Black Flag

June 20 • Southgate House Revival

With the exception of a couple one-off events, Black Flag hasn’t been a working outfit since founder/chief songwriter/ace guitarist Greg Ginn pulled the plug in 1986. It’s an understatement to say what follows was a surprise: Ginn announced in January that Black Flag would reconvene for a full-fledged tour and to record its first new album in more than a quarter century. The tour and 22-song recording, to be released via Ginn’s SST label this summer, would include singer Ron Reyes (whose pre-Henry Rollins vocals appeared on 1980’s Jealous Again EP) and drummer Gregory Moore, who’s played in Gone, Ginn’s most prominent post-Black Flag outfit. (Former Screeching Weasel Dave Klein was eventually added as the touring bassist.)

Why the sudden urge to revive Black Flag, the iconic West Coast Hardcore band that helped write the DIY playbook and influenced an entire generation of like-minded iconoclasts? We may never know.

“I retired from interviews,” Ginn reportedly said when asked. “I’m going to concentrate on playing.”

That response, of course, doesn’t address the other recently related development — that FLAG, a group consisting of multiple former Black Flag members, is also touring this summer, with the intention of playing songs from the band’s heyday.

Then, in early May, Ginn and Co. dropped a new song, “Down in the Dirt,” as a free download on Black Flag’s official website, accompanied by the following note: “Not to be confused with the ‘fake’ Flag band currently covering the songs of BLACK FLAG in an embarrassingly weak ‘mailing it in’ fashion … We urge you to check out the real BLACK FLAG when they hit your area.”

Hmm, somebody’s pissed. Whatever the motivation, Black Flag is indeed hitting the area this week. If “Down in the Dirt” and another recently unveiled new song, “The Chase,” are any indication, expect a set marked by Black Flag’s trademark slashing guitars, which can only be properly duplicated by the man most responsible for the band’s existence.

BLACK FLAG plays with Good for You Thursday, June 20 at Newport's Southgate House Revival in the Sanctuary Room. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.

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