Thursday, September 11
For all you so fond of complaining that nothing ever happens in Adams,
it's time to put that tired old song to bed for one night.
Why's that? A legendary guitar player, with musical ties to the town, is coming to the PNA on Sunday.
Greg Ginn, the founding father of Black Flag, the west coast punk band
that was a key player in the American punk movement of the '70s and
'80s, and quit in 1986, is coming to town with two of his current bands
on one ticket: Jambang and Greg Ginn and the Taylor Texas Corrugators.
Now before you sharpen the spikes on your black leather jacket and
break out the iconic black bars of your favorite Black Flag t-shirt,
you should know this music will not take you back to your slam dancing
Keep in mind, both of these bands play entirely
instrumental sets. Just as Ginn and Black Flag pushed the boundaries of
popular music decades ago, he's still toeing that line with his two
most recent projects, but in a different direction.
of difficult to describe," Ginn said of Jambang's music in a recent
phone interview before performing in Chapel Hill, N.C. "It's
experimental in a way. I don't know any band to compare it to. It's
kind of a hybrid of electronic and organic instrumentation.
also sync up to videos (when playing live) that a video artist in
Austin, Tex., Joey Keeton, did for every song. It's kind of an
Then there's the Taylor Texas Corrugators.
"I think there's a lot of influences ranging from country to jazz to
experimental rock. There's a lot of improvisation," Ginn said of the
Corrugators' sound, adding that when played live, it's "an all
improvised set, so it's quite different."
True Black Flag fans
know that the appeal of this show isn't about what kind of music Ginn's
playing. It's simply that this is a chance to see him play.
Lovers of music in general can appreciate seeing musicians experiment
with a medium, and that is exactly what Ginn has always skillfully done
with the lawless guitar style he's known for.
fortunate enough to see Ginn play guitar will be mesmerized by his
skills," said Richard Suki of Adams in a recent interview. "You could
list your five greatest guitar players of all time on your hand, and
he'd definitely be there. I've seen him play sound checks that blew my
Suki and his brother, David, are the reasons the Adams
music scene will hearing Ginn. The Sukis befriended him and the rest of
Black Flag when the band first toured the East Coast, and helped them
organize several local shows, including dates in North Adams, in the
From this connection, this weekend's show was born.
Richard told me of the coincidental circumstances that lead to the
"I said to my brother, 'Where's Greg Ginn these days?'
He didn't know, so I went home that night, and I looked up SST, Greg's
record company on the internet.
"It said Greg's band was on
tour, and I called up for booking. Before I even found out where Greg
was, we had a show booked."
The guitar skill that Suki speaks so
highly of will be in constant supply at this concert. Ginn, with
bandmates Bobby Bancalari and Steve De Lollis, will play back to back
sets as the performing members of both bands.
Each band has a
roster that frequently shifts and expands to encompass other musicians,
but for this tour, the trio shifts gears and takes the stage as the
next band at each concert.
Typically, Jambang plays a 75 minute
set, while the Corrugators play until the night's venue calls it quits.
This means the trio often plays for the better part of two and a half
One might think that for a musician who's been performing
for 30 years, a regimen like this might be too much. Such is not the
case with Ginn.
"No, I think it takes a lot out of me too not
play," he said with a laugh. "Of course it's a lot of work, but I enjoy
it. That's a part of the tour of the tour that I'm really appreciating,
being able to play in two bands. I feel fortunate to be able to do
It's something akin to this indefatigable energy that Ginn hopes to impart to the crowd at the PNA.
"Honestly, I want to give something to the audience; something they can
feel and experience. For me, that's the motivation for getting out and
doing that (performing)," he said of his intentions when he takes the
Despite the fact that it has been years since Black Flag played in the area, Ginn still has a picture of Adams in his mind.
"When Black Flag was playing, we met some good friends there and spent
time there," he said. "I remember it very well. We're looking forward
to coming on up to Adams very soon. It's going to be exciting."
Locals who are familiar with Ginn and his work with Black Flag, still
talk about his visits to the Berkshires with excitement over two
decades later. Those who are only old enough to have heard about those
times, speak about them with a hefty portion of "I wish I could have
This show is preparing to be one of those events
talked about for years to come. Be one of the lucky ones. Be able to
say, "I was there."
To reach Michael Foster: