by Robert Bell
Well this is certainly the weirdest thing I've seen all day. I mean, I'd heard about the reunion, or rather, the reunions. I knew Greg Ginn was back with Ron Reyes and was calling it Black Flag and was planning on doing a huge tour playing new music (you really should read this incredible story in Vice, if you haven't yet). And I knew that Keith Morris, Chuck Dukowski, Bill Stevenson, Dez Cadena and Stephen Egerton from The Descendents had started a band called Flag and were planning a tour, playing the hits.
I don't even really know what to think about it, to be quite honest. It's really making me feel weird, stirring up a lot of conflicting thoughts and emotions and residual teenage angst. I never saw Black Flag back when, being about nine years old when they broke up. But I endured years of hearing about the legendary Fayetteville show from older friends who'd been there (and a couple who I think were BS-ing me, as they would have been about 11 or 12 at the time).
The whole thing is just totally bizarre, and while I want to dismiss it all out of hand as a bald cash-grab, a small part of me can't help but feel excited. A few years ago, I reviewed a Misfits concert for the Times. It was pretty cheesy, as expected, but also weird, because Dez Cadena was playing guitar and Robo was on drums, which meant the band was 2/3 Black Flag and 1/3 Misfits. I'd been sitting there, dispassionately observing the show. But when they tore into "Jealous Again" and "Rise Above," some vestigial lizard-brain part of me took over and I jumped out of my seat and started screaming along.
Hell, I've been sitting here typing this and listening to "My War" and it still gives me goosebumps. Over the last 20 years or so, I've had long and impassioned arguments with good friends about who was the best singer and what was the best album (and whether "The First Four Years" counts as an album, which, yes it totally does!) and the merits of their later material and on and on.
I don't know really how to feel about this. But I'm pretty sure I know where I'm going to be on June 22.