Black Flag was the band everybody loved after the Germs
fell apart and Darby went to England to hang out with
Adam Ant. They took over for the punkest band award.
image was pure controversy from their flyers to cover
art for their records to their frantic performances
which usually ended with an arguement, fight, and/or
a riot. I saw every stage of Black Flag.
In my opinion, the early gigs are still the best.
The Cuckoos Nest, The Starwwod, The Fleetwood, Polish
Auditorium, Baces Hall, and The Vex all saw Black Flag
under many guises to keep the cops and city people at
Nervous Breakdown has always been one of my fave
Black Flag songs and I will never forget the "Black
Flag kills Ants on contact" flyers they handed
out at Perkins Palace the night before Adam and The
Ants played. The ant people were bummed.
We went in force that night; me, George Bellanger, James
McGarrety, some guy nicknamed Apple, and Eric Egli.
We were to meet Tony Alva, his brother Marc, Red Dog,
Jay Adams, Duane, and I don't remember who else. It
was sold out when we arrived from the land of the Bad.
We had to find a way in (which we were quite good at).
All the exit doors were shut and we could not bribe
anybody so we decided to make a human ladder up to a
window, open it, and climb in. We all thrived on this
action so Muir—because he's the biggest—is
the first link as we start climbing on top of him to
the window above. Jayboy pops it open and swings his
body in and disappears. One at a time we barge into
the show and I fall onto a table right below the window.
We are falling/dropping at least 6-8 feet. The force
of my fall breaks the table legs and sends me crashing
to the floor. Finally, I rushed to the side- door and
let in all my bros that came with me.
Almost immediately, we get into a fight with X-head and
a whole bunch of skinheads who were just getting into
the scene. To them, their brand of English hooliganism
was "happening" in 1979-80.
George played football with me in Pop Warner and high
school so he was a pitbull who weighed maybe 200 pounds
and stood 5'6." George was the famous guy in Skateboarder
magazine aptly named the White Rhino for his foot high
mohawk. George was a maniac who punched through doors
and broke bottles on his head on purpose to show how
punk he was. He devastated opponents. The five of us
along with Marc Alva and certain skatepunks, proceeded
to take over the whole crowd (as usual). Nobody would
mess with us once shit started. So the show goes on
and Kent Senatore jams with U.X.A. Duane and I are right
on the stage behind them.
After U.X.A., the crowd starts to swell and stampedes
towards the exit doors. The cops are spraying mace and
stopping the show. Black Flag hadn't even played yet
(that was typical back then).
Outside, a crowd of angry punkers are lined up on one
side of the street. On the other side are the cops along
with the fire department. Tension is building as the
police go on tactical alert. The punks are "seig
heil" saluting the L.A.P.D. trying to goad the
cops into attacking. The police commander blew the whistle
to clear the area. All hell broke loose (like the riot
scene in the movie Quadrophenia).
Mayhem ensues with cops beating down everybody in sight
with billy clubs, shotguns, mace, water-hoses, helicopters...
you name it. Some girl next to me got a club to the
head and blood spurted out like a geyser. I went down
to help her and WHACK!... I got struck across the back
with a baton.
I was like... later skater!
I started running and throwing shopping carts behind
me to evade my police captures. In the fog of war broken
bottles were flying everywhere. Car windows were being
smashed-in with bricks and bandana-wrapped engineer
boots. People were fighting and scuffling around. It
was like a war with no bullets. Instead, it was punches,
kicks, bites, tears, knives, rocks, batons, sticks,
shopping carts, trash & debri, egg cartons, mirrors
broken off cars, antennas snapped off Mercedes'. You
It was all around you. But you know what...
IT WS FUN!