Ron Reyes Leaves Black Flag After Reunion ‘Fell Very Short’
Hardcore group's revolving-door lineup loses another member
Ron Reyes has parted ways with the reunited Black Flag. In a Facebook post published on November 26, the (once again) former Black Flag singer revealed he’s been booted out of the iconic hardcore group. As Reyes tells it, the ouster happened on November 24 while the band was performing a gig in Australia. Mike Vallely, the professional skateboarder who fronted a short-lived Black Flag reunion in 2003, reportedly walked onstage, snatched the microphone away from Reyes, and ordered him off the stage.
“They finished the set with Mike V on vocals,” writes Reyes, who originally served in Black Flag from 1979 to 1980 and appeared on the 12-inch Jealous Again EP. “I would not be surprised if Mike V becomes the new singer for Black Flag. It is my opinion that they have been planning this for some time.”
Reyes also labels the reunion — which is led by founding guitarist Greg Ginn and rounded out by drummer Gregory Moore and touring bassist Dave Klein — a disappointment. “It is my opinion that we fell very short indeed,” Reyes admits, “And the diminishing ticket sales and crowds are a testament to that.”
He adds that he considers himself a friend and fan of the other Black Flag reunion, FLAG. That one consists of original Black Flag vocalist Keith Morris, guitarist-singer Dez Cadena, bassist Chuck Dukowski, drummer Bill Stevenson, and Descendents guitarist Stephen Egerton. Ginn took legal action against the members of FLAG earlier this year over their name and logo, but he recently lost his “preliminary injunction” against the group. The rivalry between the two Black Flag factions apparently poisoned the working relationship between Reyes and Ginn.
“I was told that I had to choose sides,” Reyes writes, noting that he refused. “And so I have been excommunicated in a very strange fashion.”
Before he was dismissed, Reyes contributed to Black Flag’s upcoming album, the fittingly titled What The…, which drops on December 3 via Ginn’s legendary SST Records. Pre-orders of the LP, Black Flag’s first since 1985’s In My Head, are now available through iTunes.
For more details on Reyes’ departure from Black Flag, read his entire Facebook post below (via Exclaim!).
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 diminishing 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 choose sides. But I refuse to treat someone like an infallible 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 manners bellow my standard. I am grateful 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 its 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 planning this for some time. I wish them well. Mike is a true disciple of Greg and so they have a good working relationship. And ironically 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 Klein. 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 questioned 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.