For the past week the internet has been abuzz with talk of Alien Workshop going out of business. And while there still has been no formal announcement from DNA Distribution, a simple Google search will result in a flurry of articles and forums confirming that the rumors are true. We actually found out ourselves from Vern Laird's Instagram.
And while we can speculate for hours on what lead to their downfall, which rider is going to which new team and what will be the fate of Habitat we thought it would be more productive to take a look back at some memorable moments of decades past to appreciate The Sovereign Sect's contribution to skateboarding in all of its extraterrestrial glory.
This is "Memorable Moments With Alien Workshop".
Memory Screen was the first video Alien Workshop ever released in 1991. The visually artistic film, produced by Neil Blender, was considered a ground-breaking effort that introduced several new film techniques to skateboarding and gave way to a new "artsy" genre of skate videos, complete with lengthy non-skate interpretive montages and eclectic indy soundtrack. Click the image to watch "Memory Screen" in its entirety.
Brian Wenning VS Anthony Pappalardo
Since the first day Brian and Anthony crossed paths there was a healthy rivalry. From that rivalry grew a childhood friendship based on a common passion for skateboarding. They would constantly try to one up each other and push each others limits when it came to skating; just a couple of suburb kids doing nose grind pop outs on every ledge the East Coast had to offer. But as time went on and the two grew up they started going their separate ways. The specific reasons for their falling out aren't entirely clear, but you can get both sides of the story in Brian Wenning's "Epicly Later'd" part and draw your own conclusions as to what happened. Click the image to watch "Brian Wenning vs Anthony Pappalardo".
Steve And Heath Join The Team
Shortly after the release of "The End" Steve Berra and Heath Kirchart left Birdhouse to join Alien Workshop. As the story goes, Birdhouse co-owner Per Welinder cut Berra's pay in half because he was "getting older" (at age 25) but assured they would keep him on the team longer that way. However, Kirchart and Berra were already planning to leave the team and start their own brand, so the news only helped solidify their decision.
At the same time, Rob Dyrdek and Josh Kalis were planning to leave AWS and start a new brand called "Seek". With their anticipated departure, AWS co-owner Chris Carter offered both Kirchart and Berra spots on the team. They both liked the idea of just being able to skate rather than worry about company ownership and accepted. Click the image to watch Steve Berra in "Mind Field".
Jason Dill in Photosynthesis... Well all of Photosynthesis really.
2000's Photosynthesis is revered as one of the most classic and iconic skate videos of all time and Jason Dill's closing part is no exception. The trick selection, the filming, the music... Dill described it to 48 Blocks as, "pure youth" and a time when he was just more optimistic in general. Click the image to watch his part in "Photosynthesis".
Jason Dill On The Osbournes
In 2001, on the first season of MTV's "The Osbournes", Jason Dill somehow becomes a house guest of Jack's. During his stay, he sufficiently creeps out Ozzy, nearly burns the house down and tempts Sharon to piss in his bottle of Jack Daniels. This doesn't have much to do with Alien Workshop but it gave us an interesting new perspective on Jason Dill that we'll always remember. Click to watch Jason Dill on The Osbournes.
Arto Saari Joins The Team
On March 7th 2007, Flip team rider Shane Cross died in a tragic motorcycle accident in Melbourne, Australia. The incident affected team mate Arto Saari so badly that he felt compelled to leave Flip and shocked the skate world by joining Alien Workshop in 2008. He stayed with the team for two and a half years, during which time he appeared in 2009's "Mindfield", before returning back to Flip in 2011. There were no hard feelings upon his departure, and Flip welcomed him back, releasing an image with the caption "Home Is Where The Hearto Is". Click the image to watch Arto Saari in "Mindfield".
Burton Buys DNA Distribution
On February 5th 2008, Burton Snowboards announced that it had purchased DNA Distribution, parent company to Alien Workshop, Habitat and Reflex. The acquisition came much to the chagrin of most skateboarders that were concerned the outside influence would irreparably damage the hard earned aesthetic of independence and freedom the Ohio based company had embraced for so many years.
Heath Kirchart Skating To Morrissey
Every Heath part is iconic. What helped make his 2009 Mindfield part iconic was that he skated to "Speedway" by Morrissey; which for some reason caused a furor that ran the gamut of human emotion... Click the image to watch Heath Kirchart in "Mindfield".
Omar Salazar Skating To Dinosaur Jr.
Despite being on Alien Workshop for nearly a decade, Omar could be considered part of the 'newer' generation when compared to some of the older vets on the team. So when he skated in Mindfield to the same Dinosaur Jr. track as Alien's original Memory Screen opener it very much felt like a culminating moment that reassured skaters the Workshop was still very much tied to its roots. The raw footage of J Mascis pulling a couple Daffy manuals made the part all the more memorable. Click the image to watch Omar Salazar in "Mindfield".
Rob Dyrdek Buys It Back
In 1991, Rob Dyrdek sold one single Alien Workshop board at Christmas and received a royalty check for $2... A check that he still has today. AWS had been Rob's only board sponsor since he was 11 years old and was based out of his home state of Ohio; so after making his millions on MTV it only made sense for him to purchase Burton's shares of the company and take control. So in 2012, Rob grabbed the mic at Zumiez 100k event and informally announced to the skate world he bought Alien Workshop from Burton Snowboards.
Dill And Ave Leave The Team
On May 1st, 2013 Jason Dill And Anthony Van Englen unceremoniously left Alien Workshop by handwriting a message on what we assume is a bathroom wall somewhere in LA. Some would consider their departure the beginning of the end as they were considered the two most important and senior members of the team at the time.
...And The Mass Exodus That Followed
Once Dill & Ave were officially off the team, the flood gates opened as skaters began falling off the team left and right. Kevin Terpening & Dylan Rieder were both recruited onto Dill & Ave's newly formed "Fucking Awesome" team. Grant Taylor moved to Anti-Hero and Mikey Taylor just left without another board sponsor lined up. Not since the Girl Skateboards mutiny from World Industries had such a mass exodus of skaters taken place. Click the image to watch Grant Taylor's introductory video to the Anti Hero team.
The Kerry Getz Instagram Post
On May 19th, 2014, before any sort of official announcement had been released, Kerry Getz made a post to Instagram confirming that Alien Workshop was officially out of business. The SLAP message boards were a frenzy of speculation as skaters gossiped about the reasons for it's closure and postulated about which pro would be going to which new team. As with any company going out of business the only real reason is... Money. The best explanation we could find on the subject is HERE.