Friday, August 28, 2009

New york, New York, big city of dreams, but everything in New York ain't always what it seems.

Philly's finest.

I’ll keep this brief, which is a rarity if you know me.

I must have known Adam for over 20 years, and this is what I know:
He was a solid, dependable, real motherfucker in a town full of people who can be anything but.
He repped his hometown of Philly to the fullest.
He was passionate about hip-hop, almost to the point of fighting words if you said something he disagreed with.
He loved DJ’s and the DJ culture, especially those who created it, came before, and those who kept it alive.

On a personal level, he was just a total sweetheart and one of the homies, everyone loved him, he was that kind of guy.

He was a sober man who cared deeply about his personal recovery from drugs and alcohol and was always there for anyone in need…. I’ve seen it.

He was a guy who worked his way from the ground up, from playing the smallest spots, to owning the biggest, from aspiring DJ to one of the most technically gifted in the game. He became a showman who rocked parties, and truly the first of the new wave of American superstar DJ’s who would become the new rock stars.

He could be arrogant, hot headed, and excitable, but it all came from a good place, cause though I didn’t know him well in the last years of his life, it always seemed to me that he was still the insecure yet absolutely adorable fat kid who just wanted everyone to know how dope he was.

I was coming up as an MC when he was first DJ’ing and there were many times in the early 90’s and sometimes much more recently when I’d walk into a club and he’d throw on an old song of mine, to which I’d cover my face in half-embarrassment and he’d laugh and hold up the album cover for me and the room to see.

He’d always ask for copies and I’d give him rarities and remixes, mainly because I knew he was the type of friend who genuinely got stoked when his friends were doing their thing…not to mention he was a collector.

I remember so clearly the days coming up in the LA scene with him, Scotty Caan, The Alchemist, Evidence, Seth, Ethan B, Milla, Balthazar, Corky, Jenny Lewis, and so many other kids just having a blast and running this town.

I will especially never forget when we were filming a music video for a song of mine and he came down to support and ended up being in the crowd scene, jumping up and down with his fist in the air with a big smile across his face. I sometimes watch it on youtube and crack up at how far we’ve come.

But most of all I will remember him in that apartment on La Cienega, bent over the turntables for hours practicing his chops, showing me transforming tricks with his fingers so fast I couldn’t believe, cutting the record to say his DJ name, and armed with the conviction and passion of someone with something to prove…he wanted to be the best. And some would argue he succeeded.

I don't even know if I'd seen him since the plane crash that nearly took his life less than a year ago, but I was amazed at how he recovered and seemed to live his life with a renewed vigor and passion, facing his fears head-on, which only serves as an even greater tragedy that after all he’d been through he was still taken from us much too soon.

Since the crash he played Coachella, donned a Daft Punk helmet, rocked thousands, both by himself and with Travis Barker, filmed a TV show, made a cameo in Iron Man 2, continued his work with his management company, Deckstar, and threw out the first pitch at a Mets game.

Not bad.

He was rich to the point of not having to work, and living out his dreams like a man with a 2nd chance, but he was also still hustling and busting his ass like the chubby kid with something to prove spinning in the booth at The Dragonfly so many years ago.

For me personally it’s a reminder that while it may seem like someone has everything, you never really know what’s going on inside someone else’s skin.

I’m not saying anything about his death, to that I cannot speak, as I don’t know the circumstances, but what I do know about is his life.

My only hope is that we can use this platform of technology to spread love rather than sensationalism and speculation.

Whatever facts come out won’t take away from the things he spent years of his life dedicated to, opening doors for himself as well as others along the way-
DJ's and the art of DJ'ing, hip-hop, and recovery.
Oh, and the shoes….so many fucking shoes.
There will be rumor and gossip, there will be sadness and mourning, and there will be the peculiar horror show that seems native to Los Angeles, a one-upmanship of sorrow in a sort of contest to see who can cry harder, appear sadder, grieve longer, or claim a closer friendship to the one who passed. Though it sounds cynical, in a town so celebrity obsessed, in a time when so many are passing, this type of thing is inevitable, and in it’s own strange way it’s a tribute.
But the truth is this. It is all of our loss, first to his family, then to his friends, then to his cities, both Philly and LA, and lastly to the culture he helped build upon, the culture of DJ’ing and the culture of hip hop.

He truly was an amazing man who was taken way, way too soon.
I love you, AMG.
I guess I couldn't keep it brief.

Tonight the Palms hotel and casino pays their respects to our dear friend.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I nominated my DJ the president.

Rest In Peace.

One of the greats.

End of a dynasty.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Takin' out you suckas and you don't know how I did it

These guys seem to have a good thing goin' on.
Never met em, don't know em, but between seeing their crew at the swap, their bikes in Dice© and on their blog, and from what mutual friends have told me I've gotta say, they got class.
They surf, skate, and moto. The whole deal. No posing.

Dunno if this is their shop, or a friend's, either way, I'm sure it'll be happening.

I want this so bad it actually hurts.
I was hipped to this by my beautiful and much cooler than me wife.
If you don't know about this, I ain't gonna tell you until our print is hanging in the house.

This was posted somewhere as an HA photo shoot.
I almost called bullshit as it looks too fuckin' good and pro-shot, until I saw what I'm guessing is Terry The Tramp wearing glasses and kneeling. I think it's legit.

This was from a New York Times style section piece in 2008.
It's a shot by Bob Carlos Clarke, an amazing Irish photographer who died in 2006.
Again, this was a shot I didn't believe was legit, (mainly as it's labeled Hells Angels 1973 and by that time there were no female patch holding members - not that these girls are wearing cuts, but still, it's calling them Angels, not their girls.)
It's probably a group of ol' ladies posing on their own bikes, as it's doubtful any members would be rocking a chopped Trump Trophy like mine.
This could be something that was staged today, that's how fucking amazing the subjects and photo are.
R.I.P, Mr. Clarke, nice work.
I'm now rethinking my bike for the 49th time.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Can it be that it was all so simple then?

If AIR was an American band, this is what they would sound like.

It all makes so much sense now.

Little Darlings. Though it missed the 70's by a few months, I think it embodies the feeling of the late 70's more than the early 80's, which is more Meatballs.
A staple of the era for teen girls, and a dream flick for young boys who like myself were unaware that the boyish charm exuding from Kristy McNichol was hardcore lesbianism.

As former hottest chick of the decade Jodie was going wild in the streets of L.A. in Foxes, Tatum had gone from cute as a button tween playing for the Bears, to hottest chick on the screen who would later give even her father inappropriate wood.

For you trivia geeks, Cynthia Nixon, famous for being a cast member in the most horrible thing to ever happen to television which almost single-handedly ruined the way women think, shop, and speak - Sex And The City, is pictured just to the left of Kristy Mc.

And in the back row center is Alexa Kenin, a face you may recognize from numerous after school specials, Gimme A Break, Facts Of Life, and most famously as one of the mean rich girls who gave Andie a hard time in Pretty In Pink.
Tragically, she was murdered in her Manhattan apartment by her ex-boyfriend in 1986.
Pretty In Pink was dedicated to her memory.

On a lighter note, who's the chesty fox to her right?
Actually, strike that. I'm sure she's married with fat kids, has cankles and wears gunt jeans while bargain hunting grape drink at Big Lots!.

The real question is who's the smiley girl with the jew-fro in the back?
She's probably hot as shit now, living in Fort Greene and rocking the Stevie Nicks 2009 look, replete with feathers, ankh necklace, headband and whose sangria demeanor keeps her from being overly discriminative about who gets to see The Vajj.
It's always the sleeper, never the one you expect.

Though it seems like a shot snapped in the basement of 54, this is actually a living person blazing awesome in the present day.
Malik Pointer.
Photo gaffled from Geoff Moore's fb page.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Say peace to cats who rock mack knowledge knowledgists, street astrologists, light up the mic, God, knowledge this.

RIP Andy Kessler
One of the godfathers of NYC skating, and an all around nice dude.
I only met him once but he was very close with a dear friend of mine and helped her out a lot, and for that I am thankful.
He will be missed.

If you don't know who he is, it's a perfect excuse to check out an incredible documentary featuring the man.
It's called From Deathbowl To Downtown, directed by Coan Nichols and Rick Charnoski, two guys that make raw ass skateboarding films. (With music supervision from my boy Sam Velde of Night Horse and Bluebird fame).
It's dropping on DVD Sept. 15th, so go support and pay your respects to a legend in the process.


And if you don't know, now you know.

When I first started getting into graf there were a few people who opened the door for me in one way or another. In 7th grade Mach One used to draw on paper and show me blackbook pieces in class and at lunch. He was probably the gateway to the culture of graf besides breakdancing and hip hop, both of which I was already involved in. He told me about his stoner gang, MLS, "Mota Locos" and his graf crew, KGB, Kids Gone Bad, and I thought it was the coolest shit I'd ever heard. He was also a surfer and stood out like a sore thumb at the posh prep school we attended in the valley. Mach was into cooler shit than anyone, the thing was, all the Less Than Zero rich kids didn't get it.....but I did.

He went on to do most of the graf for the film "Colors", and is now an accomplished artist.
Later in life I became close friends with a bunch of his crew from back in the day, all KGB, MLS, LADS dudes.

Probably the second dude to really hook me up was a guy named Power. This was before he started the first legit graffiti mag in the world, Can Control. It was a strange set of circumstances that hooked us up, but basically, my dad's secretary (back when you could use that term without hassle) was a super cool indie rock girl named Sarah. She was mad cool and we always got along great.
One day when Power was visiting the office he must have started talking to my dad and found out I was ob'd with graf, cause the next thing I know, dad comes home with a piece Power did for me on paper, it was of my name, and had a Mickey Mouse character in the back (I was like 13, but the point was it was a burner).
I finally met him in person and thanked him for the piece, which by now was on my wall. He came over to my crib one day and was gonna help me throw a fresh coat of white paint on the back of my garage, as my parents said we could do whatever we wanted on the back of it.
This was huge, I now had my own private yard. So Power comes over, and before we can even get out the Krylon, I cut my finger down to the bone trying to pry open a huge tub of white house paint. (still have the scar to prove it).
Total drag. Power bailed, dad took me to the E.R., and we never got to paint my garage. (I did for years to come, but that's another story). I was bummed we didn't get to hit up the garage, but that feeling didn't last, cause as soon as my index finger was ready to hit a tester's tip, he took me out bombing for real, this time at the legendary Belmont Tunnel.

To give some back story, I had tagged a bit with my boys, mostly Flash UTI, Kaze, Master UTI, and Esk, but I hadn't done an illegal piece yet, just throw-ups and tags, so for a kid who was like 13, going to the most insane yard in all of L.A. in what at the time seemed like the sketchiest hood ever, was just beyond.

So Power and I met up with Duke, another legend, and we went to it. I had a little piece folded up in my pocket that was wack as fuck, but it didn't matter, cause I was gonna do it for real, my first piece, in one of the heaviest yards in the city....craze.

So Duke busts a piece of his name in the style of the Coke© font, Power does one of his usual burners, curvy lines, clean outline, epic, and to the left of them, teeny-bopper Justin does a little "RDL" in white with red outline (we all shared paint).
Embarrassing to say, but at the time, Riddler was my tag, and the best I could come up with for an abbreviation was that.

Yeah, I know.

Anyway, Power dedicates his piece to me as Just66 (just as he would later give me a shout out in one of the first ever issues of Can Control in the thank yous), Duke makes me feel like we're not going to die being in this heavy cholo hood (he was down with everyone on the east side and as an ex-banger, no one would fuck with him), and I do my first illegal, wack...yes, but nevertheless it was done in the company of giants....literally actually, as it was half the height of the other two pieces.

And if you look in the back of The History Of Los Angeles Graffiti on page 338 you will see the Duke and Power pieces, and to the left, just out of frame cropped out onto the cutting room floor, is the edge of yours truly's first ever illegal burner, thick sketchy outline, no control, bad style, and one of the last times I tagged that name on a piece, as even I knew the name was busted and quickly changed it up.

I never saw Duke again, Power and I lost touch, and my dad's "executive assistant", Sarah broke up with Power and went on to work at one of the coolest record stores in L.A. history - Record Trader, at the northwest corner of Melrose and Spaulding. Many of the employees from this spot went on to work at Aaron's, Penny Lane, and later Amoeba, but this was THE spot back in the day. Sarah and the crew sold me many pieces of vinyl which I would sample and turn into hip-hop beats, and this was one of the first places where you could go and trade in your old CD's for cash or trade (I lived on this, thank you staff of Record Trader).

But I digress.

Soon after I was introduced to the Woodman/Oxnard yard by Else and Dash 2000 (both of whom lived blocks away and claimed ownership of the yard, but that's another story), and started spending mad time there with the aforementioned UTI's, as well as random mobbing with cats like Sec, Miner, Lerk, Skar, and my road dog at the time, Pike, with whom I'd tag all city and hit spots like the Motor Yard, the old Santa Monica Blvd/Crescent Heights yard, the 405 near the Sunset Blvd overpass, and so many other spots my frazzled brain can't even remember.

There were other writers who came to be equally as influential in other ways, such as Rise, Rev, Relm, and Phyn, plus those I actually kicked it with such as Serf, Wise, and Rage, all from The Chosen Few, TCF, but it was Power who really sparked the fire that got me into it, and for that I thank him, cause 23 years later I'm still in love with graffiti, and I feel lucky to have shared some history with a few of the guys who helped make it into what I believe to be the city that spawned the greatest graffiti artists of all time.
(I'm hunting for some better pix of Power's stuff, for now here's what I could find...apologies).

My favorite piece running right now.

It's funny, coming up I was so into Rise that I almost didn't like Risk by default. Even though I grew up checking him out on the walls, in the books, and knowing he helped create the L.A. graf movement, I guess the rivalry and tension between the two of them and their crews just got the better of me like a kid rooting for his home team in the championships.

But now that time's gone by, I have to admit it....straight up, Risk is the best.

At the time maybe the only dudes CLOSE were Dream from SMD, Charlie DTK, and some of the New York cats, and later maybe Mear, but it's all so subjective and debatable.
But you know what? Not really. He was the man.
And when it comes down to it, he helped start it, he's still doing it, and he's still running it.
It's nice to look at it with some distance and perspective now and to really be able to give it up for what he is...

Risky - Sever, MSK.

I jacked this from someone on Facebook, forget who. Doesn't matter, I don't scan, I jack and write awesome, you find the photos, OK?

Sorry. Get over it.

Scott Oster, Christian Hosoi, Cesario "Block" Montano, Vince "back off Warchild" Klyne, and some other random Hosoi skate dudes at the legendary Wallows. (Yes, that epic ditch as featured in the magnum opus, "Animal Chin")

I was so jealous when Brunetti started rocking the SLA flag in his shit for FUCT. I've always been super into the whole Hearst affair and the symbolism of these freaks.

When I ask, "is this the best picture ever?", you say, "fuck yeah!"

OK, it's been a long time coming, but here's some pictures of where my bike, "Black Jesus" - is currently at.
The pipes are mounted, the front end is rebuilt, there's sick new tires on my janky wobbles-gallobles wheels, and the bars and awesome headlight (I WILL pay you, Beans) are in mock-up mode, but I have to say, this thing is fucking aggressive and I'm feeling it like an extra large Diet Coke© with Jack In The Box tacos.

Don't mind the lame tilt on the bars, just goofing around and wanted a good angle to see the dog bones and Max Schaaf grips. But angle aside, I'm pretty stoked on the bar configuration I mashed together. Somewhere between drags on risers, Z's, and some weird shit that happened by accident. In any event, I'm down like brown.

Don't act like you don't love Wham!
I for one remember when this read, "Wham UK!", as they had to add the country of origin to avoid a lawsuit with an American band (Who the entire world NEVER heard from before or after, so who's laughing now, dick fucks?).
They soon dropped the UK and their sense of fashion for slogan shirts and feathered hair, but I will always remember them like this.
Gay as shit and fucking awesome in all their Club Tropicana glory.

This should be a Nike ad.

File under: Wow.
If you were to visit Dinah's chicken on San Fernando Blvd., these will greet you as you enter.

Bowie came to the beach with mom and dad the other day.

I asked him to give her a kiss.

When I finished surfing, I explained to him how it worked.

He got it.

Young Truman Capote sure was cool before the hat and the weird.

Amazing cover art, totally indicative of a time and place in mid-eighties Los Angeles.
I absolutely love that period in just about everything, specifically as it pertains to L.A.
Besides coming on the heels of his "sex tape" scandal (before they were commonplace and almost mandatory on every actor's imdb resume), this film also featured Lisa Zane, and for once Spader didn't play the heavy or the creep.

This film was not nominated for an Academy Award©.

500cc Tiger.

There's a theme at work, I swear.

Lee Grant. There were few women sexier and better looking than she was in her prime.

Co-star and Sit-In alum, Goldie Hawn. Totally underrated in the category of beautiful women.

Jesus. 80's paparazzi pics were so much cooler. Lilo could never hold a candle or a coke spoon to this sort of town-car hangover sexy-messness.

I love her.

At least she settled down with a dude who wasn't a total douchebag.
I mean, Snake Plisskin, Nick Frescia, Cash....Jack Burton?
Dude is alright with me.

I almost don't even wanna tell you who this is cause I don't need you drooling over my favorite 60's crush.
Joanna Pettet.
Look it up, I'm not telling you shit, you fuck.

Awww, so fucking cute.
Pre-Rosemary, pre Frank Sinatra's ritual abuse, and pre Bat-Shit-Crazy throwing around wild unfounded accusations of child molestation because her longtime boyfriend was doing the nasty with her adopted daughter (who hated Mia enough to bone, fall in love with, marry, and play mother to her step dad, Woody).

Good hair too.

I like white girls.



Sorry, couldn't resist.
Now when you watch Rocky, Copland, or Death Race 2000, you're gonna think about his penis.