I remember getting this in high school. First Black Flag record ever. Such a fantastic album. I’d just gotten my hands on a tape copy of the Descendents‘ ALL around the same time (on tape, thank you very much), and was totally intent on throwing myself face-first into 80’s hardcore, something I really sort of only had an inkling about at the time. I know, I was a bad teen punk. So sue me.
I have a relative who was a teenager in NY’s hardcore punk scene 20 years ago, he threatened to beat me up if I didn’t get this album. Who was I to say no?
Anyway, one of the things that comes to mind when I think about this album is walking around Main Street with my metal-loving high school girlfriend, going into the record store because it was hot and I had $20 in my pocket that I’d initially was going to use to buy us lunch but she’d paid for it this time or something. Anyway, I was in the mood for music but didn’t really think I’d find anything in the local Coconuts music store. For those who don’t know, Coconuts was a local record store chain. They had a great selection of DVD’s actually, a ton of bizarre/cult/hard-to-find stuff, but in terms of independant punk and hardcore releases, I had to resign myself to occasional trips to downtown Manhattan or to Repo Records in Philadelphia when I’d go visit my mom’s family there.
However, that was all about to change. Because right there, in front of me, in all it’s shrink-wrapped glory, was this. Damaged by Black Flag, SST Records, from 1981. Black Flag? Here? In Coconuts? How could this be? It’s right up there in the “B” section right near the Beach Boys and Bach! What the fuck, man?
My girlfriend wasn’t quite as receptive to the fundamental changing of the Order Of Things that this meant, finding a Black Flag record in Coconuts right next to the Beach Boys and a misplaced Britney Spears CD. She did offer to buy it for me, but I didn’t care. She listened to Godsmack (hey don’t judge, she thought I was cute and vaguely knew what “punk” meant and at 16 that’s all I needed), what the fuck did she know?
The floodgates, as they say, had been opened. I spent a lot more time in Coconuts from then on. In fact, until they closed it down to make it into another bank at Main Street in Flushing, I probably went at least once a week to peruse and find hidden treasures, from Fugazi to Bad Brains to Jawbreaker to even more Black Flag, stuck between the Fugees and Bad Company and Jewel CD’s overflowing on the plastic racks. When they closed that place down and I went with a whole paycheck in cash to get what I could on sale, it was almost tearful. I’m serious. I know it’s not as cool as having a local indie record store but that was the place where my love of punk and also of shitty horror and sci-fi movies found a refuge, nestled between plastic dividers.