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Hail Satan: Venom at City Gardens, Black Flag roadie’s legendary tape
07:44 am


Black Flag

When Black Flag opened for Venom at Trenton, New Jersey’s City Gardens on April 2, 1986, there was not an abundance of goodwill in the backstage area. Henry Rollins and his close friend Joe Cole, who roadied for Black Flag, made Venom a figure of fun that night, mocking them to the audience, to their entourage, and to their faces. (It actually makes the story of Slayer’s Tom Araya pissing on Cronos’ head seem not so bad in comparison.) Black Flag had been touring America since January, and was two months away from breaking up, which probably contributed to the vibe.

Afterward, Cole took a tape of Venom’s set from that night, cut out the songs, and spliced together what remained. The result was a collage of singer/bassist Cronos’ between-song patter, a manic, Satanic stand-up routine that is eminently quotable. Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace! put it out as a seven-inch in 1991, and the Beastie Boys sampled it on Check Your Head.

Both Cole’s and Rollins’ diaries from the 1986 tour have been published, so it is possible to reconstruct something of the historical circumstances. Joe Cole describes the show in a diary entry from Planet Joe:

4.2.86 Trenton, NJ: Tonight’s show with Venom was like living Spinal Tap for real. They play “Black Metal.” Satanic rock stars! They acted like they were playing Madison Square Gardens [sic]. The drummer, Abadon [sic], had a drum roadie by his drum set holding a fan on him so that his hair looked like it was blowing in the winds of Hell. The guitar player, Mantas, kept playing these cheesy metal leads and then pointing at the crowd making evil possessed grimaces to let them know he was at war with Satan. The most Spinal Tap of all though was the bass player singer, Cronos. He kept telling the crowd that they were wild. “Aaaaaahhhh, aaaaaaahhhh!!! You guys are wiiiiiiillld! You wanna hear something that will kick yer balls off? The name of this next song is called Love Amongst The Dead. Pretty sicky, eh? If you’ve got any lighters, you can get them out like this guy here! Oookaaaay! Here we go!” I don’t think Cronos could even play his bass. He mostly flexed his muscles, stuck his tongue out at the crowd, gave them the Hail Satan sign while telling them how wild they were. He was delivering the goods and was an awesomely evil rock n’ roll animal. Rollins, [late-period Black Flag bassist] Cel and I drew pentagrams and 666 on the palms of our hands like Richard Ramirez and flashed them at the band members so they could see that we too were at war with Satan. I was over Mantas’ guitar monitor flashing my pentagram, giving him the hail Satan sign while he was in the middle of another cheese lead. He looked up at me, pointed, smiled and winked. At the end of the night we were walking around saying “Hail Satan” to everyone. We are now born again Satanists. “Hail Satan!” has become our new greeting.


And here are the relevant passages from Rollins’ Get in the Van:

4.2.86 Trenton NJ: [...] Now we’re in Trenton. We’re playing with Venom tonight. Joe, C’el and I drew big pentagrams on our hands and every time we see these metal guys, we flash our palms and say, “Hail Satan.” Good fun.

The Venom boys aren’t here yet. Last night in Atlanta, they refused to play their gig. They missed their flight to Trenton. We’re waiting around to play.

[...] Got very little sleep last night and I’m feeling it now. This is an early show. We’ll be done with our set by about 8:30. The only drag is that Venom is using our PA so we have to wait around until they’re done.

4.3.86 Morgantown WV: Played that show with Venom last night. I thought we played real good. When I came out onstage, I did some Satan raps and shit. The best one was “Give me an ‘S’!... Give me an ‘A’!... etc. What does that spell?... Satan!!” It was hot. The crowd was into it. I said, “Hail Satan! Party hearty and surf naked!” We dedicated a few numbers to Satan and had a wicked good time.

Venom took almost an hour to get onstage. They had roadies tuning their guitars and shit. Finally, they hit stage. They were hilarious. It was like seeing Spinal Tap. The drummer had a guy that held an electric fan next to him and kept him high and dry. The singer/bass player was named Kronos [sic]. He had some great raps. He got the crowd to chant what I thought was “Black Funky Metal” over and over which I thought was pretty cool and then I thought that maybe I was wrong about these guys. I found out later that it was “Black Fucking Metal.” Oh, excuse me. I expected them to go into “Sex Farm Woman” at any second. The guitar player was so bad it was painful. I had a great time. Joe, C’el and I were hanging in back saying “Hail Satan” to people and prancing around like idiots. What a night. The bass player was hilarious. He would wiggle his tongue and roll his eyes. But he also would fix his hair every fifteen seconds or so.

After an hour of “I can’t fucking hear you!” they said, “Good fucking night, New fucking Jersey!” and ran for the dressing room.

As Kronos was going to his motel destined ride, Joe jumped in front of him and laid a “Hail Satan” on his ass. The drummer came into our dressing room and asked [late-period Black Flag drummer] Anthony if he knew who was responsible for the drums being fucked up. He also said they were having problems with their wardrobe.

Load-out was great. All the Venom management and roadies were there and we were staring at them — laughing and doing Spinal Tap/Venom raps. They bummed out real bad, but they didn’t say anything. I have a feeling that there will be Venom raps going around our camp for a long time now.

Venom is weak. Everything about them is weak. They can’t even play. They had a bunch of roadies to do everything. Weak, weak, weak. I would love to play with fucking “heavy metal” bands more often. It was fun crushing them. It’s all lights and makeup. What bullshit. Venom suck. They are so full of shit. What a bad joke. They don’t sweat and they probably don’t even fuck.

To see Joe Cole rise from the grave and lay a “Hail Satan” on you, skip to the 51-minute mark in Dave Markey’s tour documentary Reality 86’d.

Wild, man, wiiiild!

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Black Flag is for the children!
10:58 am


Black Flag
Greg Ginn
Mike Vallely

Increasingly notorious and tedious Black Flag honcho Greg Ginn may have found a redemptive moment to counter his ongoing quest to debase the name of his second greatest contribution to the world (the greatest being SST records, in case you actually had to ask). At the end of last week, the news began to spread that the band, now made up of Ginn and former pro skater Mike Vallely, will perform a “stripped-down” show of Black Flag songs—for kids.

The all-ages (duh) show is on Tuesday, June 17, at 6 pm, at Reggie’s in Chicago, and I really wish I could be there! Imagine relatively quiet, kid-friendly versions of “Rise Above,” “TV Party,” “Black Coffee,” “Police Story,” “Slip It In”… well, I guess probably not those last two. Who knows, maybe in bare-bones form, the piss-poor, Black-Flag-in-name-only dross from last year’s reunion abortion What the… might not totally suck.

Here’s some live footage of Black Flag when they mattered, a late Rollins-era performance from the Michigan cable program Back Porch Video.

What the… Ron Reyes out of reconstituted Black Flag

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
White hot Black Flag: Live in the UK, 1984
07:48 am


Black Flag

Decent and complete Black Flag concerts from the band’s original era are tougher to find than I’d like. It’s the nature of the Internet that ten great ones could suddenly turn up tomorrow, of course, but for now the easiest to come by online are a single-camera document of a Hollywood show from 1982 (with terrible sound), an inaudible AND invisible vid of a 1984 Club Lingerie show, and a 1983 Philadelphia set which, if nothing else, is notable for showing off the briefly extant five-piece lineup with Dez Cadena on second guitar, and has an unfuckwithable raw energy to it, but is still mighty hinky, quality-wise. Then there’s their 1984 UK show at the Bradford Bierkellar. That recording is a much better sounding, multi-camera document that actually saw a legitimate video release as Black Flag: Live in 2000, and as such, has merited a page on allmovie, from whence:   

Right around this time, the band let its admiration for such classic heavy metal bands as Black Sabbath seep into its punk/hardcore sound, as the lineup at this particular juncture of Black Flag’s career featured founder Greg Ginn on guitar, vocalist Henry Rollins, bassist Kira Roessler, and ex-Descendents drummer Bill Stevenson. The roars through such Flag classics as “Nervous Breakdown,” “Slip It In,” “Black Coffee,” “Jealous Again,” “I Love You,” “Fix Me,” and the raging set closer, “Rat’s Eyes.” In addition to the fine musical performance, a humorous scene occurs early in the show, when an annoying fan keeps walking around and sitting on the stage during the performance, and is unknowingly spit on by Ginn!


Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Pavement’s Stephen Malkmus played bass in a punk band that opened for Black Flag and others
01:05 pm


Black Flag
Stephen Malkmus

Straw Dogs
Pavement was a pretty fast phenomenon in the early 90s, they seemed to come out of nowhere. Three pretty obscure EPs from 1989 to 1991, then their first full-length set, Slanted & Enchanted, incredibly hit #2 on the 1992 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll in the Village Voice, and they were off to the races.

But if you subscribe to Malcolm Gladwell’s theory of the work and practice that must pre-date artistic success of that kind—there’s no such thing as people who can do it right away—it might not be so surprising to hear that Stephen Malkmus, Pavement’s lead vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist, had been toiling away as a bassist in a punk band in his home town of Stockton as early as 1982. The band was called Straw Dogs (great name!) and they were the local openers when West Coast bands like Black Flag, DOA, and the Circle Jerks would come to town.
Straw Dogs
Earlier today Marc Maron dropped an hour-long interview with Malkmus on his WTF podcast, and in the interview, Malkmus discussed his unusual 5-string guitar tuning, his recent obsession with Edgar Allan Poe, and his days as one of the people who “wrote tunes” (his words) for Straw Dogs, a stint that occurred while he was still in high school. (He also discusses his early adoration for Creedence Clearwater Revival and DEVO.)

Here’s the interview snippet where he discusses Straw Dogs (lightly edited, jump to the 31st minute to hear this chunk):

Stephen Malkmus: I was in high school and there were some older dudes that were playing, and it seemed like they were having more fun than the sports guys. …

Marc Maron: What was the first stuff you played? How’d you learn to play?

SM: Eh, punk.

MM: Yeah? …

SM: And then I wrote tunes in the punk band. I was in a punk band.

MM: What were they called?

SM: Straw Dogs, ah, from the West Coast. Not—there’s a Boston one. Not that anyone’s gonna notice. They probably listen to your podcast, but….

MM: In the van.

SM: Yeah, we were a band in Stockton. We opened for some other groups, from back in the day.

MM: Oh yeah? Like who?

SM: Like um, I’m just gonna brag a little bit here, um, Circle Jerks, Black Flag ...

MM: All the LA punk bands?

SM: TSOL, Code of Honor, DOA ...

MM: Really.

SM: Some bands like that, yeah. Always the first on, for twenty bucks, but we did play.

MM: Were you like 20 years old?

SM: No, I was 16.

MM: Oh, so you’re the local guys, that you were just…. and punk was so sort of marginal anyway, so the scene was pretty small, I would probably imagine, at that time.

SM: Very small. There was a couple bands from Stockton. A very good one called the Authorities, they did one single. They were the only ones that got documented. We played in Sacramento, San Francisco, just that triangle, for like one year.

As I mentioned, it does help to explain why Malkmus could seem so very polished and assured even though he was a relatively new face in 1991: He’d already been doing this in some form for nine years or so.

Via Stereogum, I found “a Santa Barbara high school newspaper profile of Malkmus” in which his activities in Straw Dogs are confirmed. Malkmus was born in 1966, so he would have been sixteen (a junior, as mentioned in the article) in 1982, which lines up perfectly with the two posters on this page. The Black Flag gig happened on Friday, April 22, 1983, and the Circle Jerks gig happened on Thursday, April 19, 1984.
The Straw Dogs, by the way, are active, even if Malkmus isn’t doing anything with them, being busy with the Jicks and all. They have an active Facebook presence, on which Malkmus is listed as the bassist on the “About” page.

Sadly, there’s no extent recordings of early Straw Dogs, either live or studio—as Malkmus says, they went “undocumented.” So here’s a slab of early Pavement; in my opinion early Pavement is the best Pavement anyway.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘No Slam Dancing’: Black Flag, Dead Kennedys and… Jon Stewart?

Henry Rollins and Greg Ginn during a Black Flag show
I’ve read an absolutely embarrassing amount of books on pop music for someone who’s never read Dostoyevsky, and over the years I’ve learned to make my recommendations with care. I’ve found out the hard way that not everyone is as interested in Ronnie Spector’s autobiography as I am (ingrates), and that it’s difficult to convince someone that you don’t have to be a metal fan to enjoy a book on the history of heavy metal. However, I’m completely serious when I say everyone will enjoy No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History of the Legendary City Gardens—it’s just that universal.

To give you some background, City Gardens was a music venue in the most unlikely of places, Trenton, New Jersey, a city that’s been on the rapid decline for decades. After the assassination of Martin Luther King, riots ravaged the downtown, and even the cops were looting (for welding masks and catcher’s helmets to protect their faces from flying debris). Insurance companies began to drop businesses’ claims, deindustrialization exacerbated unemployment, and suburban flight grew in droves—Trenton, NJ remains a pretty dismal place, economically.

However, where there is a void, there is also opportunity, and a giant warehouse in a rough part of town became the site of a musical oasis, all through the tireless efforts of a few committed fans and staff. The actual City Gardens building had been re-purposed many times before, from a grocery store to a car dealership, but when it was reopened as a disco in 1980, local DJ Randy Now approached the owner, hoping to find a venue receptive to his New Wave tastes. What began as a few weekly dance nights quickly paved the way to booking some of the best bands in underground music.

The Descendents in front of their perilous tour bus
Before you write off City Gardens as just another scummy punk venue, realize two things. First, the Trenton neighborhood it called home was volatile. While slam-dancing can certainly incur some injuries, to say City Gardens was merely “violent” is an understatement. It saw a lawsuit in 1981, not a year after it began booking bands, when a woman was brutally beaten with a pool cue in inside the venue. And this is to say nothing of the skinhead riot that occurred later. The late Dave Brockie, better knows as GWAR singer Oderus Orungus, said City Gardens was so bad, they’d never go there as fans. Second, when I say “some of the best bands in underground music,” I think City Gardens’ booking philosophy is best summed up in Mickey Ween’s forward when he said, “they did not cater to the audience.”

This was not just a punk or hard rock club. For every Black Flag and Danzig (who had their very first show there), there was a Bo Diddley, Sinead O’Connor, Lydia Lunch, Iggy Pop, DEVO, Bauhaus, The Ramones (who played numerous times), Ricky Nelson, The Violent Femmes, RIcky Nelson, or Toots and the Maytals! The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart was bartending during a Butthole Surfers set with a topless dancer and some careless DIY pyrotechnics! The Beastie Boys almost didn’t play and got their tires slashed, presumably for being late! Someone threatened to break down the dressing room door to stab Jello Biafra! The chaos and sheer wildness of City Gardens is what truly made it unique, and it even hosted all ages shows!

Al Jourgensen of Ministry
Co-Author Amy Yates Wuelfing pinpoints the preposterous success of it all:

City Gardens was in the middle of nowhere. Not Philly, not New York, but it was still a big club.  That fact that it was so close, and in the middle this dead zone, made the community of people who went there stronger and tighter. It was almost like college, you saw the same people all the time so they became your friends. That was the main thing for me. And unlike the clubs in Philly and New York, the pretentious element wasn’t really there.

What’s truly captivating about No Slam Dancing is the story-telling—it’s a complete oral history, meticulously collected from the memories and reflections of bands, employees, regulars, and all manner of City Gardens alumni. Over a hundred interviews were conducted to create an amazing compendium of anecdotes, and they don’t pull punches. Not everyone comes off well, and sometimes everything goes wrong, but the spirit of the moment is exciting and ambitious, and it’s all the more inspiring when you realize the entire fourteen year musical renaissance of Trenton, New Jersey was built from the ground up by Randy Now, the hobbyist DJ with a day job as a mailman. It’s an insane story, and I highly suggest you pick it up.

Below, Jon Stewart, Ian Mackaye and others talk about City Gardens in a trailer for Riot on the Dance Floor: The story of Randy Now and City Gardens.

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
What the… Ron Reyes out of reconstituted Black Flag
07:39 am


Black Flag
Greg Ginn
Ron Reyes

It seems the controversial and ill-starred Black Flag reunion is already falling apart. Via Dying Scene:

Wow! Ron Reyes just posted a lengthy statement on Facebook announcing he has decided to leave Black Flag, stating he believes the band “fell very short indeed and the diminishing ticket sales and crowds are a testament to that.” You can read the full statement below.

It is unclear whether Black Flag’s new album What The…, which features Reyes on vocals, is still going to be released on December 13th via SST Records. If it does see the light of day, it will be the first album released under the Black Flag name since 1985′s In My Head.

That release date of the 13th seems like it may be a typo, by the way. Multiple sources, including the band’s official site, have the date as December 3rd.

Reyes originally joined Black Flag in 1979, after the departure of founding vocalist Keith Morris. After singing on some of the band’s classic material, including the pivotal “Jealous Again” EP (whereon his vocals were credited to the name “Chavo Pederast”), he quit the band mid-gig in 1980, perhaps a foreshadowing of his onstage ouster THIS time around:

On November 24th 2013 the last night of the Australian Hits and Pits tour with two songs left in the set Mike V comes on stage stares me down, takes my mic and says “You’re done, party’s over get off it’s over…” He said something else to me but it was a lie so I won’t repeat it here. So with a sense of great relief that it was finally over I left the stage and walked to the hotel room. They finished the set with Mike V on vocals.

“Mike V” presumably refers to Mike Vallely, the professional skater who has recently collaborated with Black Flag honcho Greg Ginn in the band Good For You.

Black Flag were never strangers to controversy, but their 2013 reunion has drawn HUGE fire from fans for trying to pass off what many have claimed is substandard music as worthy of the band’s name, and for designing one of the single most bafflingly terrible album covers in the history of life on Earth. Underscoring what’s coming to be perceived as Ginn’s utter debasement of his own legacy is the concurrent and far better-received reunion of many of his former bandmates under the name Flag, to which Ginn responded by partaking of one of his apparent favorite extra-musical pastimes, suing his former associates. That went about as well as the reunion seems to be going.

We at DM sincerely wish Reyes the very best of luck in his future endeavors. Here he is raging full-on back in the day, in a scene from The Decline Of Western Civilization.


Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘We are not Black Flag. We are Flag’: Live and hardcore in New York City
02:30 pm


Black Flag

When you rip away the white noise of controversy over the competing Black Flag reunions what you’re left with is the music and in this case Flag, featuring Keith Morris, Dez Cadena, Bill Stevenson, Stephen Egerton and Chuck Dukowski deliver a mighty roar that, with or without a name, is farking awesome. Punk rock’s midlife crisis is an amazing thing to behold.

Here’s 15 minutes of Flag performing at New York City’s Irving Plaza a couple of months ago.

Via Consequence Of Sound

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Henry Rollins working at Häagen-Dazs, 1981

Fun photos of Henry Rollins (and Ian MacKaye) back when he worked at a Häagen-Dazs, circa 1981.

Apparently Henry was a model employee at his Washington D.C. area Häagen-Dazs franchise. He was promoted to assistant manager!

More images available like this in the book Punk Love by Susie J. Horgan.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:

Listen to Henry Rollins and Ian MacKaye’s 2-hour DJ set on KCRW




Via BuzzFeed

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Black Flag t-shirts on every goddamned celebrity EVER
03:47 pm


Black Flag

Black Flag Shirts on Every Celebrity is a Tumblr dedicated to putting every damned celebrity imaginable in a Black Flag t-shirt. ‘Tis ridiculous and funny as hell.


More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Art of Punk: Watch great new doc on Black Flag and Raymond Pettibon’s iconic collaboration

Bryan Ray Turcotte, author the classic chronicle of punk rock handbills and posters, Fucked Up + Photocopied, has one of the largest private collections of punk rock-related ephemera in the world—he’s a one-man Smithsonian Institute of the counterculture, truly a maven’s maven.

When I got advance notice that one of the world’s most prominent archivists and historians on the matter of punk rock’s graphic design had made (with Bo Bushnell) a film about Black Flag and Raymond Pettibon , I was expecting something pretty great and… it’s excellent!

It went live this morning. I got the link a little while ago and promptly sat down and watched the whole thing:

On the first episode of “The Art of Punk” we dissect the art of the legendary Black Flag. From the iconic four bars symbols, to the many coveted and collected gig flyers, singles, and band t-shirts, all depicting the distinctive Indian ink drawn image and text by artist Raymond Pettibon. We start off in Los Angeles talking to two founding members, singer Keith Morris and bass player Chuck Dukowski, about what the scene was like in 1976 - setting the stage for the band’s formation, as well as the bands name, and the creation of the iconic four bars symbol. Raymond Pettibon talks with us from his New York art studio. Back in LA we meet with Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, about how the art, the music, and that early LA scene impacted his own life and career. To wrap it all up we sit and talk at length, with Henry Rollins, at MOCA Grand Ave in Los Angeles, about all of the above and more.

What’s so compelling about this piece is how filmmakers Turcotte and Bushnell tell you a story that you haven’t already heard a gazillion times before by focusing in on the graphics and how important an iconic logo was back then for outsider kids to rally around, wear on their chests or have etched into their flesh.

In the film, Flea makes, I thought, an especially valuable contribution, because he was young enough then (like Rollins himself was, of course) to have been in the audience and he speaks to how seeing a group like Black Flag could change your direction in life. From what I have heard from a number of people, Flea’s supposed to have an absolutely first rate modern art collection. He’s really inspired when he speaks here.

A production of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. New MOCAtv  episodes exploring the visual identities of Dead Kennedys and Crass will debut soon at the MOCAtv YouTube channel

Above, Flea in his Pettibon-festooned bathroom

Thank you Tim NoPlace!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The other Black Flag re-union: 40 scorching minutes of Keith Morris and Chuck Dukowski’s Flag
11:27 pm


Black Flag

Here’s another groovy communique from our good buddy Tim Stegall.

With guitarist Greg Ginn’s much vaunted resurrection of Southern California hardcore punk legends Black Flag (featuring Jealous Again-era vocalist Ron Reyes) not set to debut until a May 14th date in Luxembourg, Ginn’s been beaten to the punch. Flag, the band of ex-Black Flag members re-banded to give the people their take on the classics, debuted April 18th at an invite-only show at Redondo Beach Moose Lodge No. 1873.

Over 34 years ago, the same rented hall hosted the debut of Black Flag. Much as then, FLAG (comprising original vocalist [and Circle Jerks/OFF! leader] Keith Morris, bassist/songwriter/conceptual mastermind Chuck Dukowski, drummer [and Descendents/ALL mastermind] Bill Stevenson, guitarist [and 3rd Black Flag vocalist] Dez Cadena, and Descendents/ALL guitarist Stephen Egerton deputized in Ginn’s stead) eschewed a stage and played on the floor through a rented PA, right in the faces of the less-than-200 guests.

As you can see in the video below of the entire gig, the band played with the same ferocious precision, commitment, and articulate rage as Black Flag in their prime. Hard to call this a revival or a cover band, when you receive music this fierce and real, played with clear love. Amazingly, Morris even ably handles later Henry Rollins-era material that he never sang, like “My War” and “Rise Above,” with the grace and ease of one who owns the song (if you can call screaming and completely exploding “grace and ease,” that is).

What you get, basically, is Black Flag’s Damaged lineup, with Ginn replaced and Morris standing-in for Rollins. Then Dez unstraps his Les Paul somewhere in the mid-point and assumes the mic, unleashing a slew of 3rd lineup hits.

The proof’s on the tape: Flag is clearly as much Black Flag as what Ginn and Reyes will be unleashing shortly. And they still kill ants on contact….

Watch the entire set here:


Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Black Flag bassist Chuck Dukowski teaches you how to play ‘American Waste’

Photo: Glen E. Friedman
For many years, our Uncle Chuck was an integral part of the band that truly brought the dark, paranoid rage of hardcore punk to the widest possible audience during the early ‘80s.

Within the milieu of formulaic punk rock, Black Flag were truly strange extraterrestrials coming directly from Planet Anger to you. And you’re a better person for it, so watch, learn and appreciate.

After the jump: Got it? Now watch Chuck put it into action with the Flag…

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
Where slamming in the pit began: Southern California’s notorious Cuckoo’s Nest
10:53 pm


Black Flag
Circle Jerks
The Cuckoo's Nest

Urban Struggle tells the tale of notorious Southern California punk club the Cuckoo’s Nest. In the early 1980s, the Costa Mesa venue hosted seminal punk and hardcore bands from The Ramones and The New York Dolls to local heroes like TSOL, The Circle Jerks, Fear and Black Flag. The club was the first to have a slam pit and was a magnet for cops and punk haters. The fact that it shared a parking lot with a honky tonk didn’t help.

This 1981 video has long been out-of-print, but a new documentary, We Were Feared, which covers the same scene and bands is soon to be released by Endurance Pictures. Consider this a long teaser. Some great footage of legendary bands.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Black Flag: Spray Paint the Walls

Spray Paint the Walls: The Story of Black Flag by Stevie Chick is now available in a revised edition for U.S. readers via PM Press. The story of the band in all of its various incarnations, SST Records and their fellow travelers, comes in at a hefty 403 pages:

They were the pioneers of American hardcore, forming in California in 1878 and splitting up 8 years later leaving behind them a trail of blood, carnage and brutal, brilliant music. Throughout the years they fought with the police, record industry and their own fans. This is the band’s story from the inside, drawing upon exclusive interviews with the group’s members, their contemporaries and the groups who were inspired by them. It’s also the story of American hardcore music, from the perspective of the group who did more to take the sound to the clubs, squats and community halls in American than any other.

Read an excerpt from Spray Paint the Walls at The Quietus.

Below, a segment on Southern California punk featuring Black Flag, from The Tomorrow Show in 1980. Rona Barrett interviews Chuck Dukowski!

Via Glen E. Friedman

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Reality 86’d: Six months on the road with Black Flag

Although it’s fashionable to bash Henry Rollins, when he was the lead singer of Black Flag, the guy was one of the greatest—and most fearsome—punk frontmen going. Back then Rollins was scary. Scary in a kind of Charles Manson meets Iggy Pop, slightly unhinged sort of way. I saw Black Flag play several times back in the day—always right up front—and they absolutely killed it live.

Reality 86’d is a road film by David Markey about the final Black Flag tour in 1986. They spent six months traveling in support of their grunge-metal In My Head album. That tour—which I saw—also featured Greg Ginn’s side project Gone and Painted Willie (Markey’s band). It marked “the end of the line for a trail-blazing American band” in the words of the filmmaker. Reality 86’d is a wonderful document about 1980s underground culture.

Thank you Michael T. Fournier

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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