By all accounts, the 2013 reunion of hardcore legends Black Flag was fraught with drama, calamity and the unveiling of the ugliest cover art ever, and for that, the band are now saying they're sorry.
A new Rolling Stone interview with current vocalist Mike Vallely, who was the band's tour manager in 2013 and took over for Ron Reyes after an onstage firing in November, has him admitting that the act weren't up to snuff last year, citing the differences between Reyes and founding guitarist Greg Ginn on the direction they were taking as a major problem.
"We feel that, generally, the band fell short in 2013 because of a difference in the philosophies of Ron and Greg — it just led to dysfunction," Vallely, who also plays with Ginn in Good for You, confided, adding, "[Black Flag] can be a stronger, more cohesive, tighter band. We want to prove that."
The singer noted that Ginn regrets trying to "pander to a sort of old-school thing" on their recent What The... LP, which was their first since 1985's In My Head. The record brought Ginn and Reyes back together after having last recorded in Black Flag together for the Jealous Again EP in 1980. Vallely also puts the blame on Reyes over the much-maligned cartoon artwork that accompanied the release.
"Greg just felt like, 'I don't want the Black Flag name to fizzle out with this or be tainted with this record that's proven to be subpar compared to what the expectations for it were,'" Vallely said of the decision to remove Reyes from the band.
It had previously been reported that Reyes was fired onstage by Vallely during an Australian concert. Reyes said in a Facebook post that Vallely walked up to him during the show, grabbed his microphone and told him, "You're done, party's over get off it's over..."
The sacked singer also suggested that a move to put Vallely in his position had already been in the works, writing that he and Ginn had been "planning this for some time."
As for Vallely's take on that incident, he told Rolling Stone: "I did not threaten him or physically remove him from the stage. I just told him very plainly, very simply, that it was over. And he looked at me and he almost seemed relieved. Then he walked off the stage."
Upcoming plans have yet to be detailed, but Black Flag are apparently planning a big tour that will start up sometime in May and will continue to make new music in the future, regardless of the negative reaction to What The....
"I talked to Greg about [the legacy of Black Flag] and he said, 'I write a lot of music, and I'll write a lot more music. I'm not gonna cry over one fucking record,'" Vallely stated.
Despite this, the singer added that What The... is "still a pretty decent record."