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Eddie Roman Hammertime Interview

We posted Eddie Roman’s 1995 classic MTB/BMX video Hammertime which featured riders like Tim Fuzzy Hall, Chad Herrington, Mat Hoffman and Brian Lopes earlier this week, watch it here if you missed it.

We loved the film and thought we’d better track down Eddie and ask him a few questions and the whole thing.

Photo:Mark Ketcham

Who is Eddie Roman?

I suppose I’m one of the guys credited with inventing BMX street riding. I was the first to do a jump to wall ride (or whatever it’s called, going off a jump and landing in a wallride), as well as tons of other street tricks. (The two riding photos on here are actually of Eddie riding) I was also one of the first BMX video producers in the 80’s. At a time when BMX was not on TV, I was among the few video makers who gave people a chance to see riding in something other than a printed magazine. After producing four BMX videos, I was hired by GT Bicycles as their in-house video producer, working alongside the legendary Don Hoffman, pioneer video producer in the skateboarding, BMX and MTB scenes. We produced a short lived MTB TV show for Fox Sports Network in the States titled Gearheads as well as a BMX show titled Crank. Both shows were well received, but as with everything else, budget changes killed the TV shows.

What is Hammertime? (It made me initially think of MC Hammer)

Hammertime is the first extreme (forgive me for using that lame word) MTB video. Before Hammertime, MTB videos were either about cross country, downhill racing or mud womping. I saw the growing number of BMX racers entering the MTB scene, and I knew it would be a matter of time before the tricks started happening on MTBs. Working at GT Bikes, I was constantly around BMX and MTB stuff, so the gears in my head began turning and the next thing you know I’m asking my BMX friends to jump MTBs for a video.
They were all into it, and the rest is Hammertime. The name Hammertime came from the term “hammer down” (do you still use that in MTB? It means going fast ha-ha). It reminded me of MC Hammer’s Hammetime video, and I’m a funny guy, so I did a little play on words and there you go. Time to hammer, hammer time… get it?

Was Hammertime your first film?

Hammertime was my first MTB film and I believe my eighth or ninth biking film.

How long did it take to film?

If I remember correctly (and I probably do not) it took 9 months to
shoot.

What camera equipment did you use back then?

I believe that was during my Canon Hi-8 days. It was such a long time ago that I don’t remember the camera model! Actually I was never one to remember model numbers; I can’t even remember the complete name of the HD camera I’ve been using lately. It’s the HD something.

How about the editing?

I edited it on GT’s editing system as part of our sponsorship deal. They had a Sundance System “semi-non-linear” edit bay with a Video Toaster. Semi-non-linear basically means that a computer controlled the editing, but the media was still on tape in tape decks. You had a monitor with a timeline and the editing was similar to today’s non- linear systems, but the video was still on tape, not on a hard drive. I began editing around 1985 in high school on linear systems. Back then there was no computer based editing, so no one could afford editing systems. You had to rent time at a video post house. The first videos I edited were either on borrowed equipment or by means of some kind of bartering deal. For Ride On (BMX – 1992) I worked at a post house and traded my work time for editing time. That was the video that got me noticed by GT bikes and threw me in to the professional world of video.

The jumps, drops, tricks and speeds have all got bigger and faster but the riding on Hammertime is still impressive even by today’s standards, I think younger riders will be impressed to see what went on with basic bikes, what do you think?

The riders in Hammertime were some of the best BMX guys at the time.
Tim Fuzzy Hall, Chad Herrington, Mat Hoffman and on and on. Fuzzy’s
style is still great; Chad pretty much invented the multiple-tricks-in-
one-jump style and Mat is Mat, he’ll always be a legend. The guys were
riding basic bikes, but realistically, that’s all you need, a bike
that doesn’t fall apart when you land hard. A great rider can shred on
anything. Bob Kohl, BMX legend, was the first person to do a backflip
on a motorcycle, years before anyone did it at the X Games. He did it
on an 80 at fairs across America. His MX was junk, but he flipped it
anyway. A good bike helps, but the rider is always the most important
factor.

The Matt Hoffman footage looked insane, especially backflipping a mountainbike on only his 5th ever attempt…was there a good feeling filming the Hoff section?

Matt and I were great friends; we were laughing and being stupid as always. We had a long history of filming together, and he was always
ready to try whatever I asked him to, he’s absolutely amazing. When I
asked him to flip the MTB he didn’t think twice. If the bike wouldn’t
have gotten damaged that day I’m sure he would have invented lots of
other MTB tricks.

I see you do some nifty flat land in the video, do you still ride
today?

I still chase my bike every once in a while. I have four sons, so I
ride with them sometimes.

Putting old mtb films on the internet is a great way of educating the youth of today about how their sport progressed, is that part of the reason why you uploaded Hammertime?

Uh, no, sorry! I put it up because I want people to visit my website, promomaker.com need more work! Ha-ha!

I heard you mention you might make a new mtb film, is that true?

I’d love to. No concrete plans yet, but ya never know. If some nice company would like to fund Hammertime 2!

How do you see the sport progressing?

It’s just sick and I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon. The
“huge dangerous stunts” mentality of the X Games marketing moguls has
created a stuntman mentality among many riders. Stunts, ramps, jumps
and tricks will just keep getting bigger and bigger. I love it.

What next for Eddie Roman?
That depends on what MTB company calls me first ha-ha. Nowadays I do a lot of work in the disaster/relief field. If there’s a famine, earthquake or disaster happening I’m often there with a camera. I still produce action sports stuff when I have the chance and I’m hoping to do more. So there ya go!

To find out more about Eddie check his webber here.

Eddie Roman’s Hammertime from Eddie Roman on Vimeo.

An interview with Eddie Roman filmer/producer of the 90’s classic mountain bike and bmx video Hammertime

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