Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Reality 86'ed: The Black Flag Documentary

We've spent much of the last week assessing the present and the past of LA hardcore pioneers Black Flag (See HERE). While the band has yet to see the full-scale documentary treatment, too much bad blood I expect, David Markey from Painted Wille did make a documentary on the band's final tour called Reality 86'ed. While it's far and away my least favourite phase in the the band's seven year career, it's a fascinating document for sure.

The documentary has never been officially released and Mr. Ginn frequently has it pulled down, so here it is on Vimeo just in case.

REALITY 86'd from KICK TO KILL on Vimeo.


  1. Greg Ginn...you fucked up. You had a band who were seminal and overnight you turned your back on the fans who adored BF and turned that great band into a passé sham that was embarrassing to watch.....nothing mare than a self indulgent vehicle for your meandering noodling. Thank god I never witnessed BF after '83.

  2. What's the word thunderbird?

    Another great tour documentary by Dave Markey! Ginn should embrace it.

  3. Maybe I missed something but surely artists, and musicians are artists, really should not care how the audience will react. They should simply make the art they believe/feel most important at that time. Surely, this sounds like "punk" to me. Now admittedly, Black Flag's sound changed but "punk" was never about a sound was it? If you read interviews or books about Black Flag you will routinely hear complaints about closed-minded audiences unwilling to allow the band to grow and try new things. Apparently, that ossified mentality still exists. I came to appreciate the later Black Flag albums for what they are and not what they are not. I find it easier to listen to Loose Nut or In My Head now than Damaged. Lastly, the later Black Flags albums are good art because they force the audience to react. Good art should always elicit a reaction, positive or negative. Clearly, Neil you have a reaction so Gregg did not fuck up; he did his job as an artist.
    I think the Reality 86'd movie is a fairly interesting watch. I went on tour for several once back in the early 90's and I think the movie captures the tedium and excitement that punctuates touring. I would enjoy seeing it receive a proper release

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  4. I'll add:

    Go read Rollins take on Black Flag's final grind in 'Get In The Van' and Joe Cole's account of that tour in 'Planet Joe'!
    If you can find it...

  5. Well converdito that's what makes the world a great place, people don't have to agree. You obviously think Flag were good after 82', fair play to you, I don't. I find latter day BF very self-indulgent & boring. The test of music to me is not whether it can “provoke a reaction” or not, it’s do I like it or not and the fact that I react to something I don’t like doesn’t mark it as art. To me, it’s like comparing Damien Hurst to Picasso, one has talent the other has ideas that “provoke reactions”. I also recall Ginn slagging off punks when they're the ones who gave him their money, maybe that’s what rankles….but really it’s just crap music and that’s a personal taste thing. Having said that as was once said “there is no such thing as bad music only music you don’t like”. I’ll rise above the “ossified mentality” quip which was uncalled for.

  6. Neil, I would never remove your right to disagree. In fact, I am glad you disagree. Regarding the ossified comment, you can take as much offense as you like; though know, that none was intended. After the early 80's hiatus, Black Flag produced a body of work that remains as compelling and heavy anything they ever did. Where they should be lauded for taking chances and continuing to progress they are instead chided. I cannot imagine how unforgettably boring Black Flag would be today if they simply recorded the Damaged album over and released it every year. As artists within the original idea of "punk" they did what they were supposed to do and kept moving. Clearly, they did not care too much what the audience thought if could not, did not, or did not care to understand what they were hoping to accomplish. In the end though, enjoy your memories of Black Flag. Look back on the people you knew, places you went, and the fun you had. For if you do, then we will both be in agreement on something.

  7. I'm an old fart. That being said, I saw all stages of Black Flag live accept for Keith Morris. The most volatile lineup was in 84 and 85. Though my favorite era remains the Dez years, Bill Stevenson was such a fuckin' maniacal drummer, I must defer to this era! Neil! Dude! You missed out on a band that was truly on fire, and at the top of their game!


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