Black Flag (band)

Black Flag (band)

Refimprove|article|date=January 2007Infobox Musical artist
Name = Black Flag

Img_capt = Black Flag performing in 1984. Left to right: Greg Ginn, Henry Rollins, and Kira Roessler. Drummer Bill Stevenson is not visible behind Rollins.
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Hermosa Beach, California, USA
Years_active = 1977–1986, 2003
Label = SST
Associated_acts = Circle Jerks, Descendents, Minutemen, Dos, Gone, Nig Heist, October Faction, Tom Troccoli's Dog, Rollins Band, S.O.A., Chuck Dukowski Sextet, SWA, The Misfits, Redd Kross, DC3
Current_members =
Past_members = Greg Ginn
Keith Morris
Raymond Pettibon
David Horvitz
Chuck Dukowski
Brian Migdol
Ron Reyes
Dez Cadena
Henry Rollins
Emil Johnson
Chuck Biscuits
Bill Stevenson
Kira Roessler
Anthony Martinez
C'el Revuelta

Black Flag was a hardcore punk band formed in 1977 in southern California, largely as the brainchild of Greg Ginn: the guitarist, primary songwriter and sole continuous member through multiple personnel changes. They are widely considered to be one of the first hardcore punk bands alongside Middle Class, Bad Brains, Discharge and Minor Threat.

Black Flag forged a unique sound early on that mixed the raw simplicity of the Ramones with atonal and microtonal guitar solos and frequent tempo shifts. Over this could be heard lyrics—mostly written by Ginn—about isolation, neurosis, poverty, and paranoia, themes which did not disappear when Henry Rollins took on the role of lead singer in 1981. Most of the band's material was released on Ginn's independent label, SST Records.

Black Flag was (and remains) well respected among their underground culture, with their influence primarily in their tireless promotion of a self-controlled DIY ethic and aesthetic. They are often regarded as pioneers in the movement of underground do-it-yourself record labels that flourished among the 1980s punk rock bands. Through seemingly constant touring throughout the United States and Canada, and occasionally Europe, Black Flag established an extremely dedicated fan base. Many other musicians would follow Black Flag's lead and book their own tours, utilizing a word-of-mouth network.

Over the course of the 1980s, Black Flag's sound, as well as their notoriety, evolved in ways that alienated much of their early punk audience. As well as being central to the creation of hardcore, they were part of the first wave of American West Coast punk rock and are considered a key influence on the punk subculture. Along with being among the earliest punk rock groups to incorporate elements and the influence of heavy metal melodies and rhythm (particularly in their later records), there were often overt freestyles, jazz (mainly free jazz), breakbeat and contemporary classical elements in their sound, especially in Ginn's guitar playing, and the band interspersed records and performances with instrumentals throughout their career. They also played longer, slower, and more complex songs at a time when many bands in their milieu stuck to a raw, fast, three-chord format. As a result, Black Flag's extensive discography is more varied than many of their punk-rock contemporaries.


Early years

Initially called Panic, Black Flag formed in 1977. Ginn insisted that the band rehearse several hours a day.Grad, David. "Fade to Black." "Spin". July 1997] This work ethic proved too challenging for some early members; Ginn and singer Keith Morris had an especially hard time finding a reliable bass guitarist, and often rehearsed without a bassist, a factor that contributed to the development of Ginn's distinctive, often low-pitched guitar sound. Ginn's brother Raymond Pettibon and SST house record producer-to-be Spot filled in sometimes at rehearsals.

Chuck Dukowski, bassist with Wurm, took a liking to Ginn's group, and eventually joined, forming a committed quartet with Ginn, Morris and drummer Brian Migdol. The band played their first performance in December 1977 in Redondo Beach, California. To avoid confusion with another band called Panic, they took on the name Black Flag in late 1978. They played their first show as 'Black Flag' on January 27, 1979, in Redondo Beach. This was the first time Dez Cadena saw the band.

The name was suggested by Ginn's brother, artist Raymond Pettibon, who also designed the band's logo: a stylized black flag represented as four black bars. Pettibon stated "If a white flag means surrender, a black flag represents anarchy." Their new name was reminiscent of the anarchist symbol, the insect spray of the same name, and of the British heavy metal group Black Sabbath, one of Ginn's favorite bands. Ginn suggested that he was "comfortable with "all" the implications of the name." [Azerrad, Michael. "". Little Brown and Company, 2001. ISBN 0-316-78753-1, p. 19.] The band spray painted the simple, striking logo all over Los Angeles, gaining attention from potential supporters, and thoroughly irritating police. Pettibon also created much of their cover artwork.

There were few opportunities for punk rock bands to perform in Southern California, (Los Angeles club The Masque was the center of the L.A. punk scene, but was also rather provincial, and didn't often admit bands from outside L.A. proper). Black Flag organized their own gigs, performing at picnics, house parties, schools, any place that was available. They called club owners themselves to arrange appearances, and plastered hundreds of flyers—usually Pettibon's severe, haunting comic strip style panels—on any available surface to publicize performances. Dukowski reported that the "minimum (number of flyers) that went out was 500 for a show." [cite web | title = A 12-Step Program in Self-Reliance | work=LA Weekly | url = | accessmonthday = May 27 | accessyear = 2006 ]

Though Ginn was the band's leader, special note should be made of Dukowski's contributions to Black Flag. Ginn was tireless and profoundly disciplined, but he was also rather quiet. Dukowski's intelligent, fast-talking, high-energy persona attracted significant attention, and he was often Black Flag's spokesman to the press. Dukowski acted as the group's tour manager even after he no longer performed with them, and he was probably as important as Ginn in establishing the group's DIY aesthetic and demanding work ethic. Dukowski's bass guitar was a vital part of the early Black Flag sound; "TV Party", for instance, was one of many songs "driven more by Chuck Dukowski's percolating bass line than Ginn's stun-gun guitar." [cite web | title = Song review - TV Party | work=Allmusic | url = | accessmonthday = May 27 | accessyear = 2006 ]

Morris appeared as vocalist on Black Flag's earliest recordings, and his energized, manic stage presence helped the band earn a reputation in the Los Angeles area. Migdol was replaced by the enigmatic Columbian drummer Roberto Valverde (a.k.a. ROBO), whose numerous clicking metallic bracelets became part of his drum sound. The group played with a speed and ferocity that was all but unprecedented in rock music; critic Ira Robbins declared that "Black Flag was, for all intents and purposes, America's first hardcore band."cite web | title = Black Flag | | url = | accessmonthday = May 27 | accessyear = 2006 ] Morris quit in 1979, citing, among other reasons, creative differences with Ginn, and his own "freaking out on cocaine and speed." [cite web | title = Black Flag - the first five years | work=MOJO magazine | url = | accessmonthday = May 27 | accessyear = 2006 ] Morris would subsequently form the Circle Jerks.

After Morris's departure, Black Flag recruited fan Ron Reyes as singer. With Reyes, Black Flag recorded the "Jealous Again" 12-inch EP and appeared "Decline Of Western Civilization" movie. This was also the lineup that toured up and down the West Coast for the first time, the version most fans outside of LA first saw.

In 1980, Reyes quit Black Flag mid-performance at the Redondo Beach venue "The Fleetwood" because of escalating violence.Fact|date=June 2008 For the remainder of that gig, the group played an extended version of "Louie Louie" and invited audience members to take turns singing. In retaliation for his quitting mid-gig, the band credited Reyes as "Chavo Pederast," implying he was sexually attracted to younger boys.

The more reliable Dez Cadena - another fan - then joined as singer. With Cadena onboard, Black Flag began national touring in earnest, and arguably saw two peaks: first as a commercial draw (they sold out the 3,500-seat Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, a feat they were never able to manage again); and second, perhaps seeing the peak of attention from police in the Los Angeles area, due to the violence associated with Black Flag and punk rock in general. The band members have often insisted, however, that the police instigated far more problems than they solved.

By the summer of 1981, however, Cadena's voice was worn. He had no formal training or previous experience as a singer, and had severely strained his voice during Black Flag's seemingly nonstop touring, and he wanted to play guitar rather than sing.

Rollins joins

Twenty-year-old fan Henry Rollins (birth name Henry Garfield) — then living in Washington D.C. and singing for hardcore band S.O.A. — had corresponded with the band, and met them when they performed on the U.S. east coast. At an impromptu show in a bar, he asked to sing "Clocked In." Since vocalist Dez Cadena was switching to guitar, the band invited Rollins to a rehearsal. Impressed by his stage demeanor, they asked him to become their permanent vocalist. Despite some doubts, he accepted, due in part to Ian MacKaye's encouragement. Rollins acted as roadie for the remainder of the tour while learning Black Flag's songs during sound checks and encores, while Cadena crafted guitar parts that meshed with Ginn's. Rollins also impressed Black Flag with his broad musical interests during an era when punk rock music and fans were increasingly factionalized; he introduced Black Flag to Washington DC's go go, a distinctive take on funk music.

Rollins was Black Flag's longest-lasting singer, and has remained active in music to the present. When he joined Black Flag, he brought a different attitude and perspective than previous singers. Some earlier songs, such as "Six Pack" (a song written about ex-singer Keith Morris) blended a nearly goofy sense of satirical criticism (of apathy and alcoholism, respectively) with driving punk rock. He was a dynamic live performer and powerful singer, who usually appeared onstage wearing only shorts. Ginn once stated that after Rollins joined, "We couldn't do songs with a sense of humor anymore; he got into the serious way-out poet thing." [cite web | title = Song review - TV Party | work=Allmusic | url = | accessmonthday = May 27 | accessyear = 2006 ]


filename= BlackFlagNervousBreakdown.ogg
title="Nervous Breakdown"
description= Sample of Black Flag "Nervous Breakdown" from "Nervous Breakdown" EP (1978)
title="Slip It In"
description= Sample of Black Flag "Slip It In" from "Slip It In" (1984)

With Rollins on board, Black Flag began work on their first full length album. The sessions for the record (chronicled in Michael Azerrad's book "Our Band Could Be Your Life") were a source of conflict between the band and engineer/producer Spot, who had worked with the band and the SST label since their early years. Spot had already recorded many of the "Damaged" tracks with Dez Cadena on vocals (as well as Keith Morris and Ron Reyes) and felt that the band's sound was ruined with the two guitar line-up (these versions can be heard on the albums "Everything Went Black" and "The First Four Years"). Whereas the earlier four-piece versions are more focused and much cleaner sounding, the "Damaged" recordings are more akin to a live recording, with little stereo separation of guitars, and somewhat muddy. When asked about the lo-fidelity production, SPOT has said "They "wanted" it to sound that way." However, the artistic content and expression on the album showed the band pushing punk or hardcore music to a new level, with deeply personal and intensely emotional lyrics. As such, "Damaged" is generally regarded as Black Flag's most focused recording. One critic has written that "Damaged" was "perhaps the best album to emerge from the quagmire that was early-'80s California punk ... the visceral, intensely physical presence of "Damaged" has yet to be equaled, although many bands have tried." [cite web | title = Review - Damaged | work=Allmusic | url = | accessmonthday = May 27 | accessyear = 2006 ] "Damaged" was released in the fall of 1981, and the group began an extensive tour in support of it, forging an independent network for touring independent music acts that would form a cornerstone of the independent music scene for the decade to come.

The previous year 1980 saw the US punk rock movement hitting a peak in popularity. With "Damaged" and their growing reputation as an impressive live band, Black Flag seemed poised on the cusp of a commercial breakthrough. The record was to be distributed by now-defunct Unicorn Records, a subsidiary of MCA. Trouble began when MCA refused to handle "Damaged" after MCA executive Al Bergamo determined the album was an "Anti-Parent" record. [cite web | title = Black Flag | work=Sounds magazine | url = | accessmonthday = May 27 | accessyear = 2006 ] However, according to longtime SST employee Joe Carducci [Carducci, Joe, "Rock & the Pop Narcotic"; 2.13.61 Publications, 1995, ISBN 978-1880985113] the "Anti-Parent" statement was not the real reason for MCA's refusing to distribute "Damaged"; Carducci reported that Unicorn Records was so poorly managed and so deeply in debt that MCA stood to lose money by distributing the record, regardless of its content. This was the beginning of a legal dispute that would, for a period a few years later, disallow Black Flag from using their own name on any record when Black Flag released "Damaged" on SST Records and placed a copy of the "Anti-Parent" statement on the record's cover.

With their new singer, Black Flag and The Minutemen made their first tour of Europe in the Winter of 1981. During that tour, the band met punk icon Richard Hell and opened a concert for him. Rollins later published his diaries from that tour in his book "Get In The Van". As the front man, Rollins was a frequent target of violent audience members, and became known for fist-fights with audience members. Rollins developed a distinct showmanship on stage, where he could entertain an audience just by talking to them.

As the band was about to return home from the European tour, UK customs detained Colombian drummer Robo due to visa problems, and he was not allowed back into the country. This would be the end of his tenure with the band (he eventually was able to get back into the United States and in 1983 would join The Misfits as their drummer). The loss of Robo temporarily put an end to extensive touring for a while. Emil Johnson of the Twisted Roots filled in for one tour, but it was clear he was only temporary.

While on that tour in Vancouver, the band found out that drummer Chuck Biscuits was leaving D.O.A.. He was quickly drafted onboard, traveling with the band for the rest of the tour (cut short because of Henry Rollins' twisted knee) to learn the songs. This lineup recorded the later-bootlegged cassette "1982 Demos", showing the direction the band would go in for the "My War" LP.

However, due to personality conflicts -- In "Get In The Van",, Rollins described Biscuits as a "fuck up" -- and the Unicorn court injunction-forced inactivity of Black Flag, Biscuits left to join their rivals The Circle Jerks. (Later, Biscuits joined ex-Misfits singer Glenn Danzig's solo project Danzig). Black Flag eventually got Bill Stevenson of The Descendents to join permanently (he had filled in from time-to-time before). While the Unicorn Records court injunction prevented the group from releasing a new studio album, they nonetheless continued to work on new material, and embarked on a period which would mark a pronounced change in the group's direction (and that of underground music in general).

Perhaps the violence of the previous tour had an effect on the band's direction. The group had also become increasingly interested in music other than punk rock, such as The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and some of the members (particularly Ginn) used cannabis. (However, various members had been fans of such music long before Black Flag, with Ginn being an avid Grateful Dead fan, and Cadena a fan of Hawkwind.) Newer material (which can be heard on "The 1982 Demos" bootleg) was slower and less like typical punk music, with classic rock and blues influences seeping in. Cadena left to form his own band DC3. He would take some of the new songs he had written for Black Flag with him and record them for DC3's first album.

Additionally, by late 1983, Dukowski had retired from performing with Black Flag (some accounts report he was "edged out" by Ginn [cite web | title = Band line-ups | work=The Mighty Black Flag | url = | accessmonthday = May 27 | accessyear = 2006 ] ); Azerrad reports that Ginn was dissatisfied with Dukowski's failure to progress as an instrumentalist, and made things difficult for Dukowski in an attempt to make him quit, but in the end, Rollins took it on himself to fire Dukowski. [Azerrad, 41.] However, a few of Dukowski's songs were featured on later records, and he continued acting in his capacity as tour manager.

1983 found Black Flag with fresh songs and a new direction, but without a bass player, and embroiled in a legal dispute over distribution due to SST's issuing "Damaged" (Ginn argued that since MCA was no longer involved the Unicorn deal wasn't legally binding, while Unicorn disagreed and sued SST and Black Flag). Until the matter was sorted out, the band were prevented by a court injunction from using the name "Black Flag" on any recordings. They released a compilation record, "Everything Went Black", which was credited to the individual musicians, not "Black Flag". In fact, wherever the original album artwork had the words "Black Flag", they had been covered up with small slips of paper, thus adhering to the letter of the law.

After Unicorn Records declared bankruptcy, Black Flag were released from the injunction, and returned with a vengeance, starting with the release of "My War". This record was both a continuation of "Damaged", and a vast leap forward. While the general mood and lyrics continue in the confrontational and emotional tone of "Damaged", many songs are slowed down, mixing in influences such as Black Sabbath with hardcore. The results were powerful, and the record would prove influential to grunge music as the decade progressed. Lacking a bass player, Ginn played bass guitar, using the pseudonym Dale Nixon. On the May 1, 2007 episode of his radio program "Harmony In My Head", Rollins reported that one of Ginn's favorite albums during this era was Mahavishnu Orchestra's "Birds of Fire" (1973), and opined that John McLaughlin's guitar work influenced Ginn.

Freed legally to release albums, Black Flag was re-energized and ready to continue full steam ahead. The group recruited bassist Kira Roessler (sister of punk keyboardinst Paul Roessler, of 45 Grave fame) to replace Dukowski, and began its most prolific period. With Roessler, Black Flag had arguably found their best bassist. Dukowski was a powerful player, but Roessler brought a level of sophistication and finesse to match Ginn's increasingly ambitious music, without sacrificing any of the visceral impact required for punk rock.

1984 saw Black Flag (and the SST label) at their most ambitious. This year they would release four full-length albums, and toured nearly constantly, with Rollins noting 178 performances for the year, and about that many for 1985. With Dukowski gone, Ginn ceded much of the spotlight to Rollins, who has expressed some discomfort [see the track "Henry" from the spoken word compilation double LP "English As A Second Language"(1984)] over being the group's "de facto" spokesman, while Ginn was the recognized leader (Ginn wrote the majority of the group's songs and lyrics).

With Roessler on board, Black Flag began earnest experimentation, sometimes to critical and audience disdain: One critic writes that "Slip It In" "blurs the line between moronic punk and moronic metal"; another writes "My War" is "a pretentious mess of a record with a totally worthless second side." [cite web | title = Review - My War | work=Allmusic | url = | accessmonthday = May 27 | accessyear = 2006 ] Rollins reports that Black Flag's set-lists in this era rarely included older crowd favorites like "Six Pack" or "Nervous Breakdown", and that audiences were often irritated by the new, slower Black Flag. Violence against the band (and especially Rollins) was ever-present, although the vocalist was now an avid weight lifter, and more than able to defend himself. Furthermore, to Rollins' chagrin, Ginn's interest in marijuana steadily increased; as Rollins put it, "By '86 it was 'Cannot separate the man from his Anvil case with a big-ass stash.'" [Azerrad, 58.] Despite the initial resistance to the new music and quasi-psychedelic direction, "My War" would later be cited as a formative influence on grunge music. The group would continue to evolve toward a more heavy metal sound, with 1985's "Loose Nut" featuring more polished production.

Later period and break up

Despite 1984-85 being the most fruitful period for the band and their record label, Ginn and Rollins would ultimately decide to eject Roessler from Black Flag, citing erratic behavior. It's also been suggested that Ginn's accommodating Roessler's college schedule created tension in the group. Her absence, and the lack of a steady drummer (Stevenson quit and was replaced by Anthony Martinez), contributed to the comparatively weak reputation of the last few Black Flag tours. However, the live album "Who's Got The 10 1/2" shows the evolving lineup, with Kira and drummer Martinez, to be a powerful and entertaining unit.

By 1986, Black Flag's members had grown tired of the tensions of their relentless touring schedule, infighting, and of living in near-poverty. The band had been together almost a decade, and true commercial success and stability had eluded them. The group's erratic artistic changes were a barrier to their retaining an audience - Ginn was so creatively restless that Black Flag's records were often very dissimilar. At one point, Rollins apparently said, "Why don't we make a record that was like the last one so people won't always be trying to catch up with what we're doing?" [Azerrad, 59.] Ginn was stunned by the suggestion; it was one of the few times Rollins had ever openly offered an opinion contrary to Ginn's. Perhaps this was why Ginn mixed Rollins' vocals low on the group's next studio album, "In My Head". However, the record, with its powerful bluesy proto-grunge-cum-metal, did seem to finally be a cohesive followup to a previous album ("Loose Nut") - but it would be their last.

Black Flag played their last concert on June 27, 1986, in Detroit, Michigan; this show has been widely available through online music trading services and is of surprisingly good sound quality. By this point the band had become increasingly talented at performing improvised "jams", with Rollins screaming out lyrics quite literally as they came to him (as is evident on this recording), turning some songs like "Louie, Louie" into frenetic, almost unrecognizable blasts of intensity.

In "Get In The Van", Rollins wrote that Ginn telephoned him in August 1986: "He told me he was quitting the band. I thought that was strange considering it was his band and all. So in one short phone call, it was all over." Many sources claim the band did not "officially" break up until 1987, but this appears to be false.

Post-Black Flag

Since Black Flag's break-up, Rollins has had the most visible public profile as a musician, writer, and actor. Most Black Flag members have also remained active in music, especially Ginn, who continued playing with groups such as Gone, October Faction, and Screw Radio, and Stevenson, who continued on with The Descendents, ALL, Only Crime, and the reformed Lemonheads.

In September 2003, Black Flag played three reunion shows, two at the Hollywood Palladium and one at Alex's Bar in Long Beach, to benefit cat rescue organizations (a current passion of Ginn's). The line-up for the shows was Dez Cadena on vocals, Greg Ginn on guitar, ROBO on drums, and C'el Revuelta on bass. Professional skateboarder and singer Mike Vallely also sang all the songs from "My War" at these shows.


Throughout their ten-year career as a band, Black Flag’s experiences became legendary, especially in the Southern California area. Much of the band’s history is chronicled in Henry Rollins’ own published tour diary "Get In The Van". Black Flag were reportedly blacklisted by the LAPD and Hollywood rock clubs because of the destructiveness of their fans, though Rollins has claimed that police caused far more problems than they solved.

SST Records, an independent American record label that was initially founded to release Black Flag’s debut single, released recordings by influential groups such as Bad Brains, the Minutemen, The Descendents, Meat Puppets, and Hüsker Dü. As well, SST released some albums by Negativland, Soundgarden, and, for a short period, Sonic Youth. Black Flag were involved in legal battles when they attempted more mainstream distribution for their records.

Black Flag's career is chronicled in "Our Band Could Be Your Life", a study of several important American underground rock groups. Many members of the grunge scene cited Black Flag's "My War" album as being influential in their departure from the standard punk model. Steve Turner of Mudhoney stated in an interview, "A lot of other people around the country hated the fact that Black Flag slowed down ... but up here it was really great — we were like 'Yay!' They were weird and fucked-up sounding.".Azerrad, 419.]

Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea has a Black Flag decal on one of his signature Modulus bass guitars, and guitarist John Frusciante has cited Greg Ginn as one of his early influences as a guitar player. [cite web|url= | title=The New Guitar Gods|publisher="Rolling Stone"|accessdate=2008-02-07]

Punk band Rise Against portrayed Black Flag in the 2005 "Lords of Dogtown" film, and their cover of "Nervous Breakdown" is on the "Lords of Dogtown" soundtrack. Rise Against also does a cover of the Black Flag song "Fix Me" in the video game "Tony Hawk's American Wasteland". The Black Flag song "Rise Above" also appears on the popular skateboarding video game "Tony Hawk's American Wasteland" as well as in an episode of Freaks and Geeks. The Black Flag song "TV Party" appears on a "Futurama" episode Bender Should Not Be Allowed on TV. "TV Party" also appears in the 1984 film "Repo Man". An Episode of the Fox Network's "Millennium" entitled "Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me" features a scene in which a CGI dancing baby dressed as a devil slam dances to "My War."

Initial Records released a Black Flag cover album in 2002 (re-released with additional tracks in 2006 by ReIgnition Recordings), "Black on Black: A Tribute to Black Flag". The compilation features 15 hardcore and metalcore bands,— including Most Precious Blood, Converge, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Drowningman, and Coalesce.

Black Flag influenced post-metal band Neurosis, who on their album "Souls at Zero" pursued a slower, sludgy direction similar to the "My War" album. Singer Scott Kelly said of the band: "Black Flag is one of my deepest influences in life, and especially their brutally honest message of no message at all. Their music was always just talking about where they were, right at that moment." [ cite web|url= | title=Scott Kelly Artist Page from Neurot Recordings | accessdate=2007-07-01]

In 2007, The Dirty Projectors released "Rise Above", their own track-for-track re-imagining of Black Flag's "Damaged".

English hardcore band Gallows featured a cover of Black Flag song "Nervous Breakdown" on the 2007 re-issue of their debut album Orchestra Of Wolves and regularly perform the song at live shows


es and other public and private surfaces in and around Los Angeles, drawing the attention of the authorities and contributing to an increase in police presence at Black Flag shows.

Pettibon's artwork for the band's albums and flyers was equally stark and confrontational. He typically worked in one panel using only pen and ink, so the message conveyed had to be direct and powerful due to lack of space and color. According to Michael Azerrad in "Our Band Could Be Your Life", the artwork "was a perfect visual analogue to the music it promoted – gritty, stark, violent, smart, provocative, and utterly American." It also provided a cerebral aspect to the band's
Henry Rollins, in his journal collection "Get in the Van", notes that Pettibon's artwork became synonymous with Black Flag and that before Rollins joined the band he would collect photocopies of their fliers that had circulated from California to Washington, DC. [Rollins, "Get in the Van", 3.] The album cover for "Nervous Breakdown" had a particularly strong impact on Rollins: "The record's cover art said it all. A man with his back to the wall baring his fists. In front of him another man fending him off with a chair. I felt like the guy with his fists up every day of my life." [Rollins, "Get in the Van", 9.] Another image which drew considerable attention was the artwork created for the "Police Story" single, showing a police officer being held with a gun in his mouth while the speech blurb "Make me come, faggot!" The image was plastered on flyers all around Los Angeles and added to the police pressure on the band. Pettibon later remarked that "my values are relativistic, and I’ll give a cop the benefit of the doubt. If that’s me with my gat – my gat’s larger than the one depicted – we can have a discussion, and he can answer me just as well with my .357 barrel in his mouth, or on his cheek, or on his adenoids, or down his throat. I’ll listen to his whimpering cries."cite web
last =Penalty
first =Jeff
authorlink =Jeff Penalty
coauthors =
title =Raymond Pettibon
work =Swindle
publisher =
date =2008
url =
format =
doi =
accessdate =2008-02-10
] After joining the band Rollins would sometimes watch Pettibon draw, admiring his work ethic and the fact that he did not make telephone calls or sit for interviews. [Rollins, "Get in the Van", 173.] The drawings themselves rarely bore a direct connection to the music or its lyrical themes. Pettibon himself recalls that "These drawings just represented what I was thinking. Except for a few instances, the flyers weren't done as commercial art or advertising. You could have stuck anything on a photocopy machine and put the band name and made an advertising flyer, but these weren't done like that. I was vehement about that as much as my personality allowed."cite book
last =Spitz
first =Mark
authorlink =Mark Spitz
coauthors =Brendan Mullen, Ed.
title =
publisher =Three Rivers Press
date =2001
location =New York
pages =pp. 198-199
url =
doi =
isbn =0609807749
] Pettibon also sold pamphlet books of his work through SST, with titles such as "Tripping Corpse", "New Wave of Violence", and "The Bible, the Bottle, and the Bomb", and did artwork for other SST acts such as the Minutemen.

to do the layout, who cut it into pieces and used them as elements for the cover and lyric sheet. Pettibon became irate and he and Ginn stopped speaking for some time, though his artwork continued to be used for the remainder of the band's career.



tudio albums

* "Damaged" (December 1981)
* "My War" (March 1984)
* "Family Man" (September 1984)
* "Slip It In" (December 1984)
* "Loose Nut" (May 1985)
* "In My Head" (October 1985)

Live albums

* "Live '84" (December 1984)
* "Who's Got the 10½?" (March 1986)

Compilation albums

* "Condition Red" (1981)
* "D.I.Y. Magazine presents "Han-O-Disc" " (1981) [ [ Red Rockers discography ] ]
* "Oi! Oi! That's Yer Lot" (1982)
* "Rat Music for Rat People, Vol. 1" (1982)
* "Everything Went Black" (1983)
* "The First Four Years" (1983)
* "Wasted...Again" (1987)


* "Louie Louie" (1981) (Originally released on Posh Boy Records PBS 13)

tudio EPs

* "Nervous Breakdown" (October 1978)
* "Jealous Again" (August 1980)
* "Six Pack" (June 1981)
* "TV Party" (July 1982)
* "The Process of Weeding Out" (September 1985)
* "Minuteflag" (1986)
* "I Can See You" (1989)

Live EPs

* "Annihilate This Week" (1987)

Bootlegs and other pressings

* "The Complete 1982 Demos Plus More" (1996?)
* "Spray Paint EP" (1981)



*Azerrad, Michael. "". New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2001. ISBN 0316787531.
*Rollins, Henry. "", 2nd ed. Los Angeles: 2.13.61, 2004. ISBN 1880985764.

External links

* [ The Mighty Black Flag (fan site)]
* [ Dementlieu Punk Archive: Black Flag (fan site and tour history)]
* [ "Black Flag"] , "Kill From the Heart"
* [ Rekindling the Punk Flame (article)]
* [ Black Flag bootlegs] - Information on a number of Black Flag bootlegs
* [ Suburban Voice Interview] - Black Flag interview from 1984
* [ Flipside Interview] - Black Flag interview from 1980

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  • Black Flag band members — The following is a complete chronology of the various line ups of the hardcore punk band Black Flag, from the group s inception in 1976 (under the original name Panic) until its breakup in August 1986, as well as the reunion shows performed in… …   Wikipedia

  • Black Flag — may refer to:*A flag which is black: see list of black flags *Black flag, an international anarchist symbol. *iran golden flags, an international anarchist symbol. *Black Flag (newspaper), an anarchist newspaper *Black Flag (insecticide), a brand …   Wikipedia

  • Black Flag — Bla …   Википедия

  • Black Flag — est un groupe de punk hardcore originaire de Hermosa Beach (Californie, États Unis). Il est parmi les premiers à conjuguer le punk Do It Yourself avec le hardcore. Le son hybride qui en résulte rallie de nombreux fans de métal au début des années …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Black Flag (musique) — Black Flag Black Flag est un groupe de punk hardcore originaire de Hermosa Beach (Californie, États Unis). Il est parmi les premiers à conjuguer le punk Do It Yourself avec le hardcore. Le son hybride qui en résulte rallie de nombreux fans de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Black Flag Army — The Black Flag Army (Chinese: 黑旗军; pinyin: Hēiqí Jūn; Vietnamese: Quân cờ đen) was a splinter remnant of a bandit group recruited largely from soldiers of ethnic …   Wikipedia

  • black flag — 1. a pirate flag, usually of black cloth with a white skull and crossbones on it; Jolly Roger. 2. a flag having two yellow and two black squares, signifying the letter L in the International Code of Signals: formerly so called when used by itself …   Universalium

  • Black Flag discography — Infobox Artist Discography Artist = Black Flag Caption = Studio = 6 Studio link = Studio albums Compilation = Comp link = Compilations Live = 2 Singles = References = Black Flag was an American hardcore punk band which formed in 1977 and… …   Wikipedia

  • Damaged (Black Flag album) — Damaged Studio album by Black Flag Released December 5, 1981 …   Wikipedia

  • Red Flag (band) — Infobox musical artist Name = Red Flag Img capt = Red Flag: Mark Reynolds (left), Chris Reynolds (right)Citation | last=Hayes | first=Anthony J. | author link= | year=December 15, 1989 | title=Star Spangled Banner? | periodical=The Daily… …   Wikipedia

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