By Ian Joulain
Keith Morris is the former frontman of legendary punk-rock acts Black Flag and the Circle Jerks, and, as of 2009, the lead singer of OFF! who play FYF Fest this Saturday at Los Angeles State Historic Park.
He's also prone to tangents. In our short conversation he ranted on everything from Bill Hicks and L.A.'s tap water to falling out with former collaborators.
Morris is outspoken about subjects like the Internet, which he contends has ruined today's youth. “[Nowadays] people don't go out because you can sit at home and watch [everything] on a little screen instead of going out and participating and being part of something.”
He much prefers “smoking and drinking and telling jokes and barfing in parking lots and going into the men's room and stomping and tromping through all the piss and the puke.” You might think of it as gross, but he sees it as being a part of something tangible.
Lately, OFF! has been on the festival circuit, something Morris' previous band, the Circle Jerks, was squirrelly about. That band had constant scheduling conflicts due to guitarist Greg Hetson's duties in Bad Religion, which ultimately contributed to the Circle Jerks' downfall.
Morris himself, however, can't get enough of festivals.
“They are so eclectic,” he says. “We get to mix it up with all sorts of different kinds of people.” He enjoys not being pigeonholed with other bands of his genre, since playing for kids who might not be familiar with his music forces him to prove himself anew.
At FYF, Morris is psyched to be reunited with longtime comrade Bill Stevenson, drummer of the Descendents. Stevenson and Morris have been friends since the early days of the South Bay punk explosion, and at one point the former even worked for the latter's father. “Having the opportunity to reconnect with Billy, it's like I get to hang out with my younger brother,” Morris declares.