I grew up in Independence, Iowa – current population 5,957. When I was young, our address was simply “Jennings RR1.” I lived in the country with two loving parents, a witty older brother and your classic dog and cat. The majority of my childhood was spent caricaturing Luke Skywalker, Superman and Michael Jackson. My older brother, Chad, built me an X-wing out of some cardboard when I was five. I ran around with red underwear on the outside of my blue sweatpants when I was six. I had hardly mastered the moonwalk at age seven, but thought I looked pretty damn cool sporting my mom’s silver ski glove insulator on my right hand. As I got older, I slowly transitioned from wearing my underoos to flannel, listening to more Smashing Pumpkins and less Jackson 5 (MJ and Billy get equal play these days).
High school was no fun. I wasn’t good at sports. I wasn’t popular with the ladies. I was a long haired geek who bought a computer instead of a car when he turned 16. My fondest memories are of the weekends away from high school, when my brother Chad would come back from Wartburg College. He’d bring new music, new movies, new information and old friends.
One of those friends was Mike Jensen. Mike was the crazy one. A stocky son of a bitch with wild hair and infectious energy that traveled almost as fast and strong as his singing voice. He was what I wanted to be. He grew up in my town, hung out with the same families and watched Star Wars with my brother. He got in fights with jocks in high school. He was in choir like me, had a hot girlfriend, was caring, but cool and escaped Independence. He was living in Waverly (which seemed like another country at the time) and was in a college band named ‘Sweat Lodge.’ For that reason, reasons unsaid, and the reasons listed above, to me… he was a rock star.
These days, Mike lives in Waverly. He married that hot girlfriend, has three beautiful daughters and teaches music.
Mike Jensen IS a rock star.
Unfortunately, Mike has a few other things going on. A few months ago, Mike started having seizures After countless trips to the physician, it was discovered that Mike has a brain tumor. He’s having that tumor removed today, May 3rd.
Earlier this week Mike asked people if they could send him a note stating “who I am to you.” Part of the risk of his surgery is that he could possibly lose a bit of his personality. And part of his plan for recapturing that explosive energy is to have reading material and reminders of who he is to the people in his life. The few paragraphs above, are what Mike Jensen is to me.
Mike means a lot to a lot of people. His friend Melinda started a TeeSpring campaign, where you can buy TEAM MIKE shirts. All the proceeds go to Mike and his family.
Mike has another friend (and band mate) named Paul. Paul likes to stream the current MN Public Radio music station when he works. They do this thing called “My Three Songs,” where you request a three-song set with an explanation and they read the story and play the tunes. Paul made a playlist for Team Mike and sent it to DJ Barb Abney earlier this week. His letter is posted below, along with the 3 songs.
My three-song set is dedicated to my very close friend and longtime bandmate Mike Jensen, an Iowan who is having surgery for a brain tumor this week (5.3). This dedicated husband and father of three beautiful girls is not yet 40. I’ve been thinking about him a whole heckuva lot leading up to this surgery, and was spurred to write you with this request because I know how much Mike would love for more people to hear his music and to send positive energy his way. I hope you will play it – it will mean a lot!
The first song is a track Mike wrote for our band Spin Spin Coupling’s forthcoming album Vinyl Envy. With members in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Chicago, we’ve been playing together since 2001, but most of us have known each other and played together for 20 years. I think “War” is one of the most dynamic tracks we’ve ever created and seems fitting since Mike is in the midst of battle with this tumor. Here is a link to the WAV file. Sorry – it’s not totally radio-ready, but we weren’t ready for this crisis…it has a long fade and should be cut at about 5:20. I realize this is a bit unorthodox, but if you can do it, that’d be awesome.
We played the opening bars of “Turtledove” by Trip Shakespeare at one of our earliest gigs, which was opening for our heroes in The Flops in Madison, ten years after we saw Trip Shakespeare together at Wartburg College, our alma mater in Iowa. At the Flops show, we had a great chat with Matt and John, who autographed Mike’s LP of Across the Universe.
Finally, while I considered some Sigur Ros, Low, Kings of Convenience, and other more ethereal fare with which we have some great memories, if I know Mike, he would prefer to be able to cruise down a country road right now, rocking out to an old favorite. So, I chose “Stereo” by Pavement, one of his favorite bands, and a song to which we’ve done that very thing several times in the past.
2. Trip Shakespeare: Turtledove
3. Pavement: Stereo
Happy Birthday, Tiff.
Almond has a new bag of goodies for 2013. The new Almond menswear collection is made in California and draws inspiration from the state’s rich surfing heritage. Almond’s goal is to create timeless, quality pieces that reflect their commitment to being the premier lifestyle brand of the Surfer + Craftsman.
These items, and more… are available in our shop.
Produced by: Paul De Luna and Sipping Jetstreams Media
Song: Bruce Springsteen No Surrender with Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem / Sony Records
Edited by: Pete Rogers
Voice Over: Mikey De Temple
Special Thanks to: Bruce Springsteen, Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem, Sony Records, Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore, Mick Fanning, Rob Machado, Matt Wilkinson, Kassia Meador, Ian Walsh, Thomas Brookins, Mikey De Temple, Todd and Megan Diciurcio, Matt Clark, Will Skudin, Cliff Skudin,Spencer Wolff and everyone else who donated their time and resources.
Our friends at Patagonia, have teamed up with Yulex Corp, to created the surfing world’s first non-neoprene based wetsuit. Yulex specializes in creating sustainable, and health-friendly biomaterials…made from guayule (Parthenium argentatum.) Guayule is a shrub, found in the southern United States & Mexico.
The new Patagonia wetsuits are 60% guayule, and apparently 30% stretchier than their neoprene counterparts. Patagonia and Yulex hope to create a 100% guyale wetsuit in the future. Patagonia plans to introduce the suits in Japan, but will be rolling them out of their Ventura, Ca facility in Spring 2013.
Yulex’s official press release can be read below:
VENTURA, Calif. and PHOENIX, ARIZONA (November 16, 2012) — Patagonia Inc., a leading designer of core outdoor, surf and sport-related apparel, equipment, footwear and accessories, and Yulex Corporation, a clean technology company developing agricultural-based biomaterials for medical, consumer, industrial and bioenergy products, announced today the introduction of a guayule-based wetsuit, a renewable biorubber that is the first alternative to traditional fossil-based neoprene.
“When we started to build wetsuits we knew that neoprene, by nature of its production, was the most environmentally harmful part the product. Our initial approach was to use innovative materials, like wool, that are highly insulating and allowed us to use as little neoprene as possible. But we quickly realized that we needed to create a new material that could be a true alternative to neoprene,” notes Jason McCaffrey, Patagonia’s surf director. “After four years of working together, Patagonia and Yulex have co-developed a unique material that allows us to make a wetsuit that is 60% guayule (plant) based. Our goal is to have the formula be 100% plant based, but we feel that for now this new material is a big enough step forward to let the world know it is possible to buy something cleaner. This is just the first step; it’s our hope that other brands see this as interesting and join the effort to innovate and implement alternatives to traditional neoprene that is used in wetsuits.”
Yulex’s biorubber material is made from guayule, a renewable, non-food crop that requires very little water, is grown domestically in the US, uses no pesticides, and in comparison to traditional neoprene, has a very clean manufacturing process.
Initially, the new suits will be available in Japan only. In Spring 2013, surfers will be able to order custom suits out of Patagonia’s wetsuit facility in Ventura, CA, with a global rollout to follow.
“Yulex commends Patagonia for supporting the advancement of a sustainable, low-carbon future by embracing agricultural-based, biomaterials to replace petroleum-based synthetics,” said Jeff Martin, CEO, president and founder of Yulex Corporation. “Patagonia is guiding the action sports industry to a new level and setting an example for the importance of sustainable practices. Yulex views this partnership as a major step towards a future where use of our renewable, guayule-based biomaterials is the industry standard for consumer, medical, industrial and bioenergy products.”
Patagonia, Inc., based in Ventura, California, is a leading designer of core outdoor, surf and sport-related apparel, equipment, footwear and accessories. With sales last year of $540M, the company is noted internationally for its commitment to authentic product quality and environmental activism, contributing over $47.5M in cash and in-kind donations to date. Incorporating environmental responsibility into product development, the company has, since 1996, used only organically grown cotton in its clothing line. Committed to making its products landfill-free, the company’s entire product line is recyclable thorough its Common Threads Initiative. The company also advocates corporate transparency through its interactive website, The Footprint Chronicles, which outlines the environmental and social footprint of individual products. Patagonia was featured as The Coolest Company on the Planet on Fortune Magazine’s April 2007 cover.
About Yulex Corporation:
Yulex Corporation has developed a portfolio of biomaterials derived from the U.S. grown guayule plant. The company’s technological innovation is designed to replace traditional tropical or petroleum based rubber for consumer, industrial and medical markets, with the residual agricultural materials utilized as a feedstock for bioenergy. Yulex collaborates with customers to develop and market highly differentiated, premium performance products in an ecologically responsible, sustainable manner. For more, visit http://www.yulex.com.
The much-anticipated biography of flamboyant surfing legend Dewey Weber (1938-1993) is the inspiration for the current exhibition at the Surfing Heritage Foundation.
The exhibition, Little Man On Wheels, is curated by Barry Haun and consists of key surfboards (such as the Dewey Weber Performer, the single most produced longboard model in the history of surfing), photographs, illustrations, and other objects that punctuate the development of Dewey Weber as an iconic surfer, millionaire businessman, and tireless industry promoter.
The Dewey Weber Exhibit began in September, and will be on display untill Dec. 22, 2012.
This video montage was produce by Matt Warshaw. Matt is the creator of the Encyclopedia of Surfing, which will soon be available online.
Back in August we hosted an event at The Piranha Shop, with Peanut Butter Coast and Twinline Motorcycles. Two Tribes was a celebration of classic surf boards, and custom motorcycles. The kids over at Curbsyde Productions were on hand, and documented the event.
You can check out a few photos from the night, on PBC’s Facebook page.
Jeff’s Velzy & Jacobs are still at my apartment… Two Tribes: Part Deux?
Brad Anderson and Grain Surfboards have created an event that celebrates the history of surfing…through homegrown construction.
RE-EVOLUTION is the act of reaching back into the legacy of surfboard design, finding an inspiration, and applying new thinking or new materials to jump over the intervening years, decades or millennia to create something surfers can love today.
To learn more about the Re-Evolution event, go here.