Los Montana Conducted a great interview with Dero, here is an excerpt telling how he met Pjay :
Here is a story about how my graff career almost came to a standstill. It was probably about late 85 or early 86, a period when I was fairly established on the trains.
It was brought to my attention that PJAY, UA had started going over some of my pieces. A day or so after this discovery, I saw PJAY on the East Tremont Station on the 2’s and 5’s. This was the notorious hangout spot for taking pictures of the trains. I was with Wane at the time and advised him to stay back as I was fully aware that this could turn ugly. PJAY, who was already a legendary writer, was crushing the 2’s and 5s with throw-ups. This was not a good situation for me. The last thing I needed was a war. Having way too much to lose and almost nothing to gain, I found it strange that he only went over a couple of my pieces. It was, however, more than enough to raise my antenna. What I couldn’t figure out was why he was ragging me! As I approached him, I had a pipe cleverly hidden under my sleeve just in case something went down. It was a known fact that PJAY was not one to be taken lightly. Our eyes met and I could see the look on his face… like he knew something was up. There was no way he could deny who he was. I asked, “Are you PJAY?” Without hesitation he admitted who he was. At this point in the conversation, I told him I was DERO and asked him why he was going over my pieces. I had no problem with him and stood clueless as to why such a well-known writer as himself would want to go over any of my work. He quickly responded that he did not care how many pieces I did or how many PJAY throw-ups I went over as long as I covered up his throw-ups completely, leaving no trace of his name. Now, this may sound strange to the uninformed masses who may not be aware that the outlaw art we practice comes with a rulebook. For instance, if you are going to do pieces, burners, etc., and in the process go over a well-established writer or artist, it is common courtesy that you should completely cover their name so it is not looked at as a sign of disrespect.
To my knowledge, I had never left any of PJAY’s throw-ups sticking out and thought he was trying to play me for a fool. Low and behold, as we were on the train station, mid-conversation, one of my train cars pulled up with half of his throw-up sticking out of the side of my piece. At that point, my jaw dropped and my mind went blank. He had me dead to rights. Quickly, I realized that if I didn’t fix this problem it would only continue. The wheels in my head quickly started to turn. Looking at PJAY, I told him this would never happen again. For some reason, I had a feeling that he genuinely felt that our conflict was resolved. To my knowledge, PJAY, was a man of his word. Honestly, this was the most troublesome situation I had ever encountered. As we concluded our conversation and shook hands, I revealed the pipe and dropped it from my possession, as if to say everything is cool. A few seconds later another train approached, and two really suspicious characters get off the train and come to talk to PJAY. Now, wishing I still had that pipe, I noticed they look back at PJAY, he shakes his head and they leave. What a nervous moment! Now I’m no punk but at that time I was about 5’10” 150 lbs I had just dropped a pipe and each of them had me by 50-100 pounds easy. This would not have been good. As the train pulls away, on the very last car, yet another DERO piece with a PJAY throw-up sticking out pass by. He quickly glanced at it, smiled and looked at me, as if to say…it didn’t only happen once. Shaking my head in disbelief, I put my hand on my forehead and told him if he ever wanted to do a piece, I would be honored to do one with him as well. He then walks up to me and tells me who the two guys were. They were 3C and DRIFT two notorious henchmen.
Boy, was I happy this was settled. As months became years, PJAY became a good friend, who would later end up helping me in a time of need. So as you can see, if this situation had gone badly, there is no telling what my legacy would have been. My forward progress might have ground to a halt right there and I could have lost countless pieces in an ensuing war before I had a chance to reach my peak. Thankfully, it all worked out ok.
Finally, I walked back down the stairs told Wane everything is cool and from there on I never had any more bumps in the road and the rest as they say is history…
You can read the rest of this interview here