Ron Reyes

As we’ve reported and deconstructed before, Black Flag reunited this year in the form of two competing versions made up of various members of the band. Band founder Greg Ginn has received a fair amount of criticism, most recently for his incarnation’s reunion album and its rather unpleasant album artwork. Now another piece of news has come up regarding his incarnation that won’t likely win them any more praise. During a performance in Australia on November 24, singer Ron Reyes (who created the artwork for the new album) was fired and kicked off stage. He was replaced for the last two songs by professional skateboarder/stuntman/musician Mike Vallely. Reyes released a statement in which he discussed the event, and expressed his deep frustration and confusion about having to stay faithful to Ginn and his band while also being friends and a fan of the other Black Flag-affiliated band, Keith Morris’s Flag. Read Reyes full statement below.

On November 24th 2013 the last night of the Australian Hits and Pits tour with two songs left in the set Mike V comes on stage stares me down, takes my mic and says “You’re done, party’s over get off it’s over…” He said something else to me but it was a lie so I won’t repeat it here. So with a sense of great relief that it was finally over I left the stage and walked to the hotel room. They finished the set with Mike V on vocals. There is much more that can and perhaps should be said. But for now I will spare you the gory details. The writing was on the wall since before we played our first show. So many things went wrong from the start. I was into things like having a good drummer, rehearsing and spending time on things like beginnings and endings of songs, being a little less distracted with tour life and a little more on the ball. You know things that would make our efforts worthy of the name Black Flag… Yes it is my opinion that we fell very short indeed and the deminihing ticket sales and crowds are a testament to that. However It was made clear to me that raising these issues was tantamount to a blasphemous stab in the back to Greg. How could I question him, his efforts and hard work? How could I dare be a fan of OFF! And or be friends and a fan of Flag? I was told that I had to chose sides. But I refuse to treat someone like an infalable Pope figure. No guitarist deserves such unquestioning blind devotion. And so I have been excommunicated in a very strange fashion. I truly feel sorry for anyone who had to witness the infantile behaviour and the relentless provocation I was subjected to both on and off the stage. I regret that under such fierce provocation and taunting I sometimes responded in maners bellow my standard. I am greatful for the opportunities Greg gave me. There were some magical moments at first. I was naive enough to believe in the promise of potential. But in the end the good was no match for the overwhelming bad. It am proud of my contributions including the new album and it’s cover. Come on folks it’s only rock n roll. I would not be surprised if Mike V becomes the new singer for Black Flag. It is my opinion that they have been planing this for some time. I wish them well. Mike is a true deciple of Greg and so they have a good working relationship. And Ironicly the tension over the last weeks has brought out some of Greg’s best playing. So it could be interesting. I will miss playing with Dave Klien. He is a great kid and truly an outstanding bass player. Dave was an anchor that kept me from losing my place on a nightly basis. Trust me that was no easy task for either of us. I truly apologize for being in or more accurately “appearing” to be in competition with “Flag”. They know my heart on this matter. From the beginning I was happy for them and fully supported and understood why they would want to rock those songs and have a good time with friends and family. Yes I questioned their use of the name and logo but in no way questiond their motivation or right to do their thing. I envy them for they have succeeded in ways that were never possible with “Black Flag”. And once again for the record, I agreed to do Black Flag before I knew there was a Flag. I mean no malice towards Greg or Mike although they will most likely see things very differently. I wish them luck and prosperity. I have learned many valuable lessons this year. And these lessons will enrich my personal and musical endeavours. Cheers. Ron Reyes.

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Comments (11)
  1. One could argue that they were never really Black Flag to begin with.

  2. The sun rises, the sun sets, Greg Ginn alienates someone.

  3. Greg Ginn, the RZA of punk-rock?

  4. I think, by now, if you are recruited to be Black Flag’s singer, you should just assume you will soon be fired. That’s just how it works. At some point, Ginn convinced himself that it doesn’t matter who is on vocals, that Black Flag is him. However, what he wasn’t counting on was that there is a considerable number of people who feel there is such a thing as a definitive Black Flag lineup and that they have very specific ideas about what that is.

    • “At some point, Ginn convinced himself that it doesn’t matter who is on vocals, that Black Flag is him.”

      Well, I think he has a point. Black Flag was on their fourth vocalist when they put out their first album. It would be unfair to say none of the other members contributed… Chuck wrote a few of their big classics. But Greg was the only constant, he was the chief songwriter and he was always the driving force. He just needs to accept the fact that he ran out of juice circa 1984 and never got it back.

      • Even Robert Pollard eventually acknowledged that there was some juice in the idea of having a “classic” lineup to which to hearken back – if only to subsequently piss all over the whole thing.

    • Thirty years on, any band that still wants people to pay to see them should acknowlege that their potential audience falls into two categories: people who were there for the first go round, and younger fans who discovered the band’s classic recordings well after the fact. Neither of those groups want to see a hodgepodge lineup alternate what amount to cover versions of their best songs with new tracks that wouldn’t warrent a second listen if a new band did them. Hardcore ‘reunions’ are just depressing.

  5. How sad that Not-Henry Rollins has been replaced by Not-Henry Rollins.

  6. Bands should be allowed to have back-up lead singers, like football teams have back-up QB’s. And if a singer starts going off-key or gets injured, then the back-up singer can start pitching notes off on the sidelines, and get swapped in to ride out the rest of the concert. Then we could have huge debates over whether the lead has “lost the recording room,” and whether he’s got enough gas in the tank left to make a serious run at Pitchfork’s Top 100. Maybe Matt Flynn could even start making the rounds, once his whole NFL thing is done and he needs something to do with his time.

    Also, all concerts should be narrated by Jim Nantz. C’mon indie rockers! Give the people what they want!

  7. I could always tell, in the beginning of Label Kills, that Vallely was doing all those passion pushes to get to a Black Flag tryout

  8. ……And a half-dozen local festivals experience momentary panic about how to fill their third-tier, Henry Rollins regrets that his character was killed off Sons Of Anarchy, and Dez Candana is vindicated by Camper Van Beethoven’s assertion that he was the best singer Black Flag ever had.

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