Barred for LifeJudging by my hits here recently, I get the feeling not everyone’s digging the new music I’ve been posting. Come on now, you gotta trust me: I’m wouldn’t post bad music. At least not intentionally....
I will take it back a bit tonight though, and post music from a band I imagine most of you have heard. How about some Black Flag?
I was listening the other day to the Punk Channel on Sirius Satellite Radio when a Black Flag tune came on. It was from the band’s later, Henry Rollins years, but it still took me back to when I first started getting into punk and Black Flag. Anticlimactically, I have no Black Flag stories. I was into the band because they were Southern California punks, which seemed to go well with my tastes at the time.
The Black Flag story is very long and very involved. Greg Ginn and Keith Morris formed the band in 1977. Ten years and 17 members later, they would officially call it quits. During that decade Black Flag would become one of – if not the – most influential punk band to come out of the SoCal scene.
Black Flag forged a unique sound that mixed the raw simplicity of the Ramones with atonal and microtonal guitar solos and frequent tempo shifts. Over this could be heard lyrics – mostly written by Ginn – about isolation, neurosis, poverty, and paranoia.
Tonight’s music comes from a 1983 compilation titled The First Four Years, which oddly enough, covers the first four years of Black Flag’s recording history: 1978-1981. Basically, it’s a collection of the Nervous Breakdown, Jealous Again, and Six Pack EPs, along with a couple of tracks culled from various albums. All of the EPs were recorded prior to Rollins joining the band in 1981. Keith Morris does vocals on “Wasted”; Daz Cadena sings “Six Pack”; and Chavo Pederast is out front on “Jealous Again” and “No Values.”
Interestingly, Pederast was known as Ron Reyes until his acrimonious split with the band in 1980. That story, along with a great oral history of Black Flag can be found here, in a reprint of a Mojo magazine article.