First Demo 12/29/80
(Black Flag, Faith, Embrace, Iron Cross)
Released on March 18, 2014
Henry Garfield formed State of Alert (S.O.A) in October of 1980 with guitarist Michael Hampton, bassist
Wendel Blow, and drummer Simon Jacobsen. The band released 13 songs – three on the Flex Your Head compilation
record and ten on the No Policy EP, which was Dischord’s second-ever release – and performed a total of
nine shows before calling it quits in July of 1981.
Garfield had been a long-time friend of Dischord Records co-founder, Ian MacKaye – both worked at the
Georgetown movie theater and Häagen Dazs ice cream store – and also a roadie for his band, Teen Idles.
Though he was a fixture of the early DC punk scene, S.O.A would be Garfield’s first group. The band performed
its first show on December 13th, 1980 at a house party with The Untouchables, Black Market Baby, Bad
Brains, and Minor Threat (who were also making their debut that evening). At the time, Garfield was 19-years
old and his bandmates between 15 and 16.
S.O.A was in a hurry to record, so the band booked studio time with Skip Groff, who owned the Rockville,
Maryland-based record store Yesterday and Today and who had recorded the Teen Idles’ single earlier that year.
At this point, S.O.A had played only three shows – the house gig and two appearances at the Unheard of Music
Festival at DC Space.
This single collects the eight songs that S.O.A recorded with Groff in that first session. Two of the songs (“Disease”
and “Stepping Stone Party”) were released on the Flex Your Head sampler and “Gonna Have to Fight”
was included on the No Policy EP. The rest are unreleased versions.
Seven months after this recording session, Garfield left Washington, DC and his last name behind, relocating to
Los Angeles to become Henry Rollins, lead singer of Black Flag. Hampton, Blow, and Jacobsen would go on to
perform in groups like The Faith, Embrace and Iron Cross.