Writer Spotlight: 125er
Interview by Gabe the Saint
50mm Staff Writer
As 125 and I cruise through downtown during rush hour, we stop directly behind a, Rapid Metro bus. On the back of this bus is a poster of a cartoon with the word T.AG. Scrawled in cheesy graffiti-like font. T.A.G stands for Totally Against Graffiti and is a campaign spearheaded by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. I look over at 125 and he smirks. With much confidence, he tells me that there is no method to stop Graffiti. He makes the comparison of the war on graffiti to the war on drugs…It will not work, and it is useless he claims…
GTS: I have always wondered were the name 125 originated.
125: My name 125 came from a breaking name back in 1982. My homeboys had names like Tic-Tac, Robotron, and Little Vibration. My name was given to me by my homeboy Frosty (r.i.p) who named me after my weight then, which was 125 pounds.
GTS: You hail from Highland Park, and I know that that area is overlooked in Los Angeles. Can you give me some early history about the writers that came from Highland Park?
125: Yes, Highland Park is underrated, but there are lots of old-schoolers that came from there such as Omie from O.T.R. Crazee, Ozee, Panic, Pride, Warn from TAC, Coner. Let’s not forget Baba and Dusty that came from New York and settled in Highland Park too.
GTS: You’ve been caught several times for writing Graffiti. Tell me some of your experiences in the penitentiary.
125: Man…It’s not really nice to talk about it but the pen is a place where I say that the weak should definitely not be at. You have to be really strong minded and ready for negative things to happen. Like riots popping off, disrespect issues etc… It is all a game to me and if you want to be somebody in this graffiti world you have to keep that in the back of your head at all times. I’ve been to Folsom, I’ve been to a 4 yard, a 1-8 yard and it is not nice.
GTS: How is life for a writer in there? How are they treated?
125: If you put yourself out there like a writer, or a tag-banger and you are writing things like KWS 13 or MOT 13, then you are going to have problems. Personally, I told people that I was a writer and they knew that I was from the old school because some of them were once writers that recognized me. I was not the guy that would disrespect neighborhoods. I never had problems because I am from CULT, KNS, RTDK and we don’t go behind the 13.
GTS: When I say the word “All City” what comes to mind, what is your definition of the term? Do you think that it is possible to be “All City” today?
125: When we are talking about “All City” we are talking buses, streets, freeways. We are talking all the way from Pomona to Venice-from Venice to the San Fernando Valley back to Los Angeles. Is it possible today? I think that it is very possible because I know of several people that have done it. Sure, it was easier back then but the secret is to keep consistent at what you are doing; keeping your name up. For new writers there are more harsh consequences involved. Like scribing on busses for instance. If you get caught hitting the busses you are going to get some major charges thrown at you.
GTS: With that being said, who do you think has earned the title “All City” in recent Graff history?
125: I think that my homeboy Ralos has gone “All City” I think that Modok has been “All City.” I think that this kid named Sight that just got charged with 121counts of vandalism for hitting MTA busses and received 8 years done it as well.
GTS: What is your opinion about other writers going over landmark tags with pieces?
125: Man, there are major problems in the city due to that. For example the Lemon wall in downtown in which a couple of people got troubled because their stuff was running for 5-10 years and all of a sudden these guys come and ask for permission to paint pieces over the landmarks. I think that landmarks should be respected just like your piece is being respected…You know what I mean. To get respect you have to earn it. If you disrespect someone you are going to get it right back. If you see something running since 2001, then do not ask the owner. Ask the writer that did that shit because he might have been there during midnight risking his ass doing that.
GTS: That is an interesting perspective. So what is your angle on legal graffiti?
125: You know back in the day I use think legal Graffiti wasn’t the thing. I am not going to say anything bad about it, yet to in order to be a Graffiti writer you need to go out there and pay dues, do work, earn your colors, stripes or what ever you want to call it. You just cannot go out there and begin to piece. All of a sudden you have all of these guys that want to make money off of doing graffiti. I think that if you are not bombing then you should not be piecing. I do think that it is okay to do legals as long as you are bombing.
GTS: There is a split decision amongst writers about the bombing of murals around town. As an older writer, what is your take?
125: Man, I have done it before. Roc, Crome, and I have done it before. There are many historical and (latino) cultural murals that have been bombed. Those murals are a reflection of our heritage, our people…Especially if you are Mexican or even Native American. I feel that it is not cool. They just do it because they know that their stuff is going to run for a long time on those murals. But if the mural is does not reflect our culture or heritage, then I think that it is ok to go over it.
GTS: In your many years of writing, what year or years have been the best and why?
125: I started bombing downtown in 1985, but the best years for me were from 1990-1991, because downtown was happening and the writing there was permanent. Those were precious moments; they were like gold. My stuff got buffed in 1997. That is 7 long years.
GTS: Who were the others hitting downtown?
125: You had Sleez, Oiler, Sacred, Poize, Panic, Cab, Sub (r.i.p), Porn and Frame from DTK. Like I said those were golden years. You have to consider that in the 80’s it was all about busses and then the idea of “All City” emerged, and downtown was one of those metropolitan areas that had to be hit.
GTS: You are one of those guys that are always roaming the streets and probably see bizarre things and get into strange situations. What do you recall as your grimiest moment on the streets?
125: The year was1992, and I was with Panic in downtown. It was when I used to smoke weed and I smoked a primo, which is weed mixed with crack cocaine. Little did I know that the guy that sold me the stuff did not tell me that it was laced with LSD, so I went into a cardiac arrest. The doctors said that I was really lucky to have lived after that.
GTS: What do you do these days? Are you retired and if not when will you retire?
125: You know what, I am not retired. I still go out and get up. I am not going to say where I am hitting though. I do not see myself retiring anytime soon simply because I love the sport of graffiti. I love bombing, tagging, and I have many years to go.
125: I’d like to give the whole L.A. Graff seen a shout out. I’d like give shout outs to my homeboys from RTDK. Shout outs to my homeboys that are resting in peace from KNS. Give it up to the big homies, Ralos, Modok, Eith, and all of the CULT crew. Let’s keep Graff alive…Peace.