Administrator (NYC Fat Cap)
Posted - 03/15/2015 : 1:21:52 PM
| The Untold Bomber
Chicago Graff History 101
Gentleman (and Ladies),
During the golden era of graffiti in the City of Chicago approx. 1984-1988 you basically had a subculture that consisted of two elements . You had the “Piecers” and the “Bombers” with a chosen few that could do both on an equal level. The Piecers would go through out the lines in the middle of the night and create these beautiful and artistic murals mostly in the dark or if lucky by the light of the moon on the walls they were painting and a lot of those classic pieces along the roof tops and walls around the city became “Kodak moments” forever laying a foundation to build on for generations to come.
Now having said this the fact of the matter remains is that without the determination of the “Bombers” getting up, getting grimey and rocking those lines there wouldn’t be a so called Graff scene in Chicago or to the extent that it is today. Look I know my era is long gone now but I feel that all of the old timers that contributed in those early days of writing should be recognized and given their respect due and one of those oldschoolers is KIX aka KAYO. This is his story.
1.What you write? (Kid Kix, Kix, Kixter), (Kayo, KO), (Kaycin, Kcin, Ksin), (Nynex, 9X) and a few other aliases that were used once.
2. Main crews you represented? TUC, PSKids, KIK and CAR.
3.Active years writing? 1983-1988
4.Whats Lines did you Rock? I mostly rocked the Red and Brown Lines, I couldn’t figure out the Blue line because they would Buff their trains and stations too fast, I think the city paid to much attention to that line.
5.Whats part of Chicago did you grow up in?Several parts of the city due to my mom and dad always fighting. In 1978 my mom moved us from Lowell, MA to the south side of Chicago in the Pilsen area by Cullerton and Carpenter that’s were I was introduced to HIP HOP in the winter of 1982 by some graffiti kid who lived down the street from us at 1919 S. Carpenter, I cant recall his name but he was ACW (All City Writers) affiliated, and all of us were break dancing in 82'. When Style Wars came out it gave me the Graffiti itch. In late August 83’ we moved across the street from Humboldt Park by North ave. and Francisco from there we moved again to the North side in 1985 by Lincoln & Southport, finally settling at Grand and Pulaski in my last days of hardcore taggin' like in 87', so basically we did a whole lot of moving around back then but in the long run it influenced me a lot in my graffiti days because I was able to be familiar with so many neighborhoods and cultures.
6.Speaking of influences You attended Clemente then transferred to Lake view h.s. how was the graffiti or Hip hop cultural in general different between the two schools? In Clemente it was more isolated since the gangs changed from block to block it was tough to be out in the streets tagging on walls, also there was lots of house heads back then, I really wasn't able to find anyone to associate with in the graffiti aspects so I was doing the stuff I carried over from the south side alone, mainly getting up on the Division, Ashland and 18th street Buses. When I got to Lake View it was a whole different ball park, first week in school I met all kind of writers such as Fate, 1See, and a whole bunch of other cats. I was introduced to the brown line by a kid named Armando who tagged ME, and 1See introduced me to hopping the line, by squeezing through the bars and getting on the train for free.
7.Do you remember the first tag you saw up? Really hard to say because in the early 80's gang graffiti and hip hop graffiti were almost identical to really say what was the first tag seen by me, but if I knew back then what I know today and we had iPhones, I would've paid more attention and tooken mad pics.
8.What was your favorite Piece or production from the 1980’s? It was the mural on the Blue line on North Ave. station did by ABC, that was dope for it's time and it opened my eyes that graffiti was city wide not just in the south side of Chicago but all out because at the same time Seen had several colored trow ups on the same blue line but in the south side after the 18th street station.
9.Where you a Lone bomber or did you have a partner in crime? I preferred doing most my damage alone because my partners in crime back then felt uneasy with me using my real graff names while on missions. They always asked me to use a different name because my alias were too hot for them so I had changed tag names for special occasion and times.
I got up a lot with OKIE we both learned a lot of the whole subculture together I even initiated him with the tag name OKIE. We were tight for along time until his father passed away, and after that OKIE was the never the same in a sense well at least to me he wasn’t. But yeah we ROCKED the hades out of the Brown & Red lines from 1985-88.
Then there was SNEAK we did a lot of sides on the red line for a while and we both wrote DEKO as our little joke on the Red line since both of us were well known by Angone and his task force we needed to stay a step ahead of those guys.
I was affiliated with too many cats to name but some that stand out were RAPE aka PJAY, UNEEK, COP911, VANDAL(rip), SMS.
10.What was your choice of Markers and paint to bomb with and why? You may laugh but it was the Magnum 44, because I could use Red, Black or Blue ones,
11. Do you think tunnel running was for everybody back then? Naw not really. I knew only a few that ran the tunnel and many that never did, it went down to how really down you were, the trill of adrenaline and of course some self stupidity because yo' it was dangerous down there. I've walked the tunnels from North/Clybourn all the way to the Washington Station on the red line and I seen only a few people that left their tags down there.
12.Why do you think North/Clybourn station was so popular with writers to crush back in the 80’s? From what I experience during my days it was popular because it was the less populated stop that not so many passengers got on or off at that station like other ones as example Grand/State station. What really made it popular was VANDAL (rip) and SNEAK tearing that station up, I mean that was like the pillar of the Graffiti bombers and that feat was never duplicated by anyone else. I tried and I couldn't even come close. The station was also one of the spots to hit sides, rarely would anybody creep down the platform and see you.
13.Back in the days did you war with anybody or have Beef with any crews?Yes I war-ed with HATE (rip) & CURLE both from ACW. I also battled QUICK and SAX from CTA crew its along story but this predates the beef with me and Eric.
Basically the beef was initiated by me because I had admired some of the artwork of ABC crew back then and I didn’t know anyone from ABC personally but I knew that CTA and ABC was battling so one day I seen a Dis done by QUICK on a wall that said ABC= ALL BUSTED C*NTS and I took it personally so I sprayed a Chinese guy pointing at his naked Butt and said CHINA TOWN A**HOLES (CTA) and boy did that beef get charged up after that. Now remember I wasn’t ABC but I jumped into the battle against CTA crew reppin' ABC in the streets and hallways of Clemente H.S. and it was motivation to hear kids in the hood telling me that “Yo Quick said he’s gonna kick you’re a**, I knew I was making some noise so kept hitting (CTA) hard. I finally quit battling them once word of mouth hit me that the battle was over.
14.Lets talk about the war you had with HATE and CURLE ACW?
Yeah I had beef with both of them because I accidentally went over a KRE-8 (rip) throw up on the Fanny Mae building by Montrose and Ravenswood station on the Brown line, now it wasn’t something I did on purpose since I didn’t even see it in the dark when I did my piece but they didn’t care and made threats so since they wouldn’t accept my apology we battled for almost 3 years, not so much with CURLE since he was M.I.A but with HATE since he was city wide and was down to take it back at me.
15. So HATE hits North/Clybourn with a end to end Flipping your name on ½ of the station squares and ONE huge ass KIXSTER upside down ,when you go there to return the favor you get snag by Angone and his goons? Yeah I wasn't thinking clear because I was in war mode and after hitting one side I walked upstairs instead of hopping the tracks to the other side, while making my turn to walk to the south of the station I got bum rushed and tackle by the task squad. It was stupidity but Hate got into my head and if you ask writers that know me they'll tell you I was more cautious than that.
16. Story has it HATE was there the night you got raided?Yes HATE was in the tunnels when I got caught, VANDAL (rip) told me just before he passed away also SNEAK confirmed it… he said ERIC heard me at the station and was about to confront me but heard the Cops coming and snag me.
17. If Eric was alive today could you see yourself chillin with him and drinking a few brewski while reminiscing about the old days? hades yeah, of course if it wasn't for him I mightn't had enjoy my time in the scene as I did. It wasn't as bad between us as some haters had made it seem. I would've love to asked him why he flip me so big and laughing about them days.
18.After that night at the station you got another visit from Angone what was that all about? Because they did their homework and found out I had trains running on the Brown and Red lines that were done after I was busted and said we know you did these and gave me a list of car numbers of trains I'd hit, they said we'll let them slide if you admit that you did them and won't charge you with any additional charges as long as I don't ever hit a new car not listed. Which KIX never did. I became KAYO.
19. Describe what it was like to go on missions with SNEAK CAR and was it true you guys use to carry your gear in cereal boxes while rocking the Lines? I taught SNEAK to use cereal and cracker boxes to hide his gear in them, because the task force was looking for kids with backpacks and bulges in jackets as suspected taggers, so we put spray cans inside cereal boxes and placed them in shopping bags this way it looks like we just came shopping from the store (LOL) imagine 2 kids on the EL train carrying cereal and Ritz cracker boxes, people probably thought we were eating healthy. It was very effective.
20. You also put in a lot of work with VANDAL (rip) and OKIE XMEN if you had to pick one memory that stands out for each writer what would that be? Damn that's a tough one to answer not for OKIE but with VANDAL (rip) because Robert was troubled in his last days and I'm not sure if I was suppose to intervene. It was as though he was a spirit because he tried to get in touch with a few cats just prior his passing and everyone ignored him, so I accompany him to the Skokie yards not knowing these were probably his last tags before he passed so its tough because in heart he's still here. As for OKIE it was the time he told me to come along because ORKO and a whole bunch of the writers are going to the Howard yards. After we did our dedication to Mayor Washington me and OKIE strayed away from the other writers and rocked the rest of the parked cars in the yards, we were like kids in a candy store we hit insides and sides out the conductor windows it was crazy fun, I thank OKIE for asking me to come along.
21. So You were their when SLANG, ORKO and the rest of the writers that painted the tribute train to the late Mayor “Harold Washington” that made it to circulation and was seen by many through out the city tell us about that? Yeah I was there, that night we all met up on the Howard station and took the Evanston train to South Blvd. and we all walked the tracks from Evanston into the Howard Yard. “It was cold and we were a band at hand” I recall somebody saying that as we made our way, it was so many of us. Slang was making outlines and some of the cats were filling them in and on the other side other cats were doing their stuff, people were all over the yards and what probably was hours felt like minutes. That night I had to write KCIN because OKIE said not to let a few people know who I was, funny thing was I was side to side with some many cats that knew me and others I knew only by face, who was who, would've been the last thing in anybody's mind. The next morning the city parked the trains in the south side and it was a awesome feeling knowing I was part of it. It was something of a last minute and it was greatness.
22.Do you have any crazy chase stories or close calls while bombing you would like to share? I got many but where to start is hard because I want to keep this interview short as possible, I remember me and Sneak getting done hitting the red line for a while and the cars we hit kept coming back around so we knew it was hit good so we decided to try the blue line unlike the Red line there's no place to do sides so we said lets rock the bottom (Those are the electric panels under the cars) we done many on the brown line so lets at least try it on the blue line we got off on the Racine Station and hopped under the platform when all of the sudden we seen some CTA workers coming at us from the direction of the UIC station so me and Sneak broke toward the ILLINOIS MEDICAL station for those that ain't familiar the tracks leading to it go up like a roller coaster, it was crazy we running going up them tracks getting chased and not knowing if a train was coming at us from around the corner, this was crazy in the middle of the Express way but managed to get away. Another time I was walking the Ravenswood track from Irving to Montrose station because I did that a lot hitting the utility boxes on the way when all the sudden I get to the station and the cops are there because some other tagger was just chased out the station and when I go to the station somebody from the window was yelling there he goes I was like oh no so I went passed the station platform and hid between the tracks remember this is a elevated station and I hear the cops and the people in the window yelling, he hid between the tracks so I peeped up and sure enough a cop jump on the track walking toward me, now I know these tracks better than the cops and I wasn't gonna stay there and give up so I squeeze back up and started dashing toward Damen station, the cop yelled “stop running, the more you run the more we're gonna kick your a**”. I kept running and I could see a cop car following me from underneath the tracks while the other fool was behind me I kept running and I knew at the turn Imma have like a 5 second break where no one will see me and the street underneath cutoff so the car can not follow any longer so I hopped off the tracks to a roof then slid down and ran into a building and knocked on somebody's door and told them help I'm being chased by some gangsters and the man who opened let me chill until I felt it was safe. LMAO the key is being familiar with your surroundings. Adrenaline helps out a lot and I don't recall if I hurt myself from that chase.
23.Whats your definition of a true graffiti bomber? Spending your entire day thinking about your next tag and the target your going to place it on, I mean when you spend more time getting up than even worrying about females or anything in general it was all about the culture and getting your name out there. As my story above, it was knowing the ins and outs of the lines, stations the whole (CTA) system how and when it all happens made us bombers because we were able to accomplish what we seek to do. We opened the door for all the artists (Mural people) because the city wanted us to stop and the Mural people you know the ones who never not got down and dirty like us got the fame. So a true graffiti bomber are the forgotten ones and nobody really wanted to take picture of tags because we never considered the future at all, it was the moment that made the Grafitti bomber what he/she was.
24. Do you have an opinion on the state of Graff in Chicago today and do you think the writers coming up are representing the true spirit of the Craft? Yeah, I believe they seek the self experience as all of us back then but I know the scene isn't as easy as we had it, I mean you got BIG BROTHER and cameras all over, the cops are more equip and informed so if they really want they might be able to snatch a tagger, artist or such.
25. Any regrets from your years “Rocking the line” or would there be something you would of changed in the course of your Graff career? Taking Pictures for one, as a teen I never even really considered it, I thought what I done would last. Also I regret the fact I never gotten a chance to call truce with HATE (rip). I also regret not chilling with TSEL and maybe collaborating with him on a piece, the kid was around and I had many chances to chill with him and OKIE but hey that was my mentality I was scared to take em along in the terrain I was familiar with, you wouldn't try to make a artist a graffiti bomber.
26.Lets talk a little about what KAYO is doing currently did you stay involved in the graffiti movement or branch out to something else? I itch day to day to bust a trow up since I see the train cars pass out front my house almost on clockwork but naw not really going to do that, I just reminisce and hold my memories and admire the new wave of graffiti art. I continued in the Hip Hop culture and ventured in music after my graffiti days, to concluded that I was part of all three breaking, graffiti and rapping. I'll feed details in the future.
27.Any shout outs? With so many people in mind it will be unfair to forget anybody but if I do please understand it's not because I did on purpose it was just that I was rushing this interview. I would like to say whats up to OKIE, SKID, T-SEL, ICK2, JECKLE, UNEEK, PJAY, AME, ME, 1SEE, SNEAK, COP911, REKE, MEEK, SCARCE, STANE, ORKO, SLANG, SCANDAL, PENGO. To the MOSA CREW, TUC CREW, ABC CREW, PEN1, CAR CREW, XMEN. In Loving Memory of VANDAL, HATE, KRE-8, HECKLE and PREACHER. “HIP HOP, you Don't STOP!”