Sarah Palin's favorite records
(Caption: "NOBODY KNOWS MORE THAN I THAT THE LESS GIRLS KNOW THE BETTER THEY ARE LIKELY TO BE." Cover drawing by Raymond Pettibon from Black Flag's Slip It In, SST, 1984.)
My eMusic Dozen for SST Records is live, coinciding with a rare national tour by SST founder Greg Ginn in his various bands, including the striking Jambang (he always was a Deadhead first), none coming to Minneapolis/St. Paul as yet. Each has a new album on SST available (via The Orchard) for download at eMusic. I've written about the label's peak years in American punk rock more personally before, but doing the dozen was a chance to affirm in my viscera that loving this music has nothing to do with nostalgia. (Actually, I'd forgotten how much Black Flag's '85 Madison show bummed me out until I reread Get in the Van and remembered the car accident outside Turner Hall.)
Joe Carducci's beautifully written 2007 memoir/biography Enter Naomi: SST, L.A. and All That... brought the entire period alive for me again, but in a way that was almost completely outside (though parallel to) my own experience, a reinvigorating of admiration I'm now experiencing with Repo Man in Alex Cox's book X Films: True Confessions of a Radical Filmmaker. (Fun spoiler: Tom Cruise visited the set, and might have gotten a part if Harry Dean Stanton weren't miffed about their competing affections for the same actress.)
Thanks to Matos for recommending the Cox book (and me to eMusic), Michael Azerrad for Our Band Could Be Your Life (with a collaborative Bob Mould autobiography on the way), Douglas Wolk's own eMusic SST appreciation, Dave Lang's "SST Records Story," ilx, We Jam Econo (much better than I remembered--I love the early Minutemen show, included on the DVD in its entirety, where at least one young doorknob sits onstage facing away from the band throughout), Michael T. Fournier for uncovering George Hurley's uncredited authorship of the lyrics on "Anxious Mo-Fo," Joel Paterson, Paradise Records, Pete Rabid, Paul Hansen, and the Tar Babies, whose 1987 album Fried Milk is among SST's lost classics--all upchuck Hendrix, spry JB, and punk-soul Bobcat Goldthwait gurgle (clears the sinuses just thinking about it). I hear I missed a Killdozer reunion in Madison, but bring back the original Tar Babies lineup and I'll quit all my jobs. P.S. Somewhere my stepmom is still telling me to put this awful album cover away. (Okay, some nostalgia.)
10/8 update: The dozen also happens to coincide with a Los Angeles exhibit of '70s and '80s work by Greg Ginn's brother Raymond Pettibon, who drew the above Black Flag cover sleeve and designed the band's four-bar, rippling-flag logo, which still inexplicably signifies danger all these years later. The exhibit runs through October 18 at Regen Projects. More here.
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