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Getting Even

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Album Review

Guitarist Greg Ginn took his time establishing himself as a solo artist after the 1986 breakup of Black Flag, the groundbreaking band he'd so single-mindedly piloted for a decade. The results were typically two-fisted when he did. Getting Even is a bruising listen from start to finish, with plenty of the dissonant blasts for which Ginn is so rightly hailed; listen to how his guitar breaks undermine "Hard Thing"'s stuttering punk-blues shuffle, for instance. The jam-oriented leanings of other Ginn side projects like Gone are absent here; only three songs break the three-minute barrier. Jangling guitars and basses vie against a terse, metronomic beat (which sounds suspiciously like a Linn drum machine). Vocals are pushed into the mix, which upholds a frequently paranoid, subterranean mood. Not surprisingly, the results sound like an updated version of Ginn's former band, only with crisper playing and production. "Pig MF" attacks the brutal cop who "takes another life," then "goes home and beats his wife." "I've Changed" is a hilarious collection of one-line alibis, while "Pay Day" hits out against workplace injustice. "Yes Officer" is another highlight, pitting a bass-drum interlude for its subject's fearful responses ("that light is very nice in my eyes, sir") against some vicious, skittering guitar work. The lone instrumental, "Short Fuse," is a compact summary of Ginn's thrill-a-minute style, while "Not That Simple" laments the commercial co-optation of the scene that he fought so hard to establish. This is the best stop for listeners unfamiliar with Ginn's post-Flag activities.


Born: 08 June 1954 in Tuscon, AZ

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Unquestionably the most influential guitarist to emerge from the late-'70s/early-'80s U.S. hardcore/punk movement was Black Flag's Greg Ginn. Never afraid to incorporate other musical styles into his playing (namely jazz fusion and Black Sabbathy heavy metal), as well as squealing feedback from his amplifier, Ginn's guitar also served as a defining ingredient in the Black Flag sound as he was the only member to remain in the group from its formation until its demise. Influenced equally by the Grateful...
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Getting Even, Greg Ginn
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