I Don't Wanna (album)
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I Don't Wanna Album

I Don't Wanna is a retrospective album consisting of demos recorded in 1966 by Henry Flynt & The Insurrections, an avant-garde and experimental garage rock combo led by musician, conceptual artist, and philosopher, Henry Flynt. It was released in 2005 on Locust Music. The ensemble consisted of Flynt on lead vocals and electric guitar, Walter De Maria on drums, Art Murphy on keyboards, and Paul Breslin on upright bass. Flynt, a classically trained violinist, learned guitar from Lou Reed and played briefly in the Velvet Underground, before recording with this album with the Insurrections. The music on I Don't Wanna is primarily a delta blues-inspired exercise in experimental primitivism, characterized by politically radical agitprop lyrics that anticipate sentiments that would increasingly come to the fore in the radicalized music and youth culture of the late 1960s.


Historical context

Henry Flynt & the Insurrections were led by musician, and future philosopher/multi-media artist, Henry Flynt, who was a classically trained violinist who also learned guitar from Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground in the mid-1960s not long before the formation of the Insurrections.[1][2][3][4] Flynt, a native of North Carolina, was living in New York City during the 1960s and had come into contact with many of the conceptual, "Fluxus", and avant-garde artists and musicians living there at the time, including Yoko Ono, before starting his own group.[2][4][5] He is sometimes credited with coining the phrase "conceptual art".[5][6] Flynt who had initially been trained on guitar by Lou Reed briefly joined the Velvet Underground in 1966 substituting for John Cale, at his suggestion, while Cale was suffering from an illness.[2][5] During that time Lou Reed gave him his first guitar lessons.[2] Flynt had been interested in writing songs with political messages, so he began assembling an act of his own.[2] The act that became Henry Flynt & the Insurrections started as a duo with Flynt as the vocalist and electric guitarist. He was accompanied by Walter De Maria, a sculptor and friend, on drums, who had formerly played in the Primitives, an earlier garage rock combo that included Lou Reed. The Primitives had recorded "The Ostrich," which was co-written by Reed and Cale.[2] The duo specialized began to hone the kind of agitprop approach to topical songs which became their hallmark as they evolved into a larger group, eventually adding jazz musician Paul Breslin on upright bass and organist Art Murphy, and taking the name Henry Flynt & the Insurrections.[2][4] Many of the band's songs were highly satirical, rife with references to topics such as "napalm," "Uncle Sam," "CIA-backed coups".[1] They recorded songs onto rehearsal demos in 1966, but, due to Flynt and DeMaira's wariness of commercial success, the material was not released until years later.[2] The band broke up shortly thereafter.[2] The group's demo tapes were re-issued in 2004 as the album I Don't Wanna, on Locust Music.[1][2][3][7][8]


The opening cut on I Don't Wanna is the delta blues-tinged "Uncle Sam Do", a highly sarcastic diatribe against the Vietnam War, and establishes the characteristically caustic mood that extends throughout the whole set.[7] The second track, "Goodbye Wall St." takes dead-center aim at capitalism.[7] The lyrics to "Go Down" depict a picket line in which the target of anger is not only directed at the war and social inequality, but seemingly provides blank slate for whatever particular grievance that comes to mind.[7] "Jumping", though not topical, is the most experimental cut stylistically, featuring a heavily reverbed high-pitched saxophone accompanied manic guitar strumming.[7] The penultimate cut is the album's theme song, "I Don't Wanna", another anti-war protest.[7] The album concludes with "Dreams Away", which manages to stretch delta blues motifs into a musically experimental context.[7]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[7]

In Records Ruin the Landscape: John Cage, the Sixties, and Sound Recording, David Grubbs describes the Henry Flynt & the Insurrections sound as "garage-punk protest".[1] Their posthumously released I Don't Wanna was listed as Julian Cope's Album of the Month, not long after its release.[2] Cope comments: "This album reveals such an astonishing quicksilver energy of interplay between the guitar and drums that it all sounds contemporary even today".[1] In AllMucic, Eugene Chadbourne writes a generally positive review, pointing out some weaker cuts, but he states that "on the whole the nine tracks here add up to a vision of rock music that most listeners will be perfectly happy to have in their heads for a while..."[7]


Track listing

All songs are written by Henry Flynt.

  1. "Uncle Sam Do" -- 2:52
  2. "Good by Wall St." -- 2:59
  3. "Go Down" -- 2:55
  4. "Corona Del Mar" -- 3:00
  5. "Missionary Stew" -- 4:30
  6. "Jumping" -- 3:03
  7. "Sky Turned Red" -- 2:33
  8. "I Don't Wanna" -- 3:18
  9. "Dreams Away" -- 7:29

Catalogue and release information

  • I Don't Wanna (Locust Music, 2004)


  1. ^ a b c d e Grubbs, David (2014). "Ch. One". Records Ruin the Landscape: John Cage, the Sixties, and Sound Recording (1st ed.). Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-5576-2. Retrieved 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Cope, Julian (November 2005). "Henry Flynt & the Insurrections:I Don't Wanna (Julian Cope's Album of the Month)". Unsung. Head Heritage Ltd. Retrieved 2015.
  3. ^ a b Beta, Andy (February 19, 2004). "Henry Flynt/Insurrections: I Don't Wanna". Pithcfork. Condé Nast. Retrieved 2015.
  4. ^ a b c Chadbourne, Eugene. "Henry Flynt: Artist Biography by Eugene Chadbourne". t.tex's hexes. t.tex's hexes. Retrieved 2015.
  5. ^ a b c Chadbourne, Eugene. "Henry Flynt: Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network, LLC. Retrieved 2015.
  6. ^ Yoshimura, Courtney (April 1, 2013). "Celestial Power: An Interview With Henry Flynt". Celestial Power. Opening Ceremony. Retrieved 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Chadbourne, Eugene. "I Don't Wanna - Henry Flynt & the Insurrections". AllMusic. AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. Retrieved 2016.
  8. ^ "Henry Flynt & The Insurrections - I Don't Wanna". Discogs. Discogs®. Retrieved 2015.

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