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Black Flag
March 3, 2012 10:24 AM   Subscribe

Black Flag, live in England, 1984

The definitive account of Black Flag as a touring band is singer Henry Rollins' Get in the Van - which won a 1995 Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album.
posted by Trurl (36 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
THIS. Thank you for posting. Hank is my real dad, and I don't care who thinks that's stupid or cheesy.
posted by littlerobothead at 10:28 AM on March 3, 2012


I wonder if Rollins adjusted the sound mix himself?
posted by Flashman at 10:37 AM on March 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


I wonder if Rollins adjusted the sound mix himself?

Heh... yeah, the mix is unfortunate.

Better is this December 20 performance of "My War".
posted by Trurl at 10:41 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


England? What do they know about partying- or anything else?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:46 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Henry Rollins rules. Every time I look at him I see a beady eyed meathead about to make an ass of himself. But then he opens his mouth and insightful, sincere, humanist wisdom comes out. Every damn time.

In my dealings with people its almost always the other way around.
posted by clarknova at 10:58 AM on March 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


But then he opens his mouth and insightful, sincere, humanist wisdom comes out. Every damn time.

Meh...he can also be sort of a pompous dick.

That said, when I saw this link I immediately wanted to share it on Facebook because I do love Black Flag but man...that outfit.
posted by windbox at 11:01 AM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hmm, let me consult the Black Flag hair chart before I tune in. Ooh! Looks good! Ok!
posted by dirtdirt at 11:03 AM on March 3, 2012 [13 favorites]


This was probably a sound board mix. In a reasonably small room, you'll often find that the drums and guitars carry the room enough that the vocals are almost all you need to come out of the PAs.

It's a bit unfortunate that someone who went to the trouble to video the gig didn't put some mics in the room to mix into the board mix to balance it out a bit (though they'd still need to know what they're doing to avoid phase problems).
posted by chimaera at 11:03 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I got this on cassette when it first came and because of the mix, thought "Man these guys really blow." I even started doubting my faith in Flipside. Coming from a town notorious for for hot horse on man action, I was rather distraught. Luckily a fine record establishment opened up and I managed to get the 10" of PCP Pep from the Butthole Surfers. With that I was happy that the world didn't make sense.

Thanks, I had totally forgotten about this.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 11:31 AM on March 3, 2012


Meh...he can also be sort of a pompous dick.

I'm ok with a guy who does USO tours, visits wounded soldiers at Walter Reed, and tries to cheer up terminally ill kids being a jerk every so often.
posted by starman at 11:34 AM on March 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Aw, Henry wore his shorts from cheerleading camp!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:37 AM on March 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


My favourite Black Flag live video is the one where somebody throws a full can of beer and clocks Rollins right in the face. Sadly, I cannot find a copy of this beautiful happening right now.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:40 AM on March 3, 2012


There are people who I instinctively (right or wrong) peg as not fitting the part somehow - like they're pretending to be something that they're really not. I feel this way about Henry Rollins when I watch this. It feels like he's trying too hard, and while this type of music isn't really about the music, it is utterly awful. It makes the Sex Pistols sound like Neil Young by comparison.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:44 AM on March 3, 2012


What a lot of people forget about Rollins is that he was, what, the fourth singer for Black Flag - this was a band that already had a huge reputation locally when he joined. So he had a lot to prove (and he's said that himself, it's not my opinion) and subsequently trying too hard was sort of his thing. YMMV.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:48 AM on March 3, 2012


...and I should say that the band itself sounds pretty good. Rollins' off-key shouting is the thing that sucks. And, there's a difference between trying hard and succeeding, and looking like you're trying hard and failing. It boils down to a distinct lack of talent combined with severe, naked ambition.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:51 AM on March 3, 2012


I adore Black Flag, but I still like Keith Morris best.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:52 AM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Me too.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:12 PM on March 3, 2012


What, no Full Metal Challenge?

I don't think anything more needs to be said...
posted by Eekacat at 12:44 PM on March 3, 2012


Thanks to his account of the British tour in Get in the Van, I expect this audience to be spitting non-stop.
posted by ignignokt at 12:44 PM on March 3, 2012


I dunno. I think Keith Morris was a better Circle Jerk. Black Flag was already over by '84 but the Jerks were still putting out great records and their shows.
posted by cazoo at 1:23 PM on March 3, 2012


Thanks. I saw them live first a couple of years later. Good times.
posted by kjs3 at 1:33 PM on March 3, 2012


Speaking of, here's Morris' new band, OFF!, doing their 80's style hardcore while Raymond Pettibon paints.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:01 PM on March 3, 2012


Black Flag, live in 1979. Not Rollins but I love this version of "Depression" so fucking much.
posted by msalt at 2:35 PM on March 3, 2012


Black Flag was maybe my first punk show, my first pit experience, and I loved it even though I was only a mild fan of the recordings. But later there was the period when they just play dissonant wanking and Rollins would roll around on the ground in his weird shorts and scream. And they warmed up seemingly half the shows I went to for a year or two. That’s when I grew to hate them.
posted by bongo_x at 2:54 PM on March 3, 2012


My life is richer for having just discovered The Process of Weeding Out... Brother - which is Hulk Hogan's reading of his autobiography backed by the instrumental music of Black Flag.
posted by Trurl at 3:14 PM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've always loved Black Flag, especially their early stuff. Rollins doesn't do much for me, other than as one of their vocalists -- I'm not saying he's a terrible person or anything like that, but definitely something in the way he talks about himself, and in the stories from people who have met him, that doesn't inspire any interest from me.

I hadn't known he wore such short shorts, though, so now my life has been made richer.
posted by Forktine at 3:36 PM on March 3, 2012


Black Flag was already over by '84

Vis a viz Hulk Hogan, someone described their 1985 records as "their heel turn".
posted by Trurl at 3:44 PM on March 3, 2012


Black Flag was already over by '84

Really? If you never had to rely on "Black Coffee" and, well, actual black coffee to get you through a morning at an awful job, then you're a luckier person than me.

Plus, Who's got the 10 1/2 is one of the few live albums I can listen to over and over again. I know it makes me weird but I think late era Black Flag was the best era of Black Flag.
posted by mcmile at 5:00 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aw, Henry wore his shorts from cheerleading camp!

I was going to say he looks like he got into Glenn Danzig's wardrobe
posted by Hoopo at 7:25 PM on March 3, 2012


Rollins was the fourth best singer that Black Flag ever had!
posted by alex_skazat at 7:35 PM on March 3, 2012


I was going to say he looks like he got into Glenn Danzig's wardrobe

Yeah... "wardrobe"
posted by alex_skazat at 7:37 PM on March 3, 2012


OK, I'm serious now - is that Joe Cole working security?
posted by alex_skazat at 7:38 PM on March 3, 2012


A Black Flag recording with Henry Rollins mixed louder than everyone else put together is the punk equivalent of the tape of only Linda McCartney.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 9:03 PM on March 3, 2012


I do love Black Flag but man...that outfit.

A young, athletic man, a beady-eyed Morrison clone-wannabe, in spandex shorts and a mesh-shirt, dripping in defiantly deviant sensuality, reads a passage from Henry Miller, brandishing the book with more reverence than his own microphone.

I'm not too impressed by punk from that era, it was too intentionally atonal for its own good, but man, that was cool.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:22 PM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I love that during this time Greg Ginn was obsessed with the Grateful Dead and wanted Black Flag to open for them. MAN that would have been a good show! From 'Get In The Van' 9/17/85:

"I saw the Grateful Dead two days ago down in Chula Vista. They were amazing. That was one of the best shows I've seen in a while. Man they can play. That was the best sound system I have ever heard. They played a long time. It was great. I'd go see them again in a second."

Here's a link to the Dead show that Rollins attended. I can totally imagine him rocking out there. Great show.

At this point in both the Dead's and Flag's careers they really could have benefitted from touring together. The Dead could have used some new energy and Flag could have taken more time to jam out without having shit thrown at them.

I would really be into a 15 minute depression with a 1 minute 'Six Pack' segue into a 'My War' with an a capella 'Wasted' encore. Weir & Rollins could have shared the non-nude shorts.

But seriously. I think both bands would wind up sounding more like Acid Mothers Temple, which is a good thing.
posted by shushufindi at 8:04 AM on March 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Greg Ginn is a very interesting dude. I liked that he was really into Dio a few years before that and some punk band made fun of him for it.
posted by ignignokt at 9:26 AM on March 4, 2012


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