Rock ‘n’ Roll photog David Corio exhibits at Zinc this week

Born in London in 1960, it was through his sister’s then fiancé Wreckless Eric, that a young David Corio was introduced to the fledgling Stiff Records. He ended up photographing their first tours featuring Ian Dury and Elvis Costello, and eventually visually documenting the burgeoning punk, rock, hip hop and the jazz, soul and r&b scenes. Now in a collaborative effort with Converse and creative multimedia studio Jam Division, David Corio comes to Kuala Lumpur for Youth/Decay to exhibit his collection of stunning portraits in pop culture including images of Blondie and The Clash. Taking place at Zinc in Bangsar from April 24 to May 2, as official magazine for this rare and exclusive event, JUICE got to preview some of those iconic images here first.

Images by David Corio courtesy of Jam Division

It was while working in an industrial darkroom, David began freelancing for New Musical Express (NME) and worked for them on a regular basis from 1979 till 1984 getting to photograph Bob Marley and a then unsigned new band U2. Photographer, music listings and nightclubbing editor of City Limits in the early 80s, he has become responsible for capturing some of the most stunning rock moments for The Face, Time Out and Black Echoes, while his charismatic portraiture and moving images have also been published in the Telegraph, The Times and The Guardian and appeared on CD sleeves and album and single covers.

While much has been made of his rock photography, David’s emotive shots of hip hop artists from Biz Markie to Biggie and Erik B & Rakim have provided the realms of photography and music with its most captivating images and compelling record of an emerging new scene in black music. Box fresh adidas shell toes, no laces as worn by Run DMC; young taut LL Cool J slick with sweat, gold chains bouncing off his bare chest, Kangol on his head; a playful DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince, De La Soul having a lark outside of the Apollo…. In 1999, David’s first book The Black Chord with Vivien Goldman, and an introduction by Isaac Hayes was published featuring over 200 of David’s photos of black musicians that he had shot over 20 years immortalizing forever the likes of James Brown and Ray Charles among them.

Annie Lennox – Hope & Anchor, London 1979
“This is Annie Lennox with The Tourists just before she found fame with Eurythmics. The venue – the basement of the Hope & Anchor on Upper Street Islington, London – one of the main places for new bands to strut their stuff during the pub-rock days through to the punk and 2 tone era – was tiny and crowded. It was probably a complete fire hazard but no one thought about that then. Just 50 people would pack the room but usually many more squeezed in. The stage was only about a foot off the floor and invariably the walls and the ceiling dripped with sweat. That night Annie Lennox sang and also played saxophone along with her partner Dave Stewart on guitar and vocals. I always went to those Hope & Anchor shows early. Being late meant that I’d never get near the stage and half the show would be over before the condensation cleared from my lenses.

B.B. King – Hammersmith Odeon, London 20 May 1982
“My earliest music influence, other than Top Of The Pops, was the blues which I attempted to play on my guitar accompanying my records. Enough said about that!
B.B. King was naturally one of my favourites, and this show had John Lee Hooker and Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland all on the same bill. I was in heaven. I remember actually crying with happiness at being in B.B.’s presence. His love for his audience, music and guitar Lucille was irresistible. I always loved this photo because it captured that spirit of his.

Last year at the age of 80 he announced that he was retiring from touring but I hope not. I can’t imagine him ever stopping as he enjoys performing live so much.”

Bob Marley – Crystal Palace Bowl, London 7 July 1980
“This was Bob Marley’s last London concert and one of his final shows before his untimely death 10 months later. I’m sure not many people knew of his illness as he performed a stirring two hour show that afternoon. This venue has a lake in front of the stage and as I didn’t own a really long lens, I waded into the lake with my camera and a few rolls of film in a carrier bag. I got to the front of the stage where the water was about 4 feet deep and shot from there. Bob performed in an almost hypnotic trance. Of the three rolls I shot I think he has his eyes open in only two of the photos. He was a shaman dancing, his locks all over his face throughout the show. This photo, the 37th frame on the roll, is for me the one that worked best graphically and symbolically.”