Greg, Anthony, Kira and Henry of Black Flag
Black Flag was the band that got me into punk, or “hardcore” if you insist (back then the terms were interchangeable).
My War is my go-to record to this day when normal life goes to shitsville. In what I hope wasn’t too fanboyish of a moment, I once told Rollins to his face that I’d gladly toss every one of the records in my (stupidly extensive) collection if I were allowed to keep My War—and I wasn’t lying. It’s simply a record that was there for me every time I needed it. Sometimes a record finds you at the right place and time in your life, and you make an emotional connection with it—for me My War was that record and Black Flag was that band.
In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s I got heavily into the VHS tape-trading scene and was able to acquire pretty much everything that existed as far as live documentations of Black Flag—or so I thought. With the advent of YouTube, so much more has come to the surface. I’m constantly surprised by what bubbles up.
I recently ran across three killer live Black Flag videos I had no prior knowledge of. The videos are from May 31st, 1982 at “My Father’s Place” in Roslyn, New York; April 9th, 1984 in Richmond, Virginia; and October 19th, 1984 at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Shout out to Internet saint anonym0us2112 for uploading these and a number of other excellent music videos.
The quality varies a bit on these shows; the sound is OKayyyy for ‘80s video recordings, but the picture quality is decent. The Richmond show, in particular, looks as if it’s from a fairly low-generation source. These certainly wouldn’t be the ideal introductions to the group for a first-time listener, but for die-hard fans this is pure gold.
Black Flag’s guitarist, Greg Ginn, is notorious for having content removed from YouTube so watch these while you can—soak in every Rollins pelvic gyration and brow furrowing before the YouTube police get involved. Incredibly, these videos have been online for seven months, but as of this writing the three clips have less than 2,500 total views combined. I suspect that’s going to change today.
Here’s all three. Watch while you can:
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Dead Kennedys edition: The world will never run out of ‘newly uncovered’ (insert name here) videos
Feminist performance art VS Black Flag, Sabbath, and other culturally masculine institutions