HENRY AND KIRA WITH BLACK FLAG | PHOTO: UNKNOWN
There wasn’t a lot of money involved. There were legal hassles when I joined the band. There was some legal stuff that had happened with the record company before me, so we had some legal bills we owed that a lot of money went towards. And we had the P.A. system, which cost us quite a bit. Our expenses were pretty high. So there wasn’t a lot of money.
And we had a per diem, a daily stipend to get by and buy our food, and basically that’s all about it would cover. And we slept on peoples’ floors and in the van, and expenses were kept down and the money would go to that. There was not really any extra money. But I was never in it for the money! There was never any expectation of money either. So it was very faithful to what I expected it to be, which was just sort of surviving. I was going to UCLA at the time, and taking quarters off to tour. I’d take a quarter off to tour, and then I’d come back. So that was really insane. Like, getting dropped out of a van after a tour, at UCLA to go to my first class. Trying to go back to studying calculus and applied math.
Did people in the class know who you were?
No, Black Flag was not very famous at UCLA. I was a scumbag as far as they were concerned. There were a couple people that were a little punky maybe, but it wasn’t where you found a contingent, like now. I mean, even then, when we’d go to Ohio or something like that, the colleges would have radio stations and be interviewing Black Flag or whatever; they were heavy into us. But UCLA, man, I never met anybody.
I really only, well — And I’m in the MATH department! I’m in the, you know — I’m not exactly hanging around in the artistic areas where there might be someone too, you know? I was like hanging around math classes and economics and stuff. I didn’t bump into anybody. I didn’t get a lot of attention, man. I was pretty much just a scumbag who had trouble finding people who I could compare notes with.
-Kira Roessler of Black Flag, as told to Mark Prindle of Citizine