A couple months ago, we learned that Oxbow's Eugene Robinson linked up with Black Flag bassist Chuck Dukowski for a new project called Black Face, which features Flag's Duk on bass, Oxbow's Robinson on vocals, Insect vs. Robots' Milo Gonzalez (Duk's son) on guitar and Oxbow alum Tom Dobrov on drums.
They've just recorded four songs that were written around My War-era Flag that nobody in the world apart from Dukowski has ever heard before: “Monster,” “Leave Me Out to Rot,” “Where Will We Run” and “I Want to
Black Face release their “I Want to Kill You” b/w “Monster” 7″ today on Hydra Head. (Tip: Head to Vacation Vinyl in LA to grab the record; if you're one of the first 10 to buy it you'll receive a special uncut jacket print.)
Robinson speaks here about the formation of the band and why Black Face is not Black Flag.
OC Weekly (Lainna Fader): How did Black Face come to be?
That's not even the right question anymore. The correct question is how could it not come to be? At this point, it's pretty well documented how I have known Chuck since 1981, which was when I interviewed him for my magazine The Birth of Tragedy — yes, ripped off from the Nietzsche title of the same name — a magazine he would later advertise in after being affected by an interview I had in there with Anton La Vey from the Church of Satan.
My band Oxbow later ended up on SST and I kept running into him at shows here and in Europe and so the conversation continued. And the whole time, in my mind, was this very thing. Of course, the time dictates the timing and so it is now, when the country is about to fling itself apart, that it makes the most amount of sense ever. But we're skeptics and need proof of concept, which is to say, if the world wants to see us, it will. If it yawns and goes back to Extreme Couponing, we'll stay hunkered down in the bunker. And I will stay handsome. Very simple calculation.
When did you know you wanted to make music with Dukowski?
In New York at Irving Plaza. But you know, who really knows this? At this point we're all just really looking around and seeing who is still standing, which is really a way to see within whom the fire burns the hottest.
What do you bring to the table in Black Face that is different from other bands you've been in?
Being in and doing Black Face is the Dionysus to Oxbow's Apollo, which is to say, much less than in other bands, I feel absolutely no obligation to hold it together in Black Face.
What do you get out of being part of this project?
There have been multiple attempts to resurrect some incarnation of Black Flag over the years with a new person on the mic. What makes this one different?
This is not a greatest hits revue; otherwise, we'd have called it Black Flag. This is a deeply loving exploration of the Chuck Dukowski song book, from my point of view. I mean, without Ginn, this is precisely what it would have to be.
Black Face recorded four songs that Dukowski had originally written for Black Flag's 1984 album My War: “Monster,” “I Want to Kill You,” “Where Will We Run” and “Leave Me Out to Rot.” I read that these songs will be released exclusively on vinyl. Why no digital release?
We like the idea of artifact and we do not like the idea of disposable binary digital bullshit that will be stolen by all 8678 people with even a passing interest in it who will then claim to not have the cash to pay for it.
Will you be touring in support of the new record?
If people want to see us play, we play. If they do not want to see us play, well, Oxbow is touring twice in 2012 and releasing two records and I am on tour with Scott Kelly from Neurosis all through February and March. It's that simple.
What's next after this release?
Endless rehearsals for the live show and then more recording. Due to various insanities, we do not have a record label for the second and third releases. Hydra Head is only releasing the first one and [they] got so sick of dealing with the already combustible situation that they declined to release the others. So no one knows.