PAID 3 INTERVIEW
© 2003 @149st Do not republish without permission.
Where and what year did you start writing on trains?
I started writing gradually in the beginning of 1975 on train stations. As I began meeting other writers, I became more involved. I started hitting the #1 line because I felt more comfortable than, on the A Line, because I was more familiar with its surroundings, and it was closer to my house.
What inspired you to become involved in writing?
The euphoria of seeing my art (tag) moving all over the city. I saw it as a way to express my artistic ability as well as a way to defy authority- (my mother)!
Did you have a mentor?
Not any one specific. However, I was aiming at the status of the top guys from those days. Guys like KT3, POT, Peace 108, Ben, CLIFF 159 (rip).
Who influenced your style?
There were 2 guys who influenced my style. The first guy was KT3 and the second guy was POT. Later on as I became more involved in writing, I found out they were brothers. How POT influenced me? I loved his P. He wrote his P erected, I wrote it slanted to my left. As for KT3, his 3 caught my eyes. As time went on, I refined my tag; I made it more fluid like a leaf under water. In addition, you usually begin a word with a capital letter, in my case; I began my tag with a small "p".
How did you get your name and number?
I used to hear guys say "I wanna' get pay" I though about it and I did write PAY for awhile, but I did not feel comfortable with it. PAY was a perfect tag. A three-letter word. However I thought about TOYS copying my tag. I decided to use it in the past tense. As for the 3, I loved how KT3 wrote his 3. Later on, I began seeing the 3 on LSD3.
List all the other names under which you have painted?
Before, I actually painted on the trains; I was hitting the streets Uptown in Washington Heights. I went with the names such as GOYA, SPAM, and PAY. I did not go far under these tags because my heart was not into them.
What borough are you originally from and what area?
I was originally from Washington Heights then moved to the Boogie down Bronx. While I lived in the Bronx, I used to hit the 1 Line as well the 4 Line. While I lived in the Bronx, I met the Salsa Crew. The crew members I was involved with were SCHICK, KROME 100, WASP 1, FDT 56- I met him once, OZ 109- even though, he was the president of THE KILLERS ( T.K.), he was involved with the Salsa Crew.
What lines have you hit?
Mainly, I hit the 1-Line. I discovered that if I hit the 1-Line, the MTA rotated the cars to the 3-Line. Therefore getting more exposure in Brooklyn. I hit the A and AA, 4, 6 but I concentrated on the 1-Line. This was the ONLY line I was comfortable with.
Tell us about the first time you went to a yard or lay-up?
I never went to a yard such as The Ghost Yard. I tried to go on the 4-Line lay-up between Fordham and Queens Bridge. I had a bad experience on this lay-up. I basically went to the 145th/137th Tunnel. Most of the time, I would hit the trains running from Dyckman Street to Van CourtLand. The first time I went the Tunnel, I went alone at 5:00 am on a Sunday morning. Why so early? Well, most of guys used to go in on Saturday Night. These guys I considered them vandals. They went to the tunnel to drink beers, break light bulbs and create a lot of noise. As a result, The Tunnel would get hot for a few hours. When I came in the morning, with my Chinese shoes, my coat inside out, my fat caps and a flash light, I would find cans. The whole tunnel would be for myself. This is one of the reasons why I was a lonely cat most of the time. I did not have a partner like KT3 and POT.
Who were your most successful partners?
I never really had any partners. I hanged out at 181st Street 1-Line station with some guys to see who went over who and check out any new guys coming into the scene. I used get together with TORCH 153, MOE, BLESS 133 to name a few, to steal Rustolium and the infamous Red Devil. But partners, none. I was a lone writer for most of my career. My motto "Why would I want to hang with guys who were careless in their craft; you could do the craft without getting busted or chased " I never got chased, busted or caught by the two infamous rats- the detectives Hickey and Ski.
What crews have you written for?
I met DEAN a.k.a. LE (rip) we clicked on the spot; He gave me permission to tag BYB. My friend MOE, knew JESTER aka DY, DYE; Moe gave me permission to tag T.C.- (The Crew ). I knew OZ 109; He was the president of THE KILLERS ( T.K.). When I moved to The Bronx, I met the Salsa crew.
SCHICK, who the president, gave me permission to tag Salsa. Even though, I had permission to tag all the crews, I rarely did. At this time, the Broadway Line was overcrowded with writers. I rarely found any space for my tag, let alone the crew tags. When I had the chance, I did give credits to the guys. Keep in mind that I tagged while the trains were in motion, most of the time.
Did you have any memorable conflicts with other crews on the subway?
No; I have no conflicts stories. I was a shy individual who stood on the background of crowds to listen and observe. When I used to go the Tunnel and found Pieces of guys that knew, I would go to another location. If it was dark, I would put a light bulb and do my thing. I respected other guys work. I guessed I received that as well.
Where were your favorite locations to paint?
Preferred locations? On the outside, on the side of the cars, hardly on windows. On the inside - anywhere I had a chance except on the windows.
Any good tunnel stories?
No, I have no tunnel stories. Most of the time, I used to tag alone on the inside and as well as the outside. The guys that I used to come with me were guys that did not wanted to get busted or chased out of the tunnel.
Any good raid stories?
I never got caught or chased because I knew when to go and not to go to the Tunnel. However, I used hear guys getting caught in the Tunnel by cops, as well as, ripped off by other crews. Gang members from Brooklyn and The Bronx would drop by and ripped off guys. I avoided all kinds of confrontations because I considered myself an artist not a thug.
Who were the main cops when you were writing?
I used to hear two cops who had no mercy on writers. These cops were Hickey and Ski. They were nickname after the TV series Starsky and Hutch. There were rumors these guys were looking for me. They could not put a face to my name. This was another reason why laid low most of the time.
Did you go to the Atlantic Avenue, 149th Street or Broadway writer's benches and if so do you have any interesting memories?
I avoided 149th Concourse because Hickey and Ski used to go there to harass the writers and take pictures of them, which later on could be used against the writers. The times I went there, I kept a distance from the "Bench".
The Bench was the location were you would have found the FAB5, UA, and other crews. I went once with a friend who tagged MOE to Atlantic Avenue but we felt out of place because most of the guys were from Brooklyn. I went a couple of times to the Brooklyn Bridge station the last stop of the 6 Line. While we were hanging, AJ 161 took out a marker and began tagging. We were chased out of the station. Perhaps, a complete picture was emerging; these places were to be avoided unless I wanted to be singled-out, photographed by cops or picked on by tough guys.
What made your area of the city special?
My area was special because guys from other parts of the city would drop by either looking for someone or just looking for trouble.
Who were the top writers from your area?
There were several writers. In the Street were STITCH (rip), PAPO 184 (rip), C.A.T. 187 and many others. In the inside of the subway cars were KT3, POT, and many others. Outside the cars, PEACE 108, BEN. On the A-Line were, VINNY, IZ THE WIZ, TI 149, DYE aka JESTER, TEE And the mother of all was IN, IN, IN, IN, IN, IN, IN, IN, IN, IN, IN, IN, IN, IN, IN, IN, IN.
Are there any writers of your era that you feel need more acknowledgements in history ?
I feel the old writers should be given more of an acknowledgement because these were the guys who started going to the tunnel, lay-up and yard. Even though their style was not as pleasant to look at. They began a new movement in the history of graffiti. Before they came along, writers were hitting the streets. Your tag was stationary. Where as the old writers came along in the trains, now your tag would move all over the city.
How do you feel about the state of writing today?
Today's writing is NOT underground as it was in my days. The Hip Hop community has picked-up the calligraphy aspect of graffiti and used it on Compact Disks covers, and clothes. Today, you have the scratching of glass. For me, this is vandalism and NOT graffiti. In the old-school graffiti, we had the culture, the commemority, a place to meet and socialized and talk about the state of what was happening at the moment in time.
With the advent of the Internet, The message will get to a wider audience, but it lacks the hanging out locations we used to have. Sure, a Cyberhangout, chitchat, but never an Atlantic Avenue or a 149th Street. You donŐt have the human interaction as in the old school days.
When did you quit painting trains?
That's funny, because that's how my mother used to refer to it. I never saw it that way. I began the process of "quitting" around 1979 when I began getting into music. I kept in contact with KROME 100, WASP 1 because of music. I later found out the KAZE 2 was Todd Terry- a DJ/producer.
Do you have any closing words?
I think there were vandals and artists. The artists are the one coming out of the woods. These guys are still artists like myself. I think these artists knew how to manipulate colors and gave depth to the art form of calligraphy. Artists such JESTER, STAY HIGH 149, LSD 3, KT 3, POT, etc.. Too many to mention! I appreciate very much you providing me with the opportunity to look back at a part of subway history. A history very much alive within me. Thanks P A I D THREE.
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