Beyond the campus boundary of the University of North Carolina lay countless acres of wilderness, populated by dogwoods, deer, and stoners. In the fall of 1969, LSD was arriving in Tarheel Country in droppers and on blotter, and the UNC student body was keeping tabs. Woodstock was a memory, and the ongoing conflict in Vietnam was shattering the innocence of tuned-in teenagers, shaping the prevailing tone of youth rock. Winston-Salem freshmen Robert Kirkland and Mike Greer shared a room inside Aycock Residence Hall, where they met Lancaster, South Carolina, native Don Dixon. Infatuated with loud music, they held frequent dorm-basement jam sessions. Enlisting East Carolina University commuter Jimmy Glasgow for drums, the quartet memorized their imported copy of Black Sabbath’s debut LP. Arrogance named itself after brash attitudes and lofty aspirations. “We never thought that we would be anything less than huge,” Dixon recalled.

With hair nearing shoulders by Christmas break, Arrogance reconvened in the new year at Greensboro’s Crescent City Studios. With Greer on organ and lead guitar, Kirkland on rhythm guitar, Dixon on bass and vocals, and Glasgow on drums, Arrogance tracked “Black Death,” “An Estimation,” and “Race With The Devil” by British rockers Gun. The Nashville Record Pressing minimum of 500 copies was ordered, and “An Estimation” b/w “Black Death” got the Crescent- City Records label, usually reserved for folk and gospel clients. The 45s were sold directly to Arrogance fans, and at central North Carolina record stores. Despite the band’s ambitions, not a single copy was mailed to a big-time record company. “We knew if people liked us that labels would find us,” Dixon said. Such arrogance was unfounded, however.

With the band working regularly, Greer and Glasgow dropped out of school, leaving Dixon and Kirkland to carry the Arrogance name as a bass/guitar duo. They put on acoustic sets, attracting a pianist and a percussionist as their de facto sound took on softer attributes. By the time their self-released Give Us A Break LP arrived, with its sepia-tinted Shetland pony cover, Arrogance had resigned itself to a more humble tone.

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