17 September 2014

Review: Glen E Friedman's "My Rules"

This shot of Chris Miller really made me feel small and is truly insane even by today's standards.

The HR we all want to see, minus any budding homophobia or course. 

Pretty perfect but apparently Chuck and Flav had not listened to MT at this point. I think I read that it was a GEF instigation.

Glen E Friedman's latest book "My Rules," came in the post yesterday and I'm sad to say I had to order it through some faceless online bully of a website that is threatening to put real-life indy book shops out of business. It did surprise me that GEF, had his latest book for pre-sale on such a site and that it is published and distributed by a mainstream publisher. In saying all that, I don't think the manner of its publication and sale, takes away from the integrity of the content. I never purchased 'Fuck You Heros' or 'Fuck You Too,' as I didn't feel like dropping the coin at the time. However, I did purchase GEF's Dogtown and Fugazi anthologies and have been a fan of his work since I first purchased the debut Suicidal Tendencies album. Anyway, this thing is a beast and for some reason feels very timely. Maybe it is the photos of Jay Adams and Shogo Kubo who just passed away but aside from that it feels like a very necessary anthology of 'the best ofs' and 'never seen befores' Perhaps, it is because the cultures GEF documented continue to be purchased, watered down and sold back to us. Perhaps, I'm getting old and still hold the generation before me in unreasonably nostalgic high-esteem. Perhaps, it was hard for me to hear about HR singing/mumbling in a motorcycle helmet and witness vomit worthy Street Leagues/Dew Tours and seeing Public Enemy on Jimmy Fallon, which I thought would be exciting but was incredibly lack-luster. And needed a good dose of 'how it was' and 'is supposed to be.'

"My Rules" also has some very pertinent and moving essays that thankfully talk more about the DIY ethic than they do about wanking-off GEF. (For, it is apparent he has somewhat of an ego and needs his audience to know he was in all the right places at the right times. The thing is, he has a very good fucking point about this.) Craig Stecyk, Ian MacKaye and Jello Biafra all do a good job of telling us things we already knew in their own unique way but the real gem came from Rodney Mullen, whose profound words are worth a book of their own.

If you are familiar with GEF's work, you recognize a lot of the content; lots of shots of Rollins going ballistic, Jay Adams spazzing out, Alva's early frontside airs, Public Enemy looking like a real threat, Minor Threat looking not quiet as threatening as PE but still pretty fucking radical, and so on. But there are a few surprises, such as a couple of shots of Chris Miller at Upland that are mind-boggling by today's standards and a fantastic two page spread of Mike Watt and D Boon that I've never seen before. 

It feels like history. Important history. It is so easy nowadays to document, share and cash in on youth/subcultures. Things get blown-out so quickly by the internet, they're over before they every really have any substance. "My Rules" documents an authentic era when it wasn't so easy to pretend, pose, buy/sell or exploit the hardcore. You'll know if you need this. 

Click for an interesting video of Glen and Ian discussing the book.