Go ahead, ask Keith Morris anything. Or better yet, don’t bother: the hardcore legend — formerly of Black Flag and the Circle Jerks, lately of the hardcore-revivalist upstarts OFF! — will gladly sound off without the slightest provocation. Now in his mid-50s, Morris still boasts more backed-up spleen than a 15-year-old confined to Saturday-morning detention. “You wonder why I’m always screaming?” Morris yells on “Upside Down,” off of OFF’s First Four EPs. Having spent eight or so minutes in his presence, we can safely say: nope, not anymore. Screaming is what Keith Morris does. He sat with us at Pitchfork Festival to participate in our 90 Seconds Or Less feature. Our plan was to discuss some hardcore memories. Morris wasn’t having it. Below, we present a mere drop in the bucketful of bile he spewed: a hilarious anecdote about getting arrested for stealing vegetable oil for his modified tour bus.
Keith Morris On … Stealing Vegetable Oil
A record made in hardcore heaven, OFF! combines the formidable talents of Keith Morris — singer for both Circle Jerks and pre-Rollins Black Flag — Redd Kross bassist Steven Shane McDonald, Dmitri Coates, frontman for underrated Philadelphia band Burning Brides and Mario Rubalcaba, drummer for both Rocket From the Crypt and Hot Snakes. The results are as thrilling as you might imagine, a bleeding-knuckle bar brawl punk record full of 90-second songs that scrape and shout and burn up in record time. The m.o. here is abbreviated brutality: hit hard, hit fast, move on to the next one. OFF is a welcome kick to the throat.
Still Screaming: More Crucial Keith Morris Hardcore
Keith Morris has one of the greatest voices in hardcore punk. This might read like a contradiction in terms, like “the best cellist in minimal techno,” but the ability to scream with clarity of diction and force is hard — try it! Keith Morris’s hopping-mad rage has animated many of the most indispensable records of the American hardcore punk underground. Dig deeper below.