Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Various Artists - Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three

Various Artists
Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three


Released 2002 on 2.13.61 Records
Reviewed by Jasonaparkes, 10/07/2008ce


1. Rise Above by Chuck D, Henry Rollins et al
2. Nervous Breakdown by Keith Morris...
3. Fix Me by Iggy Pop...
4. American Waste by Neil Fallon...
5. I've Had It by Cedric Bixler Zavala...
6. I've Heard It Before by Jeff Moreira...
7. Room 13 by Corey Taylor...
8. Wasted by Exene Cervenka, Henry Rollins et al...
9. Jealous Again by Nick Oliveri...
10. TV Party by Henry Rollins...
11. No Values by Hank III...
12. Gimmie, Gimmie, Gimmie by Dean Ween...
13. Depression by Casey Chaos...
14. Six Pack by Mike Patton, Henry Rollins, et al...
15. Police Story by Ice-T...
16. Revenge by Tom Araya...
17. Thirsty & Miserable by Lemmy...
18. What I See by Chuck Dukowksi...
19. No More by Tim Armstrong, Lars Frederiksen...
20. Black Coffee by Henry Rollins...
21. Slip It In by Henry Rollins, Inger Lorre et al...
22. Annihilate This Week by Henry Rollins, Kira Roessler...
23. My War by Henry Rollins...
Bonus Track:
24. Nervous Breakdown by Ryan Adams

Produced by Henry Rollins; Mixed by Cliff Norrell

All songs written by Greg Ginn except 4. by Chuck Dukowski; 6 by CD & GG; 7 by GG & Medea; 8 by GG and Keith Morris; 17 by Robo, Medea & Dez Cadena; 18, 19, & 23 by Chuck Dukowksi.

Musicians:
Marcus Blake - Bass on all tracks
Jim Wilson - Guitar on all tracks
Jason Mackenroth - Drums on all tracks
with (in order of appearance):
Chuck D, Nick Oliveri, Josh Homme, Jim Wilson, Kira Roessler, Corey Taylor, Denny Harvey, Brad McDonald, Tim Armstrong, Lars Frederiksen, Matt Freeman, Keith Morris, Iggy Pop, Cedric Bixler Zavala, Jeff Moreira, Exene Cervenka, Henry Rollins, Tommie Vaugn, Ben Kersten, Matt Petrich, David "Pappy" Donaldson Sr., Tom Araya, Lemmy, Chuck Dukowski, Hank III, Dean Ween, Casey Chaos, Mike Patton, Ice-T, Ryan Adams.

All proceeds from this record go to the West Memphis Three Defense Fund.

West Memphis Three:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Memphis_Three

1. See the above hyperlink. Buy the record. Read the sleevenotes. Don't mistake my love of this record, even after a few days, with the people it was intended to help. I'm pointing out a great fucking rock and roll record...but it is a benefit album and has a higher intention than just being cool or something. Let's take that as read...

2. I haven't really listened to Black Flag in years. I wasn't there at the time and had stuff on tape and one compilation ('Wasted...Again') in a box or two of vinyl at my parents' house. I'm trying to think when I last listened to Black Flag - possibly "Wasted" on a compilation tape I listened to before destroying - though when I heard this record I thought it was time to get that back-catalogue again (even if the band hate the idea of CDs'!).

3. I had a problem with Rollins. The fellow seemed like a todger in that Banshees' biography. The Rollins Band records were too much hard work for my shallow mind in the 90s - I may have to revisit them in the near future. He was either crap in good films, or good in crap films, or vice versa...and a lady I knew at A-Level college hung off his every published word...Maybe that was it...He was hugely irritating at a Reading or two with the Rollins Band - I was amused he used to bitch about Morrissey then make statements like "This time next year one of you will be dead" - which is like a less literary take on "The Teachers ar Afraid of the Pupils." Another year, another Reading and he was pumped up tattoed to his ass/muscle flexed/a walking penis [see JG Ballard's A User's Guide to the Millennium] whining about Morrissey, Pet Shop Boys, and what I took as "fag music" in 1996. Whining macho sort...the stand-up comedy Channel 4 after sounded like he should have discussed his father and machismo with a psychiatrist...I kind of objected...and got sent an e-mail/video link from someone who is either a Rollins' fan or Rollins' over some comment I made in relation to this on a blog (possibly the Guarniad). Rollins Band records seemed a sludge of shit to me and he seemed a macho, disco-sucking todger who people ass-licked as he could clearly punch their box off.

4. But I take it back...and will make sure to revisit the Rollins Band stuff (which I might very well dig these days)...I don't know about 1990s' Rollins or how people are presented. He didn't seem to have a sense of humour, though Black Flag records often do, and I recall Snub TV (....or was it Rapido) where he whined that 11 minute track about his dad ("Just Like You") and then let himself be filmed as he cried and someone tried to talk to him after. He reminded me of John Bender in The Breakfast Club...though I did enjoy Get in the Van. & he was in the greatest J-Grade Movie of all time (The Chase), worth seeing for the car-chase shag featuring Charlie Sheen (...Rollins cited the cliched notion of The Boss as his motivation for his cop character...just at the time I was getting into Nebraska and the stripped back Ghost of Tom Joad acoustic stuff!). Rollins' Band did a mean version of "Kick Out the Jams" and songs like "Disconnect" and "Liar" rocked...so it wasn't all shite - and in later years Rollins with his radio show, his enthuasism, his advocation of gay rights, his army-dealings [akin to the Stooges, who were pro-Vietnam Vets], and appearances in Jackass: The Movie, Don Letts' masterpiece Punk: Attitude, and that show on BBC2 last year which (bizarrely) put Black Flag on the same pegging as REM (while leaving out much in between...mirroring T. Moore in Punk: Attitude!). Rollins' is hilarious and is as funny as Morrissey was when he was in The Smiths - the Alan Bennett of Hardcore?

5. This record is 50+mins of intense joy - listening to this record (which I purchased for relatively few earth pounds) I was blown away. It makes the Sex Pistols sound like a bunch of arse and fits with recent tastes like The Melvins, the Mudhoney, Redd Kross' debut, the American Hardcore soundtrack etc. I know most of the BF-originals, will revisit some soon, but this collection more than holds its own. I'd want to get some Rollins Band stuff that features the band here, and I don't want to get into comparison between the originals and the versions here. All fucking rock...

6. The higher purpose of this record should send folk to the book Devil's Knot by Mara Leveritt & the HBO documentaries Paradise Lost I & II. I wil point you again to Rollins' sleeve notes, and the WM3.org link. This was an idea Rollins had about 3:30 a.m which he didn't let go - the idea being songs that he was singing as he was leading the life he had at the same age the West Memphis Three were in the bizarre US penal system (...Gitmo just being the end-turd...can you imagine a country that had Conan the Nazi sign off an execution warrant?) . These are songs of youth - a youth lost - and after witnessing the comedy panto bollocks of the Pistols on ze Isle of Wight I'd say this would be a more coherent idea of punk rock...

7. I love this record. Almost no need to break down each track. I'll point to the original records...quite liked the fact straight-edge associated, 1/2 to 3/4 veggie hardcore types decided to rock the ganj, grow their hair, listen to jazz, fuck with their audiences' minds, and even get quite filthy. Like Husker Du when they got psyched, they seemed to counter their audience. Which has to be a good thing (* unless you're Mark E Smith boring the shit out of me as you walk off stage to deal with your prostate/swig a Becks-a, before coming back on and doing comedy slurring, which Lydon now does...).

8. The songs here I love the most are "TV Party" (featuring the old QOTAA plus lots of others), Iggy's throwaway "Fix Me" (so lazy it rocks), the Rollins/Exene (X) duet of "Wasted" (...almost says as much as 'We Got the Neutron Bomb'), the full-on-Lemmy headed "Thirsty & Miserable" (try telling the Lemmymeister about Straight Edge!!), & best of all, Ice T's "Police Story" (like a tighter Body Count, less Ice T). Love the way the Ice-meister plays cops in films and on TV, kind of mirrors the love/hate of the central lyric: "they hate us/we hate them/we can't win..." Something great about a macho guy like Rollins singing about defeat as if it was victory? PS- even the Ryan Adams track is OK - it has about as much logic as the hipster/feted Jeffrey Lewis take on Crass...and is better than RA's shittie punkrockproject with that bloke Jesse Malin. Boys, sometimes it's better to just carry on drinking?

9. Even better, and why I wish HR would get a band and drop the spoken-word shindig, are the songs Rollins revisits alone and with others. This is what I wish the Rollins Band would have sounded like, as I was quite disappointed and didn't shag a girl who didn't fuck who liked Rolllins and Ministry...

10. As stated above, I'm revisting Black Flag. I like drinking and The Wire and TV Party...how do I balance that? Hearing the incendiary takes on "Black Coffee," "Slip It In" (with her from the Nymphs), "Annihilate This Week," & "My War" here, Black Flag sound more relevant than ever. Maybe they'll play again. Maybe they won't. The records are there anyway. & this record fucking rocks....

11. Last words to Rollins: "The passion and intensity with which these people [the artists] laid into these songs is off the scale. If I were Greg Ginn, I would take this as the highest compliment ever paid to his peerless talent." Right on...seriously, buy this one!!!


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