An Interview with Buddy Esquire “The Flyer King”
Troy- So how did you feel about Phase 2′s work?
Buddy Esquire- I was very impressed by it, in fact I like his work more then I like my own. So believe me and it was very hard but I tried to do stuff that was equal to his work. Sometimes I touched it sometimes I didn’t, what can I say. (Buddy chuckles.) The good thing about it is we were friends. Sometimes we would meet up at the Ecstasy Garage, sit around and talk about flyers, what he liked about my work and what I liked about his. What’s going on in the club and out, stuff like that.
Troy- There is a web site that is up with your flyers along with Phase 2 what made you guys do this web page or blog?
Buddy- I might have seen it but I had nothing to do with making it. Someone else put that together.
Troy- So when did your brother Eddie Ed start making flyers?
Buddy- Well he started making flyers after me. I use to make flyers for Bambaattaa but he use to want a lot of stuff on his flyers and after a while I got tired of making them. So I figured hey I could get my brother to do this.
Troy- I seen a flyer that said no more rats Esquire! What did that mean?
Buddy- Well around that time if I can remember the date right that was November 1st of 1980. I did a flyer with these two mice on it and then he did a flyer for the same event and I guess that was his way of being funny! ha ha ha. Troy have you ever seen that flyer?
Troy- Yes I have seen the flyer but I didn’t know it went together with another flyer.
Buddy- Well it had nothing to do with our present definition of a rat. (A Snitch.)
Troy- Right, I get what you’re saying but I didn’t know what it meant when I first seen it. I didn’t know it was your brother I just thought it was some other dude being sarcastic as if he was your competition.
Buddy- Well my brother was being sarcastic.
Troy- (Troy starts laughing.) O.K. I got you. Alright and I got another one “A Eddie Ed, Poo 2 flyer production” is that your brother also?
Buddy- Yeah, that was my brother and this guy I use to work with. He drew the pictures and my brother did the letters.
Troy- Was there and competition from any other flyer makers?
Buddy Esquire- There were guys like A Riley who was alright. Then there was Danny Tongue who use to do flyers for Flash also, and he was more like an illustrator I think. Then there was Cisco Kid who ran with The Herculords, he made flyers for Charlie Chase.
Troy- What about the comment that was made on a flyer from a Vega Ray who wrote “To my man Buddy Esquire are you ready?”
Buddy- (Buddy laughs.) I don’t really remember it too much but it was like o.k. he was just someone else that thought he could compete with me, but a lot of people leaped and fell! But I remember him back in the days.
Troy- Do you remember Straight man who also called himself The King of Flyers.
Buddy- Yes I remember him and I will say this “I am the King of Flyers! Period.”
Troy- (Troy laughs with Buddy who says the remark in a serious tone.) Yes you are the King of the flyer game! That’s why me and you are talking right now. It is no doubt about that.
Buddy- (Now Buddy laughs.) I hate to put it like that but facts are the facts.
Troy- Do you recall a flyer for the “First Annual Hip Hop Anniversary” show Mike & Dave threw back on Friday, December 11, 1981? It looks like a Phase II flyer, but he didn’t put his name on it
Buddy- Well I think I do remember that party but what happens a lot of times is Phase would make flyer that he wouldn’t put his name on for some reason but a lot of times you could look at it and you could tell it was him. At least I know I could look at it and tell it was him.
Troy- All right I am going to give you some names of flyer makers, give me from a 1 to 10 what you think they deserve for their work.
Your brother Eddie Ed?
Buddy- (Buddy starts laughing again.) Oh my goodness. I would give him a 7.
Troy- What made you laugh so hard?
Buddy- Because he isn’t into art anymore. He paints for me occasionally because back in the days he use to help me paint the pants and jackets.
Troy- Next up Straight man?
Buddy- Well I would give him an extra 2 points for his quote unquote boarders. I would give him a total of 6!
Buddy- Cisco gets a 9 for good artistry as well as good press type.
Troy- Next up Danny T.
Buddy- Danny T was nice. He was good at illustration from what I remember. But he needed some work on his boarders and his choice of press types could have been better. So I would give Danny Tongue an 8 because he was very good at illustration.
Troy- A. Reilly?
Buddy- A. Reilly, the guy that did the Notorious L Brothers flyers. I will also give Reilly an 8. His illustration was good, his lay out wasn’t too bad and his press type was pretty good. So I will give him an overall 8.
Troy- o.K. Next up Vega Ray
Buddy- He didn’t even make all that many flyers but I will give him a 5.
Troy- O.K. Phase 2
Buddy- He gets a 10 from me of course. what can I not say about him. He had a good lay out, as well as his back grounds. He was very imaginative. That was the one guy I would say is better than me. I have no shame in admitting that.
Troy- How would you rate yourself.
Buddy- (A long pause.) I would give me a 10 too, why not.
Troy- Was there any type of different styles that you used? Like would you tell the buyer alright I am going to give you the block style and another person “I will give you the Chinese style or the graffiti style,” etc?
Buddy Esquire- Well I would never make a flyer using the graffiti style, that’s one of the things I tried to get away from when I started making flyers. the reason why is because I felt I already did that and graffiti is only presentable in but so many ways and for so many purposes I just decided not to use that style. It took some time but I eventually created my own style.
Troy- What did you call that style?
Buddy Esquire- Back then I didn’t have any name for it, but today I would call it Neo Deco, and you know the word Neo means new!
Troy- Right.. o.k. how many crews did you make flyers for other then Funky 4?
Buddy Esquire- Well after a while I started doing flyers for the promoters and all these different crews would be on it.
Troy- When making these flyers did you get paid in advance or at the end of the show like many m.c.s and d.j.s?
Buddy Esquire- Well sometimes I would be lucky enough to get the money when I gave them the flyers, other times some people would say, “I have to pay you after the party.” I use to hate that sitting around after the party…that wait wait wait until everything is over. A lot of times the party wouldn’t end to 3, 4 o’clock in the morning.
Troy- But some people would pay you in advance or didn’t you say, “give me my money up front,” like people do today!
Buddy Esquire- Well what would happen is I would try and get the money up front
but Breakout use to say wait until the party is over.
Troy- So it wasn’t one of those type of things were you would just come and pick up your money the next day?
Buddy Esquire- (Buddy Esquire laughs.)
Troy- You laughing, it was on some get it while you can?
Buddy Esquire- Yes get it when and while I can, yes. That was the basic reason for even going.
Troy- So how do you do the whole process? How do you make the flyer and after you make the flyer, as far as the mold, how do you make the copies?
Buddy Esquire- O.K. Oldschool Flyer 101!
Troy- Yes sir, my man (We both laugh.)
Buddy Esquire- O.K. this is what I would do first, I would select the letters. See back in the days they had these letters that came out on plastic sheets called Prestype. So I would proportion the letters and I would draw them on the paper. Well this method became too time consuming, So what I did was try another way and that was putting the letters down and then concentrate on drawing the back ground around the letters. I did one like that in 79 but as time went by that was the way I saw to do it.
So I would choose the style of letter that I want to, pick the appropriate size for the appropriate names on the appropriate spots on the flyer. I would do all this on one separate piece of paper. Then on another piece of paper would be the back ground. I would take the letters and I would cut them out and I would take a ruler and measure them and I would then glue them on the piece of paper where I would want them. Once everything was glued down on the paper I would then draw the back ground around the letters. Phase 2 would do it a different way. he would do his back ground first and then his letters.
Troy- Did you and Phase 2 ever work on a flyer together?
Buddy Esquire- No but I did work on a flyer with Cisco Kid, and we made about 3 together for Charlie Chase and The Cold Crush Brothers.
So now the flyer 101, what was next was just always trying to do a different back ground every time and that takes imagination you know!
Troy- So what would you use for inspiration magazines, books, cartoons?
Buddy Esquire- The crazy thing is I am more inspired by what I see now then what I seen back then. Back then I wasn’t really looking at anything other than Phases flyers. I used his style basically but I tried to it my way, I tried to make it my style and I feel like I succeed to an extent. No, I feel like I succeeded.
Troy- I believe you did as well.
Buddy Esquire- Oh thank you.
Troy- You have some classic good stuff, I enjoy looking at your work as well as millions of others, but it’s always good to see your name on the side of your flyers. Your probably the most recognizable name of all names on flyers.
Now were there certain things like the Flintstones, Jetson’s or Yankee’s that you might incorporate? I know I am picking randomly but anything other than a party atmosphere?
Buddy Esquire- Oh yeah well I am a big comic book fan from back in the days, but the wild thing is if comic books had inspired me more I think I would have been making better flyers I say that because Jack Kirby was really doing some imaginative things with his Fantastic Four characters.
See although Kirby was doing some good stuff I wasn’t into looking into comics to see what elements I could take and put into a flyer, which was a mistake because he was really doing some intricate work especially the machinery he use along with his characters and if I would have used his style I think I would have been doing some much higher graded work.
Troy- Right I understand what you are saying him and say Stan Lee I figured were of an influence to you because we were all one time or another big fans of the comic books. So in the comic book situation what were your favorites?
Buddy- Well I like a lot of Jim Lee stuff. He has been my favorite artist since 1990. when I was a kid I liked guys like Jack Kirby, Bernie Wrightson, Mike Kaluta who’s work also had influence over me. Vaughn Bode, Barry Windsor- Smith …I mean I can go one for days.
Troy- Well it appears your more or less interested in the writer and the artist oppose to the actual comic book characters (Superman, Batman, Spiderman etc.) story?
Buddy- I am more into the artist, Yes Troy.
Troy- So what’s the next step once you have made the flyer? You take the master downtown or somewhere to get pressed?
Buddy Esquire- I would give it to the promoter that wanted the flyer and he would take it to a printer and have it printed up.
Troy- So you give your master to the promoter. Have you ever taken the master yourself downtown to have a few hundred done up?
Buddy Esquire- I use to but I stopped because I got tired of that. When I did do it I use to take the master to this place in Baychester the Bronx over on Tiemann or Tillotson ave. Those days a mimeograph machine was used.
After that we started using a process called photo off set. That’s when the pictures started coming out really clear.
Troy- So now once you get the flyers from Baychester then you would take it to the promoter!
Buddy Esquire- Yes I would give him his flyers and take back my original copy.
Troy- Now here goes the question did the promoter give you the money to get those flyers done, or did you have to come out your own pocket and get all the flyers done, deliver them to him and wait until the end of the night of the show for your money?
Buddy Esquire- No, if he wanted those flyers he had to pay.
Troy- So how many flyers would you buy coming out of Baychester?
Buddy Esquire- It depends but it’s always more than a thousand.
Troy- So have you ever gotten stuck holding flyers because these guys didn’t have the money for it yet?
Buddy Esquire- Well let’s say I never got caught holding any flyers because they know they needed them.
Troy- So what was the going rate for making a flyer in the early days?
Buddy Esquire- 40 to $45 in the early days. Then after that it started to die down I was only getting but so much money.
Troy- What’s the most Flyer masters you would make in a week?
Buddy Esquire- 3 jams a week.
Troy- What was the best year for you where flyer making was very consistent for you?
Buddy Esquire- I would say like 1981 to 82. I was doing a lot of work for Armstrong!
Troy- So you were doing this for Armstrong when he was at The Ecstasy Garage or after he left and he was doing parties up and down the East Coast?
Buddy Esquire- Mostly Ecstasy, and I did a few for him after he left. I made some flyers for him when he did jams in say Yonkers, Connecticut and Jersey. Those are some of the places that come to mind.