Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Ian Grimble and Richard Matthews of Communion Music at 2KHz, Crouch End, London
There's a lot wrong with a lot of the world these days. It's what we're told and it's what we see. There are a lot of people who have lost it and there are many more who are going to follow suit. Again, it's what we've seen and it's what we've witnessed. It's next to impossible to not feel some portion of the apprehension that's prevailing almost everywhere. People are finding less and less to be optimistic about. OFF! lead singer Keith Morris - the former frontman for legendary punk bands Black Flag and Circle Jerks has never had the problem of being too optimistic. He's never had a problem with calling a spade a spade or being agitated about the spades that we was seeing and calling all over the place. He's never had a problem with becoming so fucking bummed out about something that's he's gotten himself from mildly irritated to totally fucking ballistic in a short matter of time. He's willing to rip and tear and hope to hell that such a tactic will work to make things tolerable, if not better.
With OFF!, Morris joined forces with Burning Brides frontman Dimitri Coats, Redd Kross bassist Steven Shane McDonald and Rocket From The Crypt/Hot Snakes drummer Mario Rubakcaba three years ago in Los Angeles and together they create some of the most nervous and urgent punk rock that's been done for a while. It takes issues with issues and it puts people in their places, or tries to. Morris sings as if he were still a young man frustrated by all those guys with fancy clothing and briefcases or the guys with badges and wondering why they have so much power. He has it about him, a burning rage that can only be stoked, not put out. He sings on "I Don't Belong," "I'm standing in the shadows and I'm pissing in the punch bowl." It's vivid and it's brutal, but a line that separates the men from the boys. It separates those who just look and complain and those get out there and thrash, who waste little time explaining any ground rules or putting down any splatter mats, or just easing into it. It's just about hitting hard and to the point, with the sharp ends facing forward.