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The Process of Weeding Out...

From the numerous books about the history of punk and hardcore that are out there, I believe that Disco's Out...Murder's In! ranks amongst the most important ones and this is not only due to the direct and straight-forward way that it is written but also because it helps to position the Punk and Hardcore (especially the LA one) scene in the right context. Some years ago, after re-watching The Decline of the Western Civilisation, I was writing in one of my blog posts :

...At the same moment it (the documentary) places the Hardcore/Punk "scene" and its members under the correct perspective, striping away any nostalgia or attempt for glorification. In my opinion, it was only a momentum that built up around a group of confused and troubled teenagers which were for sure neither politically mature nor socially conscious (with some of them eventually managing to further expand their artistic endeavours like X and some of them finally "burning out" like Darby Crash), rather than a genuine artistic or politically revolutionary movement...

The book of Mattioli and Spacone does something similar but in a more radical way, focusing on the gangs and the violence that was brought in and spread around and within the scene. The writers of the book echoing Frank the Shank (the narrator of the book) argue that it was THIS violence that eventually "killed" the scene, making bands wanting to distance themselves from it (the scene) developing their sound to a more sophisticated direction wanting this to perceived as a sign of maturity.

One of those bands were Black Flag and the direction they took after My War is a proof of what I mention above. A direction towards sophistication that peaked with the release of The Process of Weeding Out (a title which was an obvious innuendo) EP, a record where Black Flag experimented with Jazz (!) and in which had it not been for the guitar of Greg Ginn nothing would remind their Hardcore days.

Personally, I love Black Flag in almost all of their eras; be it the pre Rollins or the Rollins one (along with the metal, jazz elements that were introduced around those times), with the exception of their reunion years, and The Process of Weeding Out is for me one of the undisputed parts of their discography not only musically but also as a documentation of the lifecycle of a band who were pioneers of the Hardcore scene but eventually grew out of it...


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