After being assaulted by the police a few short weekends ago, Ontario is now being assaulted with an intense heat wave, so I'm sticking inside to avoid provocation with either. I was spending that last week outside biking, hence no updates.
Any discussion of the police should provoke a discussion of Black Flag. Each action has an equal opposite reaction right? Well, actually I guess even they did not believe it was equal; "Understand we're fighting a war we can't win..." Anyways, a recent thread on VLV (which is currently down so I cannot link you) prompted the following question:
Which is better; the Black Flag or Circle Jerks rendition of the Ginn masterpiece, "Wasted" ?
I think it is pretty crazy that we even have these two versions, both with Morris on vocals. Of course Circle Jerks stole the song, along with other Black Flag tunes such as "I Don't Care" which appears as a demo on Everything Went Black, and "Red Tape," which was never properly released, as well as some Redd Kross songs. Black Flag's response was to re-record "I Don't Care" with new lyrics. This is the song "You Bet We've Got Something Personal Against You!", the last track on the Jealous Again EP.
So which is better? If you know me at all, then you know my vote is being given to Black Flag. Don't get me wrong though, even with the stolen song stigma, Group Sex rips. More interestingly however, is how each respective take on the song represents the group. For example, The Circle Jerks, and Group Sex, are enjoyed by most as a quirky and fast punk band - a great representation of early Cali hardcore. Their version matches this description, with it's sped up tempo, fairly clear guitar sound, and shouted vocals. Black Flag on the other hand are a whole other entity, even if this may not have been established at the time of the Nervous Breakdown release. Even just the way their name is brought up sounds serious and heavy, music verging on psychotic. Their original version of Wasted matches such an identity as it is being formed. For a seminal classic punk 7" (and years before side two of My War was even conceived), the whole sound is heavy as fuck, and not to be messed with. The instrumental opening is simply brooding, whereas the Circle Jerks version jumps in with vocals immediately. The Black Flag version is simply more
In conclusion, the Black Flag version is better because the Circle Jerks version sounds like an angry punk kid, whereas the Black Flag version sounds like a crazy guy who might attack you with a knife. It's simply much more memorable. This will get examined in greater depth later.
Anyway, while we're on a tangent about police or something, remember that you should buy the zine because it comes with the new Germ Attak 7", Death to Cops, with crazy artwork to boot (view side panel). Toronto: my band is playing there on Saturday, I'll bring copies with me.