The Metal Guy: A Discussion with Kaleb Olden Reading 'What's Good?' Tom Boorman X Ride 'Thunder' 10 minutes Next Jason Petersen + Big Baby Ghost Fingers

'What's Good?' Tom Boorman X Ride 'Thunder'

Welcome to round 22 of the latest LUXBMX journal segment, 'What's Good?'. To reiterate, we reach out to one of the homies and get a hot tip on the latest (or oldest) biking madness. It's called 'What's Good?' and for this instalment, I've sought out Sydney based biker, Tom Boorman in pursuit of tapping into the depths of his BMX video knowledge and highlighting a particularly influential project. 

Boorman at the helm of his prior venture, running one of Sydney's most core bike shops 'Hell on Wheels'. No longer in operation, the BMX spirit lives on through other means!

Boorman, Tom Boorman! Lover of all things bikes, particularly those of the BMX variety, perhaps to a level warranting the term 'tragic'. The dude would have to be top 5 of Australian bikers who live and breathe the spirit of BMX, whether it's through history and artefacts, making it his livelihood (through the above-mentioned 'Hell on Wheels' shop), travelling the world in pursuit of revered trails or more simply, his style which evokes the character of some of the sports early pioneers, such as Stu Thomsen. I'm no doubt paraphrasing the dudes many years in BMX and all the various highlights, however I'm sure you get the point I'm trying to make!

So, it is then exciting to link up with Tom as part of the LUXBMX 'What's Good?' series, knowing that there is likely a heartfelt story and a video selection of generations prior. Without saying too much, the dude delivered on both fronts. 

Over to Tom!

Love a good turn bar table, that quarter doesn't look easy to air. Well done to LC and Tom for making this one happen. 

"By the time I first saw this masterpiece I had already been bitten by the BMX bug, but in a much more tame, watered down BMX Plus kinda way..."

When Vocko first hit me up to write about a video that had some sort of impact on me, 'Thunder' was the first video to come to mind.

Those who know me, know the level of BMX video nerd that I am, and this video may be the absolute root of almost 30 years of obsession. By the time I first saw this masterpiece I had already been bitten by the BMX bug, but in a much more tame, watered down BMX Plus kinda way...In 1997, I was in year 7, 13 years old and being exposed to a much bigger, bolder & badder world than I was used to in my primary school days. When I walked into school on that first day of year 7 there was something that I did not expect. Individuality! There were punks with bright green, spiked up mohawks, goth girls with crazy make up, stoners, skaters & all kinds of cool interesting looking kids. 

As most of us were at 13, you are an impressionable sponge & back then in a pre internet environment, you clung onto anything that you thought was cool for dear life. Something was percolating & I was drinking in the influences from all angles.

So fast forward a couple of months & I see 'Thunder' for the first time. Until then, my BMX video exposure was limited. My local video rental place had 'BMX Bandits' & 'Rad' (I consider myself lucky to have had these, but it was 10 plus year old information & at that time 10 years in BMX was like a lifetime in terms of progression of style & tricks). I had also seen Props best of 1995 & 1996, but when I first saw 'Thunder' it definitely hit different. It felt like a doorway into something more core and with a little more attitude.

From the very first riff of those guitars followed by a wild clip of Marvin Loetterle tailwhipping the crazy chasm/moat jump at the backyard jam, this video had sucked me in, shook me around & slapped me in the face and I don't think I blinked until the end credits were rolling.

As I was newly exposed to punk rock & heavier music via the melting pot of influences my early days of high school provided, the soundtrack of 'Thunder' played a huge role in shaping my musical tastes for many years to come. Bands like The Misfits, The Bouncing Souls, The Faction & Snuff all became some of my favourites & just because they were in a kick ass BMX video I saw when I was 13. Shit, 'Thunder' even has a Beatles & a Rolling Stones song in it!

Aesthetically, the videos cover & packaging did not offer much appeal to me until I turned the box over and saw that awesome shot of Keith Terra twisting a beautiful X up through the trees of some east coast trails. The colours, and that style still get me stoked! The video is broken up into sections based on location. Utah, Pennsylvania, England, New York & Southern California. Each part has a different vibe and feel but each completely badass & mind blowing to a 13 year old me. The Utah & Pennsylvania parts stood out the most for me and even now for a few reasons, I still have a very special place in my heart for them. Even these days, I can watch these any day or time & get that itch to get on my bike.

The video starts with Utah, a 3 song banger of a section with stand out clips from Tim ”Fuzzy” Hall, Matt Beringer & Shawn “Elf” Walters. There is even a couple clips of a very young Mike Aitken in there! Now while Fuzzy was already a huge name at that time, Elf, Beringer & especially Mikey were super young and up & coming. It's crazy that when seeing these clips of these dudes in this video, it was the absolute first time I had ever heard of them! The even crazier thing for me is that over the course of the next 25 plus years, I would somehow meet & share a session with all 4 of them. What a trip. Like proper goosebumps type of stuff.

Then we have Pennsylvania. I have this video to thank for a life long infatuation with everything BMX related from the state of PA. While that is a seemingly odd statement, I feel I am not alone on that one. We all know that within BMX, the great state of PA is the undisputed capital of the trails world and the spots shown in this section are the reason. PUSH & POSH trails (now both sadly gone) were located on opposite sides of the keystone state & were responsible for inspiring many generations of trail riders & builders worldwide. There is something about the colours of those trees & the style all the riders had that just really appealed to me. As I was just getting into racing BMX at the time and learning to jump sets of doubles, these high speed stylish dudes cruising effortlessly through the trees seemed fucking magical. Riders Like Isaac “Groundchuck” McCrea, Adam “Wing Ding” Williams, Chris Stauffer, Jason Stieg, Rocco Cozza, Chris Sales & the Shaman, Jay Lonergan all killed it in this part.

There are a couple of clips in particular that get me proper stoked every time, and bizarrely they both involve the riders pedalling mid line. Shock Horror! We all know that throwing in a crank or three between jumps mostly looks gross & the sin worthy act has been outlawed & that doing so will result in some serious heckling, but back then... Hear me out here, when Jay Lonergan rips a mean power wheelie out of a slow berm and puts in a couple of big ol' cranks before hitting some serious rhythm, he makes it look mean as hell! When Wing Ding & Chuck sneak in that extra crank, down hill before boosting a nice big set, I feel that's so powerful & cool looking. But maybe thats just the racer in me.

Regardless, this section is the crown jewel in one hell of a video. There is even a few rad lonely street clips from John “Luc-E” Englebert, just to keep it all fresh. RAD. While PUSH were plowed not too long after 'Thunder' was released, POSH remained the trail riders dream destination for almost 3 decades. Getting my tyres onto some PA dirt was a dream since my first viewing back then & after 26 years I finally got there last October. Unfortunately I was about 3 months late and POSH were plowed last June. 

Getting to visit that site & then to meet both Jaybone & Chris Stauffer (along with so many other legendary folks) at Catty Woods was a huge kind of full circle moment. More rippers from 'Thunder' that I got to ride bikes with. Are you fucking kidding me? My 13 year old self would have never believed it!

Appreciating that y'all may have under-estimated just how much of a nerd I am with this stuff, I will skip the deep analysis of the rest of the video. When I like a video I tend to watch & re-watch it way too many times, but I think I have watched 'Thunder' far more times than anything else. 

This video is such a part of the bike rider I wanted to be & became. It laid the foundations for my tastes in music & it even influenced my bike set up so much that my bike in 2024 could pretty much look fine in a video from 1997 (45 tooth sprockets are cooler than you think). While a 27 year old BMX video may show its age, just know the whole thing slaps and you should watch it while its still up on Youtube. Due to the high profile nature of the music, 'Thunder' gets taken offline fairly often. So get on it!

You heard the man, go watch it, then tell your mates to go and do the same. You never know, you may end up kickstarting what could be a life changing moment.

Lastly, if you would like to support Tom, take a look at his 'Hell on Wheels' page and hit him up for some of the unique services he offers.