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Jay Adams busts a lap-over grind scowling at you through his peach-fuzz mustache. A wiry, pre-GAP Henry Rollins screams from the stage floor of a Black Flag show. Public Enemy's poised leader, Chuck D. stares at you from a jail cell. Open to the title page and you have Tony Alva, Darby Crash and RUN-DMC. Welcome to Fuck You Heroes, a hardcover compendium of hardcore photography by Glen E. Friedman. When you allow yourself to be engulfed by this book it may appear to be an almanac of underground culture as compiled by a team of deviant sociologists and researchers over the last twenty years, a TIME-LIFE sort of thing for punks, skaters and hip-hoppers. "It's hard to believe that all of these photos could have been taken by the same person," you might say. But he did. Glen did it himself, his way and when people can't believe one person has taken so many mind-blowing photos from such seemingly disparate worlds, instead of taking the time to point out the glaring similarities, he accepts the remark as high flattery.

Ever since Glen published his first skateboarding photo at age fourteen, small brained morons have attempted to naysay, obscure and otherwise fuck with him and his work. For better or worse, the subjects in his work have developed and mutated their way out of the darker corners of culture. Prodigal sport skateboarding gave more back to its surfing ancestors in style, attitude and athletic progress than it will ever realize or care to admit -not to mention handing all of snowboarding cliff notes before they even made it to class. Some say punk broke, but what came out when it broke water was charlatan pop-stars with huge bankrolls and extra chromosomes. And hip-hop's music and aesthetic has so permeated the globe, that we now have Austrian graffiti crews, B-Boy fashion strutting its way down Parisian runways and to quote KRS-ONE "we got white kids callin' each other Nigga?" Today the media machine continues to bastardize the emblems of the underground that Glen fought to publicize ten and twenty years ago. Fuck You Heroes, a social document and Fuck You Too, the scrapbook, are testimonials to Glen's insight, vision and craft as much they are acts of revenge on the outsiders and suckers who are trying to scalp their tickets to the late train. I had the privilege of talking to Glen on the phone about the way things were, what they've become, and his forthcoming book, The Idealist. He's as dynamic in speech as he is prolific and expressive with his camera. Sit back, but I dare you to relax.

A few years ago, and it's still going on, every thing underground was totally inverted and a lot of people are getting creative about their past saying "I've always been down with that" what are your thoughts on that sort of mentality?

Early on I was never one of those people who would get mad when new people would come to the scene, and all the sudden there were lots of people. I thought "isn't that the idea? Aren't we trying to change people's minds? Aren't we trying to motivate people in positive areas?"

There's people who say "I was at that show -I remember that." For instance, that Stimulators show, where I have pictures of Harley, there were eight people there. Everyone would say yeah, "We all used to go see them." No you didn't or else I would have known you, or you would have known me. It doesn't concern me that much, it's just like, why lie?

In the preface of Fuck You Heroes I'm just talking more about the success of the music overall and how all of the sudden things became accepted, and I don't think there's anything bad about that. I mean honestly, when I was shooting pictures of BLACK FLAG, the band and myself were working our asses off to get them promoted and to make them overground. That's when they were doing things that were really vital.

At right Chuck and Dez take aim in East L.A.

Check out the Chavo or Rollins eras of the BLACK FLAG continuum.
Greg Ginn wanted to destroy things with his guitar.


During that time period -from when Dez started singing to the first two years of Henry singing -was probably the most vital band that ever was. To me it was important that people knew that there was real shit like that going on. I was trying to make it above ground in its own way. I was too naive to know how it would get corrupted if it did make a lot of money. See I thought we could just make everyone come to our level rather than us going to theirs.

RUN DMC in Los Angeles 1985. Can you hear Run? I can hear Run.

Point your browser this way for the lowdown on the "Walk This Way" single.

At that time I started shooting, skateboarding was underground, but it wasn't that underground. It was underground in a very rebellious way, but we were getting coverage in the magazines. And with punk rock it was underground; there were some fanzines, but they only printed about two or three thousand at the time Even when I got involved in hip-hop, it was just about to get above ground. They had albums that were selling thousands of copies. Much more commercial success than punk rock, but it wasn't mass marketed yet.

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