DS & FL Vol 19: FUZZ ONE

This man is definitely one of Hip Hop's living legends. He started bombing walls & trains at the unbelievable age of eight years old!! A true Hip Hop pioneer..Vincent Fedorchak aka ....

"Somebody told me a story once, that when they stop making spray cans thats when Ill die. So. I always thought about that! When I came into this world [on March 1, 1962], if I could only have known then, what I know now!"

I had many journeys, which influenced my life. My father who was from Gary, Indiana was half Russian and half German. On the East coast, by Miller Avenue in New York is where my mother was born. She was a city gal living in an area surrounded by all thecugines and goombas. My dad later made it to NY, where he met my mom, through a mutual friend. He was a hard working father, who was in the navy, worked as an artist/sculptor, and had very little time off to spend with me. During his time off my father, taught him about guns, how to survive in the wilderness, how to catch fish with a stick and hunt animals. He was a maniac in the woods, and better than Daniel Boone. At four years old, was when I had my first experience of excitement. My father sent me out in the wilderness to hunt and I wasnt allowed back until I caught something. I remember getting a muskrat caught in a trap I felt so bad and sorry for the animal. That is when I learned how things could be taken away in an instant, just like the muskrat and its family. Regardless, I still had to catch an animal to bring back to my dad. This is a way of life. If we had no stores or any money, we would have to hunt in order to eat and live, was what my father always reminded him. He showed me how to cut out the muskrats stomach and skin the fur to put against a wall. You would never tell by looking at me, but I was a hillbilly kid, who had parties with the neighbors, who went fishing and hunting.

By 7 years old, my fishing times and all the hillbilly kid stuff were out and my life took a different route. My dad was drinking a lot, and no longer spent time doing things with me. We didnt have any money, any food, and were ass poor. To make matters worse, even the whole town we lived in was going down. Our family had to sell all our traps, guns, furs, and paintings just to get some money to buy food. These hard times put a severe strain on my parents and caused many fights. As a result, my parents split up, and my mom left to NY taking me with her.

FUZZ ONE Our train ride to NY was a turning point in my life, which influenced me and led to FUZZ ONE, the graffiti artist. As we passed from state to state looking out the window I saw Seagrams 7 and 7-Up signs the whole ride up. Ironically, the signs were green, my favorite color and so it only seemed natural that the number 7 would be my lucky number. As we pulled into Grand Central Station (in New York), my mom led us to the subway to continue on to the Bronx. Man. who the hell went to the Bronx? We took the D train to the last stop in Bainbridge, and I distinctively remember it was on November 11, 1970. I saw trains in a lay-up for the first time in my life, on one of them was written, Kilroy One and I said Mom look they want to Kill Roy. My mom went to use a payphone, and it was then that I saw Pray, God Loves you, in marker. Then engraved on the phone, by a knife (or something sharp) it said, Pray; I was intrigued and knew it was a sign.

Mosholu Parkway in the Bronx was where we lived with my grandmother, at 84 East Meshula Parkway, on the first floor. That was the most famous building in the graffiti world. It was an Italian and Irish neighborhood, which was a bad influence on me. I was always an adventurous kid. When I saw those tags and shit on the phone booths, and on the train, I said to myself This is going to be a part of me, the Vincent now!" I lived right across from all the trains that I saw (at 205th Street) when I had first gotten here. There were thousands of them, and Tracy Towers wasnt even built yet. A few blocks down was another yard the D, E, F, J, KK, Q, B, N, RR, train yardaaaahh I was bugging. I had to start politicking, cause we had no money, no father, no dog, and my grandmother was too tight to give us money. So, I went over to Martys doughnut shop, the most famous graffiti place. I told the guy Hey Im broke, I got no paper (money) what can I do to get some money? He gave me a job and I started off counting pennies all day from eight in the morning till eight at night. Later, I got promoted to nickels, dimes and then quarters. When I brought brownies and doughnuts home, my mom and grandmother questioned me.

Dont worry about it, Im taking care of you, I remember telling them. I knew it wasnt the best career to have, so I told the guy at Martys doughnut shop, I cant make the pizzas nor can I see over the counter and that I really appreciated his help, but it was time for me to move on. Thats when I started riding the trains every day, for 30 days and went to Kingsbridge, Bedford Park, Fordham Road, 183rd Street, Burnside, 170th Street, 176th Street, 149th Street and 3rd Avenue to 149th and Grand Concourse. Then I took the train back, climbing up the seat in the front of the train and I was fascinated! I had the fever. Then it just started!

As I rode the train, I looked up and saw the names, like tags and shit like that and I was like Yo this shit is on the inside of the train and other shit is on the outside of the train. This is writing! It said LIBRA ONE was here, MOE 146 was dead. I said to myself, this is intriguing. I figuredthese guys; they must get these names form somewhere. In my little mind, I thought had to buy a name to write on the trains, like you had to pay someone. Then I learned otherwise, and knew I had to make a name for myself. I remember watching Popeye on television, thats when I started writing the name POPEYE. The next day, I went to a little bookshop where all the graffiti writers under the sun went to buy their markers. In the shop, they had buffalo markers, nigis, uni-wides, pilots, mini-wides, and flow master ink. I went in there, bought a toy little brown marker, and started writing my name POPEYE all over my block, wherever I went. Thats when I ventured out going on adventures to Bedford Park, where I climbed underneath the fence to go into the train yard, where I saw scribbles on the trains.

The guys that stuck out in my head were guys like LEE 163, SUPER KOOL 223 (who I saw on the front of every car ), HULK 62, MAD HAT 1, LIL CRUSHER 1 & 2, TREE 127, SNAKE 131, KITU, LIBRA 1, TRACY 168, RC 162, JIVE 3, SHADE 1, PIPER 1, TM 550, SAVAGE 1, KILLER 1 , there was another KILLER 1 ( who was a black dude who mainly hit the D - yard ) . They were all small tags done with markers or spray paint. After seeing that I thought POPEYE wasnt such a great name after all, it was kind of corny. All the names that I saw had a very strong sound to them, so I changed my name to TOP; I added 170 to it because I stole markers from an art supply store on 170th Street.

TOP 170, I felt meant something to me. Later, I started writing with different kinds of markers to stand out and eventually came up with an idea to make my own markers out of Band-Aid boxes. I put erasers in the boxes, poured ink into it and used it to write my name extremely big. From that point, I started hitting all the mailboxes and train stations, writing my names in the inside of the trains. For such a little kid, at 8 years old, I was getting my name around. I developed a strategy to get my name around by riding the D or 4 train to the very last stop where I walked through all the cars and wrote in every single one (as I walked through them).

Over that year I did that consecutively, and my mom thought I was going to school at P.S. 95.By 1972, graffiti writing became noticeable. You could go to different places and see a big tag and see what it says. I saw all these names like PHASE 2, STAY HIGH 149 and CAT 87 and wonderedwow; theyre drawing their names so elegantly. Thats when I thought to myself, that my name TOP didnt have a ring to it after all. But, it was my name, so I stuck with it. Since I lived right across the street from the 4-yard I was always scared my mom would see me. The D yard, on the other hand, was like a ghost town, where nobody was able to see what I was doing. Every time I went there, more tags appeared on the trains, especially by the entrance of the yard. Each time I went there, I would follow the tags that lead into the yard, saying Yo.Im almost here!

But, I thought to myself I dont want to be a god on the BMTS and INDs, I wanted to see what was happening on the IRTs. So, I started investigating the writing scene there. I started walking around the 4 yard, checking it out for ways to get in there. DeWitt Clinton High School was where all the famous IRT writers went; like STAYHIGH 149, PHASE 2, HONDO, BONANZA (the guy who wrote the swastika next to his name). Even if a writer didnt attend the school, they went there to bomb the school walls. I remember sitting across the street from the school wall, when I saw about 30 black guys walk right by me. They looked at me wondering, what the hell this little blonde headed boy was doing there. Even though Mosholu Parkway was a white neighborhood, there werent any white kids that went to DeWitt Clinton High School.

So, you had a thousand black guys going to DeWitt Clinton High and chilling in this neighborhood. As I was sitting there, I was afraid, because they were giving me dirty looks. I remember thinking, Oh my God! These guys might fuckin kill me! At first, I thought they were just regular guys, walking by, doing their thing. I didnt know what their goal was. All of the guys walked into the 4 yard, which had plywood around the whole perimeter; there was a hole cut out that the boys used to enter. I bugged out! I knew these guys were up to something in there, but I was scared to go in there to see. After a while, I grew more curious and had to go in there (I was like the character from the childrens book Curious George). If anything happened in the Bronx boom FUZZ ONE was there.

Little did I know that was the day I would get my wings in GRAFFITI. I went into the yard, spray cans were flowing, dudes were smoking joints, some had trench coats on like the character from the movie the MACK, some were wearing superfly hats, Lee jeans, funky sneakers with Graffiti on it and dudes were just bombing the trains. Some of the guys were Spanish dudes, regardless these were all of the best writers in Graffiti; writers such as PJ 109, TURK 62, PRIEST 167, HULK 62, STICK 1, COOL KEVIN 1, DR SOUL, TON 5, T BONE, TOP CAT 126, PHASE 2, AJ 161 aka ALL JIVE, LIL CRUSHER, and even STAFF 161 of the EBONY DUKES was there.

A lot of the dudes looked real mean and crazy. I went up to the sharpest looking black guy; I had to be about 2 feet high, and pulled on the leg of his pants. As he looked down at me, I said, Hey mister, what are you doing? STAFF 161, the ultimate God of Graffiti said to me, Who are you little white boy? Go back home, youre going to get killed on the third rail! No, no, you dont understand mister; I want to do what you guys do. Im here to write, I want to be a writer. So they all looked at me and laughed, Ha Ha little bastard, you cant even reach the train. STAFF looked down at me and asked me for my name,I told him it was Vincent, but Ive been writing POPEYE. As he chuckled, he said it sounded corny. Since I had this big, blonde, push back, D.A. haircut, and looked like one of the actors from the 1960s beach movies, STAFF looked at me and said, I think Fuzzy, would be a good name for you. I thought, and asked, How about FUZZ? He looked at me and said Hey thats a good name! FUZZ. Thats how I got my name. So he said, you have to have a number at the end of your name. I told him I want to be The One; I want to be FUZZ ONE! The original ONE! All right then! he said. He pulled over a garbage can; I jumped on top of it and caught my first tag. It was this big uneven tag of letters, with a little one at the end of it. From that point, I followed them all around carrying their paint. Wow Im in with them. I have nothing to worry about, they got my back.

FUZZ ONEMost of the guys liked me, but there were some who didnt. I dont think it was because I was white, I just think some just didnt like me cause the way I carried myself and my body language. Most people either loved me or hated me! PHASE 2 was one of the dudes who hated me. I dont think it was because I was white, I think it was because he thought I shouldve been in school and was a pest. The first time I saw my name on a train... I was in a barbershop (with my mother) getting my first D.A. haircut. I looked out the window and BANG! I ran outside with the Barbers bib on, hair all wet, and said FUZZONE, thats me! Im FUZZ now! Back then, there were so many names, and the biggest graffiti artists were STAFF 161, PHASE 2, RIFF 170 and STICK 1 (who only had 5 pieces running on the trains). Back in those days, writers only did 7 to 8 pieces. If you ever heard otherwise, its bullshit. Everybody in my neighborhood was prejudice, so I knew being white I had to work extra hard to prove myself.

As the days, and weeks went by I started bringing Hispanic and black dudes by my house, and by Martys Pizza Shop. I was the only white writer at that time, however TRACY 168 wrote Graffiti on the other side of the Bronx. TRACY 168 wasnt living in Kingsbridge in the early 1970s; he was living on 167th Street by Yankee Stadium (the other side of the Bronx), and later moved to Kingsbridge. STAFF 161 was the president of a gang, THE EBONY DUKES whose members were mainly outlawed black guys from my area and Brooklyn. The gang had a clubhouse on Kingston Avenue, in Brooklyn, which was the key spot for the EBONY DUKES where they would fly their colors (wear their gang jackets that read EBONY DUKES on the back). I was never into that gang life, I was a pretty mellow tone kid who only wanted to write Graffiti and nothing else. STAFF 161 was like a father figure to me. I was never a big writer at that time; basically I was like a butler to them who ran errands for them. There were guys that called themselves Gods back then, because they lived across from the yards and hung around with big writers.

However, what makes one a God in Graffiti, is the influence the writer has on others, also one who bombs everywhere (the inside, outside, ceiling and every single groove of the trains and walls ALL CITY). STAFF 161 is a guy that got around the five boroughs to steal paint. He was like a train map, all I had to do was cling on to his jean jacket and go along for the ride. On Intervale Avenue, where STAFF lived, was a CORKY 161 piece on a rooftop, which was the first ever to be done. Throughout the years, I have heard many guys say they were the kings of the rooftops, but I've never seen any of their shit.

One day I took a trip to STAFF 161s house, and that is where I met the entire original group of the EBONY DUKES. As I came up the stairs to his house, all they saw was this little blonde boy with two hot chocolates and two honey dipped donuts (one for AJ 161, king of the buses and the other for STAFF). In order to become a member of the EBONY DUKES you had to pay twelve dollars to get in and five dollars for a membership card. They were the first writing group to originate the use of membership cards. When STAFF 161 introduced me to all the boys, they all laughed at me because I was a little blonde white kid running for doughnuts. STAFF 161 spoke up for me, and told them he was going to make me a member by taking me under his wing. To get in the group an initiation was required, in which the new person had to run through the entire gang as they beat on you.

I heard stories about some guys that never, ever recovered from their initiation. Some are still walking around in the subways in a daze from their trauma. I knew I couldnt do that shit, and somehow I got out of getting the beating. STAFF 161 put me in the group just to run out and steal for them. Eventually the EBONY DUKE relationship faded away as members got locked up or hooked on drugs. As they faded out, I started spending more time around Meshula Parkway, in the Bronx where I began breaking into hardware stores for paint and markers. One day I went into a Chinese restaurant, where I ran into a big black guy who had to be about ten feet tall.

He stopped me and asked where I was going; he (I later found out he was KINDO 1,) was kind of nice with a humorous grin. From STAFF 161s mascot I turned into KINDOs new mascot; I supposed it was quite a promotion for me. KINDO 1 took me all over the city to steal in mostly white neighborhoods, which in his theory, the other neighborhoods did not have anything to steal. KINDO 1 was sort of a crazy guy who fought with the bus drivers and owners of stores (when he was caught stealing). He would put them in the famous chokehold, which he called KINDO YOKE! KINDO was able to jump from one platform to the other, due to his height and long legs. He mostly hung out on the 6-line, with all his boys who were all black. They were called, the 6-YARD BOYS. KINDO 1 was intrigued by hanging-out with me, cause I was a little blond headed white kid.

There were many rumors about THE FANTASTIC PARTNERS (TFP). Rumor had it that the original group was supposed to be a group of deejays from Webster Avenue, which was bullshit. I remember the first time the group was brought up. It was a day when KINDO 1 and I were stealing Chinese food. He had decided a name should be made for Graffiti writers who hung out with each other, unlike street gangs who just robbed pocketbooks. KINDO 1 asked me what I thought about the name TFP, which stood for THE FANTASTIC PARTNERS Wow thats great, that might become something big, I said. From that point, he started writing KINDO 1-TFP and I started writing FUZZ ONE-TFP.

I didnt hang out with KINDO everyday, cause I hung out on 183rd Street which had a lot of famous writers, but none of them were kingpins that went out there and did whole cars and top to bottoms. The most famous dude that came form 183rd Street was SOLID ONE. The first time I met SOLID ONE, was when he was flying pigeon's on 183rd Street. He was a really nice black guy who was intrigued by the stories I told him about KINDO 1, who liked ordering food and running off without paying for it and the fights he would get into.That was when SOLID ONE started hanging out with us. We were just three guys writing our names, stealing paint, shoplifting and all that kind of shit.

Later on, I met SOLIDs brother, Kenny, who wanted to tag along with us and ended up writing BOT 707, We both did some real high powered pieces together one car that I remember was a whole car top to bottom that was running on the 7 -line, which had to be the best car to run on that line in the early mid 1970's. But we did not get the credit because we did it in the 4 yard, another was a VECENT - BOT that had some real hot colors to it. The TFP crew grew into KINDO 1, FUZZ ONE, SOLID ONE, and BOT 707, then BOTS younger cousin joined us, writing HASH 161. BOT 707 also brought in his other cousins FRED 163 and OG 2.

Then the TFP crew really started growing and hitting the trains and streets hard. This is the original, TFP that I remember! As time went on, graffiti crews were building and a lot of groups started to emerge. There were so many graffiti writing groups like WANTED, INDS, THE KILLERS and THE EBONY DUKES. It came to a point, that if you werent part of their neighborhoods, you would end up getting stomped out. I became miserable cause people from my neighborhood started hating me. They didnt like that I hung out with black and Spanish dudes whom I brought back to my building. I was being called Nigger lover and Spic lover.

Even Martys Doughnut Shop wasnt happy with my friends, no matter how many times I explained that they were only graffiti writers and not criminals like burglars or rapists. It was hard for me cause it was getting really bad, and was no joke. The people in my neighborhood were racists guys who didnt accept any of my explanations. I knew I had to prove to them that I was white, thats what it had to come down to. So, I moved to Notts Place which was the most dangerous neighborhood in the Bronx and started listening to rock n roll and had my own drum set. Then, I started listening to disco and getting into the scene and getting away from the graffiti scene. The disco scene brought me down to a different part of Webster Avenue away from my neighborhood, where I met some dudes who claimed to have been with the The Fantastic Partners. These disco freaks claimed that FUZZ ONE wasnt part of the original TFP; they even went as far as wearing jackets with TFP on it!

I met this guy named Timmy Powell at a dance club, and started talking to him. When I told him I was a graffiti writer who wrote FUZZONE, was part of the TFP crew and a gang (THE EBONY DUKES), he became intrigued. As a result, he too wanted to start writing graffiti. Timmy, some of our friends and I were trying to come up with a name for himthats when Timmy chose SPIDER (cause his favorite character was spider man). This guy was Italian and Irish so we clicked and started going to the four yard where we bombed really hard (FUZZ & SPIDER) non-stop down the trains. We were kings of the 4 lines for a time; we raced for the line against guys like STOP 700 aka 007, SPIN , A TRAIN, and MAD MARK 1. We used to do black pieces with yellow outlines. Also, we put polka dots and stripes with ribbons through the pieces. SPIDER started writing SPIDEY and I started writing FUZZOLA.

It was like every train had our names on them, back then there were only 10 trains parked at a time. SPIDER advised me not to hang out with black guys and Spanish dudes cause he felt they were bad people. I dont know if he was a racist, but he kept telling me not to hang with them cause one day they might take my money or get me in trouble. I told him that in order for me to get where I want to get in life I have to hang with these guys, regardless, cause this is the only way it will happen (to get up and be a king). He suggested me to get down with the white guys and be in a gang with them it would be a lower division from the street gang the Golden Ginnies, and name the group THE HENCHMEN.

So we wrote THE HENCHMEN with magic markers, on the back of our jackets. I figured that would keep everyone in the neighborhood off my ass, thats why I did it. Unfortunately, these guys werent as kind as the black guys. These guys were like real gangs, they stole from your mothers, they were all over Jerome Avenue and Mosholu Parkway, and always in your face.

One day, SPIDER called a meeting at this place called THE TUNNEL, across the street from Martys Doughnut shop. It was the scariest freakin spot Ive been to; It was an abandon Mosholu parkway station. From one side of the station to the other it was pitch black, inside were tags of some of the most famous graffiti writers during that time. I had a feeling these guys were going to jump me, so I got all messed up on weed.

When I got there I saw about 25 dudes with sticks, pipes, chains etc I knew they were going to fuck me up, cause I was hanging with black dudes, but later I found it was really an initiation to get into their gang. I had to let them beat me up if I wanted to be in the gang. Then SPIDER asked me, Could you really do it?Fuck It! Let them do what they got to do! I told him. So the next thing BOOM some guy hits me on top of the head, and another guy hits me in the back. The guys were tall and had hands like sledgehammers that they didnt even need to use their weapons.

After they all beat me up, all the guys left. They all left me there, even SPIDER. I waited 15 minutes in agony, and finally SPIDER came back, with his blue windbreaker on, in the back was written THE HENCHMEN. He started kicking me in the back, Yo FUZZ, you alright? Jimmy, a.k.a. SPIDER, then said FUZZ I got your jacket. On that day, I finally became a HENCHMEN! Not only was I a member of the HENCHMEN, I was down with THE EBONY DUKES, and THE FANTASTIC PARTNERS .




The Dynamic Hamza 21®

Hip Hop since 1982.

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