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Pro Skateboarder Mike Vallely Takes Center Stage As Singer For Black Flag
Ron Reyes the former/new/now former Black Flag singer revealed he's been booted out of the long standing iconic hardcore band Black Flag. Reyes tells reporters, the ousting happened on November 24 while the band was performing a gig in Australia. Mike Vallely, the professional skateboarder who fronted a short-lived Black Flag reunion in 2003, reportedly walked onstage, snatched the microphone away from Reyes, and ordered him off the stage.
Reyes' departure from Black Flag ended in Australia, but anybody who has followed Mike Vallley's career knows it was destiny calling. Mike has been caught on tape in many fights over his legendary skateboard career and is known to be hard as nails against any opposition. So what a perfect job for the then Black Flag manager to hand Reyes his walking papers.
Reyes shared through a Facebook post, explaining that Vallely, who is also a professional skateboarder, walked onstage, grabbed the microphone from him, and sang the rest of the set himself. "I would not be surprised if Mike V becomes the new singer for Black Flag," Reyes wrote in November. "It is my opinion that they have been planning this for some time."
Reyes flew home and posted to Facebook almost immediately. You can read his entire Facebook post below:
"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 choose 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. It am proud of my contributions including the new album and its 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 planning 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 Klein. 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."
Vallely denies that the personnel change was planned ahead of the Australian gig. Vallely claims that Reyes — who originally handled vocals for Black Flag on 1980's Jealous Again EP — became "disgruntled" and "combative" throughout the tour, noting that he and Greg Ginn, the only consistent member of Black Flag, had different opinions about the group's future.
"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," says Vallely who previously fronted a short-lived Black Flag reunion in 2003 and teamed up with Ginn last year for a project called Good for You. "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 sub-par compared to what the expectations for it were.'" Vallely explained further, saying, "He told me he made a mistake by working with Ron and trying to pander to a sort of old-school thing. He just thought that I was the guy for the job... I'm not gonna say no to that."
According to the new/old Black Flag singer, Reyes was more interested in playing the band's classic material, while Ginn wanted to focus on writing new music. Vallely also alleges that Reyes tried to leave the group before he was fired, and insists that the only reason Reyes was given the ax onstage was because it looked as though he was going to quit in the middle of the concert.
"I did not threaten him or physically remove him from the stage," Vallely says. "I just told him very plainly, very simply, that it was over and hand me the microphone. And he looked at me and he almost seemed relieved. Then he walked off the stage, caught a plane home that night."
Looking to the future, Black Flag are hoping to redeem their less-than-stellar 2013. "It could have been better," Vallely admits. "Black Flag can be a stronger, more cohesive, tighter band. We want to prove that."
The singer says that the elder punks are already working on new material, and are gearing up for a "pretty extensive" tour that is expected to begin in May. As for the reception to last year's What The..., Vallely said, "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.'"