This is the full Black Flag documentary.
Back in the mid 90s I used to talk on the phone to Chuck D from Black Flag/ SST records once a month – I told him that I had a live recording that featured “Yes I know” and ‘What can you believe?” two previously unreleased great songs and that he needed to make sure they come out – about 6 weeks later I was in Selectadisc records and there they were on cd! I didn’t have the money at the time to buy it – import cd and all that – so I came back the next day and boom it was gone! turns out later it was a bootleg but here is the song “yes I know” from that cd
In the early 80’s Punk Rock in the USA was beyond huge – so big that it was the subject of many nightly news programs, chat shows like Phil Donahue and even covered in main stream tv dramas like Chips and Quincy. (see below for examples) Most of the Tv drama coverage was beyond a joke with a punk band singing about “digging pain” and even stabbing other punks in the mosh pit. Rather than make kids see this as a deterent these shows only aided in turning more kids punk and going to shows and acting like jerks. So prevalent was this behavior after shows like Quincy and Chips that the older punks even labelled – douche bags like this “Quincy Punks”
Of course middle American parents were freaking out thinking the devil had possessed their children to cut their hair, dye it blue, have a mohawk or whatever and didn’t no where to turn. Some bright spark came up with the idea of “de-punking kids” and mental hospitals soon figured out that health insurance companies had some sort of mental health insurance and were very happy to convince parents that the kids could be cured and pretty soon parents were institutionalizing their kids – only to be told they were ‘cured” when their insurance ran out.
I used to write to one of Suicidal Tendencies, Mike Muir’s early girlfriends Shannon R who when she first wrote me it was with a pencil as she was locked up at the time. In fact she was the lyrical inspiration to the song “Institutionalized” and also the S.T. classics “I saw your mommy and your mommy is dead” and “I won’t fall in love today” It was actually her on the phone with Mike at the time when her parents decided to get her locked up. I can’t remember but I am pretty sure the infamous line “All I wanted was a Pepsi, Just one pepsi” was hers.
To this day I have friends who were locked up back in the day who are still shaken by their experiences – it was a crazy time thats for sure.
If you or anyone you know was locked up for being a punk at the time leave us a comment below! Thanks
Suicidal Tendencies – “Institutionalized”
Suicidal Tendencies – “I Saw Your Mommy” (Live – 1984)
From the Episode of C.H.i.P.s the band pain playing I dig pain”
Quincy Punk Episode
Teen Talk: Punk Rock early 80’s Local Los Angeles show Part 1
From the beginning, LA punk band the Circle Jerks were rooted in controversy. Formed by-ex members of Black Flag and Red Cross (now Redd Kross) in late 1979, the band came to encapsulate the image, sound and energy of California Hardcore Punk. [The film] mixes in-depth interviews, rare live footage and historical perspective to illustrate the story of one of the most influential bands in the American underground. [It] follows the band from their early days and classic debut to navigating the independent label and touring scene of the 80s to the addictions, fights and injuries that forced their break up. Of course the story doesn’t quite end there.
Growing up in Western Australia in the 1970s there was still pretty much a huge British Influence on our culture. In fact the first place in the world outside of England for skinheads was Australia in the 1960s, thanks to Australia’s “Five Pound Pommy” immigration policy where any British man who had a trade (Electrician, Plumber etc) could move his whole family out if he had five Pounds to his name, entire streets moved out to Australia. So anyways most of the punk rockers I knew in the late 70s early 80s were either Brits or 2nd generation Brits..out side of the Ramones the general consensus with all of them is “You cannot be Punk and American” – Nuts right? But that was the general thought of the time.
I was a skateboarder (still am) at the time and read Skateboarder magazine every month. By 1977 their music section started covering the early LA Punk scene. I started to follow what was going on their and started seeing names like The Circle Jerks and Black Flag mentioned.
I remember as clear as yesterday once cutting school and going to every record store in the city looking for Black Flag records…one store (not even the best Indie Stores in the city that honor would go to Dadas or 78s records) had a white label 12″ which he told me was Black Flag with the singer of the circle jerks doing vocals – I asked him if it was any good and since he had just got it he said he didn’t know. Forever whatever reason it was more than we would normal pay for an import record so I thought screw it I will pass. Of course I did not know at the time that Keith was the first singer for BF before leaving to form the Circle Jerks..god knows what that white label would be worth today! Oh well easy come easy go.
Anyways some how (no clue how) I got a flyer or little mail order catalog from the DOA guys …I remember even showing my mum the records I wanted to order (DOA’s “Hardcore 81” and Black Flag’s “Damaged”) My mum said “don’t get that one its DAMAGED” ha ha had to explain it was the name of the record, so I sent away for both albums and weeks later they arrived back in Australia (no instant digital download in those days kids) I forget if I had the unicorn or the first SST pressing of the record but I do know for a fact I had the one with the “as a parent I found this an anti parent record” priceless!! That’s what you want to see on a record when you are a snot nosed kid ha ha
So needless to say I played Black Flag “Damaged” every day for 5 years – no lie- I had plenty of pen friends in LA and my bedroom wall’s were covered in Raymond Pettibon’s seminal artwork/flyers. ( when I moved out of home I tore them all down – years later I have seen originals sell on ebay for $100 of dollars.
There was a long wait for the 2nd album (due to their legal problems) and friends in LA warned me after seeing the band play live they were now “heavy metal” and had long hair (big no no for punks at the time) Someone mailed me a live cassette and you know what ..I liked it…some old school LA punkers argue that Black Flag went down hill when Henry (Garfield) Rollins joined the band , playing smaller and smaller places (from packing out 5000 capacity arenas with Dez) and ever decreasing record sales. For the record I loved every record that BF did..all the way to the end, I never got to see the band live but have seen Rollins numerous times and caught Greg Ginns instrumental band (Gone?) once in London. If there was ever a band that was more like a cult then a band ..it was Black Flag – they sure don’t make bands like them anymore.
Oh yeah – years later I used to talk to Chuck from Black Flag/ SST on the phone all the time, I mentioned to him I owned a cassette years ago that had two unreleased songs on it “What can you believe” and “Yes, I know” and that they should one day release them. approx one month later I was in the best Indie record store in England (Selectadisc) and there was a new Black Flag cd with those 2 songs on it ..wow I thought great, one problem though it was 1 day to pay day I will come back the next day and pick it up…of course as all record collectors know the next day it was gone…no worries because only later did I find out it was a slick bootleg cd. maybe one day eh Chuck?