Greg Ginn | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Greg Ginn 

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Ending a seven-year hiatus from recording and public performances that began with a broken finger he got playing basketball, Greg Ginn overcame his antistar mentality last year and went back on the road. Ginn, of course, is the founder of LA's Black Flag--the band that not only started Henry Rollins on the road to Gap commercials but was also one of the two or three most important hardcore groups ever. He's also the owner of SST Records, the label that's served as a home to Husker Du, Meat Puppets, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., and dozens of other bands. Most important, though, Ginn is one of the most original and compelling rock guitarists of the last decade or so. Through the course of Black Flag's ragtag career and with his amazing instrumental trio Gone--which originally featured Sim Cain and Andrew Weiss, mainstays of the Rollins Band until very recently--Ginn developed a style that forced extended jamming into rigid, often unfriendly structures. Some of Black Flag's music (My War, Slip It In) prefigured the grinding sound slabs of bands like the Melvins, and Gone scored a coup with its skewed, jam-heavy funk grooves. But Ginn's own playing--a murky quagmire of knotted sound, his twisted phrasing doubling over on itself in ever-surprising ways--while often imitated, hasn't been assimilated by anyone. His two solo records last year were pretty horrible, and the musicians he's touring with--bassist Steve Sharp and drummer Gregory Moore--are no Cain and Weiss, but a newer record by a reconstituted Gone (with Sharp and Moore), The Criminal Mind, demonstrates that when Ginn shuts up and puts his mind to it his guitar still has plenty to say. Rumor is they're playing some Black Flag material--too bad. Thursday, April 28, Avalon, 959 W. Belmont; 472-3020.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Patrick Miller.

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