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HNIC

Barred For Life @ Jugheads 11/7

Editorial team scouring North America in effort to document legacy of Black Flag, American punk rock

HNIC • Wednesday, November 4, 2009 • 11:09 AM

Barred For Life @ Jugheads 11/7

This Saturday, November 7th, author Stewart Ebersole and a four-person editorial team will be stopping by Jugheads in an effort to document the legacy of Black Flag via their iconography in tattoo art. The band's logo, four staggered, parallel rectangles known simply as "The Bars", is one of the most enduring and vivid symbols of youth subculture, and lends its name to the title of his forthcoming book, Barred For Life. Ebersole and his team will be taking photos for his book while you and your friends beat each other to the sounds of Black Fag, and locals The Tightholes, and JJCNV. The following is the Barred For Life press release.

Punk rock. The term once conjured images of angry youth, nihilism and wanton destruction.

But that was when punk was an upstart subcultural phenomenon over thirty years ago. As the angry youth of the late 70's and early 80's grew and changed into the adults, parents, workers and business owners of today, punk changed also, going from a youth culture feared and disdained by parents, police and the rock music establishment to a social niche found in nearly every high school across the country and a respected musical influence that left its mark on FM radio staples like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nirvana.



Dez & Chuck

In the process, the facts and history of punk and its uniquely American spawn, hardcore, have been consumed by the media-ready myth machine that has made punk and its legacy an affectation rather than the conscious reaction that it was to a stagnant culture wearied by the upheavals of the 1960's and bloated by the self-absorption of the 1970's. It is now hip to name-check acts like the Sex Pistols and Ramones for their style rather than their substance, while the true workmen of American punk and hardcore-the bands comprised of middle- and lower-class youth that eschewed professional management and record industry backing-languish in obscurity.

This is most true in the case of the Hermosa Beach, California, band Black Flag. Near legendary in many musical communities, Black Flag is perhaps best known as the former band behind TV personality Henry Rollins. What is generally unacknowledged is their massive influence on not only a slew of contemporary, radio-ready artists, but upon the greater musical culture itself. In an era before cell phones, personal computers and the Internet, Black Flag garnered an international audience, released eight albums and countless EPs and singles on its own label, and established touring routes through the United States and Canada that were capitalized and expanded upon by such bands as Soundgarden and Sonic Youth, all of it done in the face of scorn from the established music industry and Reagan-era American culture.

Barred For Life is a photo-driven documentary highlighted and counterpointed with a compelling narrative which addresses the facts and fantasies associated with growing up a punk in the early 1980's and how Black Flag pervaded the scene's rumor mill like a mysterious specter all across the country and the world. Revealing quotations supplement the austere black-and-white photography of Jared Castaldi, Barred For Life's visionary photographer. Rounding out the crew, Matt Smith's DIY fanzine-style layout and typography are tied together tightly by editor Todd Barmann's dogmatic adherence to both irony and sarcasm in telling the tale of growing up a punk rocker at a time when being a punk rocker was anything but cool, and at times was extremely dangerous.

Former Black Flag players have signed on to tell their story as well. Completed interviews with Dez Cadena, and slated interviews with Robo, Chuck Dukowski, Kira Roessler, and numerous people who were both close to the band and had seen Black Flag play throughout their many manifestations, bring a myth busting element to a situation that has glamorized the legend of Black Flag, when addressing it at all. In the process, Barred For Life goes beyond documenting the history and legacy of Black Flag to depict them as an allegory for American punk in general, examining all its flaws as well as its accomplishments and idealism.


TV interview w/ Chuck Dukowski

The Barred For Life crew has planned an ambitious 45-date "information gathering" tour of the US and Canada between October 1st and November 20th of this year, and will spend the early part of December documenting diehard fans in Germany, Italy and the UK.

The Barred for Life photo/interview tour will be stopping in your town and would like for you to help out in any way that you can. Barred For Life is a fully self-funded venture, so an advertising budget is beyond the scope of operations. Therefore, we are depending on your interest in the project, and your interest in our decidedly DIY efforts, to find some ink in your publication and help make each and every shoot an awesome experience for everybody involved. Dedicated fans of the project are busily setting up the shoots, and we are just trying to help them spread the word in order that together we reach the maximum number of people in your area with The Bars, or other Black Flag tattoos, and get them out to the shoot. We thank you for your help.

For details on this weekend's Barred For Life event @ Jugheads, visit the calendar listing.

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