It's a sampler for SST Records. SST Records was the home of Black Flag. I heard of Black Flag the beginning of my freshman year of high school, as what seemed like a quarter of the student body was wearing new and red Slip It In t-shirts. But I didn't hear Black Flag until later.
Circus magazine was switching from covering punks to covering metalheads, I think, and there was an ad from SST advertising a free sampler. I was a driver, so this was at least 1986. Anyway, free is the right price for a teenager, and I sent away. And one day, it came in. I opened it up and right away, I was jazzed. It has the coolest liner notes ever, or at least what a 16-year-old would think of as the coolest liners ever.
A WARNING FROM THE PROGRAMMER: EXTREME CAUTION is mandatory with all use of this psychic program material, for while - with proper use - this program information will tune the listener to sufficient destructive capability to get any job - no matter how dirty - done. If mishandled, this psychic fuel program (Program: Annihilator) may overload the Subject's receptive capacity, which could result in indiscriminate violence of an intensity the Programmer can only assume the Subject will consider undisirable. THE PROGRAMMER THEREFORE HEREBY DISCLAIMS ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ACTIONS OF THOSE WHO WILLINGLY MAKE THE DECISION TO AVAIL THEMSELVES OF Program: Annihilator.What red-blooded American teenager could resist that?
I put it in the cassette deck while driving with my friend Mason to the comic book shop.
And I immediately pulled it out.
"War Is Our Destiny" by Saint Vitus.
Imagine second-album Black Flag meeting Blue Cheer. Now make it suck 45% more. That's what Saint Vitus sounds like. Mason liked Rush. I liked Iron Maiden and Metallica. Neither of us liked Blue Cheer wannabes.
The first four tracks are Saint Vitus. I can only think of it like the beginning of 40-Year-Old Virgin, with Cal going on about the Tijuana donkey-sex show he saw. It's supposed to make you uncomfortable, so you appreciate it more when the good stuff comes.
Which it did eventually. I fast-forwarded past all the
And the rest! DC3! Overkill! "Ladies in leather! Submit or you'll only upset her!" SWA! "Baby, baby, now what you need is a little bit of my surgury! Let my love show you all that it could be!" Wurm! "There's a knife behind my smile!" I loved this thing. Except for the first four tracks. Which were Saint Vitus and are made of suck.
I went to college, and one of the first friends I made introduced me to Bad Religion and Big Black. In return, I let him borrow my treasure, my Program: Annihilator. He gave it to someone else, having her return it to me, but she put it down, and someone with sticky fingers picked it up.
It took me five years of hunting record stores to find it again. I found it in the Vegas Tower Records. It cost me $20 to replace the recording I had originally received for free, and I thought it was cheap.
What is your treasure? The irreplacable recording? The great thing that you have to dig out and play for friends?