Tell me about your journey into hook suspension in general; why you got into it, and how long have you been in the industry personally and professionally.
I became fascinated with suspension, as cliché as it sounds, from the Discovery Channel. It was 1992 and I was around the age of twelve. I can’t recall the specific title for the show, but what I saw were people bearing Kavadi, marching through the streets with hooks in their back as they lunged forward only to be pulled back equally as hard by a group following… as well as a couple suspended from poles being carried through the procession. That was the first time I felt what could be described as desire. Not long after I was able to find a copy of Modern Primitives (at the Clark County Library in Las Vegas). I read the book till the glued in binding split in multiple areas. About 4 years later I was able to get into a horrible apprenticeship for piercing. I spent the next 5 years repairing all the improper training I was given while still in search of someone to grant me my first suspension. It was not as easy to find people back then. It wasn’t until late 2000 that I was able to get in contact with someone near me, Brandon Bond. I suspended in a superman position for my 21st b-day in a now defunct dungeon in Las Vegas. 10 hooks thrown one at a time. The flight time was around 3 hours. And to be honest, I was quite disappointed. I did not get any visions, no euphoria, not a damn thing I had read about from others experiences. But it did give me something, and I have still not been able to explain it in words. It’s been 18 years since that I have worked on and off as a piercer now and nearly 14 years since my first suspension.
Tell me about your work specifically with transitional Suspension. I want to know about your experimentation, suspensions you have done, good and bad, what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown and how you continue to grow.
Transitional suspensions, I’ve done a few. The first time I tried a transition was from a suicide to knees, then cut to a single knee. For a good year it’s all I wanted to do… I had heard of Supa attempting a large amount of transitions sometime ago and had made it through seven. I had never done that many, but I wanted to shoot for a nice round number… “10”. About a month before the 2007 SWSuscon in New Mexico I contacted Steve Truitt about trying to see how many transitions I could go through at the event. I had worked it all out. I still refer to it as the “wringer”. The closer that the time comes to something you have committed to, the more it seems to look like a bad idea. That was the last time I did a multiple transition in a session, and a learning experience. It was this suspension where hook direction played a major part. If someone were to do a 10+ transition today, most likely Gilson or Blacksheep hooks would be used. Specifically with Blacksheep hooks, the direction in which the hook is thrown is not as important as the closing of the hook prevents any hook slippage. I wish such products were available back then. I have since moved away from transitional suspensions and moved onto cut-away and full rotational suspensions.
Can you explain to me some of your innovations for suspension, and talk to me about cut aways and drops in hooks.
Well, I’m pretty sure I was the first person to hit 10 transitions during a session. After that session I was told by Shannon that one suspension I had done was new, The Falling Angel. Later I was able to name it as such. The cut-away suspensions I was inspired to do by two people: Allen and Samar. I had seen an act titled “Hurt” where Allen cuts away from a “resi” and falls into a suicide position. I later witnessed Samar doing the same act at the 2007 NorCal Suscon. I tried the same act a couple of times(with best wishes from Allen). From there I was constantly trying other cut-away’s, mainly on Jamie Mayhem because she is tough as nails. For TRAUMA 2012 I wanted to do something to really shock the crowd, as well as all the aerialists performing that evening. The cut-away front flip. And this year at Mecca I did a different variation, where I wind up as you would using aerial silks or straps, then fall forward in to a flip, or a “Salto Drop”.
Tell me something in regards to hooks that challenges you. What do you fight with and struggle through.
What challenges me is finding something new in the suspension community today that catches “my” eye. The Sinner Team in Russia took free falling to a whole new level between the bridges, tower jumps and now doing flips into a para-suspension base jump. That’s inspiration!!! Mr. Wipple pushing through 24 hours on hooks was amazing. The ornate rigging I have seen between Dallas and Mecca this year left me in awe. The up and coming “ORBITRON” suspensions to take place in Dallas this year…. Now that’s inspiring. Two minutes in that thing will be like doing 200 transitions.
Tell me about your biggest accomplishment on hooks.
As lame as it may sound, my biggest accomplishment was doing my first suspension. The ease and disappointment coming into focus at the same time. Staring your future, 10 years away (your biggest mistakes and all), directly in the face. The accomplishment was having direction in where I wanted to go.
Tell me about why you do performance suspension, what does it mean for you. What is the most challenging part?
I do performance because I always liked being on stage in front of crowds since I was young. There is a rush I get. The challenging part today for me is to put on an awesome show and not kill myself in the process for people’s entertainment. This being the case I am adjusting my role in how our shows operate. My focus has been geared towards handling all the other behind the scenes activities (rigging, stage managing, and engineering) that goes along with larger scale events I already do along with performance…. with a little surprise from me every so often.
What does 2014 look like for you. Any exciting performances or shows or plans in the works?
For 2014 I see a huge show at TRAUMA, a few Suscons, hopefully smaller get-togethers…. Maybe a few “Bad Ideas” as well.