Next to Bad Brains and a handful of others, I'd venture to say that Black Flag was one of the quintessential hardcore bands of all time. Their classic output was not only important to the genre they helped create, but as they evolved, Black Flag also influenced much of the metal landscape today. Ask Scott Kelly, Buzzo, Brian Patton or many many others; they'll tell you that side 2 of My War was crucial.

Besides a few false alarms and flare ups, Black Flag has mostly stayed inactive since their split in 1986. Ron Reyes, the replacement for Keith Morris and who was eventually replaced by Dez Cadena and Henry Rollins, found Jesus. Robo, who joined the Misfits in the early 80s, reclaimed his chair with the latter Danzig-less version. Greg Ginn took up jammy one-man projects and dabbled in mostly uninteresting jazz. Chuck Dukowski stayed semi-active and recently split with the short-lived Black Face, a Eugene Robinson (Oxbow) fronted band that visited Dukowski's output with Black Flag. But the Hermosa Beach legends stayed true, and the inactivity further fueled that legend. Black Flag came to signify what was right with staying punk: sticking to your guns and artistic integrity. That changed this morning.

Black Flag have announced that they will reunite with vocalist Ron Reyes for an appearance at Hevy Fest in the UK, roping in the previously elusive Greg Ginn [Update: Robo and Chuck Dukowski were originally reported as part of the band, but that has proven to be untrue]. The show will be the first official Black Flag show in many years, and the first outside of the US in more than three decades. Meanwhile, another band, called FLAG, will feature Black Flag members Keith Morris, Chuck Dukowski, and Bill Stevenson, along with Stephen Egerton. That band will ALSO tour. What a tangled web.

If I was to look at the ink of metalheads across the world, I'd venture to say that Black Flag would probably be the number one band tattoo. I wonder if that will continue after today, and especially after Hevy Fest.


- Fred Pessaro

Black Flag - Revenge

Black Flag Jealous Again - Greg Ginn at Ron Reyes 50th B-Day July 24, 2010

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