Rollins & Ginn to Re-form Black Flag; SST Label Revived

Ginn Rollins

No plans for the singer to be his band’s spoken-word opening act, however… above, the duo back in the day.

By Blurt Staff

It’s been a tough time for long-suffering fans of seminal Cali punk band Black Flag, which originally formed in 1976 and became a “key influence on punk subculture” (according to Wikipedia) Although the group split in 1986, recent years have seen some odd “reunions” of a sort. 2013 saw guitarist Greg Ginn and vocalist Ron Reyes joined by Gregory Moore on drums, and ‘Dale Nixon’ on bass, and Ginn subsequently filed a lawsuit against former members Keith Morris (also of OFF!), Chuck Dukowski and Bill Stevenson plus the Descendents’ Stephen Egerton for touring as Flag and playing Black Flag material, which they had been doing periodically since 2011. The lawsuit was dismissed, but the damage was done, leaving the punk community irrevocably divided in terms of who was perceived as having the “right” to be viewed as the true heir to the Black Flag legacy. (Ginn, recall, is the founding member.)

Both Flag and Black Flag continue to tour, although since 2013 Ginn has gone through a number of members for his version of the group.

Against all odd, then, it was announced last night that Ginn had been in contact with former vocalist Henry Rollins, who had originally come on board in 1981 and lasted until the initial split. The Rollins-Ginn partnership yielded such classic albums as My War and Slip It In (BLURT editor Fred Mills was fortunate enough to see the band several times during that period and calls them “one of the most visceral live acts on the planet”). Ginn, reportedly, was the instigator of the split. As Wikipedia notes, “In his book Get in the Van, Rollins wrote that Ginn telephoned him in August 1986: ‘He told me he was quitting the band. I thought that was strange considering it was his band and all. So in one short phone call, it was all over.’”

Ginn

In a tweet, Ginn (above) indicated that he and Rollins had decided to give Black Flag another go:

@JAMBANG_Music For all you #BlackFlag fans, the news you’ve been waiting for: @HenryRollins and I are making music together again. Stay tuned.

Rollins (below) himself has not commented yet, but the fact that he favorited Ginn’s tween and retweeted it twice would suggest that he at least doesn’t have a problem with it.

rollins

What could be behind the two re-forming the legendary band For starters, Ginn’s latest project, Greg Ginn & the Taylor Texas Corrugators, which he has been doing with Gary Piazza, isn’t exactly packing the clubs, and Ginn, though the proverbial “quiet man” onstage with Black Flag has always seemed to thrive on the band-audience energy loop. In addition, Rollins’ spoken word (and occasional acting) career of late seems to have hit a wall, with steadily declining audiences and, by some accounts, not much in the way of fresh material. Rollins famously stated a few years back that he was retired from music and would not be doing any more of his Rollins Band but clearly he is missing the rock spotlight.

And then there’s the financial lure: a bonafide Black Flag reunion is guaranteed to rake in the dough, period. Ginn in particular could use the money since he announced just last week that he was reviving his semi-dormant SST Records label. Could a new Black Flag studio album be the first project? Ginn also indicated that he would be reissuing the bulk of the label’s back catalogue, although the last time he did that he opened up a huge can of worms in the form of former SST artists howling about unpaid royalties or not being able to get the rights back to their recordings, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out this time around.

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