Search Results for "Black Flag"

DS Editorial: The Night I Videotaped Circle Jerks & Fear And Barely Lived To Tell About It

Words by Loren Kantor

In the winter of 1981, I responded to a backpage ad in Flipside, an independent zine covering the Los Angeles punk rock scene. The ad read: “Videographer needed to document local punk shows.” I’d spent several thousand dollars on a Panasonic video camera and was looking for a way to recoup the investment. I called the number and spoke with Boris, a man with a heavy Slavic accent. He told me to meet him on Wednesday night at the Stardust Ballroom, an old big band venue at the corner of Western & Sunset in East Hollywood.

All I had to do was videotape several hours of punk rock performances and Boris would pay me $300. It sounded simple enough. I’d been a drummer in high school with a love for prog-rock bands like Genesis and King Crimson. I didn’t know much about punk. I’d heard the Sex Pistols and the Clash. I figured punk was just another outlet for teen angst and rebellion, the essence of all rock ‘n’ roll.

The band list that night included the Circle Jerks, Fear and Black Flag. This would be an epic LA show, but I had no way of knowing this at the time. Boris met me outside the venue. He wore a dark sharkskin suit and his face was pockmarked with acne scars. He introduced me to El Duce, a local punk legend who would be my chaperone that evening. El Duce was a menacing singer for the “rape rock” band The Mentors. He was a bald Latino with a ratty beard, sanpaku eyes and a hairy belly protruding beneath a tight t-shirt. He was rude, crass and prone to spitting on and cursing women. (One of his songs included the lyrics, “Bend up and smell my anal vapor, your face is my toilet paper.”) Boris said, “As long as you stay near him no one will fuck with you.”

Boris said he’d meet me on the sidewalk after the show. I followed El Duce into the lobby past a mass of white teens wearing t-shirts and jeans. People gave El Duce a wide berth as he flashed the finger and made fart sounds with his lips. I noticed several skinheads beating the crap out of a longhair near the concession stand. I also had long hair. I turned on my video camera and started taping. My camera would be my invisibility cloak, my instrument of anonymity.

El Duce disappeared into the crowd leaving me without a security detail. I entered the performance space as the Circle Jerks were playing “Live Fast Die Young.” Singer Keith Morris thrashed around stage screaming indecipherable vocals into the microphone. The music was frenetic with distorted guitar, pulsing bass and hyperactive drums. I searched for a vantage point to position my camera. There was an opening left of stage, directly beneath a large amp. I turned on my portable light and carved through the crowd like a snowplow.

There were about 200 people in the audience. Most were calm except a few trying to start a mosh pit. As the Circle Jerks stormed through their playlist, the throng pushed against me and the slam dancing began in earnest. I was struck by a few wayward arm thrusts but I was more concerned for the camera than my own personal safety.

At the end of the set I followed the Circle Jerks backstage. I entered a small room with graffiti-covered walls, a torn couch and several broken chairs. Guitarist Greg Hetson thrust a beer into my hand. He urged me to roll camera as he yelled directly into the lens. “We’re making history tonight. LA is the center of the punk universe.” Someone else screamed, “The Pistols are pussies.” El Duce entered the room, dropped his pants and grabbed his testicles. Everyone was excited, caught in the magnitude of the evening.

That was when I sensed a menacing presence in the corner. He was a short, stocky man with close-cropped hair, muscular neck and piercing blue eyes. He was quiet and tense, oozing rage like a tiger caught in a steel trap. I pointed the camera toward him. He flipped me off and scowled. I turned away, intimidated. El Duce admonished me, “Don’t diss Lee, man. He’ll mess you up.” He referred to Lee Ving, the notorious lead singer of Fear. To this day I’ve never met a scarier human being.

I returned to the auditorium and was greeted by a stench of body odor and stale beer. The room was now packed with thousands of screaming, shirtless fans. My previous camera position was filled. I made a fateful decision, climbing atop the eight-foot high amplifier on the stage. From there I could tape the performance without anyone blocking my view. The sound might be muffled but I was clear of the mosh pit and out of harm’s way.

As Fear began their set, the crowd roared. Suddenly everything was chaos. Their first song was “I Love Livin’ In The City.” Moshers blitzed the stage and smashed into each other like bowling pins. Two beefy bouncers grabbed the aggressive fans and hurled them into the oscillating mass. A band member played an out-of-tune saxophone. Lee Ving stumbled backwards, bodies flying around him. At one point, he looked my way. This caught the crowd’s attention as if they suddenly noticed me for the first time.

I pointed the camera toward the crowd. This was a big mistake. A cup of beer hit me in the chest. Suddenly I felt the amplifier swaying. I looked down and saw two moshers rocking the amp back and forth. Fans cheered. Lee Ving thrust his fist in the air as if to signal his approval.

The amp toppled. I cradled my camera to my chest and prepared for impact. I fell headfirst into a horde of bodies and limbs. People began punching and kicking me. Someone yanked my hair. Others spit at me. I curled into a ball, making myself as small as possible. For some reason I focused on the song that was playing, “Beef Bologna.” I had the thought, “That’s a strange thing to write a song about.”

Someone grabbed me under the armpits and dragged me away. I’ve no idea who it was. He deposited me by the back wall, near the bathroom. My shirt was soaked from sweat and beer. My breathing was labored. I struggled to my feet and shuffled out of the venue. When I reached the sidewalk, I gulped for air. My nose was bleeding but my main concern was my camera. There was a dent in the camera body but it still worked. I pointed at the marquee and took one last shot. Then I staggered to my car and drove home.

The next morning the phone rang at 6:30. It was Boris. He wanted to know why I didn’t meet him after the show. I told him what happened. He wasn’t interested. All he cared was whether I recorded Black Flag. I told him no. He cursed in Slavic. He said there’d been a near riot and a tape of the show would be gold.

He asked if he could get the tape that morning. I told him my camera was damaged and I wanted extra money. He said he would only pay $200 since I didn’t record Black Flag. We agreed on $400. Before delivering the tape, I watched the footage. The performance shots were dark and the sound quality crackled. But the backstage shots of the Circle Jerks and Lee Ving looked great.

It would take a few weeks before my ribs and nose were back to normal. The trauma would take longer to heal. I don’t know why I didn’t make a copy of the tape. Maybe I wanted to put the incident behind me. That would be the last punk show I ever attended.



Dez Cadena has cancer

We start this week off with one of the saddest news we’ve ever reported. Legendary guitarist/vocalist Dez Cadena, formerly of Black Flag, The Misfits, Redd Kross, DC3 and other acts, has been diagnosed with cancer. A GoFundMe page has been launched to raise money to offset Cadena’s medical bills. The page reads:

“Dez has just finished debilitating radiation treatments, and is confident he will return to active performance again within a year. So Dez has had to take a long break from touring and recording and he had no other income to pay for the quite expensive treatments and doctor’s bills. We ask you today to donate funds to help Dez’s cause, as this friendly man has given so much to the music community, and he is literally a living punk rock legend, having played on some of the classic records of the genre, and remains one of the most beloved members of the scene.”

You can go here to contribute. We here at Dying Scene wish Dez a speedy recovery.



BL’AST! stream new two-song EP in full

California punk legends BL’AST! just inked a deal with Rise Records and are streaming their upcoming two-song EP For Those Who’ve Graced the Fire! in its entirety. The two songs are the title track and “The Pulse”, both of which feature former Black Flag bassist Chuck Dukowski and Dave Grohl from Nirvana, Foo Fighters and many other bands, and you can listen to them below.

For Those Who’ve Graced the Fire! will be released on October 30th, and you can pre-order a copy of it here. The EP will be followed by a new BL’AST! album, which will be their first to contain original material since 1989’s Take the Manic Ride.



Dez Cadena leaves the Misfits

The Misfits guitarist Dez Cadena announced on his Facebook page that he has left the band, and will be replaced by Jerry Only’s son, whose name is unknown. He explains:

“I’m not with the Misfits anymore, this is what I do for a living now, sorry if you were expecting to see me in Cali. All the best to the band and fiends. Carry on.”

Last spring, the former vocalist and rhythm guitarist of Black Flag had a malignant tumor removed from his larynx, leaving him (at least briefly) unable to sing, though he could still speak. It’s not clear if this has anything to do with his departure from The Misfits.

Jerry Only stated in an interview last year that a new Misfits album is in the works. No more details have been given, but the album will serve as a follow-up to 2011’s The Devil’s Rain.



Legendary “Decline Of Western Civilization” documentaries finally get commercial release date

Okay, so we’ve all probably seen all or parts of Penelope Spheeris’ groundbreaking Decline of Western Civilization documentaries in one form or another, particularly since the advent of YouTube. Hell, I’m fairly certain we posted “Volume Three” on these here pages a bunch of years ago. At long last, however, the films are finally getting commercially released!

Shout! Factory has announced a June 30 release date for all three documentaries, which chronicle the early West Coast punk scene, the 80s metal scene, and the gutter punk scene (in that order). Pre-orders for all three (as a set) are available right here on both DVD and Blu Ray. the films are newly restored and presented in high definition, and the release bundle features commentary from Dave Grohl (because seriously, why wouldn’t it), and a 40-page featuring rare photos and words from author and historian Domenic Priore.

 



Keith Morris to release autobiography “My Damage: 40 Years on the Front Lines of Punk” in the fall of 2016

Blabbermouth.net is reporting that Da Capo Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group, will publish My Damage: 40 Years on The Front Lines of Punk, by Keith Morris with Jim Ruland. The memoir is about the creation of hardcore punk, growing up in Southern California, the punk touring life, building an underground movement, cocaine and alcohol addiction (and overcoming it) by the former or current singer of the legendary bands Black Flag, Circle Jerks and OFF!.

My Damage is due for release in the fall of 2016. Da Capo executive editor Ben Schafer made the deal with Marc Gerald at the The Agency Group.



10 things you probably didn’t know about Greg Ginn (Black Flag)

Despite, or maybe even because of, all the ridiculous Black Flag vs. Flag drama and recent domestic gone public familial issues, you might think you know all there is to know about Greg Ginn. Well, don’t get too presumptions. For the hell of it we decided to put together a list of 10 things you probably didn’t know about the Black Flag co-founder. Expand your knowledge below.



Greg Ginn accused of child abuse by ex-wife

According to Consequence of SoundBlack Flag‘s Greg Ginn has been accused of child abuse by his ex-wife Marina Ginn.  Marina filed an affidavit to the Texas District Court last week asking for an Emergency Motion to modify the Parent-Child Relationship over concerns that the health and welfare of her two daughters, Karis and Isadora, “is currently being jeapordized.”  Here is a portion of the report:

Marina, who resides in Austin, Texas, says her daughters, age 10 and 7, “live in constant fear” of their father. While under his care, she claims Greg “routinely denies [them] food” so that they do not gain weight, has threatened them with physical abuse and, at times, thrown cups of water in their faces. Marina also alleges that he emotionally harasses his daughters by whistling and telling them, “You’re hot.” According to Marina, her youngest daughter, Karis, was taken to the hospital on October 7th over stress and anxiety stemming from these events. You can read the full affidavit here.

In an email to Consequence of Sound, Marina confirmed the veracity of the affidavit, but offered no further comment. Our emails to Greg Ginn and his representatives have gone unanswered as of publication.

We will be sure to keep you updated as more details on the situation are released.

Black Flag’s most recent album What The… was released on December 3rd, 2013 via SST Records.



“My Rules” a photography book about the punk, skate and hip hop cultures

Well here’s a pretty awesome book that every punk rock enthusiast should have in their bookshelf…Created by renowned photographer Glen E. Friedman, “My Rules” is a photography book focused on the punk, skate and hip hop scenes between the 70’s and 90’s. It features photos of bands and personalities such as Black Flag, Bad Brains, Tony Hawk, Minor Threat, Beastie Boys, Allan “Ollie” Gelfand, Run-DMC and much more.

“My Rules” also involves punk rock veterans, skateboard icons and big names from the hip hop scene as contributing writers, check out the long list below, along with a video in which Glen and Ian Mackaye (Fugazi, Minor Threat) talk about the photographs that appears in the tome.

The 324 pages hardcover is available on Amazon and you can order it right here. Head over to Glen’s website to learn more about his amazing work.



Mike Vallely comments on the possibility of new music from Black Flag

Even though their latest album What The… is only less than a year old, Black Flag‘s lead singer Mike Vallely recently spoke to Nashville Scene about the possibility of the band’s next release. Asked if the band has been working on new music, Mike replied:

“We are always working on music. None of it is designated as Black Flag at this point. We don’t want to hinder the creative process by designating anything as such and such. The process is more important than the destination. Everything sorts itself out. The way we work has continued to evolve in many ways, but really is basically the same as when we started the Good for You stuff.”

What The… was released on December 3rd, 2013 via SST Records, and was Black Flag’s first album after a 28-year absence.



Kickstarter launched for “Punk the Capital” documentary (feat. Ian Mackaye, Henry Rollins, Jello Biafra and more)

Filmmakers and punk scene vets James Schneider and Paul Bishow have spent years working on the penultimate chronicling of the DC punk and harDCore scenes that they’ve long been a part of. The pair have spent countless hours pouring through vintage concert performances and conducting interviews with the likes of Ian Mackaye, Henry Rollins, Jello Biafra, Tesco Vee, Jeff Nelson and a bunch more.

From the film’s website:

Focusing on the period between 1976 and 1985, this documentary explores how D.C. Punk gained momentum and an affirmative, creative and constructive community emerged. At the core of the film is an artist’s co-op called Madams Organ. It was a space of possibility, like punk itself, where the foundations of a remarkable scene took form. The Organ was a place where generations and musical genres mixed. It became the launching pad for the D.C. harDCore movement.

Schneider and Bishow and company have launched a Kickstarter campaign in order to crowd-source funding for the last step in the process: putting together and preserving the final process. Click here to check it out. Some pretty cool perks involved: DVDs, prints, posters, bricks from the now-demolished Ontario Theater.

Head below to check out the filmmakers’ 2006 interview with the legendary Ian Mackaye.



Black Flag post video with new singer Mike Vallely

Legendary hardcore punks Black Flag have released a live video of “Slip It In” with new lead singer/professional skateboarder Mike Vallely. You can check out the video below.

Vallely has been the band’s front man since January 2014, after the dramatic departure of former singer Ron Reyes. They are currently touring and you can check out the dates here.

Black Flag’s most recent album What The… was released on December 3rd, 2013 via SST Records



Black Flag hire Tyler Smith as new bassist

California punk legends Black Flag have announced that former Purple bassist Tyler Smith is the official replacement of Dave Klein, who left the band last January.

Black Flag’s most recent album What The… was released on December 3rd, 2013 via SST Records. Since then, Ron Reyes left the band on not-so-good terms, stating that he thought the group “fell very short,” and they have announced a tour featuring new vocalist Mike Vallely.



Black Flag and FLAG settle lawsuit

It has been reported that the lawsuit put forth by Black Flag guitarist and founding member Greg Ginn, against the supergroup FLAG (Keith Morris on vocals, Chuck Dukowski on bass, Bill Stevenson on drums, Stephen Egerton on guitar and Dez Cadena also on guitar), has been settled.

“Flag gets to be Flag, and Black Flag as it is presently known continues to be Black Flag,” said the plaintiff’s attorney. They also said that Ginn has been confirmed to own Black Flag recordings, name and logo.

Black Flag’s most recent album What The… was released on December 13th via SST Records. Since then, Ron Reyes left the band on not-so-good terms, stating that he thought the group “fell very short.” and they have announced a tour featuring new vocalist Mike Vallely.



Black Flag announce first US tour w/ Mike Vallely on vocals

Black Flag has just announced their “Victimology Tour”, a spring and summer tour of North America with atmospheric punk group Cinema Cinema. You can check out the dates and locations of the upcoming tour below (more are TBA).

The tour will be the first time the group plays a full tour with Mike Vallely handling vocal duties.

Black Flag’s most recent album What The… was released on December 13th via SST Records. Since then, Ron Reyes left the band on not-so-good terms, stating that he thought the group “fell very short.”