The Back of the neck!
This silly string of 5 words became world renowned in 90′s after the release of Road Fools 2, where Mike Tag went from a name in the underground of BMX, to someone people took notice of. It wasn’t long after people witnessed his brutal handrail, and ledge prowess, and his antics which quickly became synonymous with the letters FBM. Fire, Beer and Mayhem, that his status as a badass tough guy, a man of true grit, became solidified.
In recent weeks prior to that life changing trip, Mike Tag, Erbles and I were living on Seneca Street in a party house called Castle Greyskull. It was a block from Shortstop, and another block from a really shitty nightclub, called Semester’s, and on weekends you could here the bass from terrible dance music at our house, and the shrill of drunken sorority girls, and juiced up meatheads fighting after hours in the street.
Our spot was a dive bar called the Chanticleer where we re enacted Scenes from the movie Barfly, and drank dollar drafts. We never ventured towards the collegiate nightlife debacle, it was obviously not our scene.
MIke however was always one to taunt the status quo, and seemed to get a kick out of subjecting himself to questionable situations.
On night in particular, he decides to check out the nightclub known as semester’s, while the rest of us stayed behind partying at the house. When Mike comes home, he tells us the story of his misadventure at meat market looney bin, and it goes something like this-
Mike and a couple of friends go to the club, and shmooze, have a few drinks, and basically just absorb the madness. People watching. At one point, a man in an some unexplainable fashion cry for help, is dressed in black and white stripes, looking like a referee, or an employee at the Foot Locker. Apparently Mike was hypnotized by how ridiculous this guys looked and just sipped his drink with a fixed gaze on this guy who was facing the other direction. Just then some dipshit engages Mike with an aggressive tone, asking ” HEY, ARE YOU LOOKING AT THE BACK OF MY FRIENDS NECK?”
“Am I looking at the back of his neck?”- Mike
And the exchange becomes more heated as Tag tries to decipher why someone would ever ask that question, or why anyone would care.
Finally Tag just goes – “YA I AS LOOKING AT THE BACK OF HIS NECK!!!”, and snatches the guy up….
The absurdity of the whole story became legend, and the phrase became a symbol of just how not serious anything was to us, and how hilarious and ridiculous that time became… That whole era.
Our lives were like some kind of screwed up version of the movie “Stand by Me”, combined with the sound of bottles breaking, pool balls clattering, freewheels clicking, Leland telling funny jokes, and the soundtrack from 1201 playing at peak levels in the back ground.
The past few days have been towing the line between tears and laughter while sharing stories of the utterly ridiculous lives we all shared.
Many Legacies were born out of our group of friends, Leland became a professional wrestler, Erbles and I turned FBM into a bike company, Gilly built every jump that was ever on television, and Stew went on to become an iconic personality in BMX media. Below is the First Video project Stew Johnson ever worked on, in collaboration with Mike Tag… It’s called 1201, and from that summer on, BMX only became that much more AWESOME!
( Oh, and in case you didn’t know, 1201 was the address of the Fat house we all lived in together…)