Punk & Hardcore

A Tale of Two Black Flags

The story of Orpheus and Eurydice, a myth originally told by the ancient Greeks but best-preserved in Western culture through the Roman poet Ovid, generally is interpreted as a cautionary tale about the perils of living in the past. Orpheus, a famous Greek bard, loses his wife to a snake bite, goes into the underworld, persuades Hades with the gnarliest of jams to let him bring her back to the land of the living, and gets his wish under the condition that he doesn't look back. He does look back and loses it all.

While the story is rooted in the idea of a romantic relationship, it's easy to look at its musical implications. Orpheus himself comes off like a brooding Mediterranean Bon Iver figure consumed by his obsession with a lost love. You can also see the analogues between Orpheus and musicians who try to recapture certain points in their careers. But the most relevant aspect of the Orpheus myth to the landscape of contemporary music is the near-futility the listener has in experiencing the past in the present.

What brings Orpheus to mind is the recent announcement of two reformed Black Flag lineups, one under the Black Flag moniker featuring founder and trademark holder Greg Ginn and Jealous Again-era vocalist Ron Reyes, and the other simply under the name "FLAG," fronted by Nervous Breakdown-era vocalist Keith Morris. Both are scheduled for various summer festival appearances.

See also:

-Keith Morris of OFF! On That Time The Band Got Arrested For Taking Used Cooking Oil in Phoenix

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Mike Bogumill
Contact: Mike Bogumill