DUKE 9 INTERVIEW
©1996, 2003 @149st Do not republish without permission.
What inspired you to start writing?
I always liked trains a lot. When I saw a lot of graffiti I just got totally into it.
What writers inspired you?
Probably I would have to say the writer that inspired the most was SUPER STRUTT he had the biggest pieces and the most pieces really caught your eye.
What year did you start?
Well I started writing when I was a little kid but I never really got up until 1974. I actually started writing the tag DUKE 9 in 1973 . I was king of the E and F in the summer of '74 I was only 13 years old. When I was 11 or 12 I tried to tag, but was to small to reach up to do big pieces but when I became 13 I was much taller so I started getting up more.
What lines did you hit?
I hit every line extensively the E and the F line of course I bombed totally the M line the BMTS I did the IRTS I did a lot of As, Js, AAs, Ds, GGs and Es.
Where was your favorite place to hit the Es and Fs?
My favorite place was to hit them at 179th street the last stop because for the whole year of '74 they had special protection for the R46s (dingdongs) so they were difficult to hit. The only way to hit them was to wait in the tunnel. They would lay them up 10 or 15 minutes. We'd be waiting in the tunnel during rush hour as soon as the train pulled in we'd hit them. Our friends would be waiting at Parsons Blvd. and Continental Avenue seeing brand new trains coming back with fresh pieces. They would touch the pieces and the pieces were wet.
Parsons and Sutfin were the places I hit the most. I use to practically live down there. I did so much stuff down there because it was the perfect place for top to bottoms it had so many places to run out plus I grew up right in that neighborhood. I knew the area well so I had a lot luck. I only got caught for graffiti one time which was pretty phenomenal. I got off, I beat that charge.
Who were your best writing partners?
I would say probably the most infamous UNCLE JOHN 178 because he was very well known. It's like everybody always use to ask about him and the cops would always ask about him. I use to look up to him because he was very daring and clever. He was a pretty good person to have as a partner because he really wanted to go out and do stuff . He didn't just talk about it. He would do stuff. If he said he was gonna rack up some cans, if there was hell to pay he would still get cans. There was no way he would leave the store without stealing cans.
He knew all the places to go he showed me a lot of yards. I was also partners with AFX 2. We always use to meet at Vanwick and Sutfin in the fall of '74. We'd bomb the lay up then we'd go rack up then go to another layup. That's how I found out 45th street and other layups he took me to the Bowery that was his favorite place. EX ONE, I started him writing. I knew before he was a graffiti writer when he was in my class in school.
The guy who was my original partner was the guy who use to write FLASH. We grew up together. We hit our first trains together. He got busted earlier on and he felt resentful that I never got busted.
I also used to like going writing by myself because there was less chance of getting caught and I'd have first pick on all the spaces. I never get busted but he got busted a few times he stopped writing so that partnership died early on.
Did you ever hear of MASTER ONE?
Yeah, he was one of the Ded kids from the Ded crew with UNCLE JOHN and those other writers from Russel Sage Junior High.
What did Ded crew mean?
It meant Dedicated Writers DW. Since UNCLE JOHN was a old writer and he use to write with FLINT and a lot of old writers; they like tried to revive their old crew. SUPER STRUTT and FLINT 707 and other writers use to write Ded after their name.
What do you think of what writers are doing now?
I like what their doing now. Like doing the surfaces and stuff. The fact that they are hitting on real estate. In a way it's like their trying to set off a revolution. Graffiti use to be underground now its moving above ground to private property.
Do you have any advice for writers these days?
To piece, always piece. Forget about tagging. Just being a big tagger is real suckerish you gotta be willing to take the risk of piecing. People will notice a piece more than a tag.
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