MAXIMUM ROCK'N' ROLL
" . . . I put myself through hours of self-inflicted pain just so a book
I like gets represented the way I think it should. Along with my writing,
the other problem I'm having with this particular review is putting down
the book long enough to even stare at the computer screen.
Glen E. Friedman has never been an outsider of what he photographs.
Fuck You Heroes is perfect proof. Anyone involved with skateboarding,
hardcore or rap instinctively knows Glen's photos to be true
representation. He knows the people he's working with, what they're about,
and what they're out for. Anyone not familiar with the book's subjects
will gain the same knowledge with their first glance.
Fuck You Heroes is broken down chronologically to the three main
passions in Glen's life. The book starts with the early Southern
California skateboarding scene. Naturally, Glen was tight with the DogTown
crew, Tony Alva, Jay Adams, Stacy Peralta, Jay Smith, Shogo Kubo, and
Marty Grimes. They were skateboarding's troublemakers who were out to keep
it real. They didn't think twice about skating an illegal pool or running
from the cops. Armed with their 'search, skate and destroy' attitude their
entire style of skating contrasted to the industry standards, plus the
crew always pulled off trick shit that left others looking stupid. Glen
captured some of the most memorable shots from this era. The one of Tony
Alva doing a frontside air at the Dogbowl is a classic example.
By 1980, punk and hardcore were the soundtrack for any decent skater.
Along with most of the DogTown crew, Glen became immersed in the hardest
and the purest elements of the scene. The Germs, Black Flag, Circle Jerks,
Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys, DOA and Minor Threat. In late 1982 Glen
published the photozine My Rules, an amazing collection of photos of the
most important bands of the time. Some of those photos made it into Fuck
You Heroes but only the ones that personally meant somthing to Glen. Any
of the photos in the book from 1982, be it the Bad Brains, Minor Threat or
Black Flag, give hardcore a timeless justice.
In the mid 80's the second generation of rap was moving fast. For a
lot of people involved with punk, listening to rap was natural. For Glen,
completely involving himself with this scene was natural. He became one of
the first photographers to capture rap artists how they really are, even
with most of the pictures involving no action. Run-DMC standing next to
the Hollis Avenue sign. LL Cool J sitting in Madison Square park. Then
there's Public Enemy's first album cover. From there Glen worked with the
Beastie Boys, Ice-T, KRS-One, Eric B. & Rakim and Ice Cube.
The book's construction is beautiful. The majority of photos are in
color, with the Black and white shots being equally impressive. In the
back, Glen put together an annotated index. It includes a black and white
reproduction of each photo accompanied by a story behind it and/or lyrics
from each group's better songs. I don't think it's luck that nothing here
is out of context.
Throughout Fuck You Heroes you can see how Glen's photos are the
perfect companion to the music or youth culture he's a part of. You can
see that his attraction is people who don't take shit and have no problem
doing things their own way. It's not a prefabricated mindset-to Glen and
the people in the book- it's just common sense. Fuck You Heroes is pure
Glen E. Friedman. Not because he took the photos but because the photos in
this 11"x11" book capture his take on the world. A must.
- MARTIN SPROUSE
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