I used to read Flipside and Ink Disease religiously back in the mid-80's, because even if the records that were coming out of the Southern California punk scene back then didn't always live up to the hype they were getting, there was always enough weirdness going on around L.A. to keep things interesting. Somewhere on this list of oddballs was the band White Flag; even if you didn't care enough to know what they sounded like, once you saw their name in Flipside with the Black Flag bars turned sideways as their logo, you had to admit that just the idea itself was pretty amusing.
I bought this record used for $4 at Brass City Records, which was generally the way to go with L.A. hardcore records; why buy new, when chances were good you were going to be looking to trade in that Social Unrest, D.I., or Vandals record after the first listen anyway. This copy is fairly beat to shit, as you can tell, but that's okay because I had to take the sleeve apart anyway-- hence all the rips and tape marks, not to mention the nametag from the guy who owned it before I did-- in order to scan all the funny little cartoons and stuff that were printed on the inside of the jacket. Right-- not on a liner, or on an insert, but on the inside of the cardboard where nobody would be able to see it. Figure that one out.
Another odd thing about this record is that the running times listed on the labels are all way longer than the actual songs lengths; maybe this was done as a joke, to trip up "Rodney on the ROQ" or anyone who would try to play this record on college radio (which was possible, since "Third Strike" supposedly sold about 30,000 copies, if you can believe that).
I like this record a lot better now than when it first came out, actually. Some of the songs on here are jokes, of course, but they're the kind of jokes I like-- meaning the song about Flipside (specifically Flipside Video Fanzines), "a fanzine for people who don't even know how to read", and "Overlords of the Underworld", which is most likely directed at the MRR/Dead Kennedys crowd ("communist punks, communist punks, communist punks-- fuck off!").
I remember making a mix tape back in '85 that was all hardcore cover versions (stuff like Black Flag's "Louie Louie", or the Dickies' version of "Nights In White Satin", or the Dead Kennedys' "Viva Las Vegas"), just so I could get a kick out of the weird reactions from "normal" people when I'd play it at the record store. One of the songs on the tape was White Flag's cover of the Beatles' "There's A Place", which I loved for the way they made the harmonies during the a capella parts sound just like a limp-wristed Lennon and McCartney. To me, that's friggin' perfect.
White Flag -
"Wake Up Screaming"
"Overlords of the Underworld"
"Middle Class Hell"
"There's A Place"
(these files are now listen-only)