March 28, 2014

Keith Morris Talks About New OFF! Album, 'Wasted Years'

Keith Morris Talks About New OFF! Album, 'Wasted Years'

Punk rock legend Keith Morris took some time recently to talk to Rolling Stone about the new album from his band OFF!, legal battles with Black Flag, and 30 years of punk rock craziness and near-death experiences. Check out an excerpt of the interview below.

You're usually pretty mad or agitated in your songs. But on the new album, you sound particularly angry. Keith, is everything okay?

Well, why not be mad? I live in a really kind of obnoxious neighborhood in a really busy part of Los Angeles. You have this hustle and bustle. You have the people racing to get to the red light so they can be the first to go when the light turns green. There seems to be a prevailing mentality of "me before you." All of this negativity doesn't seem to be going away. There are more cars, police and crime then ever. We're fighting the war on terrorism and drugs. "Hooray, let's go kill more people!" This is my fuel.

Do you enjoy being angry?

It's good to be angry and I use lyrics and music and jumping around on stage and getting all hot and sweaty and bothered and freaked out as a form of therapy. It's a way to let off steam and get stuff off my chest. But ultimately, it's probably pretty unhealthy.

The new album also finds you focusing more on politics then ever before.

You see, it has turned into the good guys versus the bad guys. We certainly need a third party. On Facebook, my sister posted, "Obama is a failure." Well of course he's a failure! But Romney, would he be any better? He's a bigger failure. When will someone step up to represent everyday working people? We need people that actually represent us.

Do you think some of the anger stems from the whole Flag/Black Flag lawsuit? What's going on with that?

We're still going through with the litigation. We have papers to sign. There was a Black Flag fan site with about 800,000 likes on Facebook and there was the Black Flag official Facebook site that had about 100,000 likes and they were losing people left and right because they weren't allowing anyone to comment unless the comments were pro-Black Flag. The fan site is gone now. That was something that came up. Now, it's time to start talking money, and when you talk money, things get really ugly.

The concept of Wasted Years suggests regret. Do you have a lot of regrets?

I probably have a few regrets. I've had the opportunity to do a lot of different things. Getting to "wasted years," or regrets – I was plagued with being an alcoholic and a cocaine addict, trying to find out where the next party was. If you look at the guy on the front cover of the album, he's the guy that I hung out with in junior high and high school. I grew up in Hermosa Beach, so the major players were the guy on the album cover – the Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Their biggest challenge was trying to find the party on Tuesday night during summer, or find the dealer, or raise the cash to buy the four-finger baggie or roll the keg into the swimming pool. Those were their challenges, and at times, those were my challenges.

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