Ragged old Flag is an American punk rock/country band formed in Boston Massachusetts in 2003. The band was founded by guitarist/singer/songwriter Dave Smith and Bassist Ben Murphy both of whom previously played, recorded and toured for years in the highly acclaimed and popular ska/punk/reggae band Jaya the Cat. After leaving Jaya The Cat, Smith and Murphy both got sober and found themselves’ in a garage working on Smiths’ new batch of songs late into the night.....they knew they were onto something great and they knew there was only one drummer to call, Boston's Jesse Von Kenmore. Jesse was the most rocking, hardest hitting drummer they knew...he had been in the Boston music scene for years, been in a ton of bands, and had worked with Jaya The Cat for a time on drums in earlier years. For a second guitar, they brought in "Power" Geoff O'Connor, a solid guitarist and longtime friend, who also played in Boston's punk/ska band Stray Bullets.
For months they wrote, rehearsed and recorded Ragged Old Flags' first album, volume one. Over time it became clear with the success that O'Connor was having with the Stray Bullets, that he was spread thin and could not fully commit to Ragged Old Flag. They parted on good terms, remaining friends and supporting each others bands and a replacement was found in "Texas” Bob Marlar. After rehearsing with Marlar, the band went back in the studio and Marlar re-tracked the “clean” guitar parts onto the record. Ragged Old Flag was now complete and ready to play live.
The band took to the stage in 2004 making a solid impact on the Boston scene in very short time. Ragged old flag enjoyed great shows with good bands right off the bat....all those years of paying dues and making friends had paid off. For Smith, it was too much, too soon, too fast. Still being newly sober, he simply was not ready to handle the inevitable pressures that the impending success of Ragged Old Flag brought. Dave decided to walk away leaving mixed feelings amongst some of the band members that are still unsettled today.
In 2008 Smith moved to Nashville, TN and began writing and recording again with other players, Murphy moved to Las Vegas, NV and wrote and recorded on his own. Marlar began tattooing, finally relocating back to his home in Texas, while Jesse remained in Boston moving forward with other musical projects and building hotrods. Eventually, Murphy moved back to Boston and worked again with Jesse and some Boston songwriters, including ex-Dropkick Murphy’s Rick Barton and Darkbusters Lenny Lashley. For them though, Ragged old Flag always came back in the mix.
In 2012, the members of Ragged Old Flag reunited for a show in Boston at the Midway Café. Appearing for the first time with the original lineup of Smith, Murphy, O'Connor and Von Kenmore. Within 20 minutes of rehearsing for the show, Ragged Old Flag realized how much they missed playing music together and how truly special the band was. The decision was made to give it another shot and they played their first show in 8 years together. The response was overwhelmingly positive and Ragged Old Flag was back and better than ever. The album, Ragged Old Flag volume one, was never released... but in 2012 for the show, a limited run was pressed for the first time on Smiths' indie label country-rebel recordings. "What the future for this band holds, no one knows. I believe the message of this band is a positive one and we hope people will enjoy us and of course we hope to have success doing this. I like to think at this point in life we all have the tools to make this happen with smiles on our faces." -Ben Murphy
The songs on this recording feature all of the band members:
Jesse Von Kenmore: Drums
Ben Murphy: Bass/vox
Bob Marlar: Guitar/vox
Geoff O’Connor: Guitar/vox
Dave Smith: Vox/guitar