Family Man is the third studio album by the American hardcore punk band Black Flag. Released in 1984 through SST Records, it features spoken word tracks by vocalist Henry Rollins and jazz-indebted instrumental tracks. It is also the first album to feature bassist Kira Roessler. “Armageddon Man” is the only track on the album in which Rollins and the instruments are together.
Music and composition
The album features one LP side of spoken word performances from Henry Rollins and another of instrumental music from the Black Flag lineup of guitarist Greg Ginn, bassist Kira Roessler and drummer Bill Stevenson. AllMusic‘s Pemberton Roach, who described the record as Black Flag’s most “experimental”, compared the spoken word material to Jim Morrison‘s works on live The Doors releases. AllAboutJazz‘s Trevor Maclaren stated: “It opens three points of interest: Rollins as the Beat Poet—sort of—the stoned dirge influence of Black Sabbath, and the instrumental jazz driven metal/punk that Ginn would utilize after dissolving Black Flag.” Maclaren also added: “The distorted guitars and atonal feedback of players like Sonny Sharrock and James Blood Ulmer reign supreme in a sludgy Black Sabbath riff.”
The cover art, which was created by Raymond Pettibon, pictures a man holding a gun to his own head, while his wife and kids lie slaughtered nearby. The caption on the cover of reads: November 23rd, 1963.