Fuck You Heroes

Fuck You Heroes

from 1976-1991. Since the mid 1970's "Friedman's noted photo work has served as a historical log on seminal suburban/urban subculture." ["Paper magazine" book review, Sept. 1994 ]

From his earliest days as a 14-year-old skateboarder photographing top 70's skate icons like Jay Adams and Tony Alva, to his documentation of the burgeoning early-80s hardcore punk scene (captured in the '82 cult soft-cover classic "My Rules"), to his high-profile work as a renowned hip-hop photographer (most notably, the legendary album jackets for Ice-T's Power and Public Enemy's Yo, Bum Rush the Show), Friedman has kept his finger on the pulse--not for fame and fortune but as a vital lifeline. Thanks to the help of many of his music scene compatriots like Russell Simmons, Ian MacKaye and Beastie Boy Michael Diamond -- "Fuck You Heroes" over 100 full color pages of Friedman's memorable photos, has come to light. ["Paper magazine" book review, Sept. 1994 ]

Friedman's work is a living, working instrument of agitation and social transformation. Troops on the truly dangerous fringe of hard-core punk, surf, skate, thrash, rap and hip hop communities have been waiting for years for G.E.F.'s retrospective, Fuck You Heroes, but you can see from these brilliant photos - which literally changed the meaning of being young in America - that Glen's process was much more incendiary than it was documentary. ["Huh magazine" book review, Nov. 1994 ]

This book was originally published in 1994 by Burning Flags press (Friedman's own imprint) and 2.13.61 Publications (Henry Rollins publishing company). After its original pressing sold out. There was a revised edition printed that fixed a few chronological mistakes and the printing also dramatically improved over the initial printing. [""Fuck You Heroes" note to the revised edition 1996 ]

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. ["Maximum Rock'N'Roll magazine" book review, Dec. 1994 ]

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. ["Maximum Rock'N'Roll magazine" book review, Dec. 1994 ]

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 something 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. ["Maximum Rock'N'Roll magazine" book review, Dec. 1994 ]

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. ["Maximum Rock'N'Roll magazine" book review, Dec. 1994 ]

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. ["Maximum Rock'N'Roll magazine" book review, Dec. 1994 ]

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. ["Maximum Rock'N'Roll magazine" book review, Dec. 1994 ]

The first pictures in Fuck You Heroes were shot in empty backyard swimming pools in Los Angeles, when Friedman was about thirteen. The images overflow with chlorine charm: they are somehow reminiscent of the great child photographer Jacques-Henri Lartigue, both in their sense of fun and the joys of being outside, but also in the sense we can feel of the photographer being a participant in the picture's action. Friedman caught skateboarding in its infancy, when, for a few brief summers, all that mattered was skating. While Friedman skated, he documented the scene. It's this clear sense of his own participation, found throughout the book, that makes these pictures work, and gives them their edge. ["Aperture magazine" book review, fall 1996 ]

Friedman's images are loaded with the colors of optimism--they look toward a glowing future that, when it arrived, was just too bright. When the West Coast punk scene (the last of the first generation of punks) came along, Friedman was there, recording an important component of America's new cultural experience. He managed to capture such hugely influential bands as Black Flag and Minor Threat in their first bloom. In his images of these bands and others, you sense the energy and feel the heat of the place. ["Aperture magazine" book review, fall 1996 ]

The values of youth culture as shown in hip-hop and rap music have certainly affected the lives of young African-Americans. Here, top, Friedman was on the scene from the very beginning. In Fuck You Heroes, we see images of Run DMC, L.L. Cool J., and Public Enemy during the shoot for the cover of their stunning "Rebel Without A Pause" single. Public Enemy's hard-hitting music gave them unparalleled access as a political forum. Preaching Afrocentric politics, the band fought back against Reaganomics and what they saw as its betrayal of the civil-rights movement. Public Enemy were at the vanguard of the hard-edge rap movement. And Friedman's pictures were an intrinsic part of the whole package. ["Aperture magazine" book review, fall 1996 ]

"Fuck You Heroes" is a powerful book... it book stands as a powerful testimonial: skaters, rappers, punks, are caught in the bright, charged moments of their youth, and presented to us as a new legacy of heroes. Youth culture, like any art form, takes from the past to build a future. Because Friedman was always hanging out at the right place at the right moments, "Fuck You Heroes" might function as part of an authoritative history for my own generation, and could help to provide the generation kicking at out heels with something to build on. ["Aperture magazine" book review By Nick Waplington, fall 1996 ]


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