A long-haired Henry Rollins (circa 1983) sings with Black Flag in Tucson. Photo by Ed Arnaud.
I was fortunate enough to attend Henry Rollins’ incredible spoken word gig last night at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe. As staff writer Niki D’Andrea detailed in her review of the show, the punk icon was in rare form, spending two-and-a-half hours on the microphone, humorously ripping the shit out of George W. Bush, John McCain, and Sarah Palin, as well as describing his jaunts around the world. Afterwards, he graciously took time to conversate with many audience members out in the Marquee’s parking lot.
It was a fun experience, but nowhere near as memorable as the time Hank assaulted the ears of Phoenix punk fans with his vocal vitriol back in December 1982. As you'll hear in the YouTube clips embedded below, Rollins and the other members of Black Flag visited the Valley about a year after he joined the band and the singer had plenty to say on the mic that night.
The concert went down at the way old-school Calderon Ballroom located at 16th Street and Buckeye Road, and also featured legendary local punkers the Sun City Girls in an opening slot. The clips were created by YouTube user named “fROMIOWA,” who utilized bootleg recordings from the show that have been bouncing around the Internet for years.
(On a side note, you can find MP3s of the show on this site, which chronicles the southwest’s harcore punk scene in the early 80s. It’s a voluminous treasure trove of vintage fliers and photographs from gigs in Phoenix and Tucson by such renowned punk bands as the Social Distortion and The Vandals. For instance, the above photo came from a May 1983 Black Flag gig in Tucson).
Rollins was his usually caustic self that night, with plenty of hilariously offensive between-song patter, like when he told an audience member "I don't want to fuck you! My momma told me to never stick my dick into a boy's asshole ever” as Greg Ginn and the other members of Black Flag launched into “Modern Man.”
Check out all 12 of the clips for a glimpse at how Rollins ripped our city a new one back during the days of Ronald Reagan.
“What You Can Believe”
“I Heard It Before”
“Beat My Head Against the Wall”
“I Love You”
“Slip It In”
“Nothing Left Inside”