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The Golden Autumn of 1984.

The first Black Flag song I ever heard was
Rise Above.

It was September 1984.

Don Bruno and Keith Hartel made me a mix-tape
that would change my life.

Rise Above was track number 1.

Jealous cowards try to control

Try to stop what we do
’cause they can’t do it themselves

In Keith’s basement my hair was sheered off.

I went home and bleached my jeans.
My parents and siblings cringed.

The next day at school I went from
blending into the gray walls to being
a threat — A target.

I quit the wrestling team and
started skateboarding.

My life got tougher and I liked it.

Laugh at us behind our backs
I find satisfaction in what they lack

On October 19, 1984
I skipped school and piled-in
with the other punks —
Into Mitch Gurowitz’s car.

We rode out of Edison —
Flipping the school off as we
passed by — Bound for Trenton.

City Gardens.

Punks from all over the state
and region were camped out
in the parking lot, outside of
their cars, waiting for dusk —
For the doors to open.

Waiting for Black Flag.

Some punks were skating
around the back of the venue.
We went over to investigate.

Keith says — You should see
this kid on a skateboard.

Some punker pushes his board
towards me.

I step on it and start thrashing.

A crowd gathers.
My first demo.

I knock over a tar bucket and do
a boneless over it.
Jaws drop.

I push at it again.
This time for a 180ยบ.

I feel the eyes of the gathered crowd
move from me to something behind me.
I land the boneless facing where
I had just come from.

Henry Rollins is walking down the street
carrying grocery bags.

He makes eye contact with me.

Yeah man!

The crowd parts as Henry wades through.

No one can believe it.
Henry acknowledged me.
Acknowledged my skating.
The parking lot is abuzz.

The sun goes down and the doors open.
Punks pour into City Gardens
and the room is charged.

Black Flag hits us like a clenched fist.
Like a runaway freight train.

Greg Ginn, Bill Stevenson, Kira Rossler
and Henry Rollins.

It doesn’t get heavier.

Something explodes in my brain…
An awakening.

Whatever I do in my life, for the rest of my life,
must be done with this kind of intensity.

We are born with a chance
And I am gonna’ have my chance

The stage clears, the hall empties.
The floor is littered as if a tornado
had just come through.

I walk towards the merch stand.
I buy a Slip It In T-shirt (that will get
me thrown out of school a few days later)
and a Henry Rollins chapbook entitled 20.

Henry’s book affects me.
I’d been secretly writing poetry for years.
It would be secret no more.

I get it.

Living is expression.

MY Skating
MY Music
MY Writing
MY Life

I buy the My War LP at Vintage Vinyl
in Fords, NJ. I listen to it in my room
endlessly. The most significant record
I’ve ever purchased.

Black Flag
Skateboarding
My War
The Golden Autumn of 1984.

I can still feel it.

Rise Above
I’m gonna’
Rise Above