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.
Though he was a long-time friend of Dischord Records co-founder Ian MacKaye and a fixture of the early DC punk scene, S.O.A would be Garfield's first-ever 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 MacKaye's band, Teen Idles, 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 The Faith, Iron Cross, Embrace, and The Snakes. S.O.A's First Demo 12/29/80 will be out on 7"+MP3 on March 18th, 2014.