pppWhen and where did you start
writing? Can you tell us the first names you saw?pp
I started writing in the
seventh grade, Bronx New York 1972.
The first names that I saw up were
BRONX BUS WRITERS,
MIKEL 182, T.T. SMOKIN 182, and IRON MIKE Mike 3.
What were the earliest writing
groups that you were in?
The first writing group
that I met was THE MOB!
VAMM was a major writer in that group.
In 1973, I met STAFF 161 at 149st Concourse by the writers bench, who was the president of
THE EBONY DUKES. PHASE 2 gave me the thumbs up in 1974 to join the
IND's. In 1975 or so , TRACY
168 asked me to join WILD STYLE.
STAFF.161 leader of THE EBONY DUKES -
Can you tell us about your
first experience painting the trains? And, where that was?
My first train piece was
in June 1972. I still have a picture of it somewhere in my photo albums.
I went to the
lay-up with M.S. 18 (ROACH 1). Not knowing what to do didn't stop
me. All I knew was that it
was time to paint a train. The uptown # 2 two trains were coming in to the
station every few minutes, but I managed to paint a small window-down piece.
quite an accomplishment for a 13 year old. Once I got home safely, I started to
make plans for the next week.
first piece, 1972.
Earlier tags by SUPER KOOL 223, BUG.170, PHASE.2 and KOOL-T.163.
Who would you say were your
best writing partners?
That's a tough question to answer! Well, I did the most pieces with Doo-2.
have great memories of bombing Baychester lay-up & the Esplande tunnel with
and TAV-1. An honorable mention to ROACH 1 who got me started writing
DOO.2 and ALE.1
PISTOL 1 is credited for doing
the first 3-D piece. There is a famous photo of this car
with an ALE piece on the side of it. Could you tell us a little bit about that?
This is probably my favorite story to tell. The story begins in the
winter of 1973, when
I met M.S.18 (who later changed
his name to ROACH) at his house on Allerton Avenue. We went painting at
the morning at Esplanade tunnel. M.S. 18 thought it was better to paint late at
night and avoid all the writers that would be there early in the evening. And I
thought who could raid us that late at night?
We walked to Pelham Parkway station and the booths were closed. Back then you
pay on the train after 11 pm . The inside of the station was deserted.
There was no sound
except the humming of the lay-up train motors. We walked through the
lay-up tunnel, and
even with the limited lighting, you can see a gallery of the best writers of the
day. I walked past a fresh STAFF 161 piece with a checker board cloud.
The STAFF piece looked incredible. The paint looked as if it was just painted.
Three cars down I saw a PISTOL 1 piece. It has a 3-D design that blew me away.
I stared at it for a while, until I realized that
there was a nice clean spot next
So, I knocked out a window-down ALE piece. It wasn't my best effort, but the rest is
history! Many writers say PISTOL did not do the first 3-D piece. I can tell you
that I watched many a train in the early 70's and PISTOL 's piece was the first 3'D that
I saw. In any case , PISTOL's 3-D piece was unquestionably, one of the best
pieces done in 1973. I met PISTOL at a gallery show in 1996 and he told me that
piece was his last train piece! I had a few pieces of mine crossed out
during my run. The more pieces you do the more likely somebody is going to get
famous 3-d car by PISTOL
In the 1970's, outlaw gangs
where real big. Did you have any run-ins with any of them? Did they
any problems for you, while you were getting up?
I grew up in Co-op City (Bronx N.Y.).
The two most known gangs around Co-op were the SAVAGE SKULLS and the
SAVAGE SKULLS had many members who were writers. PROBE 2, was a SAVAGE
SKULL member who did many pieces back in the day at the Baychester
lay-up. I was
friends with PROBE 2, so I had no problems with THE SAVAGE SKULLS. In 1975, I ran
into some trouble with the VALLEY BOYS. One night some members spotted me and
TAV-1 painting at the Baychester lay-up. From the streets they were yelling
and cursing at us and causing a scene. They were going to blow my favorite painting
spot, so I started throwing track rocks down at them. Yeah....... that flipped them
or six of them tried to climb up to the lay-up, but they didn't know where the
entrance hole was. We thought they had given up, but when TAV-1 and I left the
lay-up, they chased us about ten blocks. I was wiped out from painting, but I was
not about to get caught , so I pushed people out of the way until I found a
building to hide in. That was a major escape from a really bad situation!
Could you tell us all the train
lines you hit back in the 1970's?
My main train line was
the number 5 line. I wrote on the 2
line quite a bit, as well.
I had a few pieces on the 6 line, but that was due to the 5 & 6 line
trains switching with each other.
In 1974, I was visiting the 4 yard often and made lots of trips to the CC and
D yard. A blast from the past hello to PNUT 2, BOT 707, R.I.P. SOLID 1 - my little
buddy, PEL, KINDO, who I met all the time at the D yard.
BILLY.167 and ALE-ONE.
What was your favorite spray paint of
My favorite paint is Red Devil. My colors were orange, delta blue and the
standard gloss black
- Throw on a Jiff
foam cap and you are good to go.
Would you have any racking
stories you can tell us?
My favorite paint racking story happened in 1974.
150, BILLY 167 & I went
to Great Eastern Department store in Yonkers. We were only going to rack up 15
cans and leave, but
JOHN 150 convinced me to fill three store bags with 30 cans of paint ( and bring
the bags to the front of the store). I left the bags by the register and
JOHN 150 picked them up and proceeded to walk out the door. BILLY 167 and I
were behind him laughing at this insane move. Nobody followed us out the
door, and we realized that we got over, and headed for the bus stop. What a score!
that weekend banging out Top-to-Bottoms and whole cars.
What would you say was the best
piece you ever did on the trains?
The "best car" that I ever did?
would have to be my first whole car Top-to-Bottom in 1974. School bus yellow
wide letters, federal safety red outline and a federal safety orange cloud.
took about 15 cans of Rustoleum paint to do. JOHN 150 and BILLY 167 were with
me in the Esplande tunnel when I did it. When I came home that day ,I was
covered in orange paint from head
to toe. In 1974, whole cars done by one person ,were not that
common. There was a great feeling of accomplishment when you finally did one.
Hickey and Ski were two very
big Graffiti cops back in the day. Did you have any run ins with them?
Hickey and Ski
were on the beat after I quit writing. I never met them.
What writer do you feel is
truly over looked in the history of writing?
LSD 3 deserves a lot
of credit for his style and color choice. He's one writer that, I wish I had done
a piece with.
of the writing group THE
Would you have any chase
stories for us?
I was chased and raided from yards and lay-ups many a time. I have
never been caught or convicted of a graffiti offense. Some writers brag about their getaways, but I am thankful for every escape I
Would you have any stories
about the writers bench in the 1970's?
I visited the bench many times during its popularity in the early 70's. I
met FDT 56, BIC 149, A.J. 161, PHASE 2, and many 4 yard writers over there.
never stayed long at 149th street because the bench was raided often.
When did you quit writing?
I quit painting trains in 1977. The writing scene was changing.
The original master writers that
I admired were quitting
and the new generation writers were different. There were too many two
letter throw-up pieces and the trains were filthy and dirty. The respect between
writers was slowly fading. I saw many great pieces crossed out.
I threw my last can of paint into the
bushes at the Baychester lay-up in the summer of 1977. In 1987, I heard that the Transit
Authority was planning to clean all subway cars. ROACH and I had decided
to plan a night
mission. I went to Baychester lay-up with him and we painted one piece each.
It was sad to
think it was my last train piece.
ALE, do you have any closing words?
I don't have a list of shout outs.
The list would be very
long and I don't want to leave anyone out. I want to thank Gil, BOM 5 and Subwayoutlaws.com for allowing me to express
myself. To all the writers that knew me then, and now....... I hope you all are doing
Peace, Ale 12/26/2002
any one have any of
Ale's work, please contact us at
Interview written and conducted by BOM 005. Photo credits go Ale 1
and the team at Subway Outlaws.