Pioneers in the development of American Punk, Black Flag was formed in Hermosa Beach, CA, in 1976. Spearheaded by guitarist and chief songwriter Greg Ginn, a UCLA graduate with a degree in economics, Black Flag incorporated the shot-out-of-a-cannon speed of East Coast punk rockers like the Ramones but substituted the Ramones's buzzsaw sound with a sloppier, growling, bass-heavy din. Black Flag's message was anti-authoritarian and non-conformist — an alienated rage against suburban, middle-class values.
Originally fronted by vocalist Keith Morris, who left to form the Circle Jerks, Black Flag went through several vocalists before settling into their most productive period with Henry Rollins, a fan from Washington D.C. who petitioned the band to allow him onstage for a number during a New York performance in 1981. Brought on as frontman, the physically imposing Rollins intensified the group's angry, introspective, socially-isolated aesthetic.
Under Ginn's leadership, Black Flag became do-it-yourself pioneers, touring relentlessly and issuing their own records on SST, the label Ginn founded with original bassist Chuck Dukowski. SST would become one of the premiere indie labels of the 1980s, with a roster that included the Minutemen, HÃ¼sker DÃ¼, Sonic Youth, Meat Puppets and others. After a decade marked by numerous lineup changes, GInn broke up Black Flag in 1986; since then various versions of the band have surfaced for various shows and a 2013 tour.