Artist: Black Flag Track: "Nervous Breakdown" Album: Nervous Breakdown Listen
Hyping the Misfits on Halloween -- and a great documentary on The Ramones -- have inspired me to do a week of classic punk here on your favorite MP3 blog. Today, we look at one of the most powerful and intense West coast punk bands: Black Flag.
The band with the infamous four bars is known mostly for spawning a thousand imitators and for launching the career of Henry Rollins. (Note to self: Listen to "Liar" this week.) But before Rollins joined the group and led a crucial DIY movement across the country, Keith Morris controlled the vocals.
Most tend to forget Morris -- mostly because Rollins was such a force and the band's debut with Rollins, Damaged, is a classic. But, as critic Chris True notes, Morris "sounds like a graduate from the Johnny Rotten school of diction." That's especially the case on this track, and it's uber important because it illustrates one clear link between the earlier days of punk and hardcore (the first post-punk offshoot). It's a gem from Los Angeles, a city known for gems.
Unless you're down with the back catalog of SST records, your best bet to grab this track is on The First Four Years, a great compilation of early Black Flag singles and EPs.