Monday, March 30, 2009

Chuck D. and Public Enemy circa 1987

Here's a classic never published shot of PE, before they shunned the gold chains (the ultimate "status symbol" of that era) completely. It was an interesting moment back stage that night when at the arena outside of Washington DC, where I brought my friend Ian MacKaye to see PE live for the first time and we both noticed that Chuck was wearing gold after speaking out about it publicly before, we thought, and one of us asked, "Chuck is that real? Are you really going out like that?" We thought that PE, and Chuck of all people saw the gold chains for what they were, further enslavement to petty capitalism and consumerism, but Chuck's answer that night was "The kids think it's DOPE, we're here for them, and it looks dope, we can't argue with that... Besides it ain't real gold!" - Well thankfully Chuck disbanded that argument before the end of that tour, or shortly thereafter, but for a minute there it looked like he slipped in front of someone who was surely a bit disappointed at that first meeting. No one's perfect.

Now, just in case you are not aware, I was probably one of the biggest PE fans/promoters of all time back then. Besides doing almost all of their early photography, including their first two album covers, I believe i was one of the first people ever to say that "It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back" was the greatest rap album of all time. i'm proud to have said that as early as i did, and see many people jump on that in the many years since, deservedly so. I was very close with them and the Bomb Squad back then. And even though we did have a bit of a falling out just before the third album came out, we had long since made up, and i'm still a big PE/Chuck D. fan and friend.


  1. What I really love about PE's music is that it's overt in its messages. There's no need to interpret any meanings, whether you're listening to their music or watching a video. And when Chuck talks, I listen.