In 1991, when the subculture of BMX freestyle was clinging on by a thread to old bike parts and a fragmented scene, BMX vert legend Mat Hoffman collaborated with filmmaker Eddie Roman on a video titled "Head First."
At the time, few riders were sponsored and contests were few and far between. But Hoffman was essentially rewriting the book on what was possible on a BMX bike on vert, street, dirt and skateparks. And Eddie Roman was there to document it.
The video, upon its release, was a turning point in the BMX scene. Instead of BMX dying a slow death with little to no support from the bigger brands of the time, "Head First" showed a new generation of BMX riders how to get back up and push the scene forward on its own. It was the motivation that BMX riders needed to make things happen for themselves, instead of relying on out of touch contest organizers and bicycle brands.
And the final scene, a vert session in Hoffman's Oklahoma City warehouse, was soundtracked by Hoffman's favorite band, a Washington D.C. post-punk band named Fugazi.
The use of Fugazi in "Head First" sparked a relationship between the band and Hoffman that has spanned over twenty years, and has included collaborations between Hoffman and Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty on the music for Hoffman's 30 For 30 ESPN film "The Birth of Big Air."
As a band, Fugazi has been on an indefinite hiatus since 2001, but the four members continue to produce music in one form or another, including Brendan Canty's latest project, a four-piece dubbed Deathfix that includes members from fellow Dischord band Medications. Deathfix is set to release their first album on Dischord later in the month, but sent Hoffman an advance copy. Hoffman sampled a song from the album in a video he posted in January, and earlier this week, expanded the use of the song into a full-length music video.
According to Hoffman, "I rolled around with a couple cameras and threw this together of sort a "day in the life" to the Deathfix goodness. This was very low-fi. I carried two small cameras with me that I could fit in my pockets (Contour and a GoPro) then laid them around and strapped to my bike as we rode all day. Then I threw these clips together. It took less than a day."
The video (embedded above), may not include Veg-O-Matic informercial spoofs or rundowns on all of the broken forks in the Secret Ninja warehouse, but it does depict Hoffman continuing on the path he started when he first sampled Fugazi's music in BMX videos over twenty years ago.
"It's the spirit of discovery, says Hoffman.