Everyone who has ever owned a T-shirt with the Black Flag bars on it, get ready, because the band is getting back together for an extensive tour both in the U.S. and abroad. They’re also recording a new album, to be released later this year. But for a band with so many revolving members over the years, what exactly does it mean that they’ve re-formed? Are fans going to get stuck with, like, four guys who were in the band for six months before being replaced by the really good members? Well, yes and no. The lineup definitely has its bright spots, but there are also randos in the mix, including a bass player who doesn’t exist yet. GULP. Here’s what we know about who’s signed on so far:
1. Ron Reyes
Ron Reyes singing vocals for Black Flag in 1980.
Although he originally quit the band in 1980, Ron Reyes will be providing vocals for the new incarnation of Black Flag. He’s best known for singing on the perfectly bratty, tough EP Jealous Again and appearing in the classic punk documentary Decline of Western Civilzation. As far as non-Rollins vocalists go, a reassembled Black Flag could do way worse than Reyes.
2. Greg Ginn
Greg Ginn shredding guitar with Black Flag in 1984.
OK, Greg Ginn is the real deal. He’s one of Black Flag’s founders and the only member to stick around for the whole stretch, which is no small feat considering that the band has had 16 different lineups over the course of its existence. He wrote many, if not most, of Black Flag’s songs and is widely considered to be one of the most influential guitarists in rock ‘n’ roll. My feeling is, as long as a Black Flag reunion has got Ginn, it’s got a good chance of at least some legitimacy.
3. “Dale Nixon”
This repeat image isn’t a mistake: “Dale Nixon” is an alias Ginn used to credit himself for playing bass on certain Black Flag albums.
Dale Nixon = Greg Ginn. A release from the band’s PR says, “While Dale has lent his skills to the new album, he is currently contractually obligated for a stint on Celebrity Rehab. Still, as he has always done in the past, he will continue to provide insight and spiritual guidance to the current bass player.” This is basically a joke that alludes to the fact that the new Black Flag doesn’t have a bassist yet, which isn’t a good sign.
4. Gregory Moore
It doesn’t bode well that I couldn’t even find a picture of this randonious drummer anywhere on the internet. Apparently, Moore played drums with Ginn’s side-project band, Gone, beginning in 1993. He also served as the drummer for some of Black Flag’s 2003 shows. He was never a part of any lineups from the band’s real heyday, and there’s little information about him available anywhere. Cool job of picking a drummer for your “reunion” who was never really part of the band, guys.
So here’s the takeaway: Half of Black Flag’s new lineup never played with any of the band’s most memorable lineups, and one of those non-members isn’t even a real person yet. As for the musicians who actually were valid parts of the band, while Ginn was unquestionably one of the strongest driving factors of making Black Flag the force they were, Reyes was in Black Flag for, like, a year, albeit a great one. Although this tour might be fun for super-fans, those expecting some Black Flag realness shouldn’t get their hopes too high.
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From a purely musical standpoint, Ginn WAS Black Flag. But Rollins was more than the face, he also was the attitude, the living embodiment of teenage rage and alienation. So either way, not going to watch a bunch of balding guys in their late 30s and 40s and beer bellies strain their backs and aggravate their old knees in the mosh pits.