The mystery of Black Flag

1983 Black Flag at Mojos flyer

What a weird band Black Flag was. I liked Black Flag. I never saw them live. Apparently that was by design. But they seem to have been among a very small group of flagship bands that spread punk rock like a virus and I think that too was by design.

I’ve been trying to decode what their mission was. I never take stories at face value. The black flag as a symbol of anarchy is too obvious. Black Flag as an insecticide that “kills bugs dead” doesn’t seem to quite hit the nail on the head. I’ve speculated before that the black flag was specifically a reference to something to do with Abbie Hoffman and Grace Slick trying to dose the Nixon White House with L.S.D (and at some point hanging a black flag somewhere) but that’s probably too obscure and the part about a black flag being involved is only in some versions of the story – though I do suspect that Jefferson Airplane/Starship was another secret-agenda type band. “We built this city on rock and roll” – what they meant was they built the city on FBI files?

I feel like Black Flag spread something – plans, instructions, finance. Maybe finance linked to the record business, in exchange for nasty stories about, and set ups around, Chris and me. The punk rock “community” drew us in, surrounded us, and quietly stabbed us in the back – all for cash and prizes. Dialing for dollars.

I’ve thought about Greg Ginn, wondered if there was a link to the Bowie song Jean Genie, or Jinn, shape shifting genies. There’s actually a lot of directions I can go with all of this – the Welsh surname, the connection to the color white – or maybe more obviously that, like Steve Martin’s King Tut, he was born in Arizona. Arizona really comes up a lot with regards to all of this. Lots of people seem to be moving to or from Arizona. And what about his artist brother, who made so much of the poster and album cover art for Black Flag and SST, who changed his last name to Pettibon? Why Pettibon? Is it any connection to Pettygrove Hospital in Portland, which I understand to be involved in mind control and various types of medical murder (cancer, violence, etc). I’m not trying to pin anything specific on Ginn or Pettibon, but I do think that something in what I’ve written here is correct.

train design looks like a black flag