Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie: Reinterpreting Black Flag EP

Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie: Reinterpreting Black Flag EP

To put it lightly, Black Flag’s stock hasn’t exactly risen over the past three decades. Years of internal squabbling, eyebrow-raising career moves and disappointing pretension, the band, (and more specifically, Henry Rollins) has now found themselves in Guns n Roses territory, maligned more for their loss of relevancy than their musical decline.

Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie: Reinterpreting Black Flag is as good of a representation of Black Flag’s current state than anything, it’s a six song EP that has no-name ex-Flag members playing country-rock covers of some of Damaged’s most revered tracks. “Rise Above,” “Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie,” “Six Pack,” and “Thirsty and Miserable” are all here, and are all completely isolated from any sort of hardcore nostalgia, instead reaching deeper into the borrowed remembrance of 50s rockabilly.

For those of us paying attention, Dirty Projectors tried their hand at a Black Flag reinterpretation not too long ago, 2007’s Rise Above was a kaleidoscopic and amazingly divergent look at punk rock ethos, and in general, was a lot less half-assed than Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie. Where Rise Above was an album-focused, wildly envisioning work of skyrocketing harmonies and transplanted spirit, this tribute record is simply Black Flag songs played slower and on acoustic guitar. Opener “Rise Above” just sounds like a toothless, detoxed version of the original; it lacks any of the impact that made these songs great in the first place.

Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie is mostly harmless, and I’m sure if you’re still really into Black Flag you’ll find these covers enthralling, but to someone less in love with the band, they just come off pointless. It’s a record that spawned from the baseless idea of playing hardcore songs like rockabilly songs, there’s really no artistic ambition going on behind the scenes, and that’s a problem, especially when you consider what the Dirty Projectors did with the same idea.