Glen’s another example of doing it right. I’m not sure he could avail himself of the convenience of tarnishing his integrity if he actively sat there at his stainless steel desk and tried. This zine didn’t really start it all for him, but in a way, it started him for him. Specifically, it marked the start of his independence from the corporate publishing world–something he’s maintained right up to the KYEO fugazi book he just published. It’s a practice he’ll likely never stray from.
The guy was a professional photographer by age 12. What exactly does that mean? It means he knew that the things he loved watching were worth documenting. It means that he had the drive to pick up a camera and document those things. It means he’d put up with being the grom–getting beat up, ripped off, scammed and laughed at because he was a child with a child’s instinct that what he loved was, in some way, pure–elemental–the atoms that would smash together and outgas the culture we all accept as ubiquitous today. He was getting published in Skateboarder magazine regularly. He was shooting his friends–not just doing what they were known for, but enjoying themselves away from those anchors.
Album covers, publicity shots, magazine spreads–punk, hardcore, rap, skateboarding–it was all the same. It was all energy as far as his affinity to it went. Initially, though, he didn’t edit it that way. I’m not sure Glen felt comfortable telling people, “it’s all the same thing. get used to it”.
At the start, he delivered the goods piecemeal. MY RULES, is indicative of that. There’s an ad for Thrasher in it, but there’s none of Glen’s iconic skate photography in the zine. He kept that in the skate mags back then. There’s no rap in it, but it was ’82 when he released it, so he wasn’t really shooting enough rap yet to have it make much contextual sense. So, in the canon of Glen Friedman, MY RULES, has, until relatively recently, stood alone as a crystalline composite of singular focus–music–or, more precisely–the aggressive music that Ronald Reagan’s America helped inspire. In the past few years he’s bookended My Rules with the DogTown book, the Jay Adams book, Recognize and KYEO which have all been content specific–but in the decades connecting My Rules to KYEO, he took the liberty of allowing the diversity of the images he composed to be the message.
While we were designing one of his other books, he gave me a few copies of My Rules and made me promise to keep them safe. They’re under lock and key and that’s where they’ll stay.