Though introductions should be entirely unnecessary, Keith Morris was a founding member of seminal punk band Black Flag. Shortly after, he founded the Circle Jerks, a band he fronted from 1979 until recently. Morris now performs with the hardcore punk supergroup Off!, which features members of Burning Brides, Redd Kross, Rocket From the Crypt, and Hot Snakes.
And even at 55 years old, Morris shows no signs of slowing down. Give Off!'s First Four EPs a spin and bear witness to what is arguably the best punk band since its members began shoving flyers down your throat and ruining vans 30 years ago. Off! wraps its U.S. tour at Culture Room this Sunday, and New Times caught up with Keith Morris at home in L.A.
New Times: When was the last time you were in South Florida?
Keith Morris: The last show I remember in Florida was at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg. Some friends showed up with their 7-year-old son, and the little kid was totally bummed. He didn't want to be there and hated everything. About a third of the way through the set, his mom was so pissed off at him that she walked up to the front of the stage and threw him into the crowd!
He crowd-surfed all the way to the very back of the theater, and then they pushed him all the way back to the front of the stage in a very nice, gentle way. Without looking at anyone onstage, he turned around and dove back into the crowd. He probably had the experience of his life — until his parents take him to Disney World.
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Could you give your two cents on how Off! came to be?
A guy was fed up with the situation that he'd been in for the majority of his life. Fed up with being in the position of writing songs for a new record that was intended to be for the other guys in the band, whom he was fed up with. He was told that he had to quit the band because of another situation in his life. This might be a terrible analogy, but I don't think the Rolling Stones are going to tell Mick Jagger that he's no longer in the band. I don't think the guys in the Descendents would tell Milo: "Your services are no longer necessary." All of this ridiculousness and stupidity, and a bunch of decisions that were made based on pills and bills and cheap thrills, and not really thought out.
Off! feels like when I first started being a part of a band back in Hermosa Beach at the Church in 1977 with Greg Ginn and Robo and Chuck, and the kids in Redd Kross. I'm having the time of my life. I feel like I'm 21 again.