Monday, January 21, 2008
SHORT LIVED LINEUP OF BLAST! WITH KIP DUVALL (NOW IN ALICE IN CHAINS..NO SHIT!) STAGE RIGHT. I THINK I WENT TO THIS SHOW..CAN'T BE SURE....
ORIGINAL GUITARIST STEVE STEVENSON OF PLAYING IN OXNARD CALIFORNIA, DECEMBER OF 1984, THE FIRST TIME I WITNESSED THEM. WATCHING STEVE ARE ASSORTED MEMBERS OF DR. KNOW AND STALAG 13 GETTING THIER ASSES HANDED TO THEM ON A SILVER PLATTER.
Santa Cruz's BL'AST! were hands down one of the best bands that I have ever seen, and their debut album "The Power Of Expression" is a record hat I have listened to millions of times and I can never seem to get sick of it. How did these five young men from such a laid back beach community in Northern California record a album so great that they showed up their heroes?
And by heroes, I mean BLACK FLAG first and SSD second. First off, I am sure that showing up SSD wasn't too hard. They only had one good record, and I think you all know what I am talking about.
In the case of BLACK FLAG, what can I say..they changed my life forever. BUT it isn't too hard to state by the time "The Power Of Expression" came out, the mighty FLAG was winding down a bit, if not by the tail end of the Roessler/Stevenson lineup then certainly by the "Loose Nut"/"In MY Head" final offerings of said heroes. Bl'ast! was famously made fun of by Henry Rollins in his "Get In The Van" book when the two bands encountered each other in 1984, and it is a belief shared by most people. A lot of people couldn't get past the Flag thing, and I suppose I can understand that. But from the first time I saw this band play in Oxnard California in December of 1984 until the last time I saw them with their short lived final five piece version with ex Neon Christ guitarist Kip Duvall stepping in for original guitarist (and main songwriter in their early days Steve "Stevenson" Borek), this band handed my ass back to me every time and made me say "Black Who?"
Plus they did awesome covers of "The Slave" by the Germs and "12xU", and in the case of that cover it sounded awesome and nothing like anyones version. Seriously.
I am certainly not knocking anything the remaining four guys (Bill Torgerson, Dave Cooper, Mike Nieder and Clifford Densmore) did after all of that, but "The Power Of Expression" twenty whatever years later is a towering monster that still holds up more than easily. And the five piece versions of Bl'ast! were awesome players and performers. Steve Stevenson must have had a lot to do with this, but when he got more into The Cure and less into combing his hair like Howdy Doody, it was obvious his days were numbered. The remaining four wisely got Kip Duvall, but this didn't last too long either. I wasn't really too into the other records that they did but there are some good songs here and there, but nothing with the intent of "The Power Of Expression".
Clifford's lyrics are also pretty free of cringe-worthy moments. He had a good head on his shoulders, and even when he is singing (now sort of funny and dated) lines like "We are the youth of today, and no one is going to take our future away" as he does in the song "The Future", the force of the band hammering behind him backs up the statement with the force of a hurricane. Besides, this was recorded way before all of that "youth crew" stuff. Nieder and Stevenson do wield their guitars like the bastard sons of Greg Ginn to some extent, but then there is other tangents that they go off in..really though, a lot of people have tried hard to bite a little bit of what made Black Flag Black Flag, but no one got as close and eventually (if only for a moment) surpassed them, and that is what Bl'ast! clearly did on "The Power Of Expression".
Man..think I'll play this record again.
Posted by brian walsby at 1:58 PM