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Black Flag v. Flag
October 11, 2013 2:52 PM   Subscribe

SST label honcho Greg Ginn's lawsuit against the other former members of Black Flag, several of whom now playing as Flag, isn't going so well. Henry Rollins isn't playing with either group, but is also named in the suit. Both groups (Ginn, 1979 vocalist Ron Reyes, and hired hands playing as Black Flag, the others playing as Flag) been on tour this summer.
posted by larrybob (98 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Lawsuits are so punk rock.
posted by stargell at 2:55 PM on October 11, 2013 [13 favorites]


Well, even if he's not playing with either group, a court insists he's still a member... "Meanwhile, court determines that Henry Rollins never quit the band".

(wow, I wish the courts had done this in regards to the lawsuit over the name "Pink Floyd" - 'Sorry Mr. Waters, you are actually still in the band, and this court orders you to continue to tour with them').
posted by el io at 2:55 PM on October 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


He's got nothing better to do
than pick a band from the label and sue?
posted by boo_radley at 2:57 PM on October 11, 2013 [24 favorites]


Somewhat different outcome from when the former members of Dead Kennedys sued Alternative Tentacles honcho Jello Biafra and won the rights to their old records away from the label. But that was about royalty payments more than rights to the name.
posted by larrybob at 2:59 PM on October 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Now and forever, fuck Keith Morris.

The FLAG show was $30 when it came here. I can't understand why people would pay that much to see bad renditions of Black Flag songs, when they can pay a sixth of that at any punk show and be treated, more than likely, to bad but better renditions of Black Flag songs.
posted by MetalFingerz at 3:02 PM on October 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


Assassin's Creed?
posted by Apocryphon at 3:07 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lawsuits are so punk rock.

I say settle it in a live venue. Both bands play. Applause-o-meter decides the winner. If it's a tie, Rollins get to decide.

but nobody in that crowd can be over the age of 22, because you're just not a punk anymore past that age no matter what you say (or wear)
posted by philip-random at 3:09 PM on October 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


He's got nothing better to do
than pick a band from the label and sue?


Maybe he could, you know, pay some of the bands on SST with the money he was going to spend on lawyers.
posted by lumpenprole at 3:11 PM on October 11, 2013 [14 favorites]


Their war.
posted by davebush at 3:13 PM on October 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


Many years ago Ginn was reportedly unnecessarily rude to friends of mine in a professional context. But, regardless of his personality quirks, I actually agree that he should hold the Black Flag trademarks. As far as I know he was not only the founder, but the only constant member for the entire history of the band. On the other hand, if Keith Morris and others want to tour in a Black Flag cover band called “Flag”, I don’t think that’s crossing over any lines (assuming they don’t use the Black Flag logo).

(Not a lawyer and not in the courtroom, obviously.)
posted by D.C. at 3:14 PM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


lumpenprole: "Maybe he could, you know, pay some of the bands on SST with the money he was going to spend on lawyers."

(Hum!)
posted by boo_radley at 3:15 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now and forever, fuck Keith Morris.

That's an odd sentiment considering he was the probably the last guy to cash out on his fame as a founding pioneer of hardcore. In the 90s, I used to see him waiting for the the bus in Silverlake (no one takes the bus in LA) or working at Millie's restaurant. He had huge health problems back then and didn't have health insurance so there was a big benefit to help pay for his hospital bills. Personally I think the guy deserves a little pay back for everything he's given to punk.
posted by cazoo at 3:19 PM on October 11, 2013 [17 favorites]


Lawsuits are so punk rock.

Yes. Yes they are.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:20 PM on October 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Black Flag is the most overrated punk rock band ever.

There. I said it.

But the SST back catalogue is worth, gah, kazillions. Forget Black Flag; that label put out Meat Puppets and Hüsker Dü and Mission Of Burma and Volcano Suns and Tar Babies and Saint Vitus Dance and Dinosaur Jr and Saccharine Trust and Minutemen and oh wait here we go.

I repeat my plea for someone, anyone, to drive a dump truck full of money to Greg Ginn's house and give the entire catalogue the (Spotless [SWIDT?]) remastering it deserves.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:21 PM on October 11, 2013 [19 favorites]


Maybe Greg can hire the legal services of Santiago Durango.
posted by porn in the woods at 3:23 PM on October 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Atom Eyes: "Lawsuits are so punk rock.

Yes. Yes they are.
"

Freaking priceless.

And why does this shit always have to happen, over and over?

Don't be a dick. IT'S NOT THAT HARD!
posted by Samizdata at 3:24 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Old man's war, young man's fight.
posted by thelonius at 3:24 PM on October 11, 2013


Black Flag Hair: A Timeline is the best way to keep track of the history of the band.
posted by larrybob at 3:25 PM on October 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Maybe Greg can hire the legal services of Santiago Durango.

Or John Strohm.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:32 PM on October 11, 2013


The Black Flag Hair: A Timeline art is by Jim Altieri.

For more BF related art humor, see Black Flag Logo on Facebook.
posted by larrybob at 3:34 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Go Away, Greg Ginn
posted by spilon at 3:35 PM on October 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


This brings back memories of the badness with the Negativland sampling litigation.
posted by exogenous at 3:37 PM on October 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Now and forever, fuck Keith Morris.

I can think of absolutely nothing that any member of Black Flag has been involved with after Black Flag that is as good as the Circle Jerks or OFF!
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:37 PM on October 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


IMHO the most worthwhile thing an ex-member of Black Flag has done is reissuing the Early Singles by Trouble Funk.
posted by larrybob at 3:41 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now and forever, fuck Keith Morris.

That's an odd sentiment considering he was the probably the last guy to cash out on his fame as a founding pioneer of hardcore. In the 90s, I used to see him waiting for the the bus in Silverlake (no one takes the bus in LA) or working at Millie's restaurant. He had huge health problems back then and didn't have health insurance so there was a big benefit to help pay for his hospital bills. Personally I think the guy deserves a little pay back for everything he's given to punk.


No shit. And he was pretty cool to me and mine when we opened for OFF!.
posted by lumpenprole at 3:43 PM on October 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


No shit. And he was pretty cool to me and mine when we opened for OFF!.

Awesome!
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:49 PM on October 11, 2013


(6) the trademark application and registration that Henry and Keith made was done in good faith (e.g. not fraudulently) – and is thus not necessarily subject to cancellation – given that they understood their actions to have been done on the part of the Black Flag partnership

That trade mark application was for the name Black Flag, btw.

This. This is why Ginn is pissed. Keith "I sang on a couple of Black Flag 45s" Morris can go suck a fat cock.

I don't see clown college Kieth trying to tour on Circle Jerks material, is that because Hetson had better sense than Ginn as far as copyrights and trademarks? Or is it a tactic admission that no one would see a Jerks knockoff band.

Black Flag IS Greg Ginn and he and Reyes have toured extensively since this crap started, if the author of this article wants to call "Chavo Pederast" a hired hand, what does that make Dez, Dukowski et al. in Flag?

Yes open up the damn SST vaults, I WANT a frigging STAINS LP.
posted by Max Power at 3:50 PM on October 11, 2013


I did not call "Chavo Pederast," aka Ron Reyes a hired hand. I said it was Ginn, Reyes, and hired hands. I think my statement of the state of affairs was neutral. Your tone in this discussion has not been civil.
posted by larrybob at 3:54 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


larrybob: "I did not call "Chavo Pederast," aka Ron Reyes a hired hand. I said it was Ginn, Reyes, and hired hands. I think my statement of the state of affairs was neutral. Your tone in this discussion has not been civil."

Because, if you didn't notice, this thread is PUNK AS FUCK!
posted by Samizdata at 3:57 PM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Keith "I sang on a couple of Black Flag 45s" Morris can go suck a fat cock.

Whatever your feelings this sort of homophobic rhetoric really ought to be eschewed.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:59 PM on October 11, 2013 [30 favorites]


I don't see clown college Kieth trying to tour on Circle Jerks material, is that because Hetson had better sense than Ginn as far as copyrights and trademarks? Or is it a tactic admission that no one would see a Jerks knockoff band.

Morris got fed up trying to get the rest of the Circle Jerks to write new material, which is why he formed OFF! and has been touring with them.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:00 PM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]



Because, if you didn't notice, this thread is PUNK AS FUCK!


boring
posted by philip-random at 4:03 PM on October 11, 2013


Bands that have had problems with SST back royalties, and in some cases have sued Greg Ginn: Hüsker Dü, Sonic Youth, Meat Puppets, Descendants, Dinosaur Jr. Apparently Grant and Bob may finally be getting along enough to sue Greg.
posted by larrybob at 4:07 PM on October 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Seems as good a place as any to mention SST Records: The Blasting Concept, an upcoming book about the label by Tucson/Chicago-based author Abe Gibson. The Facebook page seems to be the only official source of info on the project, but he's sure been piling on the interviews. Should be an interesting read whenever it comes out.
posted by mykescipark at 4:21 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Let the story of Sweet serve as a terrifying example (and I'm not talking about the way they look now.)
posted by monospace at 4:21 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Apparently Grant and Bob may finally be getting along enough to sue Greg.
O.
M.
F.
G!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:27 PM on October 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


Agreeing with Pope Guilty about Keith Morris and OFF! There is not a single track in the post-Black Flag discographies of any of the other members of Black Flag that kicks as much ass as the worst song on OFF!'s debut.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:01 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm just waiting for these people to jump on the lawsuit bandwagon. Then it's gonna get interesting.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:07 PM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


A few years ago I had a youngish, clean-cut prof at UMass Boston on whom all the girls had a crush. He was the last person you'd expect to have the bars tattooed on his person, but when I went to talk to him during the semester, he'd taken off his cardigan and rolled up the cuffs of his chambray shirt. BAM, Black Flag logo. Unexpected highlight of my semester.
posted by pxe2000 at 5:09 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Black Flag Hair: A Timeline is the best way to keep track of the history of the band.


hahaha Spot looks exactly the same now.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:16 PM on October 11, 2013


Black Flag is the most overrated punk rock band ever.

*BUZZ*

I'm sorry, the correct answer is the Dead Kennedys.
posted by Cookiebastard at 5:42 PM on October 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Hey guys, haven't read the thread, just smelled a whole lot of WRONG suddenly coming from this direction.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:47 PM on October 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


The logo FB page is fantastic. My family and I were out to dinner tonight and came across a pack of 15-year olds and one of them had the cutest Black Flag t-shirt. It took everything (including my wife giving me a very dirty look) to not quiz her on Black Flags discography.

Getting old is a drag.
posted by photoslob at 5:47 PM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


My family and I were out to dinner tonight and came across a pack of 15-year olds and one of them had the cutest Black Flag t-shirt. It took everything (including my wife giving me a very dirty look) to not quiz her on Black Flags discography.

That might have been my friend's daughter.

She'd have schooled you.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:58 PM on October 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


photoslob: "The logo FB page is fantastic. My family and I were out to dinner tonight and came across a pack of 15-year olds and one of them had the cutest Black Flag t-shirt. It took everything (including my wife giving me a very dirty look) to not quiz her on Black Flags discography.

Getting old is a drag.
"

Naaaaaah, not so much. Because when THAT kid shows up at work (where you work) with his fauxhawk and his Misfits t-shirt and you start naming off songs you like, watching him wilt (as the old guy prolly knows more about HIS band than he does) is an irreplaceable experience.
posted by Samizdata at 6:19 PM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Getting old is a drag.

I dunno—at a certain age you just get to like the music you like and not have to constantly rank it and meter the conspicuity of your love for it using the convoluted arithmetic borne out of an obsession with perceived authenticity fueled by youthful self-righteous outrage and naivety.

Mind you, I followed Liberace on his last tour like a groupie for the Dead, so your mileage may vary.
posted by sonascope at 6:19 PM on October 11, 2013 [18 favorites]


That reminds me. I still haven't gotten around to ordering a CAT FLAG shirt. Better get to it before more lawsuits...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:30 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now and forever, fuck Keith Morris.

Keith's bratty vocals on the "Nervous Breakdown" single make it some of the best Flag ever. I've worn out a few copies of Everything Went Black and he's by far the best pre-Rollins frontman.

I still can't hate Ginn if only for his solo on "Thirsty and Miserable" which is almost as great as when Lou Reed's mind split open on "I Heard Her Call My Name."
posted by porn in the woods at 6:47 PM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Black Flag is the most overrated punk rock band ever.

*BUZZ*

I'm sorry, the correct answer is the Dead Kennedys.


Well somebody's feeling brave tonight!
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:06 PM on October 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Non-corporate rock lawyers still suck.
posted by furtive at 7:07 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Black Flag were a great live band, but the one constant in seeing them was that the Black Flag on stage was different, often alarmingly different, from the Black Flag most of the audience expected to see. The band was constantly evolving (or, at least changing) -- suddenly they were doing metal, or jazz. Or Henry starting out as the new guy, and then transformed into, well, Rollins (no, they didn't change singers again. That beefy guy in the workout shorts doing the intense monologues was the same person as the skinny longhair you saw last time)
Throughout, it was clear they weren't there to pander to anyone who'd just shown up to hear "TV Party". So in a way, this mess of dueling Black Flag reunions is the perfect way to recreate the actual experience of seeing the band back in the day.
posted by zombiedance at 7:52 PM on October 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


Can we all just agree that any label owner's own band will naturally be overrated relative to any other band on their label?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:03 PM on October 11, 2013


(*coughMinorThreatcough*)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:07 PM on October 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Black Flag is the most overrated punk rock band ever.

That's not even remotely true.

Anyway, as far as I can see Greg Ginn was Black Flag, and no matter how much of an asshole he is as a label owner and manager I don't blame him at all for wanting a piece of Flag's action. The band owes its very existence to Ginn.

And it's not Black Flag without Ginn's guitar playing anyway—doesn't matter who's singing or playing the bass or drums.

This whole squabbly mess is sickening and a sad end result to this particular DIY experiment.
posted by Camofrog at 8:20 PM on October 11, 2013


The Faint have the most sensible solution to hostilities with punk band members.
posted by clarknova at 8:26 PM on October 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I just can't bring myself to even have an opinion on who's the biggest asshole in all this. All I know is that as a dumbfuck teenager stuck in Omaha, I managed to catch Black Flag playing live at least four times in some truly gunky venues, places that had been hosting bingo for zombies the night prior. I saw 'em play in one place that didn't even have the capability of turning down the lights for the performance: it was either fully lit up or pitch black.

Those were some great shows, and none of them ever featured fewer than four bands, often including local acts to supplement the lineup of touring headliners. I attended most of them fucked up, or mooning after some girl, or both, and had a fantastic time.

Now, those two paragraphs that I just wrote? That's as much nostalgia as I'm willing to indulge in for my punk days. Nostalgia, the emotional impulse itself, seems totally antithetical to what I liked about those times, and what I carried away with me from them as I aged out of being that person. I hate thinking about these guys trying to tour on top of that kind nostalgia, like they were REO Speedwagon playing a county fair someplace. Suing for the right to be the one to do it, that's just fucking sad.
posted by Ipsifendus at 9:14 PM on October 11, 2013 [17 favorites]


I'd like to say that Clash are the most overrated punk band simply because they're the most boring punk band, but honestly it's probably Crass, and I say that as a person with a jacket with a homemade Crass patch on it.


Black Flag were a great live band, but the one constant in seeing them was that the Black Flag on stage was different, often alarmingly different, from the Black Flag most of the audience expected to see. The band was constantly evolving (or, at least changing) -- suddenly they were doing metal, or jazz.

I love the "oh my god everybody hates us and this isn't fun anymore" parts of Get In the Van because if you look at it with a knowledge of what was happening to Black Flag's music during the time the band was feeling more and more miserable and unappreciated, what's actually going on is that Black Flag is rapidly pushing away from anything recognizable as Black Flag but still trying to sell tickets to the people who loved First Four Years and Everything Went Black and Damaged. This was also in an age when if you wanted the news on what was going on in the scene, you needed to be plugged into the scene sufficiently to have access to multiple hardcopy zines, almost none of which were ever mass-produced or had access to national or international distribution infrastructure. So you love those albums and oh my god, Black Flag is playing Saturday! Fuck yeah, let's go see the Flag! And then they go on stage and hey it's Henry! and Greg! and Dez! And... fuck, what are they doing? This doesn't sound like Black Flag at all!

Of course people were angry and unappreciative. They were giving up an evening and some money to see a band they loved and what was actually being delivered bore little resemblance whatsoever to what they understood the band to be. And when your target audience is pissed off young people, that's not going to end as well as you'd hope...
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:18 PM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I dunno—at a certain age you just get to like the music you like

You also get to stop liking music that obviously sucks but that you were required in high school or college to like for it's cred... like a lot of punk rock. Or in my case, The Replacements. Circle Jerks will forever be better than Black Flag to me.
posted by spicynuts at 9:37 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now, those two paragraphs that I just wrote? That's as much nostalgia as I'm willing to indulge in for my punk days. Nostalgia, the emotional impulse itself, seems totally antithetical to what I liked about those times, and what I carried away with me from them as I aged out of being that person.

How is this comment not favorited a thousand times?
posted by spicynuts at 9:40 PM on October 11, 2013


What Greg Ginn will say I guess when they come asking for money.

A couple of things to note about this video. Is the audience acting like there is no band onstage because they want "punk rock" or are they acting like there is no band onstage because they are "punk rock"? Or is it just Germany.

And bands shouldn't wear their own shirts, come on.
posted by Camofrog at 10:06 PM on October 11, 2013


I have to agree with camofrog on this one, Greg Ginn has always been Black Flag, Which is why Black Flag has always sucked. As to who is the most overrated punk band of all time, that would be YOUR favorite band, of course.
Thanks, I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your server.
posted by evilDoug at 10:10 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I learned the word "fauxhawk" from this thread. That's some linguistic culture, right there, I'm-a tell you what.

But, let's just come right out and say it, shall we? Most punk from ye olden days really just doesn't hold up all that well, does it? I mean, it was great and wonderful and necessary how the bands were reacting to all those overblown guitar solos and sprawling rock operas and laser light shows and whatever tired old crap they were reacting to, sure. Of course. That's what young folk are s'posed to do: call bullshit on their elders. And god bless 'em, that's what they did. But how much punk pulls its own musical weight as *great music*, a few decades after the fact? When the sweaty mosh pit is but a fading memory and you've gotta get the kids off to school now, are you throwing on a Dead Kennedys record as your listening of choice? Well, all well and good if you are, and to each his own, but... shit, man. Jimi fucking Hendrix, alright? The old timers kicked punk's ass in the end. Sorry.

Ramones are alright, though.

in small doses

posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:27 PM on October 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Um well no, not if it comes right down to it: Damaged and First Four Years, not to mention Circle Jerks and Fear and the Germs and the Dickies, the Vandals, TSOL. the Misfits. sure the DKs, the first four X albums for fucks sake! Pere Ubu, the Dead Boys, wh-what about Dick Manitoba? (props ta jonmc)... the Sex Pistols, the Damned, the Buzzcocks... I'd rather listen to a random hour of any of that than any 7 great Yes albums or whatever. Hendrix probably would have dug Black Flag the same as he did electric Miles.

Wait what are we arguing about? There's a lot of great fucking songs there, and some bands that could play their asses off and if punk rock never killed and ate rock and roll it at least maybe saved its soul somehow and also it never- maybe- ended

Is all I'm sayin

wanna headbutt?
posted by hap_hazard at 10:55 PM on October 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


The old timers kicked punk's ass in the end.

In old-timer's eyes maybe. Why does it have to be contest? I love Jimi and punk, it depends on what I wanna hear. But I usually want to hear something new anyway.

More on topic, I like Greg Ginn's guitar playing. I don't care if that makes me uncool. I like his sound and how he sprays notes out, at whatever tempo. He's a frustrated guitarist's guitarist.
posted by Camofrog at 11:17 PM on October 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Anyway, as far as I can see Greg Ginn was Black Flag, and no matter how much of an asshole he is as a label owner and manager I don't blame him at all for wanting a piece of Flag's action. The band owes its very existence to Ginn.

This is a guy who has been utterly pathological if not criminal in his neglect of fiduciary duty towards the bands whose records he released, and who is not on speaking terms with any but one of his former bandmates in a 30+ year career. Apologizing for him makes you look bad.
posted by anazgnos at 12:21 AM on October 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


In old-timer's eyes maybe. Why does it have to be contest?

Heh. This old timer agrees! It isn't *really* a contest. But just indulge me a little, OK? If I don't get a little crotchety now (just every once and again, y'unnerstand), I won't be in practice for when I'm really old.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:35 AM on October 12, 2013


This is a guy who has been utterly pathological if not criminal in his neglect of fiduciary duty towards the bands whose records he released, and who is not on speaking terms with any but one of his former bandmates in a 30+ year career.

I just remembered something! I used to have a band, in the 1980s in NYC, called Semantics, with Ned Rothenberg (sax) and Elliott Sharp (guitar). We released two records, the 2nd of which was on SST (Ginn's label). Several years after we'd already become inactive, and Ginn had almost certainly sold all the Semantics CDs he was ever gonna sell (must've numbered in the HUNDREDS!) we Semantics members were contacted by none other than lawyers from the Geffen Records label. Seems they had a young band they had signed called the Semantics, whose record they were set to release. But, wanting to cross all their Ts and dot all their Is, the Geffen company had tracked us down to determine whether or not we were willing to relinquish any rights to the name.

One of the other members, who was dealing with the matter directly, agreed on a fee for us, which was reasonably good, I guess, nothing to jump and shout about, but adequate considering that we as a band had no intention of continuing or doing it again under that particular name. But Greg Ginn, having released our utterly forgotten and out-of-print album (a one-off deal, not part of any multiple release contract or anything) insisted, apparently, on getting some dough himself. No doubt to cover the HUGE losses he'd have. Heh.

Being the cut throat businessman that he's reputed to be, I wouldn't be one whit surprised if he got more from Geffen than the three of us band members combined. He and Geffen's lawyers probably speak very similar languages. Well, hey, that's the music biz, right?

As for the other Semantics, I never heard anything about 'em. Chances are their record from Geffen was never even released?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:50 AM on October 12, 2013 [12 favorites]


Thanks for that flapjax! I wonder if we have any other former SST-ers in our midst?

Also, the answer to the greatest punk band is the same as the greatest band: it's the Minutemen.
posted by macdara at 1:58 AM on October 12, 2013


it's the Minutemen.

Hey! I toured Japan in a trio with Watt! The man's out of his mind! (In a good way)

(basically)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:02 AM on October 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Now and forever, fuck Keith Morris.

The FLAG show was $30 when it came here. I can't understand why people would pay that much to see bad renditions of Black Flag songs, when they can pay a sixth of that at any punk show and be treated, more than likely, to bad but better renditions of Black Flag songs.
"

Wait, what? They play free all ages shows here pretty regularly, and the only time I've seen 'em go up to $30 was at the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts when they were doing some benefit show to get some dude health care.

I was never a huge West Coast punk fan growing up past the obligatory DK or whatever, but Ginn's a notorious asshole (who still is Black Flag and is welcome to it) but Keith Morris has always been cool whenever I've run into him, and Flag seems to be one of those old guys puttering fun projects for him.

(It was weird as shit getting seated next to him at Home for breakfast with my girlfriend's parents, who would have been aghast at the name of his former band. He was just a dude with dreads getting oatmeal though.)
posted by klangklangston at 2:10 AM on October 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mind you, I followed Liberace on his last tour like a groupie for the Dead, so your mileage may vary.

That's really weird, because we used to follow the dead like groupies for Liberace.
posted by mikelieman at 3:20 AM on October 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


My family and I were out to dinner tonight and came across a pack of 15-year olds and one of them had the cutest Black Flag t-shirt. It took everything (including my wife giving me a very dirty look) to not quiz her on Black Flags discography.

Man I hate this attitude. If you see a young person doing something atypical (like liking a band that "old" people like you do) and you really do feel the impulse to bother them when they're out minding their own business, find out what they know, and point them in the right direction. Recommend some tracks, some lesser known hits, some bands they might not have heard of. You might discover they know more than you think, but even better, they might actually remember you as a positive, and not another reason to distrust adults, even ones on "their" side.

I dunno, maybe I'm sensitive: I myself was 14 once.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:00 AM on October 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


I love the "oh my god everybody hates us and this isn't fun anymore" parts of Get In the Van because if you look at it with a knowledge of what was happening to Black Flag's music during the time the band was feeling more and more miserable and unappreciated, what's actually going on is that Black Flag is rapidly pushing away from anything recognizable as Black Flag but still trying to sell tickets to the people who loved First Four Years and Everything Went Black and Damaged.

I liked that they did this instead of being a customer satisfaction machine.

Of course, as a fan I totally understand being pissed that a band isn't playing what you want. On the other other hand, spitting on Black Flag because you want to hear Six Pack meant that their fans don't really respect them as artists (which yeah, not a surprise), not unlike people showing up at Dave Chappelle's standup shows in 2012 and yelling "Rick James bitch!" at him.
posted by ignignokt at 6:47 AM on October 12, 2013


Greg Ginn is a weird, brilliant dude. I don't think he has any right to stop people from playing Black Flag covers, but if they're not paying him whatever royalties are normally due from that, sure, I guess he's legally entitled to that.

My pure conjecture about why he's doing this is that he finally has to succumb to the human need for recognition. The guy got that for a stretch of time by playing what was in his heart. Early Black Flag was very different, aggressive with strange solos, and people rewarded him for writing like that. Then, later Black Flag got more slower and weirder, and he lost people, but there were still plenty of folks that liked My War.

After Black Flag broke up, he continued to play what was in his heart, fuck playing to expectations, and did some weird avant jazz (?) stuff. When you make weird, weird music, you tell yourself, hey, only one person has to like this music: me. Well, that's what you hope, but no. You want someone else to like it because you're human, not an avatar of Pure Art.

I'm guessing that after decades of doing this, seeing other people get love for something he created while he was secretly starving for recognition was too much.
posted by ignignokt at 7:00 AM on October 12, 2013


One of the best things I ever read about punk/hardcore/whatever music was a detailed scholarly analysis of punk as a puritan movement, complete with the obligatory self-abusing mortification of the flesh. The constant keening cry for authenticity makes a lot more sense when you realize that it can be read as an insatiable craving for godly approval that will never come, and the continuing history of sectarian violence seems awfully familiar in context.
posted by sonascope at 7:05 AM on October 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


The old timers kicked punk's ass in the end.

flapjax, I love ya to bits, but dude . . . . . . . . dude dude dudedudedudedude, c'MON . . . .

You've played with Mike Watt and Elliott M'F'in Sharp and you bein' all kinda "Classic Rawk Roolz, Punk Rock Droolz" is making me be all *sputtering noises, wild arm flailing*.


But just indulge me a little, OK? If I don't get a little crotchety now (just every once and again, y'unnerstand), I won't be in practice for when I'm really old.

Hmph. Well, OK, but for the record I do prefer "Wildly Inventive flapjax" over "My Lawn, Get Off It flapjax."
posted by soundguy99 at 8:30 AM on October 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I do prefer "Wildly Inventive flapjax" over "My Lawn, Get Off It flapjax."

Heh! Well, as Muddy Waters said, you got to Take the Bitter With the Sweet.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:45 AM on October 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well played, sir, well played.
posted by soundguy99 at 9:05 AM on October 12, 2013



That's really weird, because we used to follow the dead like groupies for Liberace.


Liberaces For The Dead would be a great band name.
posted by philip-random at 9:30 AM on October 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now now, they can both suck together. I listen to unintelligible crazy evil sounding metal bands and your various flavors of gangsta rap and hip hop and it's punk I have trouble appreciating. When it's pure, it's terrible. It's only good when real musicians get involved too, or there's a metal element. Otherwise it seems so hostile to the listener in that it's just this whiny shouty get off my lawn shit with no musical flourishes or attempt to make one song stand out from another. Die, punk.
posted by lordaych at 9:31 AM on October 12, 2013


There seems to be some notion that Greg Ginn is trying to get FLAG to stop playing Black Flag songs, which is not what the lawsuit is about. People have been recording, playing, and selling Black Flag covers for decades.

There's no reason for FLAG to appropriate the Black Flag trademark and logo, other than to make money. Which, I mean, fine, but it's not like anyone's pure here.
posted by MetalFingerz at 9:35 AM on October 12, 2013


unintelligible crazy evil sounding metal bands

seems so hostile to the listener

Umm . . . . . .
posted by soundguy99 at 11:06 AM on October 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


When it's pure, it's terrible. It's only good when real musicians get involved too

I bet you like Led Zepplin.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:19 AM on October 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


On reflection I want to make it clear that I'm kidding, since there's nothing in that comment to actually tip the hand that it's a joke.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:40 AM on October 12, 2013


Black Flag is the most overrated punk rock band ever.

*BUZZ*

I'm sorry, the correct answer is the Dead Kennedys.

Well somebody's feeling brave tonight!


The most overrated punk rock band ever is the Sex Pistols.
posted by box at 1:18 PM on October 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


But how much punk pulls its own musical weight as *great music*, a few decades after the fact?

I dunno, maybe ask the folks who still listen to it? I'll put on Plastic Surgery Disasters or The Day The Country Died or Wonderful, among others, and still be blown away by how outstandingly solid these albums are. This phrase seems to assume that punk doesn't have much by way of "music" so much as "attitude", which is kind of a tired chestnut that's like the "yeah but it's not music it's noise" of its time, a phrase I'm sure has been uttered by parents about their kids' music since the first Neanderthal teen began banging a couple rocks together to sing about a bad break-up.

I mean I have enormous respect for you, as a human being and a musician, but although I'm not a nostalgic person, at all, I just think this attitude about punk being something you "outgrow" is maybe too easily dismissive.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:58 PM on October 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


"When it's pure, it's terrible. It's only good when real musicians get involved too, or there's a metal element. "

wait you only like true scottish punk?

"Otherwise it seems so hostile to the listener in that it's just this whiny shouty get off my lawn shit with no musical flourishes or attempt to make one song stand out from another."

o_0 I think you have some really weird definitions. This is like saying you don't like rap because it all sounds like Esham and ICP.

Die, punk."

Aww, you are punk afterall!
posted by klangklangston at 3:23 PM on October 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


only song this thread really needs
posted by philip-random at 6:22 PM on October 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


How is this comment not favorited a thousand times?
Perhaps because "I used to be into punk but I grew out of it" is condescending, deadening cliche.
posted by jeffen at 7:57 AM on October 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Perhaps because "I used to be into punk but I grew out of it" is condescending, deadening cliche.

I'm not sure that's what the comment is saying. I read it as simply saying that nostalgia is antithetical to what punk stands for. But I agree that "punk is something you outgrow" is condescending to some extent - especially from my Boomer dad who went to the goddamned Monkees reunion show in the 80s.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:00 AM on October 13, 2013


my Boomer dad who went to the goddamned Monkees reunion show in the 80s.

my Boomer dad,
my Boomer dad
listened to the Monkees
when he was a lad
then when he got old
he thought punk was bad
my Boomer dad,
my Boomer dad

he thought he was cool
very cool, you know
but his favorite band
was just a TV show
their reunion gig?
he just HAD to go!
he thought he was cool
very cool, you know

you children of Boomers
what a burden to shoulder!
it makes me glad
i'm a little bit older
MY dad loved Sinatra
and ol' Nat King Cole
so i grew up with music
with a LOT more soul

it's gotta be weird
if your dad loved the Monkees
i'd rather have parents
who were beatniks and junkies
who listened to bebop
snapping fingers all night
your dad loved the Monkees?
aww, man, that ain't right!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:29 AM on October 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


I knew I could count on you, fam.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:35 AM on October 13, 2013


This Greg Ginn track is pretty awesome though: Yes, Officer
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:22 AM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


But I agree that "punk is something you outgrow" is condescending to some extent - especially from my Boomer dad who went to the goddamned Monkees reunion show in the 80s.

Well, just because boomer dad should shut up doesn't mean he's all wrong. By which I mean, it's punk to tell him to shut up. It's somehow a little more mature to bite yrrr tongue, eat yrrr spite and acknowledge that even though he's a fucking hypocrite, he's got a point that might just serve your own higher wisdom and actualization. So the way to own him is not to stoop to his level and make it a fight, but to smile slightly, thank him for his sage insight, change the subject. "So how about those 49ers?"

Then later, when you're finally home, you smoke a big fat one, drink a few strong beers and destroy the surrounding decibels with something like Fucked Up.

This is called having it both ways.
posted by philip-random at 10:58 AM on October 13, 2013


also, this feels relevant. Magazine's Howard Devoto saying, it should all have finished in January 1978, when the Sex Pistols broke up. ... "conveniently the same month that Magazine's first single came out."

happens around the 1:30 point
posted by philip-random at 11:32 AM on October 13, 2013


There seems to be some notion that Greg Ginn is trying to get FLAG to stop playing Black Flag songs, which is not what the lawsuit is about. People have been recording, playing, and selling Black Flag covers for decades.

Well, he pretty much is trying to get them to stop playing Black Flag songs. The catch is that under U.S. copyright law (usual IANAL disclaimer) re-recording and selling someone else's song is legal as long as you notify the copyright owner that you're doing so and pay them royalties, and performing someone else's song live in public is also legal as long as the venue is paying the appropriate fees to performing rights organizations like ASCAP and/or BMI, who then distribute performing rights royalties to the copyright owner.

IOW, if FLAG was just a random collection of dudes with no prior association with Black Flag, Ginn wouldn't have had even the beginning of a case (as long as he was getting the appropriate royalty payments). And the same if the ex-Black Flag guys were calling themselves FLAG but writing and performing all new material - no lawsuit possible there.

So his only recourse in attempting to get them to stop playing Black Flag songs was to claim that FLAG were basically attempting to deceive the public and mis-representing themselves as some kind of "officially approved version" of Black Flag by using the trademarked logo and by being mostly a bunch of ex-members of Black Flag.

I believe Ginn's actual goal is to get FLAG to quit playing Black Flag songs (regardless of what he says in public), but he can't do this via suing them over copyright infringement, because FLAG is almost certainly not violating copyright law, which is what covers "recording, playing, and selling Black Flag [songs]." Instead he had to sue them over trademark infringement, which is a whole different set of laws and court rulings and precedents.

(n.b.: Making no judgements here about who's right or who's wrong or who's an asshole or whatever. Just pointing out that Ginn had practical legal reasons for approaching the lawsuit the way he did, regardless of what his theoretical or publicly stated intent was.)
posted by soundguy99 at 12:26 PM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am eternally baffled by Fucked Up. There's nothing particularly unique or excellent about them, and yet for some reason they're the go-to when the mainstream press wants to talk nice about a punk band.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:10 PM on October 13, 2013


Perhaps because "I used to be into punk but I grew out of it" is condescending, deadening cliche.

Holy shit is that not remotely the point I was making. You will note, please, that I used the phrase "aged out" and not "grew out". I don't where you get "condescending" from, unless perhaps you are one of the parties in the lawsuits being discussed? Or maybe, yeegads, you're in REO Speedwagon? If that's the case, my sympathies.

I do think that there's a meaningful sense in which punk rightfully belongs to the young & fucked up. I suppose that I if I knew, nowadays, where in town to go to hear a punk band playing, that I might have an ok time, but I'd be disappointed if the kids at that show didn't look askance at my fat ass. I'd feel fucking self-conscious, which has nothing to do with believing that I'm better than anyone, believe me.
posted by Ipsifendus at 3:14 PM on October 13, 2013


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