Friday, March 14, 2014

S.O.A. - First Demo 12/ 29/ 80

Imagine yourself as a thirteen or fourteen year old punk rock upstart in love with
Minor Threat and Black Flag.
One who inadvertently finds out that Henry Rollins
and Henry Garfield are one in the same. Linked by some cosmic spaceship between
Washington D.C.'s
State of Alert and L.A.'s
Black Flag. For this Punk
know it all, it was the biggest conspiracy since the
Kennedy assassination.
At the time, not much was known or revered about
State of Alert. Regardless,
the bands sole EP "No Policy" was for most, an unattainable piece of Dischord Records storied past. The only way most of us were able to get a taste of the EP was through the label's "Flex Your Head" compilation, so one could only imagine the shock I felt upon  seeing the bands first demo recordings being made available a good thirty something years later. It was all the excitement this aging punk rocker could manage.

Dischord has done an impressive job in reissuing some of it's classics in recents years. Long lost recordings from Faith, Void, Artificial Peace and many others have been personal highlights for me. Yet State of Alert's 1980 demo and the recent Rites of Spring demo stand out due to the fact that many of us are hearing these recordings for the very first time.
The demo, recorded 12/29/80 with Skip Groff at Inner Ear Studio serves as State of Alert's first ever recordings. Two of the songs ("Disease" and "Stepping Stone Party")
were originally released on the Flex Your Head sampler, while "Gonna Have to Fight"
was included on the band's "No Policy" EP. The songs "Public Defender", "Gangfight",
"Draw a Bank", "Warzone"and "Riot" are presented here for the very first time.

Since it's delivery last week, I've found myself returning to these songs countless times, and getting a taste of what Henry would soon bring to Black Flag. There's a raw power about these songs that made me return to the "No Policy" recordings and wondering why I never placed them higher on my scale of  "must listen" material. The only conclusion one can come to is that in comparison, these recordings are actually better than the No Policy tracks.. The 7' record is pressed on translucent red vinyl and comes with a digital download. File under "Essential."
James Damion

Dischord Records Get it Here

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