Interviews

Black Flag's Mike Vallely on Former Singer: "He Doomed the Reformation From Day One"

Page 6 of 6

Recently, there was a lawsuit in action between Greg Ginn and the FLAG camp, which included Keith Morris (original Black Flag vocalist, but also a member of the Circle Jerks, FLAG, and Off!) and Henry Rollins (who made his name singing in Black Flag). This lawsuit asked for an injunction against FLAG, which would not allow them to use the iconic "four bars" Black Flag logo or promote themselves as "Black Flag." The lawsuit has been settled, with each band able to go out and play Black Flag songs, but FLAG will not be able to use the logo, moving forward, nor promote themselves as Black Flag in any way.

Up on the Sun:I got the email about the lawsuit. What is the overall feeling in the Black Flag camp about this?

Mike Vallely: We are relieved to have this nonsense behind us. The fact that these ex-band members would do anything to cash in on the Black Flag name, even go as far as trying to steal the trademark, was very disheartening. There never was an issue with Flag performing the songs of Black Flag, but when they and some of their promoters began billing the band as Black Flag and then Rollins' and Morris' fraudulent trademark application was discovered, Greg really had no choice but to protect this trademark and creative output, legally.

Up on the Sun: How has all the legal bullshit changed your view of your predecessors, or has it at all? Did you have a favorite between Keith, Ron, Dez, and Henry?

Mike Vallely: The "legal bullshit" as you call it is on them, not us. They created the entire situation. Not Greg. Greg was simply protecting his work. Anyone would. They forced that issue, they created this situation and there's no way around that. -- I saw Black Flag in 1984 and Rollins was the singer and he was a big part of what I liked about the band, no doubt about it.

What music are you excited about right now outside of projects you are involved with?

Mike Vallely: The band that is supporting us on most of our Victimology North American dates, Cinema Cinema, is a really great band. I'm excited about that. Having them with us is going to really make these shows enjoyable for me being an audience member as well.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Tom Reardon has written for Phoenix New Times since 2013. He's been in several notable bands over the last 25 years including Hillbilly Devilspeak, North Side Kings, and the Father Figures.
Contact: Tom Reardon