Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Dez Cadena is now a member of the Kieth Morris version, now simply called FLAG. You can see a video of that version over here.

Greg Ginn, whose version is claiming the name Black Flag said his version was "not to be confused with the 'fake' Flag band currently covering the songs of Black Flag in an embarrassingly weak 'mailing it in' fashion." also released a new song that you can listen to here.

The AV Club probably has my favorite line yet about these two: "And meanwhile, Henry Rollins remains at home waiting for the red phone of justice to ring and looking at his tattoos."

The battle lines have been drawn. Whose side are you on?

Original post continues below:

There was a conflicting news report on the Internet this morning.

Not conflicting in the way you're thinking of. It was more personally conflicting and I still don't know how I feel about it.

Greg Ginn is reforming Black Flag with the intent of writing new music and putting out a new record. He recruited Gregory Moore, who played drums on the brief Black Flag reunion in 2003, Dale Nixon, which is actually Ginn's pseudonym for when he writes and plays bass, meaning they don't actually have a bass player and Ron Reyes to provide vocals. Reyes was the second vocalist for Black Flag, but didn't last long. He quit the band mid-set in 1980 because of escalating crowd violence. The band finished their set by playing an extra long version of "Louie, Louie" and asking crowd members to take turns singing. Reyes did provide vocals on the band's EP "Jealous Again" but was credited as Chevo Pedarast—a Spanish term for "pedophile". So they split on great terms.

Reyes replaced original vocalist Keith Morris, who quit the band because he wasn't getting along with Ginn but was getting along very well with cocaine and speed.

Speaking of Keith Morris, he's also reforming Black Flag.

His version has a bunch of shows scheduled and includes Chuck Dukowski, who played bass as Black Flag was gaining a huge reputation in the early years. He's credited with being the so-called "leader" of the band, mainly because Ginn was quiet and usually avoided the spotlight. Dukowski gave the interviews, helped establish the band's sound—along with Ginn's unique guitar style, of course—and kept them working and even acted as the band's manager after he was no longer in it. They've also got Bill Stevenson on drums and Stephen Egerton playing guitar. Stevenson had filled in for Black Flag numerous times before finally joining full-time in the early 80s—pulling double duty with Descendents. Egerton (from Salt Lake City and a member of Utah's very own Massacre Guys) never played in Black Flag, but played in both Descendents and All.

Henry Rollins and Dez Cadena have yet to announce their respective versions of Black Flag, but at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if it happened.

Actually no, I would be surprised if Rollins formed a different version. He and Ginn don't get along and I don't think they've actually spoken in a long, long time. I've heard him talk about it and read things he's written and he's reached out to Ginn a few times over the years and it's never panned out. I think he's content to just let things lie where they are between them. He gets along great with pretty much everyone in Keith Morris' version, so if anything, I'd expect to see him at a few of their shows. Maybe not on vocals, but definitely hanging on the side of the stage, just watching. I feel like he'd be content with that.

I still don't know how I feel about reunion shows. I've seen a reunited Earth Crisis, which was terrible but I've also seen a reunited Descendents, which was awesome. This could really go either way. If both of these bands came through Salt Lake (which they absolutely will not, by the way) and I had to choose between them, Keith Morris' version would definitely win.

In fact, that's what they should do. Both versions of Black Flag should tour and play the same city each night. Only here's the catch: they each play a different venue. You, as the audience, have to choose which version you want to watch. Whichever band gets the least amount of people can't be Black Flag anymore. There. I settled it.

The thing that bums me out the most about this is that dueling versions of bands that existed in the 80s is something that I thought only happened with shitty glam rock bands like Poison and Ratt.

I don't want to see one of my favorite punk bands follow that path. If that's the case, shitty VH1 reality shows can't be far behind. In fact, I think I just pitched one. I'm claiming ownership of it right now.

* header image taken from Overnight Drive.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


This is exactly the kind of Sundance movie I like to see.

A lot of the issues that I have with Sundance is that it's become more of a launching point for studio movies that want to get some indie cred. Sometimes there's even a deal in place to buy/distribute a movie before it even screens, but it's a great way to get buzz.

Not all of the movies are like that, though. Some are the true embodiment of independent film—and there's no better movie to prove that than ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW.

It's kind of becoming the buzz-movie of the festival this year and I was lucky enough to catch it. It played late Friday and Saturday night, and that's when a lot of people started talking about it. Twitter kind of blew up and I became obsessed and had to see it. I checked the Festival site and it was listed for a 12:45 showing on Sunday afternoon at the Broadway Theaters. When I woke up that morning, I headed to the box office immediately. They had two tickets left. I got 'em. It was, as my friend Brandee would say, "such a Trevor Hale moment that it pisses me off."

ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW isn't a great movie. It's super low-budget, kind of uneven and the actors aren't all that great. The most impressive thing about it and the reason it's getting so much attention, is that it's filmed entirely in Disney World/Disneyland without Disney's knowledge or permission.

The crew had to pay their own way in every day and the director only sent script pages to cast and crew digitally—so no one was holding pages and it just looked like they were looking at their phones. They filmed on rides, used actual Disney patrons as background actors and extras (without their knowledge), used copyrighted music, and never once did anyone shy away from using the Disney name or logo.

Disney doesn't like that kind of thing. They don't like people using their brand without specific approval and you're never allowed to do anything that might tarnish their reputation—hence Wally World in VACATION, Mooby in Kevin Smith's movies, and so on.

They'd probably especially frown on movies that portray theme park princesses as high class prostitutes for foreign tourists, a married man stalking underage girls, kidnappings, adultery, nudity and all the other strangeness that supposedly occurs at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Like I said, the plot is nothing special or unique. It’s about a guy who, on the last day of his vacation in Disney World with his wife and two young children, finds out he’s been laid off. A bunch of weird David Lynch-ian, Stanley Kubrick THE SHINING stuff happens and then it’s over. It comes to a weird, unexpected conclusion that you don’t see coming because it doesn’t really make sense.

But beyond that, it's a fascinating exercise in guerilla filmmaking. Everyone at Sundance (even the filmmakers, to an extent) are pretty sure that Disney's lawyers will make it disappear sooner than later and that this might be the only time it sees the light of day. I wish the best for the director and all the actors, but I kind of hope that's the case. It'd be nice to be in the minority that actually got to see it.

ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW is exactly the kind of movie I want to see at a film festival. It was imaginative, creative, ballsy, unique, unforgettable and there's a chance that no one will ever see it again.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


This thing has been pretty much offline since Christmas. Well, let's be honest, it was pretty bland most of 2012.

I know I said this last year, but I'm saying it again now, too.

I'm going to do more on here this year. I'm not sure what it is that I'm going to be doing, but there will be more of it.

The Half-Assed Reviews might make a comeback. I might use it as a place to just write for a little while each day because that's what I need to do. I'm not really sure.

Right now, I'm putting together the Top 5 of 2012 videos. I skipped it last year (here's 2010) because I didn't think anyone actually cared. Then, throughout the year, a few people asked why they hadn't seen them, which surprised me. So, I'm in the process of rounding up a few people that want to participate and go from there. The biggest change in the Top 5 this year? I found a few girls that want in on it. They actually volunteered. It was weird. But that's cool because it will be way more balanced and little bit more diverse.

You want in on the Top 5? Drop me a line. Let's do it. It's 2013 and you all have smartphones with video capability, so I don't even have to be there.

I'm also stockpiling some posts (the way I did last year) so I can roll out new stuff on a regular basis.

Do me a favor though. If you read this site regularly, what do you want more of? Hell, even if you only come once a week or once a month—as long as you know about it and it's a site you willingly visit on your endless trip through cyberspace, it means a lot to me.

So help me help you waste part of your day. What makes you keep coming back? Drop me an email or leave a note in the comments section. Also, if you have a huge problem with me or anything on the site, that's what anonymous comments are for, so go for it.

So come on. Let's party in 2013.