BYERS, CO – To say that Damaged and My War changed my life would be a gross understatement. Those albums made me think, “Hell ya. Those voices in my head were right. I’m not insane, everybody else is insane.” Their violent and confrontational message is even more relevant today than it was when they first started playing and I was given the pleasure and honor of being able to interview Bill, Stephen, Dez and Chuck on Sunday before they played and literally blew Riot Fest away — and by “blew” I mean that I thought that everybody was going to be picked up by a tornado then drowned in mid-air while eating a big bowl of lightning.
flag interview (before the shit got weird)
I’ll revel you in the chaos of their set.
When they started off “My War,” the ‘Riot Stage’ banner on the side of the stage was blown off its hinges, sending the stage crew into a frenzy to lower the speaker stacks adjacent to the stage, fearing that the band would be crushed after the next gust. Then came the rain. Fat ugly drops of rain flying sideways on the wind, punching my fellow reporter Mike Amster and me in our eardrums (we both now have ear infections). However, Keith Morris comforted everybody by telling us that “We’re all going to die sooner or later.”
Flag’s roadies rushed equipment off the stage as the plumes of dust from the mosh pit crashed down into a viscous mud –I glanced to my right while
singing screaming along to “Gimme Gimme Gimme” to see festival-goers sprinting towards the gates and away from the lightning target range which was Riot Fest.
The PA was cut off shortly after, but Flag kept playing. It was a most excellent experience.
But the party ended as Flag’s roadies forcefully turned their amps off and the national weather broadcasting emergency warning system started blaring, advising everybody to get into their cars or the arriving emergency shuttles, because, apparently, electrocution isn’t quite as glamorous as Benjamin Franklin and Doc Brown made it out to be.
Flag was the band that shut down Riot Fest. I have never seen anything like that in my short but storied life and I’m sure I never will again.