A show of hands: who likes Chuck Dukowski-era Black Flag? Okay, now… who likes Chuck Dukowski-era Black Flag post Damaged? What’s that, you say? “Chuck didn’t play on any of those records, you fuck!” That’s true. But he was still a part of the band behind the scenes as a tour manager and SST Records employee. In fact, if you look carefully on the songwriting credits to My War and Slip It In, you’ll notice he actually co-wrote some of those songs as well as performed them live with the Flag prior to Kira taking over the reins. Through SST, Chuck became friends with Eugene Robinson from Oxbow (whose debut album was released by SST). Some decades later, Chuck pitches the idea to Eugene of recording some songs he had intended for Black Flag but decided to keep for himself and that’s why this record now exists. “I Want to Kill You” sounds like it could easily have made it as a Flag song on Slip It In, though it lacks any of Greg Ginn’s feedback-soaked power chords in favor of single note fretboard gymnastics and is carried by Dukowski’s signature bass thumping. Sadly, “Monster” strays far away from any Black Flag influence and instead sounds like something that Chuck would write for the Chuck Dukowski Sextet (i.e. free form, jazz-influenced, um, music). Those of you who read this far after I mentioned My War will surely enjoy side A and possibly side B if you’re more cultured than I am. And if you think I’m overcastting Mr. Dukowski’s musical credibility by endlessly mentioning Black Flag, you should know that Black Face’s logo borrows directly from the classic Black Flag logo font and even name drops them on the description. More records are in the works and, if anything, it’s good to see Chuck is still “in the van,” so to speak.
–Juan Espinosa (Hydra Head)