FLAG (loosely associated with Black Flag)

Waving the FLAG high, Keith Morris is singing the songs of the band he was the original singer for.

Waving the FLAG high, Keith Morris is singing the songs of the band he was the original singer for.When a music publicist cautions you against asking his band about ongoing litigation, a reporter will generally respect this request — at least until the last question. That way, it doesn’t matter if the musician hangs up. But with FLAG vocalist Keith Morris, we did not have to wait. He brought it up first.

“We’re going through this legal thing now and we’re all just at each other’s throats,” says Morris. “It’s become really ridiculous.”

The “legal thing” in question is a lawsuit filed by founding Black Flag guitarist Greg Ginn against the members of FLAG (Morris, Chuck Dukowski, Dez Cadena, Bill Stevenson and Stephen Edgerton) and former Black Flag vocalist Henry Rollins over the use of the name Black Flag (and its FLAG variation) and the band’s iconic logo. The lawsuit is a distraction for the members of FLAG, according to Morris.

“We’re not Black Flag. We never said we’re Black Flag, and that’s part of the lawsuit,” says Morris. “All we want to do is play music and get on with our lives. We want to play some music and go out and have some fun. I need to get out of Los Angeles. I need some full-volume therapy. I need to go out and scream at a few people.”

Founded by Ginn in 1976, Black Flag mixed punk, heavy metal and, eventually, jazz with a healthy dose of angst to become one of the definitive and most influential hardcore punk bands of its era. The band weathered poverty, numerous lineup changes, litigation and police brutality, all the while sticking to a D.I.Y. work ethic and laying the groundwork for the later indie rock circuit through their constant touring before disbanding in 1986.

All the members of FLAG, save guitarist Edgerton (Descendents/All), were members of Black Flag at various points. They hadn’t played Black Flag material together until getting together for a concert in Los Angeles’ MacArthur Park in 2011. What began as a one-off performance quickly turned into something more permanent.

“We never really set out to do this,” says Morris, who also fronts the hardcore punk legends Circle Jerks and his more recent bqnd OFF! “This all happened by accident. This wasn’t some premeditated thing where all of us just got into the room and said, ‘Hey guys, what are we gonna do?’”

FLAG’s setlist features Morris-sung classics like “Nervous Breakdown,” “Wasted” and “Fix Me,” plus Rollins-era highlights like “My War” and “Depression.” Cadena switches from guitar to the mic during the second set to shout the likes of “Louie Louie” and “Six Pack” before the band encores with “I Love You” and “Damaged I.”

“We’re older guys. We’re not really supposed to be able to muster up the energy to be doing this,” Morris says. “These songs mean a lot to us. We’ve lived these songs. We might not have necessarily written these songs, but we played those songs. We went out and we took the abuse.”

A tale of two Flags
You’re not seeing double. There are two incarnations of the once-mighty Black Flag currently touring. Aside from FLAG, founding guitarist Greg Ginn has resurrected Black Flag with one-time vocalist Ron Reyes (1979-80). Good For You drummer Gregory Moore and bassist Dave Klein round out the band.

FLAG (loosely associated with Black Flag)
Event Category: Hot Tickets
When: September 20, 2013
Where: The Paradise
Cost: $30
More Info: http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/01004AA1DB5CDA4D


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