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Keith Morris (BLACK FLAG / CIRCLE JERKS / OFF!) interviewed by Punknews.org, May 2012

Punknews.org recently conducted an interview with Keith Morris of BLACK FLAG, CIRCLE JERKS and OFF!.

Off!’s last release, The First Four Eps was a collection of EPS, but the new self titled album, is being promoted as an LP. Is there a significance to the format?
Not really. What happened, with The First Four Eps, was that we were told that there was a possibility that it would come out as a 12″ and it never did. For this album, we decided to make sure it comes out as a 12″, just to let everyone know. The record speed is 45 rpm, which isn’t anything mind-boggling new or fresh, but it’s just the way that it is. We’re just going to go with it.

Off! songs seem to have a connective thread, of only, because the lyrics come mainly from you. Is there a theme or connective tissue on the new LP?
Well, the situation this time around, was we allotted ourselves just a little bit more time to write and record. See, we recorded the record in about 30 hours. Maybe less than 30 hours.

We’re a band that’s made up of 3 dads, 2 husbands, and a couple of guys with girlfriends and they got their kids and because of that, there’s a time or schedule. We don’t get a lot of time. We’re not one of those bands where it’s like, “Guys, lets go out and drink” or “see this band” or “I’m having a pool party at the YMCA.”

So, we gotta just dive into it. We had four rehearsals for this album. We might have spent 7 or 8 hours learning the songs. Our drummer Mario had it in his mind that we were going to have all the songs recorded the first day because he was going to go to a wedding on the second day. It was like, “Are you kidding? You might want to rethink that kind of mentality.”

We only have three days in the studio. He thought that we would be doing over-dubs on the second and mixing on the third day. That wasn’t really how it went down. Our time together is very limited. What you hear is the product of [OFF!’s guitarist and co-writer] Dimitri and I spending about two weeks writing the songs, and us rehearsing maybe eight hours, and then recording.

We called it “three days.” But, normally, you are really only in the studio for 12 hours. The first day was about 5 hours, and just going through some of the songs, setting up mics, and trying to get the vibe… and the situation is that everyone’s ears gets tired and we gotta get out of there.

You have a lunch break or a coffee break or a cigarette break, so when you say you are in the studio for 12 hours, you’re really only working six hours. So, we recorded, I give it about 30 hours, and you can tell that there is a sense of urgency. There’s the same urgency that was on the last record.

Recently, there was a news item about an “Indie Band” that spent $100,000 to make an album. But, in 2010, OFF! recorded one of the greatest releases of the year in just a few days. How did the new recording contrast against the last release in this age of expensive album cost?
This one was more hectic! Some guys though that they would take off early. When you’re married and you have kids, you have to feed them and have them in bed. We are fortunate to be able to get together and do what we do. I really, really liked the record. I’m not one of the guys that sits around and says “We did this on this one and then on that one we did that.” I’ve never paid attention to anything like that. If the music is good, it transcends.

I’ve never been someone who looks back and says “during this period, we were shooting heroin and shooting opium in the testicle and the drummer drank champagne and was strung out… I don’t pay attention to any of that stuff. Just get down and do it!

I sort of think that the time crunch is what makes OFF! so immediate sounding.
I would think that we have a very compacted sound. “Let’s just do it! Let’s just do this! Let’s have fun and let’s make noise” and people can do whatever.

You can read the rest of the interview here.

OFF! live:

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