1997


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"When I first saw Black Flag, it was on the My War tour in St.Louis [1983]. The thing I remember the most about that show is that at least three times during the set these guys in the crowd grabbed Henry, held him down, and punched him in the face. It was only my third concert (after the Clash and JFA/Sun City Girls.) It left quite an impression on me. I also remember the Saccharine Trust singer [Jack Brewer] crawling under the drum riser to moan during A Human Certainty.

"Like a fool, I didn't go to the show a few months later on the the Slip It In tour [1984].

"When I saw them on the the Loose Nut (my personal favorite Flag album) tour [1985], they had a ton of security. It was great to see Henry run out to the mic just in time to start singing Nervous Breakdown and to see him turn around and unveil his sun tattoo when he sang, 'I'm a son of the Sun' during I'm the One. What ever happened to Tom Troccoli anyway? I saw [Black Flag] and later the Descendents at this roller skating rink called the Skate Palace. Would you believe that the place where I saw these two bands and once had someone try to sell me a bag of G.G. Allin's bodily fluid is now a day care center called Sunshine Academy? It freaks me out everytime I drive by.

"My third St. Louis show was not as good. My friend (and former bandmate) Darrin Gray's band Culture Shock was supposed to open up. This was the the In My Head tour [1986]. Black Flag went on and played a short set. Someone said they had to do another show somewhere else that night--there wasn't one listed in Get in the Van. Culture Shock had the rough job of going on after Black Flag. By the time they were done, the Turner's Hall was mostly empty.

"Greg Ginn had as much influence on my guitar playing as anyone. I, too, in my band Earl Bros. stand out in the local music scene because I play solos. Always have. Most of the bands here in Alton, IL are sons of Sonic Youth. Black Flag had a huge influence on me. My first Flag record was the the Jealous Again EP. A little later I got the Damaged and the Dead Kennedys' Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables on the same day. Black Flag is simply one of the greatest bands of all time."

William I.
August 1997


"Must have been either 81 or 82 when I saw Black Flag play the old Ritz. It was an incredible gig.... had never seen anything like it. Henry was doing Depression or something else off of Damaged, when Richie Stotz (of the Plasmatics), who was just standing there head and shoulders above the crowd with his big blue mohawk, received a Henry headbutt.... and if memory serves me pulled out at least one tooth that was knocked loose.

"I also remember that the bouncers were kicking peoples' asses, including girls, at the show, and there ended up being a 'semi-riot' in the street. Cops were called and, of course, some punk threw a bottle at them.... the rest was a blur of running footsteps and bailing my friends older sister (who drove us to the gig) out of Manhattan's Tombs."

Rick H.
October 1997


"The last time I saw Black Flag play live was Feb. 9, 1986 in a small Deli/Club called the Strip in Knoxville, TN. It was THE defining moment of my life. I left the show physically shaken.

"You can still see the bars spray-painted on the brick front of the Walgreen's on Cumberland Ave. - just a few doors down from where Rollins, Ginn, et al got off over eleven years ago!"

Paul W.
November 1997


"I figured you might appreciate my cool Halloween party story. I went to my friends brothers house in Torrence, CA and Dez's band was playing. He lives right down the street. They sounded unrehearsed but that just made it all the more punk sounding. Played mostly Black Flag songs but it was very informal. I'm not sure it was a real band or if he just did it for fun.

"It was cool hanging out with Dez. He's pretty mellow. There where only 20 or so people at the party, but all were welcome to sing their favorite Flag songs (I sang Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie, my friend Jim sang Damaged).

"Anyway, I gave him my phone number so he could let me know when they played a real show. I told him I could get a few people to go, but shit, with the Internet I could probably get a few hundred, so I'll let you know if I hear from him.

" p.s. I just remembered they were calling the band Sack-a-Quesadillas, but just for the night."

Mike W.
November 1997


"In August I found myself at the Warped Tour in Sanford, FL watching the Descendents shred ass. When they came back for the encore, Chuck Biscuits (who IS in Social Distortion) was on the kit and a man wearing a huge rasta wig was introduced as Dez Cadena. I can't be sure it was him, but it's nice to think it was."

Jim G.
December 1997

[Note: It's been confirmed that it was NOT Dez at the show. Apparently someone was making a funny.]


"A guy I knew for a few weeks introduced me to the Flag. He played the First Four Years tape and what I heard struck a chord in me. This was a time when everyone played heavy metal... Iron Maiden or whatever. I stole like 5 dollars from my mom and went to the record store and was looking for anything by Black Flag. I got My War. Those slow songs were so heavy that my Mötley Crüe tapes seemed like a joke.

"A few days later my older brother caught me playing Flag and asked if I was a punk. I was sooo embarrassed. 'Me punk? No way! Heavy metal rules man! Dokken all the way!'

"A few months later I entered Junior High and two of the 9th graders there had funny haircuts, were totally unpopular, and never got any chicks. I thought they were awesome because they were into a lot of punk bands and were not timid about it like me. They got beat up all the time for their mohawks (and later their skinheads) from kids who were in the local college frats! In the Junior High! In Glendale, CA!

"In 1985, punk was very uncool to the majority. Everyone hated punks. Try to go to a barber back then to shave your head? They wouldn't do it."

William B.
December 1997


"I remember first hearing of the mighty Flag in Summer of '83. I was 17 and had been listening to the Ramones, the Clash, etc. for about two years before being introduced to the Everything Went Black album (double vinyl). When I heard Damaged I knew I had found the real thing.

"I quickly became an avid SST fan and snapped up My War immediately after its release. Most seemed to hate the slow songs on side two, but I loved them and admired the band for doing something different, especially with Henry still relatively new and untested.

"My first live experience was (I believe) at the Olympic Garden in Los Angeles. The non-SST opening act had finished and the crowd was restless and menacing. Finally the band came out without fanfare and lurched into the opening chords of Nervous Breakdown. The room reacted like a bomb had gone off, with bodies surging toward the stage amidst flying tables and chairs. I had never heard such intensity in music, and the physical sensation produced was violent and immediate, like a jolt of electricity.

"Needless to say, it became difficult to listen to most other music after that. When you compare other bands of the era it's really laughable. In my estimation, one side of Damaged contains more brilliance than any band has produced in an entire career since.

"I remain a huge fan of Rollins and the Rollins Band, and I'm checking out some of the re-releases offered by Infinite Zero."

Jeff D.
December 1997


"Must have been '80, maybe '81... Starwood was still open and the Whisky still had killer shows.

"I remember going to see the original Decline of Western Civilization at the 'premiere' in some old run-down theatre in L.A. When the Black Flag segment started, half the theatre started yelling and moving around, all tense and expectant. Dez was talking about being arrested at Blackie's for 'playing punk rock music.' Then the music started and the whole theater exploded in activity. People were moshing (back then we called it skanking) right under the screen, throwing bottles, yelling out the lyrics, going nuts. As soon as Flag's segment was over (3 songs, one of which was Depression), the place simmered down quick. The only other band that got a response like that was Circle Jerks, and they had ex-Black Flag guy Keith Morris. One guy was sitting there breaking beer bottles and slicing up and down his arm with the glass shards. Not hard enough to do any damage, just hard enough to draw blood.

"A short time later, Flag was playing some club on Sunset at the same time Adam and the Ants were playing a club close by. There was a near riot on Sunset in the middle of the afternoon. Flag people were wearing shirts that said "Black Flag kills Ants on contact." That was back when people knew the difference between punk and new wave, and the two DID NOT mix. Flag fans were beating the living shit out of the Adam Ant sissy boys.

"They used to have commercials on KROQ FM for certain Black Flag club dates, [many of which can be found in total on Everything Went Black's track Crass Commercialism.] One of them was:

"Creepy Crawl the Starwood. The Starwood must be creepy crawled.'"

Lynda
December 1997

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