Greg interviews Freddy Negrete, a Hollywood studio artist and the co-author of Smile Now, Cry Later – an autobiography he wrote with his good friend Steve Jones about growing up in L.A. and the draw as a child towards both the empowerment of tattoos, but the belonging that came with joining a gang.
Greg asks Freddy about his struggles with substance abuse disorder throughout the 9 years he was in and out of prison and how it began. Freddy explains that when he was younger he was heavily against heroin usage, however, his situation gave him no choice. “In my younger teenage years, I was really against heroin and I thought I would never put a needle in my arm and use it. But we did do other things. We did a lot of drinking and PCP and weed, but I remember taking my first shot when I was probably 17 or so with one of the older guys. But he was a hardcore guy, you know, he was a scary guy. And was our bad influence and he got me and some of the younger homeboys to steal these things and got the money and then said ‘yeah, you guys are gonna try this.’ And he shot us all up. And I remember all I did was just puke… So my first experience with it was negative. I used to think the older guys would get the younger guys addicted because then they would send them out on missions of stealing and asking for money. Because back then that was the only way to support your habit, you couldn’t hold down a job. So it wasn’t until I became successful with tattooing that I started using heroin seriously.”
Listen to the podcast to discover how Freddy moved on from this experience into more serious substance abuse and then back out again.