Black Flag (1976-1986, 2003, 2013-2014, 2019-present): 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 heavy metal fans who had picked up on US hardcore bands in the 1990s like Bad Religion.
Black Flag also became well-respected within the punk subculture, primarily for their tireless promotion of an autonomous DIY punk ethic and aesthetic. They are often regarded as pioneers in the movement of underground do-it-yourself record labels that flourished among 1980s punk rock bands. Through constant touring throughout the United States and Canada, and occasionally Europe, Black Flag established a dedicated cult following.
After the band's break up, Rollins had the most visible public profile as a musician, writer, and actor.
In September 2003, Black Flag played three reunion shows.
On January 25, 2013, it was announced that Ginn and Reyes would reform Black Flag, joined by Gregory Moore on drums, and 'Dale Nixon' on bass (Dale Nixon being a pseudonym sometimes used by Ginn, most prominently while as the bassist on My War).
Around the same time of the band's reformation announcement, it was also announced that the lineup of Morris, Dukowski, Stevenson and Egerton, would tour performing Black Flag songs, under the name Flag.
Two band line-ups playing the same music was not going to 'fly', and on August 2, 2013, 'SST Records' along with Ginn brought a trademark infringement action in Los Angeles federal court against the competing Flag configuration with regard to their use of the name Black Flag and the Black Flag logo on the 2013 Flag tour. In the same action, 'SST' and Ginn also sued Henry Rollins and Keith Morris to oppose and cancel the trademark applications filed in September 2012 by Rollins and Morris. 'SST' and Ginn alleging that Rollins and Morris lied to the Patent and Trademark Office on their trademark applications regarding claimed use of the Black Flag material on merchandise and live performances.
In October 2013, a federal judge denied the motion for a preliminary injunction, brought by Ginn and 'SST' against the Flag group. The court ruled that it was possible that the logo had fallen into "generic use," but did not rule specifically that it had done so. The court also that the use of the name "Flag" was permitted as it was likely that fans would know the difference between the two acts, because of widespread publicity.
During a show in November 2013 on Black Flag's Australian tour, pro skater and band manager Mike Vallely, who previously sang with the band in 2003, came on stage, took Reyes' microphone, ousted him from Black Flag and sang the band's last two songs. In response later, Reyes said he was relieved to be removed from the band, citing difficulties working with Ginn.
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Black Flag performing at the Electric Ballroom in Camden 2019
Photo by: BrandanRidd
CC BY-SA 4.0
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