from prince to babes in toyland, these photographs document minneapolis's legendary music scene
After shooting at Minneapolis club First Avenue as a photo editor for The Minnesota Daily, Daniel Corrigan became First Avenue's house photographer, and has shot six shows a month for the past 20 years. Heyday, a new book of his images, is a decade...
Photography Daniel Corrigan. Outtake from the cover shoot for Babes in Toyland's Spanking Machine, 1990. Courtesy of the artist and Minnesota Historical Society Press.
The first time photographer Dan Corrigan shot at First Avenue, a historic Minneapolis rock club, it was 1981, and he was the photo editor for the Minnesota Daily's Arts & Entertainment section. Corrigan developed a friendship with the club, and over the following 14 years, developed a massive image archive of the Twin Cities's most defining musicians: among them The Replacements (he climbed to the roof of the Stinson's mum's house to shoot the band's enduring Let it Be album cover in 1984), Babes in Toyland, Hüsker Dü, Soul Asylum, and, naturally, Prince.
In the 90s, First Avenue hired Corrigan, where he presently works as a maintenance man and a house photographer. His contract stipulates he shoot six shows each month for the club's historical archive — which means he's been shooting at least one gig a week since 1995. Corrigan's 35-year-spanning archive includes live images, portraits, album covers, and more; according to him, it fills a bedroom. Now, 500 of Corrigan's images also fill a book: Heyday: 35 Years of Music in Minneapolis.
Heyday — published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press and released tomorrow, November 1 — packs some of the most iconic pictures from Corrigan's tens of thousands into 224 pages. There's the Let it Be rooftop session, of course, as well as portraits of Babes in Toyland sitting in a pile of dolls (which would become the cover for the punk band's riotous debut record, 1990's Spanking Machine). There are live shots of Prince, Black Flag, and The Time performing at First Avenue, as well as of Michael Jackson, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Clash, and a young David Byrne at other Minneapolis arenas.
As for Minneapolis's most monumental musical icon, Prince, Corrigan says he photographed the legend as many times as he could (even when it meant crouching in the aisles). "I have probably the largest collection of Prince live photos anywhere," he told Pitchfork. While Heyday is a deeply personal document of his home city's vibrant musical history, Corrigan's book is simultaneously an essential collection of images capturing the world's brightest talents.
Heyday: 35 Years of Music in Minneapolis is published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press. An exhibition of images will be on view at the Mill City Museum from November 16 - April 30, 2017. More information here.
Text Emily Manning
Photography Daniel Corrigan