PIGGY: Eat it up

by Rodney Lotter

In 1980, Ron Reyes was a teenage street kid in Los Angeles. Like many disaffected youth at the time, Reyes found his outlet through, what was then, a burgeoning punk rock scene in the South Bay area of L.A. Reyes’ favorite band at the time was Black Flag: the most iconic band of that time and place, and – let’s be real – one of the best punk bands to ever exist. To this day, street kids latch onto the cacophony and immediate energy of Black Flag’s music, which can be proven on the arms of many a street kid, crust punk and cool dad around the world (as the Black Flag logo is a staple of the band tattoo sub-genre of body art).

Reyes ended up joining Black Flag as a lead singer, and during the very short stint he was with the band, managed to record some of their most killer cuts, like “Jealous Again.” Reyes famously quit the band in the midst of a live performance in Redondo Beach, CA, due to escalating violence in the pit at the show, and was later replaced by Dez Cadena. The argument about who is the best singer of Black Flag ever (Henry Rollins? Dez? Reyes? Keith Morris?) has since become one of the most circular bar debates in the history of drunk rock n’ roll bar arguments, right up there with the Stones vs Beatles discussion, whether Pink Floyd was better with or without Syd Barrett, theories about what happened to Metallica (they used to be soooo bad ass!,) and the great Bon Scott vs Brian Johnson AC/DC debacle.

In the decades since Reyes’ departure from the band, he went on to work at a print shop while residing in Vancouver, B.C and raising three children. Black Flag went on to achieve legendary status with Henry Rollins for the bulk of the band’s releases, and then broke up, played some one-off reunion gigs and then reunited in 2013 with Reyes manning the vocal duties once again. In true Black Flag fashion, the reunion became a debacle of lawsuits and personality clashes that would end with Reyes being fired.

Reyes has since made amends, and is now rocking out on guitar with his new band, PIGGY. Prior to PIGGY, Reyes only had experience as the frontman for a band, so the guitar was a whole new thing for him.

“I had a desire to do music again but did not want to rush back into singing. I never really played guitar before so I thought I would give that a try,” Reyes said. “It has been a challenge but I like it.”

PIGGY’s brand of rock n’ roll is quite different than his former band. It is much more aligned with classic rock-leaning, guitar riffy, sounds of the other big ‘80’s scene in L.A., that included Hanoi Rocks, Motley Crue and others, but PIGGY isn’t nearly as butt-rocky as those dudes, or inclined to wear as much make-up. In other words, PIGGY is just a straight-up, all killer no filler, balls-to-the-wall rock n’ roll band.

For, Reyes, PIGGY is about stability, as the band has been together for four years now. Reyes said that he was glad to be back and able to focus on PIGGY and start making things happen, after the big Black Flag fallout.

“Last year I was on tour with a band and it was bloody awful,” Reyes said. “But I was determined not to be a quitter and actually made strong efforts to make it work. Finally I got kicked out and that was the best thing that could have happened. My Crash Bang Crunch Pop Band was way more sugar coated power glam pop. Piggy really is not sugar coated at all. The only thing I consciously steer away from is being a typical bang bang bang hard core band. That is just not my thing at all.”

LIVE SHOW: Catch PIGGY on Oct. 19 at the Cabin Tavern with Girl Guts, Totalizer and Quinton Rundel. Cover is $4. For more about the band, see facebook.com/PIGGYOFFICIAL.CA.

Published in the October 2014 issue of What’s Up! Magazine