Saturday, August 8, 2009

you bet we've got something personal against you!: the black flag discography



well...it's saturday...the heat is being hot...there's the sounds of an auctioneer wafting in through the window ...and it looks like there's a storm a-brewin'...so what better thing to do than supply all of you with a little black flag

and this is by no means an exhaustive discography...i'm sure there are things out there that have been put out on labels in germany and sweden and whatnot...but this is a pretty damn decent go at it (and though i suppose it could be considered a black flag release...i didn't include the MINUTEFLAG collaboration they did with the band the minutemen...though you can find it here as well)

what can be said about these guys that hasn't already been said....

they started out as your typical run of the mill "skate rock" band called panic (later changing their name in 1978...and going through multiple singers)....then eventually morphing into a visceral east coast version of the doors (thanks to hank rollins)...and by the end of it all they'd become a free form jazz punk jam band

in my opinion (not that any of you actually care about such a thing) black flag were the first real punk band (though most/all will argue that it's either the ramones or the sex pistols)...my point being that the sex pistols were just the next step on the punk rock evolutionary ladder (though sticking with the typical punk "3 chords and an attitude" thing...but were really nothing more than a punk boy band...they were put together after the band's manager saw a ramones show and thought "oi...i can do that too")...as for the ramones...i'm just gonna go ahead and say it: I'M REALLY NOT ALL THAT MUCH OF A FAN (same goes for the sex pistols...actually...i can only tolerate one of their songs all the way through...that one being their cover of the frank sinatra tune "my way")...the ramones have more than one decent song amongst their discography (just to mention a few: "beat on the brat"..."cretin hop"..."the kkk took my baby away")

ah...i'm getting away from my point (once again)

black flag possessed that snotty little brother that likes to throw bricks through the screens of old television sets and throw beer bottles at police cars (and once the car comes back...takes a piss in the back of it once he's arrested...and calling your parents at 3:00am just to say "hello dad...i'm in jail...i like it here...it's nice") and lighting shit on fire (sometimes literally) and hating your parents because they don't get you attitude that none of the other bands really possessed at the time...they're also considered the first hardcore band...and they were really the first d.i.y. band (they were the first band to book their own tours)

but enough of my rambling...you just want the music

and i totally understand that

and just for the record...i'm a keith morris guy

nervous breakdown (released 1978)
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DL: nervous breakdown

panic demo (released 1978...though not officially)
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DL: panic demo

jealous again (released 1980)
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DL: jealous again

six pack 7" (released 1981)
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DL: six pack 7"

police story live 7" (released 1981...bootleg)
DL: police story live 7"
(link fixed)
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louie louie 7" (released 1981)
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DL: louie louie 7"

damaged demos (released 1981...contains songs that would be put on the DAMAGED album with dez cadena on vocals)
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DL: damaged demos

licorice pizza 7" (released 1981 as a promo for the DAMAGED album by a record store chain of the same name (sans 7")...featuring a 5 piece black flag and the earliest recordings with hank on vocals)
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DL: licorice pizza 7"

damaged (released 1981)
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DL: damaged

tv party 7" (released 1982)
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DL: tv party 7"

everything went black (released 1983...a compilation of the 3 singers that came before hank...which would be keith morris/ron reyes/dez cadena...the album got greg ginn and chuck dukowski some jail time for releasing it...i'm not going to go into the whole story...google's there for a reason)
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DL: everything went black

the first four years (released 1983...this is a compilation of pre-hank black flag material...it's pretty much the NERVOUS BREAKDOWN/JEALOUS AGAIN/SIX PACK eps...the LOUIE LOUIE 7"...and various other songs that were put on compilations)
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DL: the first four years

my war (released 1984)
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DL: my war

family man (released 1984...this was the band's first foray into the instrumental realm...as well as hank's first foray into the spoken word world...the only time the entire band come together is on the song "armageddon man")
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DL: family man

slip it in (released 1984...the woman hank is being all "hey baby" with in the title song is future L7 vocalist/guitarist suzi gardner)
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DL: slip it in

live '84 (released 1984...the first official live black flag album...and yes...it's better than WHO'S GOT THE 10 1/2...that's right...i said it)
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DL: live '84

loose nut (released 1985)
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DL: loose nut

the process of weeding out (released 1985...the title can either mean that they were "weeding out" hank as he's nowhere to be seen on this album...or the "wedding out" could be looked at as a reference to all the pot most of the band was obviously smoking during the making of the album...as you can plainly hear as the band goes into full on jam band mode)
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DL: the process of weeding out

in my head (released 1985...the last studio album from the band...the band's sound is more experimental and rock orientated complete with fade-outs...sounding more like greg ginn's instrumental band gone...which opened for black flag during their '86 tour...hank ended up taking gone's bass player andrew weiss and drummer sim cain for his rollins band...this put a bad religion releasing INTO THE UNKNOWN look on most folk's faces)
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DL: in my head

spray paint live 7" (released 1986...bootleg...could've very well been recorded at the same show the police story live 7" was recorded...dez on vocals)
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DL: spray paint live 7"

who's got the 10 1/2? (released 1986...the other official black flag live album...and i've already said what i needed to say about this...and just in case you're wondering...it's kira)
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DL: who's got the 10 1/2?

wasted...again (released 1987...a best of compilation)
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DL: wasted...again

i can see you (released 1989...some left over material from the IN MY HEAD-era)
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DL: i can see you

annihilate this week (released 1990...it's made up of a song taken from the band's final show..and 2 found on the WHO'S GOT THE 10 1/2 album)
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DL: annihilate this week

the complete 1982 demos+more (released 1996...this was originally released in 1982 during their not being able to record anything new legally...so the band went in an made a secret demo of songs that would later get used on the MY WAR and SLIP IT IN albums...and this was the only time drummer chuck biscuits (who has also played in samhain...the descendents...subhumans...circle jerks...just to name a few) played in the band...and the +more is an interview and a small set the band played at the radio tokyo recording studios...and this is the only place you can find the songs "what can you believe" and "yes,i know")
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DL: the complete 1982 demos +more

and now we've come to the end of our journey

and see...you didn't get pelted in the head with a microphone...and you were never in any danger of almost seeing "little hank" through a tiny pair of sweaty shorts

aren't you glad you sat through it all until the end?

and at least you weren't this kid...this was hank being hank....enjoy

22 comments:

PantherInCrime said...

wa wa wi wa! i like!

aaron m. said...

i can finally replace my worn out copy of "my war"!

1009 said...

Thanks a lot. I've been on a BF-post-1984 kick lately. I hear early Melvins (actually a lot of Seattle) coming out of that era of Black Flag. I don't even mind Henry's shorts. They look comfortable.

Mars said...

When I first heard 'My War' back in '84 it changed my life. I was living in a Group Home in Central Maine trying to play guitar like Steve Vai. A kid let me borrow a tape saying that he thought my guitar playing sounded similar (!). Well, it kinda did, 'My War' was corrosive and obnoxious - my inner attitude to a 'T' and the lyrics sounded like REAL LIFE not some weird unattainable fantasy that metal had going. I realized I had found myself in this garbled mess of sludge and I never looked back.

Lo-Res Viscera said...

Really, really nice work you did on this post, thanks!

The one thing - what a dick, huh? - is that when you go to D/L POLICE STORY LIVE 7", it goes to the LOUIE LOUIE 7" D/L link :(

Any chance you can fix that one as it 's the only one I don't have?
Titties...

Gray said...

As a person who is immature enough to have a "favorite band", and being that the "favorite band" in question is Black Flag, I have to take slight umbrage with your write-up in this post.

calling the original incarnation of Black Flag, "run of the mill skate rock" isn't an accurate statement. There was no such thing as "skate rock" at that point to begin with, and there was certainly nothing "run of the mill" about the Panic material as they were beginning to play faster and more aggressive than their peers.

You also refer to them as "visceral east coast version of the Doors", which I don't understand in the least. They were from the same city as the Doors, so I'm not sure where the East Coast comes in (perhaps you're referring to Henry Rollins being from D.C.?). Also, the bands might have shared similar "dark" themes in their lyrical approach, but philisophically they appeared to be coming from two totally different places.

All that aside, my real gripe with the post is when you describe the band as the "first real punk band" and the "first true d.i.y. band". I don't think either are accurate.

Without getting too deep into the semantics of the word "punk", I think we can all agree that the MC5 begat the Stooges who begat Ramones who begat Sex Pistols who begat Clash and on and on. The punk music was simply a rev'd up garage rock that had been stripped down and speed up. Like it or not, the Sex Pistols were a "punk" band. Yeah, I agree about Malcolm McClaren being a puppetmaster, and a douche to boot, but in the annals of history, punk music will be defined by that sound of those bands from that time period. A lot of it was image, and that image was pretty ridiculous, thereby creating a launching pad for the next evolution of the music; hardcore.

You can't say Black Flag were the first hardcore band, but they certainly were the template against which all others after them will be measured. I would also say, they were the "best" (sorry Bad Brains, Circle Jerks, and Minor Threat), and they had the total package of music, lyrics, imagery, and mystique that elevates them above their peers. Hardcore is just as much about image as punk was, or any other kind of music is, it's just that Black Flag happened to employ one of the better graphic artists of this generation to help them create their aesthetic.

When that "American Hardcore" book came out a few years back, folks like me were excited about it because finally, hardcore music would be seperated from the punk umbrella it usually was left under (when it even was mentioned at all). It was a vindication of sorts for those of us who always thought punk was kinda dumb and pretentious. I never had a leather jacket, or wanted my hair in liberty spikes. Yeah, there's great punk music out there, but it wasn't until hardcore that shit finally clicked (for me anyway), and it really wasn't until Black Flag that the picture was complete.

I'm glad you posted the music, and I don't mean to nit-pick at your post, but like I said, Black Flag is one of those few things I still nerd out on when the topic comes up. They are one of those few bands that, warts and all, I always defend no matter how corny Rollins could be, or how shitty Greg Ginn was to his bandmates, or how slow and freaked out the music mutated. I like it all, and figure I always will.

The punk versus hardcore arguement will go on long after this response, but I just felt the need to throw my opinion out there, since you obviously wanted to hear it.

Also, Dez was the best vocalist...sorry, but that's been scientifically proven.

B Brown inc. said...

I must admit,this is a kick ass post! thanks.

ipecac said...

you know grAY...i only posted all of this to both entice AND make you have to say stuff

and i succeeded admirably

and just because you slip into my room at night and replace my yanni cassette with your 120 REASONS ON WHY GRAY IS RIGHT AND THE KING OF EVERYTHING cassette while i'm asleep...doesn't mean that i can't form opinions on my own (though i will agree on you making the best chili this side of the mississippi...and that you're foghat's #1 fan)

and no...the best frontman was keith morris...he told me so himself (and besides...you'd never catch him playing with "the misfits")

Lo-Res Viscera said...

Sorry butt in to the brofest here, but um, can you guys PLEEZ fix the POLICE STORY LIVE link?

That would be cool.

James Joyce said...

Is nobody going to stick up for Chavo Pederast? It was him and Chuck Dukowski made the BF part in Decline so amazing. Speaking of Chuck, there has not been any Dukowski era/post-Dukowski era discussion, which I agree is the best interpretation of Black Flag's direction and aesthetic over the years, more than just the vokillist(s).

ipecac said...

i'm sticking with my keith morris-ization


and the police story link is all fixed up


but really...what it all comes down to is hank's tiny shorts...black flag needed to happen so they could gain notoriety

1009 said...

I'll have to stick up for Hank here. Mainly because he's not a "singer." There are those odd moments, every now & again, when he actually hits a note, & it's actually like he's *hitting* it.

Or maybe I just like him because he was around for the sludge era.

Gray said...

even though i mentioned dez as my favorite vocalist, you can't deny the majesty of the 1981 damaged era five piece line-up (you seriously can't, denying that is illegal in most states). it's been said before, but it bears reiterating, side two of damaged is the greatest album side ever released. period.

mr. joyce, as he's want to do, brings up an interesting point of reference, the pre/during/post dukowski epochs. all have their merits, but it must be said that the band hit their creative high water mark with chuck dukowski holding it the fuck down. as the man himself said, "fuck it, fuck shit up".

i can't wait until my children are ready to be blasted by black flag (not the poison mind you, the band), it will be a true family miracle. until they tell me how much they hate it, and how much better hannah montana is than henry rollins. fucking kids.

Lo-Res Viscera said...

Thanks for fixing the Police Story link.
I'll just put my two cents in quick-like & say that Black Flag were at their most volatile and truly scary when Chavo & Dez were on the mic.
Henry? Yeah, it was good, but it was better before.
Johnny Bob Keith?
NO FUCKING WAY - sorry.
He came into his own later in the Circle Jerks (a band I liked for about 10 minutes) but then he just became this long haired (and even more long-winded) front-douche who'd rather spout than sing, ala Jello.

just sayin.

Simon Johns said...

Well, I'd just like to say how much I enjoyed the interview! Man, are you ever right - I am so glad I was not that kid - he did well though! Hank was an ass, but funny too - but harsh on the kid! Overall, it was Black Flag, it was punk and we've all done shit like that for our zines back in the day! If you never had a zine - it's like that time when you "punched above your weight" with a chick and she put you right back down - just like Henry!

Jannell Says said...

AHHHHHH! Awesome. I've owned most of the major albums on cd but of course they were scratched beyond playing looong ago. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for posting these! Speaking as a "Henry-era but really it's all about Ginn and the rhythm section" person, I was wondering if you could pass on the password for the Family Man file?

Anonymous said...

I agree, Keith Morris was the best.

betterdezthanhenry said...

jesus christ, I know henry rollins is the absolute worst now, but I didn't realize he was the worst back then. what a pretentious dick.

evil eye hOneytree said...

Thanks!, I hadn't even heard a couple of these. You are a hero.


I am Pro-Shorts but..
...Keith Morris.Keith Morris.Keith Morris.Keith Morris.Keith Morris.Keith Morris.Keith Morris.Keith Morris.Keith Morris.Keith Morris!

Anonymous said...

sweet. thanks man.

Epic said...

Please re-up this amazing collection! Seeing all those red X's (with FF plug-in) breaks me heart.

 
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