Banger of the Week: Black Flag – My War

Keeping that hardcore punk flavor going…
Henry Rollins sings it but he didn’t write “My War” (1984). Despite being a prolific writer, activist, comedian, speaker, performer, etc. he didn’t write this.  The co-founder of the band, bassist Chuck Dukowski wrote it.  He was later pushed out of the band but not before pushing Rollins into the lead singer position where he took this song and made it immortal.
Rollins was 19 or 20, and had recently joined Black Flag, who had released their iconic hardcore punk album Damaged and ascended to the west coast hardcore punk throne.  Their follow-up effort eschewed the smash-it-all beer-chugging silliness of “TV Party” and “Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie” in favor of more heavy rock and metal.  Despite the resentment this contemporarily fostered among their fan base (omit needless words), “My War” was born and became a keystone of rock.
This week’s banger is about betrayal and/or paranaoia.  There’s insecurity there, too.  It’s masked in or better yet accentuated by the yelps and guttural screams of Rollins whose first on the edge of and then over a lyrical cliff with all his angst in its most raw incarnation before he was anything more than a punk singer.  The song pulls you in to its heart and even if you haven’t had someone you love spit in your face, you metastasize whatever slight has hurt you until your attacking that cancerous memory through Rollins channeled fury.
This song may be best paired with a wide stance in a pit, a strong foundation, sunk down in hitting position with a medium to fast bounce back and forth just waiting for someone to get close.


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