Search - Black Flag :: Family Man

Family Man
Black Flag
Family Man
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Black Flag
Title: Family Man
Members Wishing: 8
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sst Records
Release Date: 10/25/1990
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Styles: Hardcore & Punk, American Alternative
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 018861002620, 4005902519519, 669910743058

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CD Reviews

To the left!
(5 out of 5 stars)

"what ALWAYS seperated BF from ANY of their contemporaries was their lack of concern, regard for or respect of rules. this album disappointed their "punk rock" audience (and apparently a few narrow-minded reviewers here) and that's exactly what i love about it. they didn't give a made f*ck about anything other than taking it out as a far as they possibly could. this album demonstrates their TRUE punk rock attitude and unparalleled hard work ethic. they were slaves to their art and, unlike 99% of their companions of the period, not so easily forgotten. experimental, raw, improvisational... FAMILY MAN gives you something your lame EXPLOITED albums never could... the balls and ability to leave their audience scratching their head."
Still ahead of its time.
matt bobby | 07/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"You gotta admire Black Flag, they were brave. In the height of their popularity as a loud, hardcore punk band, they decided to completely change gears, weather the fans liked or not.
Ginn, Rollins, and crew got experimental on Family Man, each in their own way. Henry takes up the first half of the album doing spoken word monologues. Greg and the band do instrumentals on the other half.Rollins' monologues are truly intense. Their subjects reflect highly desturbed, but exceedingly fascinating, thoughts, such as rape, insanity, suicide, and torturing slugs. His first monologue, which is also the album's title track, is a grimly funny social commentary on suburban life ("Family man... with your glances my way, taking no chances on the new day. Family man... with your sandcastle built, smiling through your guilt.") Henry's voice is perfect throughout his tracks: low, menacing, intense, and surprisingly genuine. And that's what makes the monologues so captivating. "Salt on a Slug" is great because you can feel Rollins' joy as he describes his sadistic act. Henry's sense of hopelessness on "No deposit- No Return" is perfect. His barely checked rage on "Let your fingers do the Walking" keeps that track fresh after countless listens.The instrumentals are just as great. For the first time, Greg Ginn flexes his guitar muscles, playing solos and very lyrical guitar. But that's not what makes the instrumentals so enjoyable. It's the intensity, the amazing connection between Greg, Kira, and Bill that makes them such a great listen. Take, for example, the instrumental "I Won't Stick Any Of You Unless I Can Stick All Of You!" It starts off fairly by-the-numbers, with good riffs from Greg and Kira, and nice drumming from Bill. But then, about a minute into it, the drums kick into overdrive, and Greg really gets into what he's playing. If you close your eyes, you can almost see his fingers flying accross the fret board, so fast that they blur. That, my friends, is the sound of pure passion. The instrumentals sound very Velvet Underground-ish, very fast and genre bending. "Long Lost Dog Of It" sounds very jazzy. "Account For What?" is fast and punky. "The Pups Are Doggin' It" has a definate heavy metal feel.The creativity, the intensity, the refusal to succumb to fans, these are the things that put Family Man years ahead of it's time.And by the way, great cover art."
I've talked dirt before. . .it never sounded quite like this
(4 out of 5 stars)

""I come to infect, I come to rape your woman, I come to take your children into the streets. . .I come for YOU, family man."

Black Flag was a busy band in 1984. They had been put on hold for years because of a tedious legal battle spawned by the controversial release of "Damaged," and could not release any music that used the name Black Flag or their famous four-bar logo. Because of this time off, the difference between "Damaged" and the albums that were released in 1984 may be a bit jarring for listeners. There was no transition to the almost-metal hardcore found on the latter releases.

After the smoke of the jarring transition clears, what is left is some really amazing music. Like "My War" and "Damaged" before it, "Family Man" is very much divided into two sides. "Damaged" side one is chant-along anthems, where side two is dark, angry, frustrated, and unrelenting. "My War" has a similar breakdown, where side one is shorter, more standard songs, and side two is made up of only three songs. Nightmarishly slow, emotive, and expressive, side two polarized many Black Flag fans; what was the band who invented hardcore doing to the genre? It sounded like reinvention.

"Family Man" is even more polarizing. Side one is completely made up of spoken word performances by Henry Rollins; audiences are forced to face the deepest insides of Rollins' psyche through a series of poems and readings that range from black humor (Salt On A Slug) to diary-like mumblings (No Deposit-No Return). Side two is almost completely instrumental, featuring great musicianship by the guitar-god Greg Ginn, the spastic Bill Stevenson (also of the Descendents) and new-comer Kira Roessler on bass. All three muisicians shine amazingly in the quirkily-titled tracks. Each song begins with the band performing the "head" (a la jazz performers) then carrying the listener through a series of variations, each becoming more and more spastic and wild.

The one track to feature vocals and music becomes the centerpiece for the album, and that is Armageddon Man. The format musically is the same as the other tracks on side two, but amidst the insanity is Henry Rollins' almost stream of consciousness ramblings. In the same way the band will repeat an idea and vary it, Rollins will make a statement and then "jam" on it for a bit. For example, "dirt getting stuck in my mouth, dirt getting stuck in my eyes, seeing everything through dirt, all I see is dirt, all I know is dirt, just talking dirt, talking dirt, digging dirt, loving dirt, rolling in dirt, dirt river, dirt sliver, dirt lover, dirt undercover, dirt overcover. . ." He is using his words to express what is happening musically, and the band responds in kind. Many times, it's not sure if Stevenson is following Ginn's lead, or Rollins'.

"Family Man" is a huge artistic statement that was a huge risk to release to single-minded punk fans, but has stood the test of time. A dark journey to take, but a rewarding and cathartic one nontheless."