Published Mar 14, 2014Before he was Rollins, Henry Garfield was a goofy kid in Washington D.C. who went to hardcore shows and roadied for Teen Idles, a band featuring his good friend Ian MacKaye. In the fall of 1980, he began to assert his 19-year-old voice artistically and formed his first band with guitarist Michael Hampton, bassist Wendel Blow and drummer Simon Jacobsen, none of whom were older than 16. The band played its first show at a house party (also the venue for Minor Threat's first public appearance) on December 13 and two weeks later they entered a studio with Skip Groff to capture their noise.
What we have here is the historically significant first blast by S.O.A., four teenagers who, like a lot of the freakish D.C. scene of the time, were remarkably poised, proficient and fearless. As soon as he kicks into "Public Defender," Garfield is ready to rule. A punk band was the perfect outlet for his otherwise stifled unbridled energy and need to lash out at the world around him. There are flubs and straight-ahead parts, but this is a riveting document of inspired, focused rage and youthful innocence.
Less than a year later, Garfield became Henry Rollins and was the lead singer in Black Flag, his favourite band. Entering a studio for the sessions here was the first glimpse he had of his future, and now we get a look at what he saw, too. (Dischord)