Anyway, the results:
Ron Reyes (Chavo)
Votes in total: 82
I think this got the most votes out of any poll I've started so far, which goes to show that either my blog's getting more traffic, or just that a lot of people like BLACK FLAG. They're probably the most well known/popular band I've covered on this blog so far, and incidently are probably the most deserving of all punk bands (or bands of any genre for that matter) of the praise and adoration they receive... I hate the sound like an asshole, but you either "get" BLACK FLAG or you don't. The vocalist debate is nearly as old as the band itself, and normally sparks heated debate whenever it's bought up, but to borrow a sports-personality-interviewee phrase, 'at the end of the day' we all know that each singer was great in his own way, suiting each different phase of the band (or Ginn's vision). Saying that, I'm just being diplomatic... Rollins will always be my choice of favourite frontman. Can you even imagine any of the other guys singing 'My War' and making it work? As for people arguing that he "ruined" the band, it's obvious that they would have followed the same direction regardless of who was singing... Rollins could just pull it off, I don't think anyone else could have fulfilled that role. Really, if you are diehard into punk but hate all hard rock or heavy metal, it's understandable that you wouldn't like later FLAG, since those influences are just so prominent.
To go with the poll results, here is the easy-to-get-a-hold-of soundboard bootleg of FLAG's apparent last show, at The Greystone in Detroit, 27/28th June 1986, I believe with GONE and probably the terrible PAINTED WILLIE supporting.
It obviously covers a lot of material from In My Head and Loose Nut and while it's not as good as the CLASSIC Live '84 record, I think I prefer it to Who's Got The 10 1/2. Just think, this was the last time Ginn would play the twisted FLAG riffs in a live setting. There's some serious hippie jam fest moments, reflecting the heavy amount of GRATEFUL DEAD that was consumed in this period (you don't LISTEN to the GRATEFUL DEAD, you consume them like an illegal substance). I'm sure after this show a lot of old FLAG fans were grateful the band WAS finally dead... While nothing can possibly beat Damaged, My War or the 1982 demos (the triangle of perfection, with Slip It In not far behind...THE BARS! THE LIES!...), I really do love the later "difficult" records and live sets. There's a great hypnotic quality to the songs and just straight up bizarre riffs going on, truly fucked up and demented music. Also, Rollins never lets up vocally, just listen to 1987's Lifetime by ROLLINS BAND, a kind of continuation of later-FLAG minus Ginn's extremely signature guitar work. Also, I couldn't give a shit about the production, both Loose Nut and In My Head are great, great records.
It might be cliché to say, but they really were pushing boundaries and it is understandable why so many were hostile towards them for it... Even the dynamics of the members were volatile, a similarly disconnection between each individual as between the band and audience. But it all comes down to whether you believe bands have any kind of "responsibilty" to their "fans" to stay atleast marginally consistent in sound (BAD RELIGION's argument as to why they returned to playing their old style after the enigma that is Into The Unknown), or should be free to play and be whatever the fuck they want. While it's often said they were going through the motions towards the end, I do believe breaking up was the only thing to do at that point. There was literally nowhere else to go.
Anyway, enjoy the live set (or don't, depending on your preference).