Aahhhh, it’s a fried-day and there is some rather interesting shit going on at my job that may spell doom or prosperity for old Nazz. Soooooooo, it’s BLACK FLAG time!
Christ, I’ve only been addicted to the band for what, 30 plus years? Well, today it’s DAMAGED. Just a total sonic brute force. Were they the hardest band? No… I’d give that to the Bad Brains, whose performances would actually make the flesh peel back from your skull. But for outright anger management, the Damaged era Black Flag does it for me just fine. The twin guitars of Greg Ginn and Dez Cadena. The “lead bass” of Chuck Dukowski. The nasty ass drumming of Robo. And who is that guy that was singing for them back then? Henry something or other. Whatever happened to him? You had the “pop side” with “TV Party”, “Six Pack”, “Gimme Gimme Gimme”, “Police Story” and then the brute angst force side with the two versions of “Damaged”, “Life Of Pain”, “No More”.
Sure, a lot of the songs had been in their repertoire since the early days of the band (the comp Everything Went Black has multiple versions of many of the songs with multiple singers). But, the versions on “Damaged” transcend “old school punk” and re-invent the genre.
But you know that already, because you have the album- dontcha? The cover of course gives it away- Henry punching the mirror.
This feeling haunts me
Behind these eyes
The shell seems so empty
Does anything live inside?
I want to live
I wish I was dead
---- “What I See”---
I saw the band in it’s Henry era a bunch of times- from the pre-Damaged tour thru the molten sludge end of the band tours.
The sheer ferocity of the band, with Henry on stage in his little gym shorts and tattoos and skinhead (later of course replaced with his long hair and even more tats) would just engulf the audience. As the years went by, it became even more confrontational.
You’d come out of the shows absolutely drained. Ears ringing, body aching, drenched in sweat.
This album will be on endless loop today.