Black Flag (1976-1986): a Punk band from Hermosa Beach, California, USA.
lack Flag was started by guitarist Greg Ginn and bassist Chuck Dukowski. Their initial attempt to release their debut 45 with fellow members Keith Morris (vocals) and Brian Migdol (drums) was delayed by local indie 'Bomp' in 1977, who, after over half a year decided not to release it so Nervous Breakdown was released in 1978 with the help of sound men "Mugger" and "Spot" on their 'S.S.T.' label, named after an old electronics company 'Solid State Tuners'; the label would become extremely important in the grunge and Alternative movements 30 years later. By the time their debut LP proper titled Damaged, was released in 1981, they were suffering distribution difficulties with 'MCA-Unicorn', who didn't like the content of some of the songs. The band was also in a state of flux with the substitution of Keith Morris, with the now legendary Henry Rollins (Real Name: Henry Garfield; ex-SOA; vocals), not to mention Dez Cadena (ex-Red Cross) taking over from Reyes, while Midgol was replaced with Robo. As 'S.S.T.', they took the major label to court and won, but to end the contractual obligations they wanted out of they had to pay out a 6-figure sum.
Black Flag, as a record label, would now go on to help the careers of many Hardcore and Alternative acts such as Husker Du, Minutemen, Dinosaur Jr. and Meat Puppets, to name just a few. With Ginn and Rollins in control, they completed My War (1984) and the partly instrumental Family Man (1984), an album that was most noted with Rollins contributing a full spoken word side, a practice he would engage in more often when he left for a successful solo career later that same year. The albums also featured components offered by guest musicians Emil (drums; replaced Robo) and Dale Nixon (bass; actually Gregg assuming another name while filling in for the departing Cadena). Ginn. Now with Bill Stevenson on drums and Kira Rossler on bass as new permanent members, they completed three more albums in the form of, Slip It In (1984), the live set Live '84 (1985; cassette only) and Loose Nut (1985). Rollins now went solo, so they then engaged in The Process Of Weeding Out mini album in 1985, with In My Head to follow in 1986.
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Who's Got The 10 1/2, a live session was released in 1986 with Anthony Martinez replacing the departing Stevenson before the rest of the act pursued their own interests. Gone, perhaps, but Black Flag became the first US act to take DIY punk rock and convert it into hardcore, a hybrid sound that would later be used by Metal fans who had picked up on US hardcore bands in the 1990s like Bad Religion.
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