Best Punk Album 80's (80-84) Winner
by Michele Christopher

Yes, I am posting this at 3am. Why am I up? Long story. Involves a turtle and some house keys and a brain that loves worst-case scenarios. But here I am. Might as well get this done now.

The winner of the poll for first half of the 80's is:

Black Flag, Damaged.

Turtle and I reviewed this album a while back and as tribute to this worthy winner, here is that review again.

All these frat boys I knew bought this album on the basis of TV Party Tonight and, to a lesser extent, Six Pack. “Party band! Party music!” That god damn song. It was like I had to constantly grab them by the shoulders and shake them and say “Did you not listen to the rest of the album??” But it was like talking to a tree stump. A drunk, horny tree stump who only cared about partying.

The only way I listened to this album was by myself, in my room, those gigantic early 80's era headphones on, lights out, joint smoked. I wanted no one else around as I contemplated life as an aimless 19 year old. This album made me itchy. Restless. Angsty. And then it would take a wide turn on my emotions and make me feel apathetic, despondent, hopeless. I might as well just stay here in bed and get stoned and sleep and not care about anything to jesus christ, I gotta get out of this room, out of this house and do something, anything, like go light myself on fire in front of the White House or maybe just go kick a cat or something, but I gotta move. And then I’d close my eyes and sink back into the music again. And it went on like that. I’d get all the way up to No More and wait for the build up of the drum, that slow steady beat that got faster and faster and I’d think that whole 40 seconds or so from the first beat right up until Rollins kicks in is a microcosm of the album, of my life up until that point and I’d suddenly be yelling I need action, won't take no more, no more, no more, no more and I’d be ready to get up and buy some kerosene or find a stray cat but then Padded Cell and Life of Pain would come and I’d pull the covers over my head and think, fuck, man. Maybe listening to TV Party Tonight in a room full of drunk frat boys isn’t such a bad thing after all.

And then I’d move the needle back to Rise Above and put that thought out of my head real quick.


"I wanna get fucked!" What the fuck did he just say? In the back. Did you hear that? Put that on again. What? I wanna get get fucked?

Remember I was a kid back then. Listening to this on wax on an old stereo. But did he say that? You have to remember, this is when I was spray painting "Sex Pistons" on the streets. Wondering what the fuck a Sex Piston was anyways. But I still painted it. On the street. Its what we did. Dumb pre-punk who didn't have the balls to do anything rough and couldn't even spell Sex Pistols right cause I had only heard them a few times and really never liked them. But its what we did then. Meh. It happens.

Hey guys. We are all young and dumb at one point in our life. Gimmie a break, ok?

But Damaged, this was different. This was something that almost made your cock hard with all the blood racing thru your body. Even the cover was something to behold. Something that hit me hard. Maybe it was teen anger. Maybe frustration with life. Maybe puberty. Fuck, who knows. But it hit me in the face. Fuck "TV Party" . That was fun for about ummmmm....about three minutes.

But the rest of it. Kinda fucking brought me into California hardcore. Say what you want about Greg Ginn And Rollins. They might have ruined the band but they also brought the band up. It was their scene and the could break it if wanted. I won't deny this album had a huge impact on me. Just the kick on "Police Story" ran thru my head for years. Something about it. When shows, parties or clubs were shut down by the cops. Fuck this city! Run by pigs! That's an "I'm tired of this shit" song and they brought the words to life. You can say what you want about Black Flag but I'm probably not gonna listen if you bag them. Hell, my first tattoo when i was a kid was the bars, so you can kinda figure I like them and this album was my first exposure to them and hardcore. And it rocks.

Rise Above
No More
Police Story

Tomorrow (today, really) we will get to the nominations for the second half of the 80s.

Thanks to everyone who nominated and/or voted. This was a good poll.

On the subject of Damaged, read this.


Only four votes for X - Los Angeles? (And I voted twice!)

Ah, well, it's hard to argue against Black Flag - Damaged. And you're right about Ginn and Rollins elevating the band while also leading to its downfall.



i was surprised about X, too


Black Flag is quite worthwhile. Very nice poll.

I'm still part of the Misfits coalition though.


The year was about 1984. The town was Palo Alto, California. The venue was the New Varsity Theater in downtown PA. The dirtbag was me, all of 15 years old. I'd already been hauled off to see Dr. Knoiw, Fang, 7 Seconds recently. The background is that I was into hair metal and some people were feeding me more and more heavy music.

anyway the night came around, Black Flag at the New Varsity. I wandered down there and ran into a shady character who happened to have a lot of LSD. I took 3 hits.

What I didn't know at the time was that Greg Ginn was going to be playing in all three bands that night. What I also didn't know was that I was about to have my brain and soul so completely ripped apart. It was a 100% utter complete mind fuck. What I had considered music before, I knew now was completely fake. Here was Henry pouring his heart and soul out on stage, Greg making a wall of noise for me to bash my tripping psyche against.

Forward to the next day. Did that just happen? Holy fucking shit. My life was never going to be the same. As soon as I got my head together, I went and bought Damaged. I then went home and threw out the Whitesnake and Y&T records.

What a perfectly wonderful thing to happen to me at that time in my life, the amount of heavy music being produced during the next several years was out of control good.


praise, hail, greg ginn...


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