Band Practice With Good For You
Good For You
A match made in skate-punk heaven: pro skateboarder and musician Mike Vallely (R) and Black Flag founder and guitarist Greg Ginn (L), shot at their jam space in Thorndale, Texas, on March 29, 2013.
Music and skateboarding are family. "I don't see a separation from skateboarding and music," says Vallely, who began skating and going to punk-rock shows at age 14.
The band plays their tour set-list live as it appears on their debut record, "Life's Too Short Not to Hold a Grudge," out on Ginn's label, SST Records.
Vallely and Ginn's relationship goes back to 2003, when Vallely's band, Mike V. and the Rats, played a bunch of gigs with Ginn. Each night when they opened for Ginn, he'd be rocking out in the front. Seeing the heavy influence of Black Flag in Vallely's music and vision, the pair developed a slow, organic relationship over the last decade. Fast-forward to now: The band's playing the most Black Flag-sounding music since ... well, since Black Flag themselves.
"The music is the outlet. I think I've always had this great need or desire to express myself, and skateboarding is a part of that and the music is too. Since I was in third grade, things would pop into my head and they had a rhythm to them; there was a story I wanted to convey, and the natural home for those things is music." -- Mike Vallely
"The spirit has to be fresh and moving. The creative aspect of what we're doing is on the forefront. It's not a lounge act, and this is something that I'd been tuned into as a skater." -- Mike Vallely
Vallely's live performance is like his skating: high energy, unparalleled and loose.
"The first show I ever saw, when I was 14, was Black Flag. It was something that stuck with me -- it was music that I valued, that I cared about, that was a part of my DNA, really -- so to meet Greg and perform with him back in 2003 was a lot of fun, something I really appreciated." -- Mike Vallely
Sum Of The Parts
Ginn and Vallely's work ethic and songwriting goes strong, and their onstage dynamic pours out into their collaborative process as one big creative output.
Ginn and Vallely spent months auditioning players for the band to find the right chemistry and spirit that would glue the group together for the long haul. They are now joined by bass player Dave Klein from Screeching Weasel (also playing in the Black Flag reunion tour). Their drummer goes by the name ... "Drummer."
Spurs And Whims
"My skating to me is fresh and spontaneous at all moments, so I think that's really where Greg and I connect -- in that sort of in-the-moment approach to what we are doing to life." -- Mike Vallely
"A lot of the material on this record is about holding onto an independent spirit," says Vallely.
Lead singer Vallely's tattooed hands.
Vallely blasts a big ol' frontside transfer on the Fun Fun Fun Fest Project LOOP! ramp, November 2012. On the board or fronting the band, Mike V. goes big.