Black Flag was an American hardcore punk
band formed in 1976 in Hermosa Beach, California, United States
, largely the brainchild of Greg Ginn
, the guitarist, primary songwriter and sole continuous member through multiple personnel changes.
was their original lead singer. He left the band suddenly in 1979 to form the well-known band, Circle Jerks
. Ron Reyes
was the second singer for the band, but decided to leave the band not too long after. Dez Cadena
would be their next singer, but switched to second guitar when they found fourth and final singer Henry Rollins
in Washington D.C. in 1981.
While Black Flag were - and remain - very respected among their underground culture, their music has not been the stylistic model one might expect, in spite of their formidable reputation. Rather, their influence was seen primarily in their tireless promotion of a self-controlled DIY aesthetic. They're often regarded as pioneers in the movement of underground do-it-yourself record labels that flourished among the 1980s' punk
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. They were part of the first wave of American West Coast punk rock, are considered a key influence on Punk culture band, and are especially important in the creation of hardcore punk. Their later sound, however, was often reminiscent of proto-heavy metal bands such as Black Sabbath
The band broke up in August 1986, when Greg Ginn decided to quit.
Through seemingly-constant touring throughout the USA 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, grass-roots network.