September 1994



Glen e. Friedman's new book features classic shots of underground rebels.

If Glen e. Friedman's pictures of seminal punk rockers. daredevil skateboarders and groundbreaking Def Jam artists were set to a soundtrack, it would have been "rebel Without a Pause."

They, like the photographer, are energetic, gritty and awash with Old School cool. In Fuck You Heroes, Friedman gathers key pictures from his freelancing days and sets them in chronological order. Spanning from 1976 to 1994, the glossy flicks follow the photographer's travels through various underground cultures -- skateboarding, the punk rock scene and hip-hop's second wave in the mid-'80s.

Friedman was a skateboarder in the late '70s who blew up the sport with energetic action shots. The pictures were featured in many magazines in his native Southern California while he was still a teenager. The ones in Fuck You Heroes feature some of Cali's most reckless and experimental 'boarders-guys like Paul Constantineau who, ignoring LAPD's restriction on recreation areas, wowed on-lookers at Kenter Canyon High in West LA in 1976.

Friedman later got knee deep in punk rock. He worked with groups like Suicidal Tendencies and the rocker of many tattoos, Henry Rollins. Friedman shot, art directed and published an influential punk rock chronical entitled My Rules in 1982. His passion for the punk concert scene is all over the many up-close photos of skinny, tattooed rockers chewing microphones at shows. The screaming, black clad crowd in what seems like poorly lit basements, give the pictures the feeling of a religious event.

Then he met the Beastie Boys. "They had their skateboards and they were hanging outside of CBGB's after a punk rock show," says Friedman. "We hung out for a while and Mike D started sending me their music when I went back to LA." Through the Beastie Boys and a wild tour with Madonna, he met Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin. He became the photographer of choice for Run-DMC. Several pictures find the crew in classic poses in Hollis, Queens, dressed in black and sporting Adidas. All this led Friedman to more work with hip-hop artists, including a bunch of group shots which became memorialized as album covers: Heavy D's Livin' Large, Slick Rick's Great Adventures, Public Enemy's Takes A Nation of Million and Ice-T's Rhyme Pays, to name a few.

The book's best moments, however, are those when Friedman's roving camera caught artists with their guards down. These include eye-level perspective shots of Run with a joint dangling off his lips and DMC giving the camera the finger. Another rare photo finds Chuck D, the timeless picture of a young KRS-One on stage, looking like he's setting the crowd on fire with a black-and-white poster of Scott La Rock in the background.

Part of Friedman's magic is that he always photographs artists in their element. ("I hate pictures of rappers in the studio!") Hence, LL Cool J is in a park with his huge radio; Ice-T is lamping with his exotic cars; and Run-DMC is surrounded by Hollis grit. Fuck You Heroes is a visual representation of an important time in rebel music history. If you're into grunge, hip-hop or skateboarding now, this is the photo album of your roots.


(one full page with several color images from the book)