Saturday, February 15, 2014

Punk rock icon talks early Black Flag (video)

Pat Macpherson, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly; , John Rabe
"Rage: 20 Years of Rage" (60 mins.) documentary examines punk rock. Included are rare video clips, narrated by the people involved, and lots of great rebel music. Featuring Jack Grisham (TSOL), Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), Duane Peters, Keith Morris (Circle Jerks), Gitane Demone (Christian Death), Don Bolles (the Germs), US Bombs.

Punk Kristen Stewart, Black Flag fan (MS)
Henry Rollins stands outside his home in Hollywood, California. On Feb. 8, 2014, punk rock auteur Rollins received the Ray Bradbury Creativity award from Woodbury University in Burbank, CA.
Henry Rollins is an actor, writer (, singer, a DJ on KCRW FM, and one of the most interesting people in Los Angeles today. He's appeared in movies, hosted TV series, fronted the legendary West coast Black Flag after arriving in Los Angeles from the East coast -- the pioneering South Bay punk band -- and he's travelled to dozens of countries.

Stewart, Black Flag tat (NV)
Off-Ramp Producer Kevin Ferguson spoke to Rollins in Hollywood about what made him who he is today.
On Ray Bradbury, the Creativity Award's namesake:
"I read a bit of Ray Bradbury... Or I probably intersected with the book via Ian MacKaye, my best friend. Also, in the '80s, there was some California radio station [NPR] that would air Ray Bradbury short stories, either read out loud, or slightly dramatized as they do. And our old sound man would just whack [record] those shows onto the cassettes. And we would have these epic drives."

"He was scary prolific. Just cranked it out. And won several awards, and all of that, which doesn't mean that much to me as far as awards... but the fact that he remained relevant at his craft all the way to the end... Anyone who tries anything artistically or creatively: Wouldn't you like that to be your fate?...
On growing up around the Washington, DC punk scene:
Perez Hilton, Black Flag tee (NV)
"We were very young, and so there was a lot unknowns. When you go to your first rock concerts and you're actually standing near the stage. Which is very different than going to see Aerosmith -- which was cool -- but it was like a mile and a half from the stage. It was all the way at the other end of the hockey arena. And it is what it is. It's all reverb and backslap. It's kind of the aural equivalent of the last inch of a bottle of coke. Lot of saliva, it's not great!
"And then you get to go up close, and put your elbows on the stage, and have Dee Dee Ramone sweat on you. That visceral relationship that you have with music when you're that close to it -- that's what those days were like for me. And all of your cool pals from high school and in the neighborhood, they're all in bands! Like Ian Mackaye. I was at the first Minor Threat show and you could tell, This band is going to be the king of the town! It was obvious. They were so good."
Minor Threat, "Seeing Red," mid-1980s, Washington, DC

On setting down roots in L.A.'s South Bay with Black Flag:
"Wherever we played in California, we were always in the tough part of town with a rough audience. And the audience was one thing, the people hanging out in the parking lot were another. And then the local cops were another thing altogether. So my version of California for the first five years I lived here -- I was kind of stricken. It was kind of terrifying! Although I lived in Hermosa [Beach] and Redondo Beach for a good bit of the time that I first moved here. That's where Black Flag came from. And that was really nice.
"For Black Flag, it was never a community. We weren't very friendly people. And between tours, we would just write songs. And have band practice -- which consisted of doing the set two times a night. And we did that Monday through Friday. And so we didn't really hang out with many people."

"American Hardcore"
On culture clash in their Long Beach neighborhood:
"For a while we had a practice place in Long Beach, because it was cheap. And we were kind of right in the middle of the nexus where two different gangs met. And the locals come in, but the gang guys -- they just walk in because you're in their neighborhood. If you're smart, you don't go 'And you are?' You go 'Oh hey, cool, right?' Because they're armed. It was in our best interest to make friends with everybody.
"We did a big show once at the Santa Monica Civic [Auditorium]. We rented a bus, brought it down to that neighborhood, and loaded in anyone from the neighborhood who wanted to go to the show. And that was one of the most fascinating bits of culture clash. Because, when you tell some people you're going to a show, the lipstick and outfits come out, and the hair goes up, and everyone is dressed to kill! And you basically have them with 3,500 rabid people at the Santa Monica Civic. These are people who might not have seen that, at this point, very ritualized crowd behavior. LISTEN

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