"It was '85 maybe or '86. Buffalo State University. I remember it like yesterday.
"Henry stood in the crowd before the show, leaning face first against the cabinets, getting into the pre-show tape. People were trying to go up to him to talk, but he just ignored everyone - didn't even look at them. Then he went back stage for a while.
"Greg, Kira, and Bill Stevenson came on and began tuning up. Then Henry hit the stage, and it was like a fucking bomb exploded. I remember everyone leaping into action - the band, the crowd, everyone. I felt a combination of exhilaration and terror, thinking I would get killed in the pit. The most intense pit I was ever in. At some point, I felt someone hitting me in the
back, shoulder, over and over. After about five or six smacks, I turned around with my fist clenched, arm coiled, ready to smack the the punk - it turned out it was my best friend who'd arrived late and was just trying to get my attention. I was shocked at how the music and madness had turned me into a 'loose nut' ready to annihilate anyone who touched me.
"Some idiot tried to climb on stage, and Kira jammed her bass against his throat, pressing it into the stage. Later on, these punks were rushing toward the stage, hitting everyone from behind. The one had a swastika t-shirt on, which prompted a great onstage
retort from Rollins:"
"You're too fat to be a Nazi, kid."
"They don't make nights like that anymore."
"I saw Black Flag play in Norman, OK at a small club called Subterranean in February, 1986. In my days as a drunk, stoned 20 year old, I think I yelled something really stupid at Rollins like:"
"Fuck you Henry! Your mom should have aborted you..."
"He looked pretty unhappy about it. In retrospect, it was a rather retarded statement
and a lame attempt at 'being really punk.' I think that if Rollins had jumped off the stage and smacked me in the face it might have helped me grow up a little faster."
"I'll trip down memory lane for Black Flag. I saw them the day after Live Aid at the V.F.W. on Central Avenue in Albany, NY in 1985. The Loose Nut tour. A guy named Dave Stein promoted the shows. 4 bands for 4 bucks was the motto. As I look back, I can see it was a 'typical' mid 80's hardcore crowd except that you had a bunch of the VFW guys hanging around in those damn hats. Too cool.
"There was no stage at the VFW. Everybody played on the floor. Tom Trocolli's Dog and St. Vitus opened. Having never seen them before and not knowing who was in the damn band besides Rollins and Ginn, I was suprised to see this tiny chick right in front for St.Vitus throwing the horns and generally wigging out. Little did I know that I was staring at Kira!!! The refrain for Prayer for the Masses is still with me today. Killer
"I went to the merch table and bought the My War cassette. When I turned around, I couldn't belive my eyes in seeing a guy wearing a chain mail muscle shirt in the pit. Yikes!!!! Owww!!!!! Then some guy decided that he could see the show better if he was on his buddy's shoulders. That ended in a CRACKKKK!!! The guys head landed on the floor. The dude was fine later, although a bit disoriented.
"Just a great show. From talking to people, I guess I enjoyed a great scene. In the dozens of shows I saw, I never saw a fight. Just a lot of moshing and people picking each other
up as they fell down.
"I saw them next year at SUNYA, I remember Gone opening. Good show, but too many damn college kids!!!!! I could say that as a high school student."
"I saw Black Flag for the first time at the Olympic Auditorum in Los Angeles back in the summer of 1982. Bad Religion, D.O.A., the Desendents, and 45 Grave played. This was my first hardcore gig and it left a impression on me that I will never forget!!!
"I saw Black Flag a few more times. One was at the Dancing Waters Club in San Pedro The opening act was a unknown band at the time from Reno Nevada called M.D.C. They were great...
"Social Distortion, the Vandals, and the Adolescents are our local
pride. They grew up just down the street from me and we Punx of OC would see them play parties and garages all the time.
"I've settled down with a family of my own and very seldom get to the gigs. Besides, the new age punk scene just ain't the same as it was when I was pioneering it and the general public was frightened by the unknown. Now it's real watered down but I can say I helped build what it is today..."
- Karl: "Black Flag came to Buffalo NY only 3 or 4 times, and me and my buddies caught what I think were their last 2 shows there. Both shows, according to my ticket stubs, were just $5 in advance, $6 day of show!"
Saturday July 13, 1985, at the Buffalo State University Social Hall.
- Pat: "As the university came into view, it appeared to be teeming with people. There were many people adorned with metal spikes and thin lines of spiked hair down the middle of their otherwise shaved skulls..."
- Karl: "Opening were Tom Troccoli's Dog (featuring Greg Ginn) and St. Vitus! We all skateboarded around out in the school courtyard, partially missing the Troccoli's Dog part. Intense curiosity over the St. Vitus experience pulled us in, where we witnessed Vitus's bizarre demonstration of guitar neck biting. Then Flag took the stage. Kira was playing bass at the time, Bill Stevenson on drums perhaps Flag's best line-up. I recall intense violence, but as the hall was really big and the show did not sell out, us little sprackers were able to escape the 'pit' (which was more like a mountain of people than a pit, actually) when need be. Ear-destroying decibels, sweat, grime, filth, all the expected elements."
- Pat: "All the quacks were there. It was weird, about 500-700 people. The slamming was pretty mellow because it was just us skaters, but when Black Flag came on it got way violent because of endless jock pogos and malicious metalheads."
- Karl: "The next show was the following spring, Friday, April 25, 1986. It took place at Sunship Studios on Main Street, the least ventilated, most hazardous and least-friedly-to-shows hall I've ever seen (and later working as a roadie for 4 years, I've now seen a LOT of nasty halls). There was mayhem outside the show, being in a rough part of downtown: drugs, violent homeless clashing with violent skineads, etc... the place is likely abandoned now, and was surely condemmned soon after this show. 'furnace like' and 'human rat's nest' are 2 apt phrases that come to mind. All there was was sweat, dirt, noise and pain. (perfect for a Flag show!) The most intense show I've ever seen. I think I saw my first 'crowd parting' for a portly stage diver at this show."
- John: "I got clocked by some guy whilst a-moshing and got a big cut on my right eyelid from the lens of my glasses.
Amazingly, our friend Rob later found that lens on the floor!"
- Karl: "Overall this was a much more violent and chaotic show than the '85 one. Opening was Painted Willie (who I recall disliking), then the intense Gone, with Greg Ginn & Andrew Weiss (later of Rollins Band & Ween fame.) Anyway, the funny part was that John (who in his long haired, shirtless, sweaty state looked almost like a 15 year old clone of the then long haired Henry) kept trying to get Henry's attention. Apparently he had some sort of important thing to tell him. After a bunch of his 'Henry!' shouts, he finally got Henry's attention:"
"John then shouted something or other, but there was too much other shouting going on that even I didn't catch it despite being next to him.) Henry shook the sweat off his brow and marched to the other side of the stage, saying into the mike:"
"I don't have time for little boys."
"And with that, they launched into My War."
Karl K., Pat, and John