Monday, April 1, 2013


Timing is everything, and when there are a lot of bands with the same timing, there's nothing like having a revolving door of hardcore all-stars, a guitarist who also happens to own the record label (and has a brother who does all the artwork), and a pit that gets you banned from clubs, to make you stand out from the other bands. As years go by and the legend of the band spreads, that revolving door of hardcore all-stars creates somewhat of a clusterfuck of who did what and who was the most responsible for the bands' success at key junctures. Now, roughly thirty years later, it's all coming to a head, as two different versions of Black Flag hit the road in the coming months.  

Touring as Black Flag will be guitarist Gregg Ginn, the lone member in every incarnation of the band, Ron Reyes, an early singer, and a mystery drummer aptly named Drummer. Touring as Flag you've got former singer Keith Morris, another early singer and guitarist Dez Cadenza, bassist Chuck Dukowski, and former drummer Tim Stevenson.

A Super 8 diary of the final tour in 1986.

This could be good, and I'm not talking necessarily about the music.  Actually, the big story might be the dynamic between the two bands. I'm not some Black Flag-ologist, and, to be honest, I'm too lazy to go hunting around for this fact or that. So this is just my armchair analysis based on general impressions. To many, Guitarist Greg Ginn is essential to any version of Black Flag. He started the band and is, as mentioned above, the lone member in all incarnations. He also owns SST, the band's label. (His brother Ray Pettibone did a lot of the artwork for the record sleeves and flyers back in the day. Now he's a big time fancy gallery artist. Good for him, I guess.)  Here's the thing. Ginn has ruffled the feathers of some past members, among them Morris. I don't remember what the squabbles are about. I don't really care. I just know that all Black Flag sounds good, and Ginn is on all of it. For better or worse he's the brand. Be it the key essential ingredient, the artist who treats the whole thing like a long art project, or the shrewd business man, CEO and brand manager. Regardless, I'm not going to actively follow how this whole thing plays out, although my bet would be that Morris shoots his mouth off and Ginn stays relatively silent. I really don't care. At the end of the day, this is punk rock.  Whine once and be done with it.

From the And Now We've Come Full Circle file, check out this video, with gems like "Henry Rollins is disgusting", along with "Henry Rollins is horrifying. I'd punch him in the face and kick him in the willy". These punkers mean business.

Black Flag - Six Pack mp3 at Violent Success
Black Flag - Gimme Gimme Gimme mp3 at Cold Splinters 
Black Flag - Wound Up mp3 at The Cargo Culte 
Black Flag - Black Coffee mp3 at The Cargo Culte 
Black Flag - Rise Above mp3 at Hey Cool Kid 
Black Flag - TV Party at YouTube
Black Flag - Police Story at YouTube Dez Cadenza singing
Black Flag - Revenge at YouTube Ron Reyes singing
Black Flag fans, after years of no band, now get two at L.A. Times
Can I Get In the Van? at Vice A thirty nine year old bassist thumbs 2,000 miles to audition for the new Black Flag 
Black Flag line up changes info-graphic at Beware of the Blog
Black Flag incarnations at a fan page 
Black Flag members - Where are they now? at the same fan page
Black Flag at Wikipedia

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