I shot a roll or two of 35mm and one of 6x7 of Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys during one afternoon in the summer of 1987, before they were going on this big tour. It was pretty weird because I had shot all these guys separately many many times before this day, but by this time things were "different", so it wasn't the usual fun, but more like business. Although you couldn't really tell by the photos, because everyone was comfortable enough with me to goof off, in fact so comfortable usually just fucking up the pictures, but just having them both together was a big deal at this point. And if you've ever taken photos of a group of people, the more the merrier, and the more difficult to get each person looking their best, while still trying to compose a cool shot.
We only had like a half hour to shoot the tour promo shots and merch, so rushed in fact we shot it on the roof of the then Def Jam office at 298 Elizabeth street. So for the only time in my life i actually hired a photo assistant. It was a fucking lame nightmare! I asked the guy to load my 35mm while i was talking with the guys, and he for some reason didn't load it properly at first and just decided to throw away the roll, just ripping it, in a rush, out of my camera!! Even though it was not used, i'd never waste film like that, and never hired an assistant ever again. I was more worried about the assistant fucking up and wasting my stuff than i was about the session. I asked him to pack my stuff up as we went downstairs and i tried to get the guys in one last set up on the stoop of the building next door (since i didn't feel good about anything from the roof). This shot, of maybe four frames i had taken, on the stoop was my favorite, and somehow i convinced them to use it on the merch poster.
Any other time i've had an assistant it was only a good friend who would come out with me to keep me company, watch my camera bag while i'd shoot in a "bad" neighborhood, occasionally hold a light/reflector or just drive. For the record, my friends who also pretended to be photo assistants (and sometimes got paid and/or gold/platinum records) were: Amery "AWOL" Smith- who met the Beastie Boys for the 1st time when we shot the day that gave us the Check Your Head cover, and he later became their punk drummer. Joe Bruno- who was a Murphy's Law roadie and hung out for most of my sessions during the late 80's hip-hop stuff. Luke Hoverman- photographer who i met while he was still in school at SVA and working at Angelika's Kitchen (vegan organic) take out, and "King James" Cassimus- who of course was the photo editor at SkateBoarder and Action Now magazines, he just lit the stuff i did in his studio (the only studio work I've ever done).