Urban Styles (Graffiti in New York Hardcore) by Freddy Alva

Small world time. I get all kinds of emails from folks petitioning reviews of their music, and every once in a long while, to my delight, I get asked to do a book review (at various stages in my life I have found myself consumed with reading…these days it’s mostly about graphic novels). This time ’round, I got a message from Steven Dilodovico of DiWulf Publishing House (very interesting story about Steve and Amy who run the show there and co-authored the book No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History of the Legendary City Gardens) reaching out to this humble blog, for a review of a book coming out on October 31st.  Turns out it was written by the only Mustard Relic in the borough of Queens, Mr. Freddy Alva! Of course, Freddy is one of those long time virtual friends, thanx to the internet and the music blog phenomenon of a decade ago (reminds me of the tape trading days of the 80s and 90s).   My initial response to Steve, “While I have never met Freddy in person, I have been a virtual friend of his for probably 10 years (we share many interests).  Am a huge fan of him as a human being and as an author (interviewed him a while back on the blog).  I am willing to do anything you like to hype this new book, so whatever you want me to post or anything I can do please just let me know.  I also would be willing to do an interview or if you already have an interview I can post that as well.  Seriously whatever I can do on my end I will, because I want this book to sell the fuck out.”  So, on with it, right?
In the synopsis it calls Freddy Alva’s book a treatise, I was thinking more of a tome, but regardless, this thing is massive, shit the press kit was almost half a gb. Bible massive and in some ways very bible like in terms of how it’s broken up into chronology, history, stories and even captures the mythology of this “outlaw movement.” What Mr. Alva has put together here, IS the bible on the topic.  I don’t have an actual copy of the book, yet, but DiWulf obviously did not fuck around, 330+ pages and 180+ color images. So, the meat of the book….hmmm.  I think before I do that, want to share what other folks have had to say, because there’s a lot chunks there and these folks aren’t brain damaged like old Mustard…


Author Freddy Alva Talks About His New Book “Urban Styles: Graffiti in New York Hardcore” July 5th 2017

Hey, You’re Cool! Mass Appeal July 13th 2017

Powerhouse Arena Book Launch Event/ “Urban Styles” in Conversation

Metal Riot http://metalriot.com/news/diwulf-publishing-urban-styles-graffiti-in-new-york-hardcore/ July 26th 2017

GWARIZM http://gwarizm.com/tag/urban-styles/ July 29th 2017

Illogical Contraption interviews author Freddy Alva about “Urban Styles” August 13th 2017

The Secret History of New York’s Hardcore Punk Graffiti Writers Vice August 22nd 2017

Interview: Freddy Alva Talks Urban Styles: Graffiti in New York Hardcore August 26 MetalRiot.com

Urban Styles Book Signing at the Bowery Electric set for November 14th August 27th 2017

Listen to Freddy Alva, Chaka Malik, Gavin Van Vlack (Burn) on the Brooklyn Blastfurnace podcast August 29th 2017


New Book: “Urban Styles: Graffiti in New York Hardcore” by Freddy Alva Dying Scene September 3rd 2017

Urban Styles on InEffectHardcore.com September 4th 2017

10 Questions with Freddy Alva Howweare.net September 7th 2017

Going in Style: Urban Styles Book Signing at Bowery Electric NYC September 7th 2017

DiWulf Publishing House Releases “Urban Styles: Graffiti in New York Hardcore” by Freddy Alva Innocentwords.com September 8th 2017

My Life in Music: Freddy Alva Mass Movement September 8th 2017

Review: “Urban Styles: Graffiti in New York Hardcore” by Freddy Alva Innocent Words, September 8th 2017

Urban Styles: Graffiti in New York Hardcore” Book Coming Rest Assured Zine September 14th 2017

Kniha o Graffiti V New York Hardcore Peraferia hardcore Punk Webzine September 14th 2017

Official Urban Styles Photo Gallery Alternative Press September 15th 2017

Interview with Freddy Alva, Author of “Urban Styles: Graffiti in New York Hardcore” Sound Renaissance September 17th 2017

First thing I got from the book, for the people who did the graffiti, they were “writers” and what they did was “writing”, but the average Joe unfamiliar with the scene would be steered in the wrong direction if the book had been called “…Writing In New York Hardcore.”  These guys are the 1%ers of the art world.  We had a graffiti / hardcore punk connection on the West Coast as well in the mid 80s, but that’s my story not Freddy’s.  I will say that I had a black book (Freddy has given us a behind the scenes look into a bunch of black book art from these guys) in the mid 80s that I did my chicken scratch in and would give it to other artists to do their thing, so I had something to aspire to.  Loaned it to this artist DASH (a very prolific tagger in LA County) and he told me he lost it, but I know the fucking thief stole it.  Reminds me of all the beefs between artists, that come up in these interviews.  So the meat of the book is these compelling interviews with the writers of the scene in New York (you should be able to get that from the fucking title right?).  Not one or two interviews, but a shit ton of ’em, with some of the key artists of the 80s and 90s.  Half of them Freddy knows personally and I don’t know how the hell he found the rest, he’s got most of the major crews represented.  You get to know these guys pretty well through his relevant questions, the part they played with respect to other artists, the bands they played in, the crews the rolled with, what’s up with them these days and most incredibly, their art.  I like what MANOR had to say when Freddy asked him, “Do you still write or follow graffiti?”…his response was, “No.  Unless I’m on tour.  And then…no comment.”  This textbook is impressive even just as a pdf, but a smart guy would want to get his greedy little hands on it (maybe bring a buddy to help you carry it out to the car)…the book will be available at the end of the month at DiWulf

Just sort of as an afterthought this song popped in my head while reading the book…Beastie Boys – Professor Booty

…and then there’s this one, mentioned in the book, a cover of a Frontline tune by the Beasties…


2 thoughts on “Urban Styles (Graffiti in New York Hardcore) by Freddy Alva”

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