TV Party (EP)

TV Party is an EP recorded by the American band Black Flag in 1982. It was produced by Black Flag and Ed Barton and originally released by SST Records on the 7" vinyl format. The EP contains three songs written by guitarist Greg Ginn: "TV Party", "I've Got to Run" and "My Rules". The title track is a satire of boredom, drinking and America's obsession with television.

TV Party
Black Flag - TV Party cover.jpg
EP by
ReleasedJuly 12, 1982
RecordedMarch 1982
GenreHardcore punk[1]
LabelSST (012)
  • Black Flag
  • Ed Barton
Black Flag chronology
TV Party
Everything Went Black

The original version of the song "TV Party" was released on the band's 1981 album Damaged.[2]


Greg Ginn wrote the three songs on the TV Party release.

The song "TV Party" was recorded three times. To promote the Damaged album in the United States, Unicorn Records had Black Flag enter the studio and re-record the song for the EP in March 1982, with their then-new drummer Emil Johnson.[3][4] The EP version features a slower tempo and hand claps. The band again recorded the song at the request of Alex Cox, for his 1984 cult classic film Repo Man and the accompanying soundtrack. Each version of the song lyrically references different TV shows from the era in which each recording was made.[5][6]


"TV Party" is driven by Chuck Dukowski's bass line and features Henry Rollins on lead vocals and bellowed backing vocals from band members.[5] The song is light in comparison to other songs from the band's Damaged era.[3] Black Flag guitarist Greg Ginn has stated that after "Rollins joined the band, we couldn't do songs with a sense of humor anymore; he got into the serious way-out poet thing."[7] Rollins described the song as satire, stating "it's about people who stay inside their house and live in a TV kinda world. And this has a very direct effect on us."[4] Ginn echoed Rollins's interpretation, stating "It's basically a satire of people watching TV and partying at home, which is a sickness which is very prevalent in LA."[4]Glen E. Friedman referred to the song as "a parody of certain type of people". Comparing the song to the Beastie Boys' "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)", he stated "They were both parodies that people took too seriously, and even the bands were found taking themselves too seriously after the fact."[4]


The TV Party EP was released on July 12, 1982.[8] To promote the EP, a music video of "TV Party" was shot featuring the members of Black Flag and their friends drinking beer and calling out their favorite television shows in front of a television set. Among the members is photographer (and the video's director) Glen E. Friedman.[4] Target Video also released a home video titled TV Party, in 1983, containing live footage of the group from 1980 and 1982 as well as the video of the title track.[9][10] There have been several variations on the release of the TV Party EP. They include one released by SST Records, one as a split between SST and Unicorn Records, and another simply by Unicorn.[11] All three versions have the same track listing. Several different slip covers were also issued.[11] A new version of the song "TV Party" later appeared on the soundtrack to the film Repo Man (1984). In the film, Emilio Estevez can be heard singing "TV Party".[12] The song also appears on other compilation albums.[5][13]


The title song of the EP received praise from music critics. Online music database gave a positive review of the song, describing it as "at once cutting and funny, an attack on television-inspired stasis that laughs both at and with its subjects" and "As a dumb anthem, it even beats out the band's cover of "Louie Louie".[5] Spin referred to the song as the "greatest ode to the slacker sloth".[14]

In 1982, Billboard listed the song "TV Party" as "Recommended" in their "Top Singles" review section.[15] The website AllMusic would later give the EP a retrospective rating of two and a half stars out of five, stating that "The other tracks are good, but this is a release for collectors or serious fans only."[16]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Greg Ginn[11][16].

Side one
1."TV Party"3:52
Total length:3:52
Side two
1."I've Got to Run"1:45
2."My Rules"1:11
Total length:2:56


Black Flag

Production and design

  • Ed Barton – producer
  • Black Flag – producer
  • Jeff Stebbins – engineer
  • Glen E. Friedman – photography


Chart (1982) Peak
UK Indie Chart[17] 30


  1. ^ DeCurtis, 1992. p.1992
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Chick, 2011. p.255
  4. ^ a b c d e Chick, 2011. p.256
  5. ^ a b c d Deming, Mark. "TV Party". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  6. ^ "TV Party: Credits". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  7. ^ Chick, 2011. p.257
  8. ^ Chick, 2011. p.401
  9. ^ Chick, 2011. p.403
  10. ^ "TV Party [Video]". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  11. ^ a b c Popoff, 2010. p.136
  12. ^ "TV Party". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
  13. ^ Deming, Mark. "Repo Man". Allmovie. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  14. ^ "Top 50 Essential Punk Records". Spin. SPIN Media LLC. 94 (17): 109. May 2001. ISSN 0886-3032. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  15. ^ "Top Single Pick". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 17 (5): 59. May 1, 1982. ISSN 0886-3032. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  16. ^ a b True, Chris. "TV Party". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  17. ^ Lazell, Barry (1997). Indie Hits 1980–1989. Cherry Red Books. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved September 5, 2014.