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.


  1. Raekwon quote from "Daytona 500"--dope.
    Graff stories--dope.
    Your fam--cute.
    Capote, cool?--ehh. He looks like he should be in Weezer.
    Bike--ill, unfortunately the headlight's all wrong. Do yourself a favor, take it off right now and send it to me. And please tell me you're going to have a mural of black Jesus, a la James Evans, Jr., painted on the tank.
    Liking white girls--first tenet of the mulatto creed.
    Rocky's cocky(Dick Rambone)--you're wrong for that, son.
    My brain is scarred for eternity.


  2. Do you know Penner? he is a graf artist too, my neighbor.
    Those are the coolest pics of your son on your board.
    Thanks for sharing Justin!

  3. What about black girls? or mixed chicks?

  4. Gee...thanks Justin, now Amber (the squeeze) can never again watch a Stallone flick...ever, without giggling.

  5. I really really enjoyed your telling of the graffiti story.

  6. in your graf story, you said your main road dog was PIKE. is that the actor guy Corin Nemec. i've read some online stuff that says he wrote PIKE or PYKE, and maybe TCF back in the days. any truth to that.