Also of great interest is a new blog entitled Why Be Something That You're Not, a site dedicated to the Detroit hardcore/punk scene ca. 1979-'85, which features illuminating interviews w/ the likes of The Necros' Barry Hennsler, members of The Fix, Tesco Vee and other luminaries. Best of all, it's all prep for a full-length book on the topic, to be released mid year. Someone oughta put to use the bright idea of doing a similar thing focusing on the Texan scene of the same period. Anyway, I'm pumping my fist in anticipation already! Below is a recollection from various scenesters of Black Flag's first show in Detroit in early 1981:
Black Flag made good on their promise to play Lansing, Michigan and rolled into Club Doo Bee on a Sunday night in March of 1981 with the obvious choice of The Fix and Necros as the warm up acts. The latter group had lost yet another member to collegiate pursuits in guitarist Andy Wendler, but were quick to bring another local punk convert, Brian Pollock, into the fold. They had also finally found a bass player; the video toting Corey Rusk. Both new members would be playing their first live gig opening up for Flag. As expected, the young punks were eager to flex their muscles and show off what they learned from the videos Rusk brought back from L.A. Once Black Flag launched into their set opener “Damaged II” and Andy Wendler rammed head first into a local record store employee, chaos ensued.
Barry Henssler – I remember people being taken aback at how violent we were. Black Flag got there late and did a five or six song sound check before anyone played, but people were inside the club. Everyone was anticipating them showing up, so that little sound check brought the energy up that much higher. This wasn’t the lame ass Farfisa organ New Wave bands that normally played at Club Doo Bee. You would have to be an idiot to ignore it.
Todd Swalla – We were pounding the hell out of the New Wavers trying to pogo. We were stage diving off of tables and for the first 10 minutes it was like a fist fight set to music. Then the New Wave folks finally got the fuck off the dance floor and we had it all to ourselves for the rest of the set. Not really as much fun but still cool, it was fucking Black Flag in your face! I got to play drums during “Louie Louie” which was my main goal that night!
Steve Miller – A trio of police cars sat in the parking lot across from Club Doo Bee the whole night, which both frightened and excited me. I didn’t want the cops to break up the show, but I figured something must be going right if it brought this sort of reaction in this town.
Tesco Vee – I remember leaving the club and having the soundboard tape from the show. We had just left the show and we were already listening to the tape in the car, listening to Dez (Cadena, then Black Flag vocalist) scream “I’M NOT A MACHINE!” over and over again.
Richard Bowser – I spoke to a guy a few years ago who was in this band in the eighties from Chicago called Strike Under and he was at that show. Every few years, I run into someone who was there. It seems everyone who was at that show went on to form a band or was in a band already at the time.
Steve Miller – The beauty of the whole situation is it happened in Lansing! It wasn’t New York or anything. It was truly a people's idea and notion to get this together and it had nothing to do with fashion or anything like that. We had a kick ass party at our house after that with the Black Flag guys.
Craig Calvert – Greg [Ginn, Black Flag guitarist] and Dez [Cadena] cranked out some Beatles and Neil Young on our stereo at that party. That certainly surprised a room full of punk rockers. I think that might have been the night someone set our couch on fire. I remember the police weren’t so happy about that, and shut the party down.