3 Essential SoCal Hardcore Albums by ‘We Got Power’ Author David Markey
Featuring bands like Black Flag, Circle Jerks and Bad Religion, the Southern Californian hardcore punk scene of the early ’80s is one of the most important and influential periods in underground music history. As vital as the scene was, coverage in mainstream music publications was scant at the time. That’s why then teenagers David Markey and Jordan Schwartz founded We Got Power, a fanzine dedicated to the first-generation hardcore punk music community in their native Los Angeles.
More than a zine, featuring their first-hand accounts and photos of the live shows, We Got Power ultimately became a sort of time capsule of the early ’80s SoCal hardcore punk scene.
The great minds at Bazillion Points Publishing just released WE GOT POWER!: Hardcore Punk Scenes from 1980′s Southern California, a book compiling all of the issues of the zine, previously unpublished photos and present-day essays by members of Black Flag, Circle Jerks, the Germs and many others.
To help celebrate the book, Markey has sent Noisecreep a list of three SoCal hardcore albums everyone should own in the music collection and why!
“This record is a classic, period. Every fucking song a keeper. Forget the genre. Forget that some of the songs were previously Black Flag and Red Kross songs (of course, this was former members of these bands bringing songs into their new band). Keith Morris’ deadpan So-Cal drawl, belted out maniacally, like a man wearing all the lampshades at the party. The precise bass lines of Roger Rogerson work ingeniously with Greg Hetson’s revved-up guitar work. The secret weapon here being the massive drumming of Keith “Lucky” Lehrer. Very few records recorded for the cost of a bag of marijuana have sounded this aggressive.”
Adolescents, Adolescents (1981)
“Putting Orange County on the map, following the lead of Agent Orange, Social Distortion, and Middle Class (Produced by that band’s bassist, Mike Patton). These boys were literally adolescents when they recorded this. Tight, concise songs, very catchy and almost pop-laden hooks. Very Germs influenced, but sounding uniquely their own. Steve Soto’s in the pocket bass riffs, Rikk Agnew’s signature guitar work, meeting the heavy ride-cymbal splashing of drummer Casey Royer. Fronted by the great Tony (of many fictitious last names). This album sounds like summer to me. The Beach Boys of Hardcore.”
Damaged, Black Flag (1981)
“Henry Rollins‘ entry to the band on their first full-length LP features former singer Dez Cadena’s move to second guitar. The frantic clanging of drummer Robo has always been my favorite thing about this record. I just wish the chugging bass of Chuck Dukowski was more audible (like say the sound Geza X got for them on the “Six Pack” single.) The production has always bugged me, and I prefer the sound of their earlier material to the sound of this. But still, this the vibe of this recording supersedes it’s shortcomings. Probably the most important record to come out of Southern California this side of the Germs G.I. album.”