OFF! brings three decades of punk tenure to reinvent the genre

:: OFF! ::
:: The Marquis Theatre :: October 8
:: The Black Sheep :: October 9

By Bobbi Stark


Accidents happen, but the accidental conception of the raw and fierce punk band OFF! in 2009 has, so far, rendered no regrets.

While legendary Circle Jerks/Black Flag singer Keith Morris and the accomplished Dimitri Coats, best known as the frontman for the hard rock group Burning Brides, were working on the latest Circle Jerks album (which later fell apart) the two mastermind amigos decided to experiment with their own creations.

No one — not even those directly involved in the project — expected that what took place that day would later become the bones of the fiercest band in the current American punk revival.

“This band is a complete accident,” Coats said in a recent interview with The Marquee. “We were very serious about what we were building at the time, but we didn’t know it would end up being a band that we would be [in]together. When I was writing that stuff with [Morris] I didn’t foresee myself being the guitar player. I was ready to hand it over to another band. What a thrill that I get to see it through like that?”

With over thirty years of experience under his belt, Morris fronts OFF! with his signature style of brutal and confrontational vocals. Meanwhile, Steven McDonald of Redd Kross handles low-end duties and Mario “Ruby Mars” Rubalcaba of Earthless, Rocket from the Crypt, and Hot Snakes, takes on the drummer post.

With such eclectic and accomplished backgrounds of each member, OFF! was almost guaranteed to be different from the rest of the members’ other musical endeavors.

“Well, I think for me, it’s definitely the coolest band I’ve ever been in,” Coats said. “I think partly that’s true because of how old we all are and the fact that we all come from different backgrounds — it comes from a real place, a real friendship. If somebody would have told me I would have started a hardcore band with one of my best friends who’s in his fifties and I’m going to be entering into my forties, I would have not have believed that crystal ball. It’s incredible to be doing something that means so much to people. That’s a great feeling no matter what genre you’re in.”

Although OFF! is still a relatively new band, the pedigree of its members are already re-animating the ferocious hardcore style that originally defined the birth of punk music. Their latest release First Four EPs on Vice Records includes the band’s first EP in addition to three more, rounding out to 16 bare knuckled songs in less than 18 minutes. Songs like, “I Don’t Belong,” “Black Thoughts,” and “Crawl” remind listeners of why punk music existed in the first place — to shake us of our complacency and get us pissed (and to do so in a minute or less).

Coats said that when they finally got around to recording it didn’t take long. “We record very quickly, it takes a day to make a record, I’m not kidding,” he said. “The next record, we’ll record the whole thing in a day. We write pretty quickly too, because if we don’t we’ll kill each other. As Morris likes to say about everything with this band, ‘Get in. Get out.’”

Since March, the band has left a trail of frenzy across the States, made their debut in Europe for a month, and have just recently decided to come back for a second helping of their American fans.

Having toured three months this year already, with another list of dates on the horizon, Coats assured fans that despite the consistent performing, the OFF! experience is just as energetic and unstoppable as ever. “We’re leaving the country, leaving our families for weeks on end, you know, getting injured, having to get up [anyway]. Morris almost broke his ribs on this last tour. I thought he was going to throw in the towel, but we’re talking about a guy who did a tour in a body cast [during the 1984 Circle Jerks tour when Morris broke his back during a stage dive gone awry].”

That determination, though, along with the response that the band has already received in its short tenure, leads Coats to think that there’s quite a future for the band, and at least one full-length on the way next spring.

“A lot of people are saying that what we’re doing is really important and they haven’t heard anything quite like this in a long time, so that counts for something and we want to take it even further,” he said.



:: OFF! ::

:: The Marquis Theatre :: October 8

:: The Black Sheep :: October 9


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1 Comment

  1. Marco CasadoLima on

    In fact, OFF! is a new band but with a great and traditional indie/punk rock musicians.
    This band came to be a supergroup. And it is.