit here”!

Neen Williams. Frontside Shuvit.

Neen Williams. Frontside Shuvit.

PATRICK MELCHER. ROCK N ROLL. PHOTO BY CHAN KU

PATRICK MELCHER. ROCK N ROLL. PHOTO BY CHAN KU

NEEN WILLIAMS. NOSE BLUNT SLIDE. PHOTO BY BRAD BISHOP

NEEN WILLIAMS. NOSE BLUNT SLIDE. PHOTO BY BRAD BISHOP

 

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