Agony Shorthand

Tuesday, April 15, 2003
MASTERPIECE: BLACK FLAG “POLICE STORY”……As long as we’re talking about just individual songs in our inventory of masterpieces, what about the fucking most balls-out, over-the-top hardcore punk rock song of all time? You know I’m talking about BLACK FLAG’s godly “Police Story” – the DEZ CADENA version from the “Let Them Eat Jellybeans” compilation, though the Rollins version on “Damaged” is pretty amazing as well. Both versions kick off with the patented high-decibel Greg Ginn guitar feedback squeal, which you know means the track is about to ERUPT into something fast and wild within seconds. And it does. “This fucking city’s / Run by Pigs! / They take the rights away from / All the kids!”. YEAH! Picture the sidewalk in front of the Starwood, 1980: 400 of Chief Gates’ men in blue, all with bushy black mustaches, absolutely wailing on the punk rock cretins and new wave kids with nightsticks after the Flag/Minutemen/Descendents show. The kids are bravely fighting back, but it’s a tough fuckin’ battle: “Understand, we’re fighting a war we can’t win / They hate us, we hate them!”. Cadena had the gnarliest ugly croak of a voice, and he really gave it his best gargle on this one. American hardcore bands took their lessons and adapted accordingly, but no one ever, ever came close to touching this one. When that live punk rock karaoke band comes to town again I’m heading down to the club, taking my shirt off, starting some fistfights, stage diving, and belting out this song. An absolute masterpiece in every sense of the word.