Keith Morris Talks OFF!, Politics & Touring In 2012
Next Thursday night, punk legend Keith Morris comes to Warehouse Live for his second Houston visit in a year with his group OFF!.
Photo By Katie Hovland
The band is made up of Morris, Steven McDonald of Redd Kross, drummer Mario Rubalcaba, and guitarist Dimitri Coats, also front man of Burning Brides. OFF! was birthed out of an aborted Circle Jerks project that Coats was involved with, but soon the other two were conscripted into OFF! and the band debuted at SXSW in 2010.
Morris co-founded Black Flag in 1976 with Greg Ginn and left in 1979 to form the Circle Jerks, making him one of the godfathers of American punk as we know it. But Morris doesn't rest on those credentials and instead prefers to push forward.
Two bands in one career names after insect repellant, joined by Morris and his spitfire vocals and signature flail. OFF! is probably one of the most refreshing bands touring today, and the lineage, authenticity and total fun of it all can't be ignored.
OFF! has released two albums, the First Four EPs compilation in 2011 and a self-titled effort this past May. The two releases cumulative running time is just under 34 minutes, making for quick but satisfying live workout.
Rocks Off spoke to Morris recently while he was at home in Los Feliz, "home to Gwen Stefani and that Gavin guy from Bush." The guys from System of a Down also call the neighborhood their home, and Morris lives not that far from Little Armenia.
"I do a lot of walking, my strolls, my hikes, I get to see a lot of stuff going down," jokes Morris. "We have a lot of the "Hey Look Me" people, a lot of stinky cologne, smelly perfume." .
I asked Morris if there is more to be angry about in 2012 than in the late '70s and early '80s when he was rolling with Flag and the Jerks.
"There's even more of it," he says. "And there are just more uptight, uneducated white people now."
All of these people fail to grasp any sense of American history. Morris and I talk about terrorism, what he calls America's karma, and the coming elections.
"We're going to have new people in the White House that aren't even people. It's not fair, we're too great of a country to allow these sort of things happen to us," Morris says.
I relate that John Lydon of the Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd said something similar in an interview the day before in regards to the States' political climate. I ended up speaking with two of the biggest firebrands in punk rock in the span of three days while the Republican National Convention raged on in Tampa.
Morris still finds Lydon a viable voice and enjoys what he has to say, but Lydon's rage seems kind of endearing to Morris at this point, seeing that he has married into wealth.