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An incomplete interview with The Renegade Chemist on his early days in the scene and his leaving of. for Razor 1911 (RZR) by Defacto2 (DF2)

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                    │Spotlight on The Renegade Chemist!│
     │   Welcome to a new Section that you can only find in Defacto!     │
     │ throughout out next issues we will be Spotlighting a member       │
     │ of the scene! Somebody who in some way or the other has made      │
     │ a contribution to this world that we live in! If you think        │
     │ that you know of somebody who should have the 'Spotlight' on them │
     │ then please email entropy@ez2.net or talk to a Defacto member     │
 │                                                                            │
 │ Defacto: Chemist can you give me your full Name and a little               │
 │          Information on who you are and what you are doing right now?      │
 │                                                                            │
 │ Chemist: The Renegade Chemist, I am a member of Prestige, sort of an       │
 │          organizer, part time supplier and really bad, bad cracker.        │
 │                                                                            │
 │ Defacto: Chemist can you tell us a little about how you first got          │
 │          introduced into the scene and what got you started with Warez?    │
 │                                                                            │
 │ Chemist: Okay.  Well when I started calling out, it was on a friend's      │
 │          borrowed 1200 baud modem. I was calling out on my true-blue       │
 │          IBM 8086 PC with 568k and a pair of full-height 360k drives.      │
 │          The case I think must have been made of titanium, anyway that     │
 │          case would certainly survive a nuclear blast. The first boards    │
 │          we called were the public domain porno boards, and when I saw     │
 │          that I was like in wanker heaven.  You must remember, I was       │
 │          like 12 years old, and being able to snag pics of naked           │
 │          chicks in compromising positions meant a lot to me - I would      │
 │          no longer have to rifle my Dad's drawers and find his dirty       │
 │          mags. After a while that got boring, I discovered a shitty        │
 │          warez board and the rest was history .. For my birthday one       │
 │          year I got a 2400 baud modem of my very own, and  from there      │
 │          I continued to trade on all the local WWIV boards.  WWIV          │
 │          was the popular software then, and Telegard was pretty popular    │
 │          also. I remember the big board in 214 (Dallas area) at the time   │
 │          was DUNE, Freddy Krueger's board.  I was on his board but not     │
 │          for very long. Even when I was totally lame, I had a bad          │
 │          habit of telling people exactly what I thought, and Sysops        │
 │          don't like it when you tell them they're wrong a lot, and         │
 │          when you ask a lot of stupid questions. Then there was the fact   │
 │          that DUNE was like the port of entry for all the wares into       │
 │          Dallas, so I was never able to upload there, since I was just     │
 │          a local lamer. Even though I had GREAT uploads on all the         │
 │          local boards, just by shuttling stuff back and forth between      │
 │          all of them, I still couldn't get onto DUNE. Back then all the    │
 │          boards were 2400 baud.  9600 HST had just started, v.32 was       │
 │          around shortly after that but HST was still faster. HST's were    │
 │          really expensive, so I couldn't get one.  I was just a kid.       │
 │          Finally after months of trading on the local boards, I found a    │
 │          local board that ran HST, had a few LD callers, and would let     │
 │          me on. That was the first "real" board that I was on for an       │
 │          extended period of time. The board was called Oblivion, the       │
 │          Sysop named Agent Orange, and it ran a forum-hacked software      │
 │          called Utopia. That was one of the first forum boards that I      │
 │          called.  Certainly there were other forum hacks at that time,     │
 │          the most popular of which was Emulex/2, at least for a while.     │
 │          Anyway, I digress.  After a while the 214 scene seemed to get     │
 │          better, but I still couldn't get on DUNE.  So I started calling   │
 │          LD with my 2400 baud modem, and was able to slowly pull files     │
 │          in. Back in those days it was SOO easy to get codes .. I          │
 │          remember using 950-1044,1033,1022 and a bunch of other codes      │
 │          to get the wares into my AC.  But even though I was calling       │
 │          LD, DUNE was always faster and I still couldn't get on ..         │
 │          Eventually I got onto DUNE, but by then I was so enmeshed in      │
 │          the LD scene that it didn't matter.  I got involved in several    │
 │          small groups, the most successful of those being ICE (a really    │
 │          lame INC rip off), but never accomplished a whole lot until a     │
 │          little later. Anyway .. when I turned 16 I got a car and didn't   │
 │          do shit in the scene for a long time. After I totalled my car,    │
 │          I had a lot more free time and I started to get back into it.     │
 │                                                                            │
 │            This is about the time when I started to get involved with      │
 │          Razor 1911. When I was in junior high, I knew a guy named         │
 │          Brian.  Brian was a friend of a friend and we didn't get along    │
 │          all that much, I was real lame and remember thinking he was       │
 │          super 'leet because he was a big name in an Amiga group,          │
 │          Razor 1911. Anyway, Brian moved to Virginia and I thought that    │
 │          was the last I'd hear of him.  I went about my business in        │
 │          214, running my 2400 baud LSD board, The Crime Lab, getting       │
 │          all the files really fast from my friends who ran boards          │
 │          with HST's and Duals, and using my local courier group LEECH      │
 │          (locals exchanging everything caught from HST's) to control 214's │
 │          2400 baud boards.  There were a lot of them back then.            │
 │          INC had the city in a stranglehold, they were dominating and      │
 │          Cool Hand decided to keep the city dry of wares.  Back then there │
 │          was no Internet, and all the boards in 214 relied on the big      │
 │          INC boards (Midnite Oil I, II and III) to bring in the wares,     │
 │          so if Cool Hand wanted 214 dry, it stayed that way.               │
 │          Only a few of my friends had the balls to let me leech from       │
 │          them at night and spread the wares across the city with my        │
 │          courier group, LEECH. Eventually LEECH even had suppliers, we     │
 │          formed a group called CWF (Consolidated Wares Force) and put      │
 │          out some utils and games and stuff.  Well, one day I was at a     │
 │          friend's house, copying some new stuff and I saw a release from   │
 │          none other than Razor 1911.  I was immediately stunned and        │
 │          surprised, and I checked out the nfo file, and discovered that    │
 │          this was indeed the same Razor 1911 as my friend Brian had been   │
 │          in before. In fact, Brian was still in it .. in case you          │
 │          haven't figured it out yet, Brian was Zodact Stratux, the         │
 │          leader of Razor 1911 in the US. Later he dropped the              │
 │          Stratux, but anyway, it was Zodact. Back then you could find      │
 │          phone numbers to boards in NFO files, and I called one of         │
 │          their HQ's, Apocalypse, and left a message with my phone          │
 │          number for Brian. Brian called me, we talked, he kind of made     │
 │          fun of me and that was the end of that. But I was persistent..    │
 │          I hooked up Razor with some of my friends so that they could      │
 │          help him release, and Razor put out a few games from              │
 │          a friend that worked at babbage's. But then out of the blue,      │
 │          Razor 1911 shut down and some of the members joined INC.          │
 │          They did it because Razor had gotten really big, and there were   │
 │          a lot of people who claimed to be part of Razor, and in name      │
 │          WERE part of Razor, but guys that didn't do shit but took         │
 │          credit were ruining it for Zodact and the rest.  I got ahold      │
 │          of Brian and begged him to reconsider, and after a couple of      │
 │          weeks the Razor crew left INC and that was when I became a        │
 │          member. I had a lot of time on my hands and I was really          │
 │          motivated.  Zodact told me the ropes, I bought game magazines,    │
 │          checked companies, did everything I could think of to find        │
 │          out when games were coming out. We still got beat consistently    │
 │          by USA/Fairlight and INC, but now I knew what they were going     │
 │          to release when they put it out.  Zodact had an account at        │
 │          the fast software distributor at the time and ordered stuff       │
 │          from there, but USA went one better - they arranged to have       │
 │          people PICK UP at the distributor, so we weren't fast enough      │
 │          most of the time, and even when we were, we could be certain      │
 │          that USA, INC, THG and anyone else would have the game at         │
 │          the same time as us.                                              │
 │                                                                            │
 │             So it was a bitch.  We lost on a lot of stuff, and we          │
 │          duped on a lot of stuff, unknowingly, but a dupe's a dupe.        │
 │          Razor's reputation started to sink, because we just couldn't get  │
 │          enough games to compete, and a lot of the games we did get were   │
 │          released by someone else first.  To make matters worse, the       │
 │          only money we had was the money we spent ourselves, and from a    │
 │          few small dist sites.  And on top of all that, Zodact was         │
 │          losing interest in the scene, but that was probably a good        │
 │          thing as it forced me to take more control of the group, and      │
 │          to see how shit would be run.  Anyway, in Jan/Feb of 1992,        │
 │          the USA/Fairlight bust came (The NotSoHumbleBabe and              │
 │          The Grim Reaper got busted for carding) and the scene like        │
 │          totally shut down for a while.  I still have a pretty             │
 │          funny "TRC retires" letter from that time, actually.              │
 │          I swore that I would not be involved in the scene anymore,        │
 │          and it probably would have been better had I not gotten           │
 │          involved - god knows the scene is a distraction from hell.        │
 │          But I had just gotten a brand new 14.4k USR Dual for Christmas    │
 │          via the Sysop deal, and I didn't want it to go to waste..         │
 │          I knew that Star Trek : 25th Anniversary would be coming out      │
 │          soon from Interplay, and I knew that I'd be able to get it, so    │
 │          I did.  I decided that would be the only game I'd ever get for    │
 │          Razor. But once I got it, and won on it (even though I later      │
 │          found out that uSA had released it also, and possibly even beat   │
 │          me to it) I was hooked .. I started to keep better track of       │
 │          the games coming out, and with Zodact gradually falling out of    │
 │          it I found people who could work with me in the group.            │
 │          Guys like The Witch King, who lived on the east coast, had        │
 │          tax id's with which I could set up distributor accounts, and      │
 │          had a credit card he'd give me so that I could call companies     │
 │          and order stuff to him ..  People like The Hawk and Butcher,      │
 │          who helped the group immeasurably..  Anyway after that one        │
 │          release, I was hooked and the group started to  grow.             │
 │                                                                            │
 │            We were in close competition with INC for a long, long          │
 │          time .. then towards the end of may '92 INC pretty much went      │
 │          belly up and our main competitor emerged as FLT PC, headed        │
 │          by The Grim Reaper. Grimmy came back from being busted with       │
 │          The NotSoHumbleBabe's much-vaunted supply list, and really        │
 │          put out a LOT of shit while I was in Germany for 6 weeks.         │
 │          Some of my favorite releases from back then included Links        │
 │          386 Pro, Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe : P-160 Expansion,       │
 │          and a few others. All of them had significance for me ..          │
 │          Luftwaffe was the first time my group beat INC in a race,         │
 │          and Links 386 was the biggest game I had put out up until then .. │
 │          Anyway late '92 I found Randall Flagg.  He was cracking for an    │
 │          Italian group, Dead Memory, and when I saw him do a crack for a   │
 │          LucasArts game I knew I had to have him. By now I had kind of     │
 │          figured out how to run a group, and formed my initial             │
 │          philosophy ..  Cracking is most important, respectable boards     │
 │          are 2nd in importance, and supply is 3rd most important.          │
 │          Razor 1911 thrived for a long time under my leadership, but       │
 │          it was always because of our core .. we had the strongest,        │
 │          most dominant cracking core out of ANY group for at least 2       │
 │          straight years. And for a lot of that time we had incredible      │
 │          spreading, headed by guys like Razor Blade, Hoppermania           │
 │          (before he turned into a cardwhore), and DEViL ..                 │
 │                                                                            │
 │            I moved to Austin in late '92, and from '92-'94 we totally      │
 │          rocked. During this time members like Marauder, Excessive Knight, │
 │          Butcher, and others made their mark on the group. In fact most    │
 │          of those guys joined in late '92 / early '93 and were in for      │
 │          the duration. Then in '93 sometime, an upstart courier with a     │
 │          bad attitude named Lord Thinker quit the group and started        │
 │          PE along with some older guys, like The Hawk.  They were tough    │
 │          for a while because they were picking up at the same distributor  │
 │          where USA had picked up before, and I still wasn't able to get    │
 │          a reliable pickup contact out there. '93 was probably the most    │
 │          fun I had in Razor, that was when we warred with groups like PE,  │
 │          Pentagram, TDT, and others.  It was a good time.                  │
 │                                                                            │
 │            In '94 the conflict was mostly between us and PTG, then I       │
 │          lost my phone line, and in my absence the Legend split occurred,  │
 │          where a bunch of Razor members, headed by Butcher and Westbam,    │
 │          formed a new group with former TRSI (and current Prestige)        │
 │          members Tazman, Troops, Troll and others.  When I came back to    │
 │          the scene in August of '94, I got in touch with what was left of  │
 │          the group (which wasn't much), Lord Thinker and I became friends, │
 │          and Razor was re-born with Zeus leading the way as the king of    │
 │          supply.                                                           │
 │                                                                            │
 │ Defacto: Chemist, can you tell us some of your SPEFIC reasons for          │
 │          deciding to Leave Razor in 1995?                                  │
 │                                                                            │
 │ Chemist:   I didn't leave Razor until 1996, and depending on who you       │
 │          talked to I may even have been kicked out.  Ultimately, it        │
 │          doesn't really matter because if I hadn't quit I would have       │
 │          been kicked out. In October of '95, I realized that Razor was     │
 │          pretty close to its peak (which we hit in November of '95).       │
 │          The floppy scene was dying out, I would be working full time and  │
 │          going to school full time starting in Spring, Zeus would be in    │
 │          school in Spring, Lord Thinker in school in Spring, you get the   │
 │          picture. Zeus, Lord Thinker, myself, Marauder, and                │
 │          Randall Flagg agreed that the best thing to do would be to        │
 │          shut the group down at the end of January '95. Anyway, the 5 of   │
 │          us agreed that since we were in charge of the situation, we'd     │
 │          shut her down at the beginning of '95. Our WHQ of old, Mirage,    │
 │          had already gone down, and there weren't too many of us           │
 │          old-timers left.  Zeus and I were good friends even then,         │
 │          but the fun would only last so long with the companies going CD   │
 │          only (at that time we didn't foresee the advent of the CD scene   │
 │          as it is today) ..  Anyway, one day I saw a few releases from     │
 │          Nexus, The GEcko's old group.  NXS wasn't doing a whole lot,      │
 │          and I figured the titles that GEcko could get now and then        │
 │          would add to the pile for us, and by themselves wouldn't do       │
 │          much for NXS so I asked him to join. We chatted on the            │
 │          Razor WHQ, TAG, for 5 minutes and then he offered to join,        │
 │          bringing pay sites and a UK supplier, Hot Tuna, with him, as      │
 │          well as a great cracker named Beowulf.  I said great, but         │
 │          that I didn't want SPeed Racer in the group, as I thought he      │
 │          was just GEcko's store pickup lackey, and even then I'd seen      │
 │          him fuck up almost every release that came his way. Quite         │
 │          honestly, I thought that TSR was a total idiot, and I didn't      │
 │          want dead weight in the group.  But GEcko insisted, so I said     │
 │          cool, he can come in. When GEcko joined, he agreed that the       │
 │          group would be shut down in early '95, as he would not have       │
 │          time for it anymore then either. Eos joined shortly afterward,    │
 │          and he agreed to the shutdown as well. My mistake at the time     │
 │          was not talking to TSR.  GEcko didn't make it clear to me that    │
 │          he and TSR were a team, and that TSR made a lot of decisions      │
 │          in NXS.  If I had talked to TSR then, he would have had to        │
 │          swear to the shutdown as well, but since I didn't, I guess he     │
 │          didn't feel beholden to it. Well, we kicked ass until December,   │
 │          when someone turned in Zeus. Zeus stopped supplying, and in       │
 │          January, when we were supposed to be shutting down, TSR           │
 │          started putting out budget releases and talking about the         │
 │          resurgence of Razor in the nfo files.  He also started            │
 │          calling dist sites, telling them to send him money, and even      │
 │          increased their monthly contribution .. To make a long story      │
 │          short, I went apeshit.  The prime reason that we had decided      │
 │          to disband at the END of January, and not at the beginning,       │
 │          is because some of our paysites had paid through the end of       │
 │          Jan. and we didn't want to fuck them over. When TSR started       │
 │          asking for more money, it was apparent that he was trying to      │
 │          pull a fast one - or so I thought.  It looked like he was         │
 │          trying to get cash out of these guys and bail. Well, to make a    │
 │          long story short, Eos/Gecko didn't keep their word, TSR did       │
 │          some shifty underhanded shit, and when I got back from Mardi      │
 │          Gras in February my account on TAG was gone.  I got it back,      │
 │          quit the group, and all the old timers left with me. That was     │
 │          when Razor 1911 ceased to be what it once was.  If you            │
 │          look in the nfo now, theres not one person that was in there      │
 │          before, except Sector9, but he's just in there because he         │
 │          wants to be in a group that's been around 10 years.  S9 was one   │
 │          of the original founders, but didn't do anything for the last     │
 │          1 1/2 years that I was in the group.                              │
 │                                                                            │
 │            And as far as being sad about leaving the group. Yeah, at       │
 │          first I was disappointed about it, and pretty angry, but          │
 │          eventually I got used to it. You see, the whole reason I          │
 │          wanted to shut down Razor was because I didn't want it to         │
 │          turn lame.                                                        │
 │                                       To Be Continued.. .. .               │
 │                                                                            │
 │       Due to the fact that both The Renegade Chemist and myself (Entropy), │
 │  More or less have lifes outside of IRC we where not able tom complete     │
 │  the complete Spotlight on The Renegade Chemist. Look for the Second half  │
 │  and final part of this Spotlight in the next Defacto!!                    │