“Damaged” by the Conformity of Society

Blood knuckles, shattered mirror, mid punch…oh my

Cover+Art+for+Black+Flag%27s+1981+album+%22Damaged%22+%28Photo+via+Edward+Colver%29.

Cover Art for Black Flag’s 1981 album “Damaged” (Photo via Edward Colver).

Damaged mirror, damaged knuckles, damaged reputation for resistance to conform to societal norms. The album cover for Black Flag’s “Damaged,” shot in 1981 by photographer and sculptor Ed Colver, depicts lead singer Henry Rollins with bloody knuckles in a fist, mid-impact to a mirror.

Black Flag originated in Hermosa Beach in 1976. In 1981, a diehard Black Flag fan and Washington D.C. native under the moniker Henry Rollins, became the fourth lead singer for this iconic band who helped established the Orange County hardcore punk scene. The 1981 album “Damaged” was Rollins’ introduction to the Orange County scene, where his conservative background and jock-like appearance led to much skepticism of Rollins’ place in Black Flag.

The covert art for “Damaged” captures the angst of punks fighting against the conformity of the Reagan-era, but for Rollins it also symbolized his breakthrough to Orange County punks that contained the same drive against conformity and conservatism.

Photographer Ed Colver often retells the comical side of this iconic cover shot, in which the shot consisted of a broken mirror held together by duct tape and oozing of ketchup to appear as Rollins’ blood. A crafty allusion from the diy punk scene that gave Rollins the opportunity to broadcast his punk mentality.

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