DOC TC5 Interview

Photos © 2009 TC5 crew. Interview conducted by Aevon.TC5 and Louis Coupal in August 2009 for the Official TC5 30th anniversary show.

In terms of style, attitude and philosophy, what defines or makes The 5?

Seen's attitude was that we had to be the best. Period! That was my motivation. We had to be the best dressed, have the hottest women and be bigger than Graffiti.

What is the crew’s hierarchy structure? How has that played an important part in the crew’s longevity over other crews?

Many division leaders, but only one Prez. Even when Seen retired, I made sure he remained visually our leader because his history is our foundation.

Did all graffiti crews back in the day have a President, Vice-President, and so on?

Prez, Vice Prez and Recruiter.

How did you get down with TC5? Were there any initiation rites or official formalities?

Initiation for me included having style in black books. I was put down by Doze in the Roxy days. But Seen was M.I.A. in Rhode Island for a couple of years. Upon his return, he was pissed that Doze had recruited so many writers in his absence and unceremoniously kicked all of us out. Seen called for a mass meeting at Rock Steady Park where he personally checked the credentials of all expunged members and made me the Vice Prez of Brooklyn and Queens. Today I am the day to day manager of the crew and Seen is President for Life.

What was the influence of Art & Design High School on The 5 and the world of graffiti?

Well it might be the other way around. When Seen and Doze arrived they changed the complexion of the whole school. They were the Kings of Swing - everybody wanted to emulate their swagger. They became the litmus of what all modern day writers should look and act like. Before them most writers were bummy ink-stained tunnel rats. Seen held true to the Kings before him who were street fashion icons and through A&D brought back the flavor to writers citywide.

Who were The Crazy Five?

Blade, Vamn, Death, Crachee and Tull and then Comet who passed the crew to Seen and Kems after Blade and Comet started a new crew called the Impact Brothers.

How did TC5 come to be?

2’s and 5’s 1967-1970. Formed by Death in a working class immigrant neighborhood these five teenage friends with so much in common were destined to do something great for their time, either through their band or painting trains... guess which won.

How have TC5 influenced graffiti?

Our influence is derived from the fact that we are the keepers of the style. Many of our members are direct or indirect students of style masters... like Case2, Dondi, Part1, Chain3, Butch2, Noc167, Riff170, Phase2, Slave and many others. What we do has not been diluted by perception; we had the facts and we passed it on to the world. The Cool 5ive also pioneered through Doze the modern day graffiti character. Every writer in the world including myself owes Doze a royalty check for his efforts in creating the ultimate character.

How did you get your name?

My mom used to call me the Disco Doctor; she felt I wouldn't be able to choose between wanting to be a medical technician and a DJ.

How would you describe your style?

Mechanical, but my mastery is in color.

What are your favorite types of paint and colors?

Red Devil (Supreme Quality) - Mahogany, Bermuda Blue and Delta Grey. This brand was the best paint ever created. It could beat any German brand hands down! Rustoleum - Dunes Tan, Fed Green and Cascade Green. Good paint for rusty cars. Krylon (Paper Label) Jungle Green, Adobe, Spanish Brown, Chippewa, Pastel Pink, Topaz Yellow, Aqua Turquoise, Hot Raspberry and Icy Grape. Krylon had the best palette. Wet Look - Hot Dog Mustard Yellow, Passion Purple, Mad About Pink and Groovy Green. Martin Paint also had an Avocado, Plum and Berry Pink that was out of sight!

What are you doing these days for work?

After I retired from illegal activities, I joined the MTA.

How would you describe the evolution and or destruction of graffiti in New York City over the past 30 years?

Well the problem is 30 plus years of graffiti, New Yorkers are tired of it. I am waiting for the new generation of wack ass hipsters to make it trendy again. Destruction wise I blame the new paint. Before it took a toy 3 to 6 years to master spray paint, with this new paint toys are building a false sense of achievement. Basically what you are seeing is well painted pieces of crap!

What is your view of the news coverage of graffiti over the years? How has the Internet affected graffiti?

I don't care about the press; they always have a hidden agenda. The Internet is good and bad. Good: before the Internet the only point of reference was Style Wars, Subway Art and whatever half truths were told by American artists on tour. Bad: all the internet gangsters, hiding behind a Web alias talking mad shit and starting beefs with no fear of retribution.

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