Friday, 8:55pm, Black stage
"I need you to know immediately that we're Flag," emphasizes Keith Morris. "We're not Black Flag."
At one time, four of these gentlemen – singer Morris, bassist Chuck Dukowski, guitarist/vocalist Dez Cadena, drummer Bill Stevenson – were in Black Flag. (Flag is rounded out by Stevenson's fellow Descendent, guitarist Stephen Egerton.) Yet there is no Black Flag without local founder Greg Ginn, who's leading his own reformation of California's most notorious punk band.
When Morris, who founded the Circle Jerks and fronts modern-day punk powerhouse OFF!, reteamed with Dukowski to reprise six Black Flag blasters (with artcore duo No Age pulling rhythm-section duty) for a free outdoor show in Los Angeles, the synergy was immediate.
"It was pretty undeniable, the energy and the kids just freaking out," says Morris. "We actually had a guy crowd-surfing his wheelchair! That speaks volumes."
Following a second Black Flag redux set with Stevenson and Egerton, the four stared at one another backstage, realizing they needed to play this powerful music without abandoning their other bands.
"We're fortunate that we're able to play with the energy and the enthusiasm that we're able to muster up for this," says Morris. "This is very physical, athletic music. There are a lot of young people that couldn't even come close to playing this stuff."