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.

Still singing?

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 days.

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.

"It's kind 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.

"We 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 audio-visual experience."

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.

"Anybody's who's 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 mind."

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 early '80s.

From this connection, this weekend's show was born. Richard told me of the coincidental circumstances that lead to the concert.

"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 hours.

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 that."

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 stage.

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 been there."

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:

(413) 496-