Detroit's Old Gods Pay Homage to Black Flag With a Show and Split EP
Andi Hedrick | www.andihedrick.com
On the upcoming record, each group tackles a classic track from influential punkers Black Flag. Copies of the record will be handed out to the first 250 people that enter the Magic Stick Lounge tomorrow night, and after they're gone, the 7" will never be available again. Noisecreep was lucky enough to score a streaming link to the 7" and it's a scorcher!
Check out Old Gods' incendiary version of 'Depression,' whose original version can be found on Black Flag's 1981 'Damaged' album, streaming below. Noisecreep also spoke with Old Gods' vocalist Jeff Tuttle and Child Bite vocals/guitars/synth mainman Shawn Knight about what the Detroit arts scene means to them.
From Jeff Tuttle (Dillinger Escape Plan/Old Gods):
"When I was a teenager and I began making my own music I watched the Detroit-based Suicide Machines go from playing support slots at local clubs to selling out multiple nights at the downtown concert halls. While music had always been a major part of my life, and I had long dreamed to play in front of sold out crowds, it was my involvement with the Detroit punk/hardcore scene that made me realize that it was possible. It's because of this that I am glad to see the Detroit underground once again regaining momentum.
It's difficult to say what it is about the Detroit scene that makes it what it is. Maybe it's the fact that it's very much a separate entity from the entertainment industries in LA and New York. Maybe it's the blue-collar nature that Detroit and its surrounding areas have been built upon. Whatever the "X" factor may be, it seems to provide for music that is extremely raw, visceral and often times a compelling reflection of the human condition. There's something about The MC5's interpretation of rock-n-roll. There's something sleazy about The Stooges that has never been replicated. There's something behind Eminem's words and the way he says them. And yes, while many despise them, you can't deny the fact that ICP has cultivated so many loyal followers that they are now on the FBI watch list. There's an honesty behind so many of Detroit's artists that seems to transcend time and genre to not only define a movement, but also an entire city.
Many of these artists may represent the past, but the future of Detroit is being ushered in by a great many people doing a variety of extraordinary things. Slow's Barbecue is so delicious that it's nearly impossible to get a table. The web-based cooking show, Solid Dudes Kitchen, will simultaneously make you salivate and piss yourself from laughter. Chris Koltay runs one of the finest studios around, Hi-Bias Recordings. And bands like Wilson, The Armed, Child Bite, Golden Torso, Hellmouth, The Black Dahlia Murder and Old Gods are working to put Detroit underground music back on the map.
Detroit may have been one of the cities most affected by the economy, but what seems to be rising from the aftermath is something far more than what was before. So keep your ears open, but you need not listen too hard. The sound of the burgeoning Detroit underground just may deafen you."
From Shawn Knight (Child Bite):
"The project basically started by my band Child Bite being asked to play the Hellmouth LP release show back in November 2010. We were afraid our music might not be well received by the metal crowd, so we decided to learn a Black Flag cover to give people context. What metal dude doesn't at least respect Black Flag, right? Since we already had some studio time booked, we decided to record it the week prior to the show. All live, I think it was the third take. We would bounce around ideas of people to do a split with, but nothing stuck. Finally the idea came to us to get 3 other Detroit bands on it, and to do the whole "show/giveaway" thing. Everybody involved has been just as stoked about the project as I am, I really couldn't be more pleased with how everything is turning out.
Even though all four bands play variations of punk & heavy music, we tend to play shows to different audiences. That's one great thing about this record release show; just as it has brought our four bands together via the love of Black Flag, it will also bring people from Detroit to the show that might not be familiar with each of the bands playing. It's simply a celebration of something we all grew up on. That's why we wanted to make the record only available for one night and not at stores or online. We are forcing people to leave their house for their own good.
Since we were making it an all-Detroit band release, it just made sense to keep every aspect of the production local as well. Each band recorded at a different Southeast Michigan studio, and the whole record was mastered by Tim Pak (formerly a member of '80s Detroit punk legends Angry Red Planet). The records were pressed at Archer in Detroit, and the covers were screenprinted at Progress just off of 8 Mile. Even the inserts were xeroxed at the Kinkos downtown. Bellyache Records, who is sorta based out of the beloved UHF record shop in Royal Oak, is helping put out the whole thing. Local promoters, a local photographer, a local artist (myself); I think the only element not made in Detroit would be the plastic bags we're stuffing the 7"s in.
I think it's safe to say most cities that go through extended periods of hardship tend to have an abundance of creative output. There is plenty of space to do whatever you want here, and the rent is cheap so you can work just enough to get by. That gives people plenty of time to develop their art and for bands to go on tour. That also means there is a lot of unemployment, which contributes to frustration and aneed for creative release. The difference with Detroit is that there is this stigma that we're this hardened, crime-riddled community. I had a t-shirt back when I was a kid living in the suburbs that said "DETROIT - WHERE THE WEAK ARE KILLED AND EATEN". It's more of a blessing then a curse, since even though we all know it really isn't any worse than say Baltimore or St. Louis here, people view us as something not to mess with. Nothing wrong with that.
Going to hardcore and metal shows in my formative years has obviously influenced me, because now in my mid-30s I'm still doing exactly what I saw at those shows! Lots of great heavy bands that people outside of the area most likely wouldn't know, like 7000 Dying Rats, Gyga, Lucifer's Hammer, Dropping the Messiah, Thoughts of Ionesco, etc. Everybody has those bands that they were obsessed with growing up, and felt a sense of ownership over since they were local and not too many people knew about them. I'm just taking my turn carrying the same torch, though it appears the next generation are gonna have to pry said torch from my cold, dead hands."
For more information on tomorrow's show, head to this link. Check out the tracklisting for 'Family Men: Four Black Flag Songs Reinterpreted by Four Detroit Bands' below:
Old Gods – Depression (original version – 'Damaged,' 1981)
Golden Torso – Thirsty & Miserable (original version – 'Damaged,' 1981)
Hellmouth – Police Story (original version – 'Damaged,' 1981)
Child Bite – My War (original version – 'My War,' 1984)