Sunday, August 16, 2009

Just Like Rob Halford Said To Me

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 -

"Cross Dogs"



"Wake Up Screaming"

"Overlords of the Underworld"

"Middle Class Hell"

"There's A Place"

(these files are now listen-only)

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Bruce Fear said...

On one of their records I'm listed as a member of the band!

Brushback said...

Ha, that figures!

Didn't White Flag and A.O.D. do a split tape together?

Bruce Fear said...

Yeah, I totally forgot about that! On a french label called "Jungle Hop International".

We're also on this with them:

Nazz Nomad said...

Oy- I still have the vinyl for this. I always got a kick out of how much they thumbed their nose at the serios punks.

Brushback said...

"Four Bands That Could Change The World" -- I think I passed up buying that one numerous times!!

Bruce Fear said...

There's an import version too, with a slightly different title and packaging.

Brushback said...

When you think about it, that's a hilarious concept.

Bruce Fear said...

We were pretty tight with them at one point. When they were beefing with MRR Tim Yo got mad that I was calling Bartel on his phone!

They stayed with me in Jersey before their European tour, after an epic trip to the airport and many goodbyes...we had to go back for them cause they missed their flight.

The first time we met them they were recording tracks for the DESPERATE TEENAGE LOVE DOLLS soundtrack in North Hollywood.

Brushback said...

Tim Yohannon should've wrapped green tape around his phone so that no one would use it.

theneedledrop said...

What a find!

Brushback said...

Yeah, it's like a regular Antiques Roadshow over here.

planckzoo said...

Nice post, I always appreciated WF's humor.

Brushback said...

Sorry, Sparky -- the mp3 files on this post are now listen-only (non-downloadable) files. They're now being hosted on my Vox account (accesible through any of the above listen-only links), along with 5 other songs from the album that weren't included in the original post.

For those of you who missed the boat, I will do my best to respond to any e-mailed requests for the original files.