The first shirt I ever made was a Black Flag shirt. It was the summer I was 12. My friends and I were into skateboarding, punk rock, and not much else then. The DIY spirit—new and inspirational—had us in its grip.
The idea that you could make your own t-shirt was amazing. The fact that it could be crude, awesome, and in-between, a la the first Suicidal Tendencies album cover, was even more amazing. People would get the message. It was not the art, it was the feeling, the spirit, the connection. So it felt.
Skaters have a relationship with the Police that is stereotyped as adversarial. Locally, our experiences fit that stereotype. Finding it too difficult to draw on the loose cotton surface, it became just words. Pieces and patterns built out of Black Flag’s “Police Story”. Punk. Rock.
When the urge came to make a shirt as a tribute, it came again from Black Flag. Experimental Jet Set provided the springboard. Again, just words. A perfect fit. Four names = four names. The difference here is that every name embodies an era, a sound. A normal Black Flag shirt may have qualifiers to the wearer. “Yeah, but I don’t like Dez”. This is about the whole thing. Every era in its own way, the ethos, the energy, the will to experiment and the audacity to exceed, from stem to stern, you love it all: Black Flag. Saying that without explicitly saying that seems all the more punk rock to me.
I hope some of you feel the same.
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