Tuesday, June 23, 2015


I don't even know where to begin when it comes to Black Flag! The whole reason I started publishing my own books, making the covers myself, and dedicated myself to hustling my words on my own, was because Black Flag did it with their music. My early book-zines were all an attempt to be literary Black Flag, to some extent.
Thanks, probably almost entirely, to the iconic artwork of Raymond Pettibon's (brother of guitarist/founder Greg Ginn) artwork, Flag's albums look like they need to be owned. There are plenty of great album covers, but Pettibon's work held some magic and it perfectly represented the music found within. I still find it exciting to come across Flag albums at the record store, even though I already own them.
My first two Flag albums were My War and Slip It In. I loved War, but I think Slip should've been an EP with the title track, Rat's Eyes, and Obliteration left off. I'm far less critical of the rest of the discography and can put on almost any of those albums any time. The one album though, that I find to be Flag's most consistent, well written, with the highest replay value is In My Head.
In My Head was the last studio album until the ill received What The? from a couple years ago. As a front man, Henry Rollins had really come into his own and Ginn, bassist Kira Roessler, and drummer Bill Stevenson (Descendents/ALL) had really gelled after a few years of constant touring. The previous album, Loose Nut, made a big promise that In My Head fulfilled. So it's too bad that the '86 tour to promote that album was the end.
Flag had long outgrown the narrow confines of hardcore punk and had been experimenting with slower, more metallic music since Dez Cadena (who Rollins replaced) was the band's singer, which accounts for the majority of their recorded output. By the time they were recording In My Head, Ginn had figured out the formula for mixing the Stooges, Black Sabbath, and jazz influences while still being able to sound like the same band that recorded Nervous Breakdown, which is quite an accomplishment when you consider that from beginning to end Ginn burned through like fourteen members, including four singers!
In My Head continues to influence and inspire me. It's a damn fine album for the band to end on and we're lucky to have it.  
Out Of This World
title track
Drinking and Driving
Retired At 21

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