Black Flag

Formed 1976. Disbanded 1986.
Please Note: you do not have javascript enabled. Video content requires javascript to be enabled.

Henry Rollins on joining Black Flag

Henry Rollins talks to Mike Davies about the early 80s Washington DC punk scene and how he came to join Black Flag.

Featured in BBC Music Clips

Biography

Black Flag is an American hardcore punk band formed in 1976 in Hermosa Beach, California. The band was established by Greg Ginn, the guitarist, primary songwriter, and sole continuous member through multiple personnel changes in the band. They are widely considered to be one of the first hardcore punk bands. After breaking up in 1986, Black Flag briefly reunited in 2003 and again in 2013.

Black Flag's sound mixed the raw simplicity of the Ramones with atonal guitar solos and frequent tempo shifts. The lyrics were written mostly by Ginn, and like other punk rock bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s, Black Flag voiced an anti-authoritarian and non-conformist message, in songs punctuated with descriptions of social isolation, neurosis, poverty, and paranoia. These themes were explored further when Henry Rollins joined the band as lead singer in 1981. Most of the band's material was released on Ginn's independent label, SST Records.

Over the course of the 1980s, Black Flag's sound, as well as their notoriety, evolved in ways that both embraced and alienated much of their early audience. As well as being central to the creation of hardcore punk, they were innovators in the first wave of American West Coast punk rock and are considered a key influence on punk subculture in the United States and abroad. Along with being among the earliest punk rock groups to incorporate elements and the influence of heavy metal melodies and rhythm, there were often overt freestyles, 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 bands in their milieu performed a raw, fast, three-chord format. As a result, their extensive discography is more stylistically varied than many of their punk rock contemporaries.

Wikipedia This entry is from Wikipedia, the user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors and is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License. If you find the biography content factually incorrect, defamatory or highly offensive you can edit this article at Wikipedia. Find out more about our use of this data.

Links & Information

Members

Collaborated on

BBC Reviews

  1. Review of Damaged

    Damaged 1981

    Reviewed by Sid Smith
    There’s an almost autistic single-mindedness about this album’s monochromatic howl.