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Where and what year did you start writing?
In Brooklyn circa 1970.
What inspired you to become involved in writing?
After seeing names everywhere, I thought it was the coolest thing and knew instantly that I had to do this. I was just drawn to it. I had studied art when I was a child at Pratt University so it was a natural.
Did you have a mentor?
I did not really have a mentor per se. WG was my sponsor into the Vandals and introduced me to the Writing world. I did not mentor other writers because I only spent time with people that I thought could handle themselves and knew what they were doing. People that do not can get you killed.
Who influenced your style?
No one. My style was very unique and my approach was singular and individualistic thus my influences were self-generated through trial and error.
How did you get your name?
I made it up, playing around with how certain letters fit together.
List all the other names under which you have written?
LAZAR is who I am. I did not need to represent myself any other way.
What borough are you originally from?
What lines have you hit?
All of them. My MO was to pick a different line every day and ride as far as time would permit, hitting every stop along the way and every train in between. I hit at least forty percent of all the train stations in New York City. I was up on the D and F lines, but I was truly king of tagging trucks. Nobody hit more trucks than I did. There were tons of truck yards near where I lived and when I walked my dogs (trained German Shepards) late at night, I would tag at least 50-200 a day. I was relentless, doing this every day for several years. I was also king of Brooklyn buses, because there were five major bus lines within two blocks of my house. I would chill with the neighborhood guys on the corner many evenings and tag everything that came by.
What crews have you written for? How did W. A. R. start?
Last Survivors for a hot minute. EX Vandals for life. WG and I founded WAR "Writers Already Respected". WG and I got so tired of all the toys that were writing EX Vandals we felt that it had lost its cache. We wanted to create a new crew of writers with solid reputations that deserved respect. STOP 700 and I founded DEAD. Its been so long I forget what DEAD meant. Oh well, if I ever find Stop I will ask him if he remembers.
Who were your most successful partners?
I never really had any writing partners, because I preferred to work alone. It was a lot easier to be inconspicuous without other people. Cops were hesitant to arrest a clean cut kid reading the Wall Street Journal. Sometimes I ran with WG and STOP 700 but mostly alone.
When did you quit writing?
1973/74. I was a sophomore in college studying economics. I was doing a throw-up in the Canal Street lay-up and got chased by a cop. In order to escape, I had to run and jump onto the platform before an oncoming train hit me. It did not seem worth it for me after that.
Who were the most popular writers of your era?
Brooklyn: DINO NOD, NAMIT, WAP, WG, JAKE, SLIM 1, KING OF KOOLS, STUD, COOL CAT 1, UNDERTAKER ASH, APP SUPER HOG, SCOOTER, ICE, SLIM, FLOWERS DICE, SPIN, NOL, STOP 700, KOOL KITO, MICO, FLINT 707, FLINT...
Manhattan: COOL CLIFF 120, PIPER 1, TAN 144, COCO 144, SNAKE 1, SJK 171, STITCH 1, JEC STAR, JESTER 1, LSD3 OM, JUNIOR 161, ACE 137,
Bronx: AMRL, PHASE 2, SUPER KOOL 223, STAY HIGH 149, LINONEL 168, LEE 163, ElMARKO 174, RIFF 1 170, HULK 62, RAY-B 954, KOOL KEVIN 1.
Are there any writers you feel made significant contributions to writing that have been over looked by history?
More than people who have been overlooked, I am dismayed by later generations of people who try to revise history by inserting themselves into it. I have seen guys who were in diapers in 1969/1970 saying in interviews that they started the writing scene.
Unfortunately, like another urban ethnic phenomenon-jazz, the writing experience has spawned numerous wannabes and other cultural historian parasites who have also tried to rewrite history to suit their own perspective. I once had one of these types argue with me disputing the time line and accomplishments of my writing career. So, going forward, we will make a concerted effort to ensure that the perspective of the people who were actually there is accurately reflected.
Are you currently involved in art in any capacity?
I have found my latest true passion, something which mixes work, play and art together in one for me. I have become a commodity trader utilizing graphical interpretations and visual representations of math models to make trading decisions. Attached is a sample of what my world now looks like. This is the Dow Jones Index from an intraday basis as of today. Who knows, I may come back and combine some of the patterns of my new world with my old.
Any closing words?
Becoming a writer changed me profoundly, because when I first started I was in prep school. I had not been exposed to people like some of the characters I met writing. I learned how to be able to relate to all kinds of people from those experiences. Additionally, I learned how to read situations from my writing days. Also, what most people fail to take into account was that this was a very large natural selection process of defining your own identity and alpha male status based on your own terms; a phenomenon born in the number one city on earth.
Most of the writers who were very good, were creative, smart, articulate and clever people. I truly believe that they would have succeeded at anything if they used the same amount of energy and focus.
Further for the young writers today, I say this, "If writing is what you would pay to be able to do, then follow your bliss and do it. Do it well and give every ounce of your soul to what you love because you will never know where it will lead you."
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