What’s your favorite taco spot?
I first must give shout out to my Dad for introducing me to Tacos. We are a 100% Irish family but since we are also 100% true to my birth city of L.A. CA, Taco’s have always been in our life. UNFORTUNATELY the Irish side ran the kitchen so the ground beef was seasoned with Lawrys Taco Seasoning mix. My DAD was a cool mix of simplify and work hard when he cooked, so yes, a mix packet flavored our tacos, he would take the time to fry his own shells and we always had fresh grated and fresh chopped toppings…. Love you POP and we all miss you… REST IN PEACE.
My favorite Taco Spot was also my first “REAL” spot! North Hollywood’s, EL MICHOCANO (7201 Lankershim Bl No. Hollywood CA 91065)
Just a straight forward, old school Taqueria shoved into a tiny, 25’x25’ (or smaller) shack. I have been going to this killer dive since 1980 and my days in Punk rock. My “crew” of fellow Punkers all lived in North Hollywood and after going to shows in Hollywood (Whiskey, Starwood, Bards, etc) or the beach towns (Cuckoo’s Nest, Dancing Waters etc) we found this late night grub spot. Standing in the night air eating greasy, amazing tacos at 2:30am is a memory I will not forget. Also, having cops ride up on three times as we ate is another unforgettable moment. The worse was when they literally drove their car up the curb stopping right at our legs. Three big fucking pigs jump out yelling: “what the fuck did you PUNK FAGS say to us? Look at your fucking blue hair you piece of shit!” YEP…all true.
They left us alone after all the theater but Punkers in these early days got fucked with by PIGS daily.
This killer TACO CRIB stayed in my life because as I got into Graffiti Art, one of my main Writing partners lived near El Michocano so Charlie and Dream (RIP King Dream) and myself grubbed out here often before and after GETTING UP.
When did you start CAN CONTROL?
Spring 1987 I started a magazine with a friend I knew from Punk Rock photography. We worked on it off and on until one day in August when Charlie DTK told me he was soon to print his 4 page, black & white Zine called Ghetto Art. I told him I’m going to print by August or September but he talked me into dropping my idea and teaming up with him…..So I did.
From the few weeks before printing Ghetto Art number one, to when we printed issue 4 Charlie and I were partners. Before issue 5, Charlie left the business. For issue 5 I kept stuff looking the same but added in more sections and before issue 6, I decided to restart everything including becoming the worlds first Graffiti Zine in color and added in more pages.
By this time a few Zines from Europe popped up and a couple in California. All were black and white and just a few pages.
What was your motivation at the time?
After the Graffiti and people seeing it live, photos are the most important part in Graffiti. Because of this a vast, underground, worldwide, network of Graffiti Writers “photo trading” sprang up. To me, going from sending out envelopes full of pictures to printing them into a magazine made perfect sense and was the best way to share with the masses.
What are the different eras of graffiti?
Graffiti in NYC has its own era starting way the hell back in the 1960’s on their subway system. As it grew and the art expanded, it became the blueprint to the world on how to live the Graffiti life. The rules they created, we all absorbed and still live. This time I must call THE STARTING ERA.
At the same time OUR L.A. had Gang Graffiti and “turf” Graffiti by Surfers and cruisers and by 1976, Punk Rockers. From day one of my time in L.A. Punk, every club and hang out spot had pen and spray paint Tags. Band names, nicknames and Punker gang names. Until I learned about the NY Graffiti world, this L.A. Era taught me how to GET UP.
ORIGINAL & OLD SCHOOL NY SUBWAY BOMBING.
THE WALLS TAKE THE ART INTO NEW HEIGHTS.
GRAFFITI SPREADS OUT OF NY TO THE WORLD.
THE DIFFERENT USA CITIES STYLES START TO ROCK.
FREIGHT TRAIN GRAFFITI TAKES OFF.
THE PAINTS FROM EUROPE COME TO USA AND THE WHOLE SCENE STARTS OVER.
Who are your favorite writers of all time?
DUKE: He was my first Writing partner. We started Getting Up in 1983 with gang Tags and by early 1985 he was the first to teach me the L.A. rules after the NY world came to town.
CHARLIE: He was my first Writing partner that truly knew the NY rules and the LA/NY Graffiti world combination.
RISKY: He was my first KING that became my Writing partner and was my longest Writing partner.
SENTO: One of my favorite style masters!
BATES: One of my favorite style masters!
SEEN: One of my favorite style masters!
Plus another 100++ Writers putting in amazing work.
What’s the most impressive work you’ve seen and how did you capture it?
Most of the work I shoot is beyond impressive but for this I will talk about the extra mile I have to go to shoot the photos. Stopping traffic in the fast lane to shoot stuff on a freeway wall. Chasing freight and subway trains for the right shot. Climbing up and over anything to get closer. Painting all night then staying up to catch the FLICK in the daylight. Running through or driving into gang HOODS to get a shot. Traveling for photo missions.
What role does graffiti play in society?
Graffiti like Punk rock and Hip Hop and early rock and roll and the struggles of any youth to make change is real. An enrgy working to make real change. Graffiti since its birth in the late 60’s has taken the youth and shown them freedom. Freedom to be yourself and freedom to express what you dream of. Yes, much of it is the illegal application of real art on private property but more of it is legal and included in “real” art circles. What started as a few “kids” marking “I was here” is now framed canvasses hanging in galleries. This form of Graffiti has another huge impact on society by being a proven alternative to kids that want to create doing the paintings for Gangs. I don’t know the numbers but I have met at least twenty kids that lived in HOODS that once they showed artistic talent had the chance to do it their own way via the NY Graffiti style instead of being forced to Hit Up the Gang.
Do you have a lucky number?
4! Four is my lucky number because my family of 4 is amazing. I love my wife and our two kids.
What do you feel is Can Control’s place in history?
There was only one Zine on Graffiti before Can Control. It was out of NY called IGT. It was a dope Zine and I have many of the issues still. However, they printed in a cool folded pocket map style and the photos were cut out like in collage style making it hard to see some of the works and also making hard to see that some of the works were done on Subways. When we set out to do our Zine showing the art up close and clearly was job one. I wanted to take our Graffiti world and show to the masses. I strived to blend Graffiti inside lingo with just the right amount of information (not to much in the way of giving personal info) to civilians getting into it.
Can Control went on to the following first WORLDWIDE:
FIRST TO PRINT ON GLOSSY PAPER.
FIRST TO PRINT IN COLOR.
FIRST TO DO MULTI PAGE IN-DEPTH INTERVIEWS WITH GRAFFITI WRITERS.
FIRST TO BE DISTRIBUTED WORLD WIDE.
FIRST TO DO FULL MAGAZINES ON FREIGHT TRAIN GRAFFITI.
FIRST TO SHOW STEP BY STEP PHOTO SESSION ON GRAFFITI BEING DONE. Etc.
When and where are you most happy?
It’s now. At home with my lucky number 4!
What’s the worst trend in Graffiti?
Violence. Writers and crews fighting over art sucks. I understand feelings of sensitivity over the hard work to create this movement, but dudes jumping each other sucks.
What’s your favorite hidden corner of L.A.?
My favorite parts of L.A., that most do not see are the small details. The old stairs in the hills around downtown. The detailed crafted art in the buildings in Hollywood and Downtown. The fact that the long roads have the same name for most of its run. Pico is Pico all the way to the beach, Seattle has names of streets that change names 5 times in a 5 mile run. Restaurants that L.A. is smart enough to support and not close for some greedy reason like Lawry’s the Prime Rib and Apple Pan. I love driving any of the canyons from the valley to the city.
Got any shout outs?
RISKY, JABER, COUP, GK, KICK, ANGER, BLEEK, JER, DANTE-BRISKY, CHAR, GENIUS, SKY, PIRO, RAK, -REST IN PEACE- TO KINGS SKATE & DREAM, JA, KET, CAVS, DUKE, INKS, SNEAK, SENTO…
Visit Can Control online.