Cheuse Life

Living the dream, behind a lens
Run DMC by Josh Cheuse
Making your mark as a rock snapper can be a long and arduous process, as you build up a significant body of work then painstakingly try to get it noticed. Alternately, you could just ring up The Clash, on the offchance, and see what happens. That’s what Josh Cheuse did, back in the early eighties, and it led to one of the more illustrious photography careers.

“If it wasn't for them I don't think I would've done any of this, certainly not an interview for Clash Magazine,” laughs Cheuse. “I called Electric Ladyland Studios from my high school payphone and asked if I could come and photograph them, and they said yes. Standing outside on Eighth Street at the appointed time, a bit shy, Joe walked up and asked me what I was doing and before I could answer he shoved me in the door. I never looked back.”

The choice moments of Cheuse’ career are resplendent within the covers of Rockers Galore, a lovingly-compiled book which charts his progress from those early days with the Clash to work with more modern muses, like Oasis. In between he became a familiar face on the eighties hip-hop scene, hanging with Run DMC, following Schooly D on a memorable trip to Belfast and winding up as an affiliate member of the Beastie Boys.

“We bonded over music and Monty Python,” Cheuse recalls. “I don't think anyone knew they would become an institution. Actually I take that back - maybe Mike knew. I certainly never contemplated the future social significance of a shot of my friend Adam Horovitz in front of a piece of grafitti. Or Run DMC's sneakers under the press conference table. I was just in the moment. Now you can probably get a PHD in Beastie Boys.”

So who are his muses at the moment? “I've lately been shooting MGMT a lot, they have something really special and a strong vision,” he says. “I like groups whose music cuts across all the crap and hits you in the heart.”

A selection of classic Cheuse images are now available to purchase at www.othercriteria.com

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