Culture, Music

The Bitter Reality: “Black Flag” is dead

In a strange but not entirely unexpected turn of events, Ron Reyes has quit/been fired from “Black Flag” once again. In a bizarre on-stage firing at the tail end of their recent Australian sojourn, Reyes was unceremoniously booted with two songs left on the set list. The band of course, was one half of the two “reunited” renditions of the once legendary punk band. In a long and revealing statement, Reyes has stated that the band “fell very short indeed and the diminishing ticket sales and crowds are a testament to that.” But more telling than anything, it seems that Reyes had an inkling this entire project was doomed to fail. In the statement, Reyes says;

[quote]“The writing was on the wall since before we played our first show. So many things went wrong from the start. I was into things like having a good drummer, rehearsing and spending time on things like beginnings and endings of songs, being a little less distracted with tour life and a little more on the ball. You know things that would make our efforts worthy of the name Black Flag”[/quote]

It’s funny and painfully sad to think of course, the once great legacy of a band that influenced so many has fallen into such disgrace. Like Reyes, we expected as much. Back in July of this year, we wrote a piece titled ‘Black Flags and Idol Suicides‘ and in it, Brad Abraham asks the simple question that plagued the formations of both these bands; “why?”. Why did we need “Black Flag” and “Flag”? The truth is, we didn’t, and we still don’t. The farce in which this has descended down to is testament to this notion.

If you’ve had a listen to the new “Black Flag” album (that may be thrown into doubt now with Reyes’ departure), you can hear the sound of a tired, aged, decrepit band struggling to find relevance where it didn’t need to. Abraham goes on in the piece to ask a few more pertinent questions and with the recent turn of events, they are more relevant than ever:

Why subject your fans to this tired display?

Why ruin something that was perfect?

Why bring middle-aged dissatisfaction to youth rebellion?”

Why indeed, for this mess. Speculation is that Greg Ginn will continue the band with someone else on vocals, but it would seem that such action would do little to change the situation. There is nothing wrong with remembering the past, especially one that is so gloriously influential and historically significant to an entire youth movement. But to let it break and burn like this? It’s just sad. Could it be that a small part of this debacle is due to the current climate of monetary possibilities these bands did not once have? Are we all partly to blame? Our culture of famous-now, money-now music industry means one-time cash-starved beacons of struggle and revolution can embark on a new monetized rehashing of their once lauded legacy. There is no stopping that, but don’t expect us not to comment when it disintegrates.

How did Brad Abraham get it so right? How did he nail the whole situation right on its head in one sentence? It is in this case of Ron Reyes, Greg Ginn, Keith Morris and the rest of the parties involved masquerading as the corpse of Black Flag, a statement that bears repeating;

For the aging punk rockers who have carried out this charade, one lesson will be imprinted on them- you can’t repeat the past.


Music, Videos

Watch OFF! perform on Carson Daly; debuts new video

Punk rock old timers (okay fine, supergroup) OFF! recently performed a blistering 4-song set (their entire EP) on Last Call With Carson Daly. The video of the entire performance along with interviews and tidbits can now be streamed above.

OFF! features Keith Morris (of Circle Jerks/Black Flag fame), Steven McDonald (Redd Kross), Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides), and Mario Rubalcaba (Earthless/Hot Snakes/Rocket From the Crypt) and adopt the old school punk rock mentality of “get on, fuck shit up, get the fuck off”. It’s pretty refreshing.

Keith Morris was a prominent figure in the documentary American Hardcore, recanting tales of hardcore’s most prolific and effective period.

The new group’s first release, titled 1st EP, is out now via Vice Records. Their brand new video for the track “I Don’t Belong” can be viewed on Fuel TV.


American Hardcore second edition out Nov. 1st

One of the most celebrated texts in hardcore history is getting a second showing this November. Steven Blush’s acclaimed American Hardcore: A Tribal History will get its second edition run that will include a bevy of additional material. Blush is pulling out all the stops with the new print with updated chapters (including an entirely new one titled ‘Destroy Babylon’), 25 new interview subjects, over 200 new band bios, new artwork and an expanded discography. The original page length sat at 328 pages, the new edition will feature over 400.

Blush will also promote the new edition on a tour of libraries, universities and book stores starting on October. The success of the initial print spawned the acclaimed documentary American History: The History of American Punk Rock 1980-1986. It is quite possibly one of the greatest music related documentaries we have ever seen.

The second edition will be available starting November 1st from Feral House Publishing. So far, the confirmed speaking dates for Blush are:

10/07 – Portsmouth, NH @ Portsmouth Public Library
10/08 – Worcester, MA @ Worcester Public Library
10/09 – Portland, ME @ Portland Public Library

Here is the original trailer for the documentary: