Vancouver's Ron Reyes walks away from Black Flag reunion

As Black Flag gets set to release What the...., its first album of new material in nearly 30 years, there is trouble among the ranks of the reformed punk group. Singer (and Vancouver native) Ron Reyes has announced on Facebook that he has quit the band.

Reyes sang on the band’s landmark Jealous Again EP (1980), as well as on What the...., which is set for a December 3 release on SST, the label owned by Black Flag guitarist and founder Greg Ginn.

The frontman—who was eventually replaced by Henry Rollins after leaving the band in 1980—has suggested he was told on-stage at a show in Australia that he was no longer going to be part of Black Flag. This news, was apparently delivered by Mike Vallely, a former pro skateboarder who plays with Ginn in the side project Good for You.

Reyes’s Facebook post starts with: “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…”

That this might have secretely been a relief is supported by what the singer writes later on in his post: “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.”

When Reyes talked to the Straight earlier this year in advance of a Vancouver, he noted that he had been forbidden to talk about Black Flag in the press by the band.

Over the years, Ginn has earned a reputation for being difficult to work worth, partly because the book on him is that he takes passive-aggressiveness to new heights. Remember how vocalist Henry Rollins learned that Black Flag was going to be no more in the late-’80s?

In case not, here’s a passage from his book Get in the Van: “He [Greg Ginn] told me he was quitting the band. I thought that was strange considering it was his band and all. So in one short phone call, it was all over.”

As far as the latest chapter in Black Flag’s history, here is Reyes’s full Facebook statement:

“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 chose 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 behavior 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. I am proud of my contributions including the new album and it’s 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 planing 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 Klien. 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 endeavors. Cheers. Ron Reyes.”

Comments (10) Add New Comment
A. MacInnis
Ron is, as far as I can see, a great guy and generous spirit, so I winced through news of all that sad lawsuit shit, thinking of the cost it must be having on him. He's got a momentous voice which I hope people will still get a chance to hear, but it really sounds like he might be better off without Black Flag...
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Doug Smith
Ron is an honest man whose three "dealbreakers" as told to me before this even hit rehearsals were:

1) To rehearse a lot and not be ordinary but to deliver a live show that was worthy of the BF legacy

2) New songs. Long story here that is not mine to tell. But, new songs were at the very beginning of this idea. Good, tight and well rehearsed songs. Not necessarily "No Values" or "Revenge" clones, but fresh new songs utilizingthe true unarguable guitar talents of a motivated G. Ginn

3) Bring the people who come to the shows 110% - fully respecting their patronage. This meant a fitness regime, playing tired, hurt, etc...but an honest effort that gave thanks and a humble gratitude back to the fans.

Seems his ideals were not shared by some of his fellow bandmates. I know Ron and his standards are high - especially on a human-to-human level. But no amount of of hand shaking, hanging out after the show to sign every last item or pose for every last photo could make up for being mediocre - especially seeing a talent as significant asas Ginn's "mail it it in" nightly.

You think putting some shitty agenda before fans who who paid real money to see you says a lot about the people steering the BF bus now.

Ron is a collosal person. A true friend. I wish I was there to get in Vallely's grill...all 6'5" and damn near 300 lbs of my fat ass...or, maybe his shitty behaviour and lame bullying agenda would just make my fist stink.

Hold your head high Ron.
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jeff k
Mike V is known for his "I get what I want 'cause I'm a tough guy and tough guys RULE, dude " image.
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Sonny Dean
Ron is my friend & a great guy! I'm on Ron's team!
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Old Mayonnaise
Fuck Mike V. What an asshole. He's a bitter washed up pro. His part on the old LAbel Kills video was so bad it was painful to watch. Punch yourself in the face Mike V.
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Garrett Grant
Ron Reyes is the Greatest singer Black Flag EVER had... The way they did that is pretty easy to figure out, Greg Ginn can HIRE "CHEAPER" musicians to fill the ranks.. what a joke.. I will never go see THAT version of Black Flag ever again...
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Vince Walker the Punk Rocker
I saw BF's Canadian debut at the Smiling Buddha in 1980 with Ron fronting. Ron was still a teenager like me and all minds were blown watching this scrawny little dude run up the wall and kick off the ceiling into back flips and then belt it on top of his music. I was feverish to see them when they returned for Hardcore 81 only to be immeasurably disappointed by the Dez Cadena edition. A disappointment so great it became a vodka and Benzedrine fueled violent rage! I boycotted the band after that for over 30 years until they returned with Reyes fronting. Boycotts back on!!!! xxxx
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Lemmy
This is misleading. It should say Ron Reyes kicked out of Black Flag reunion.
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garnet
i had the great pleasure, many years ago, of first meeting ron when he was playing with/in crash, bang, crash, pop - an amazing band. i was struck immediately at how great a guy he was. fun, open to great conversation, full of stories, etc. i am thrilled that i met him and still remember that first time i interviewed him like it was last week. a very strong impression left on me. and really, he's a friend of doug' - any friend of doug's has gotta be a-ok.
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Blurck Flurg
In 1980, Reyes quit Black Flag mid-performance at a Redondo Beach show. In 2013 Reyes gets fired mid-performance at an Australian show. Perfect symmetry.
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