Black Flag is back. I love it.
Recently announced, two different versions of the iconic late 70’s/80’s punk outfit are going out on the road. The first of the two is a band that will actually be called Black Flag, featuring founding guitarist Greg Ginn and 1979-era singer Ron Reyes. The band has already announced tour dates and that they will actually release an album (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) later this year, the first Black Flag album since 1985’s In My Head. Gregory Moore, who played drums for Ginn’s side project, Gone, will drum. Clearly awesome.
The other incarnation of the band features Keith Morris (who sang vocals on the Nervous Breakdown EP and left the band to form Circle Jerks, as well as being well-known for punk supergroup OFF!) on vocals, original bassist Chuck Dukowski, and drummer Bill Stevenson. The group will also feature Descendents/All guitarist Stephen Egerton. This incarnation will go under the name FLAG, and has also announced tour dates.
There are a lot of people that are super stoked to see these two incarnations and hope the two will both eventually come to their areas (like ME!). This is one of those “never thought I’d see it in my lifetime” kinda moments for me, like back with the Coachella lineup and the Violent Femmes reunion. Stuff like this was supposed to be long gone, and it’s happening. I really just can’t believe it.
On the other side of things, there are people who will be very opposed to these reunions (more the “Black Flag” than FLAG lineup) for it’s lack of “classic lineup” vocalist Henry Rollins, who joined the band in 1981 and led the group through it’s most popular period with the album Damaged. Some will also point out the absence of Dez Cadena and Robo. The idea of it not being a “classic lineup” draws some of those fans away and leaves some others wondering if this is truly something they can get behind. There’s also the underling “Punk Is Dead” thing and people will think that the band are total sellouts and they’re only doing this for money or whatever.
Get behind it folks. This a major deal. Not because it’s the Black Flag catalog, not because it’s even Black Flag. This is punk rock. Bands evolved, members came and went, they kept making records and moved on. Musicians leave bands all the time and they get even better. One could even argue that there is no classic Black Flag lineup because of the constant revolving door that was Black Flag, who officially has had 16 members. On top of that, how much longer are you going to get to hear these songs played live? These guys are getting old, and they won’t be around forever. This could be the last chance to hear these songs. Younger fans that weren’t old enough to hear Black Flag or go to a Black Flag show when they were around will finally have that chance. This is one of the coolest things to happen in a really long time.
So I’m gonna hope that BOTH incarnations, both Black Flag and FLAG, will be headed to an area near me. If you’re a big Black Flag fan too, I hope you will too.
Black Flag Tour Dates:
FLAG Tour Dates:
I wanna hear your view on the Black Flag/FLAG incarnations. Are they good? Bad? Is punk officially dead? Let us know in the comments!