It’s a deeply unfortunate business when one of the most important bands of all time marks their lengthy and influential career with the legal equivalent of handbags at dawn. To wit; the recently-reformed Black Flag, whose founder and guitarist Greg Ginn has lawyered up and brought down a world of hurt on his former bandmates.
Ginn has major beef with Flag, a collection of Black Flag alumni including original singer Keith Morris along with Chuck Dukowski, Dez Cadena and Bill Stevenson, who have been touring the band’s back catalogue to rapturous response. Ginn isn’t feeling too rapturous about it and is seeking an injunction against the band’s tour, which would effectively stop them dead in their tracks, as he claims he and his label, SST Records, exclusively own the rights to the Black Flag name (including any “Flag” variations) and the iconic logo, which Flag are using while touring.
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But it gets worse. Also named in the lawsuit is one Henry Garfield, better known to the world as Henry Rollins, who magnanimously refused to take part in either of the reformed outfits. Ginn is accusing both Morris and Rollins of a whole shitpile of wrongdoing, including lying to the Trademark Office and, in what’s alleged to be an act of ‘outrageous fraud,’ using bootleg SST t-shirts for their supposedly nefarious agendas. Oof!
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And it doesn’t stop there, as Ginn claims that FLAG’s name and logo are “a colorable imitation” that’s “likely to cause confusion, mistake or deception among consumers.” Oh the humanity!
Sick Chirpse saw Flag perform an incendiary, show-stopping set at the Groezrock festival in Belgium earlier this year, so we shake our heads in dismay at this business as it would be a tragedy if the rest of Europe missed out on a proper tour from these guys. It also casts a stain of cynicism on the band’s otherwise proud legacy.
You can see a PDF of the lawsuit, which includes the novel sight of the Black Flag logo amid a ton of legal mumbo jumbo, here. Let’s cross our fingers that this all gets cleared up soon.
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