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OFF! (October 23, 2010 NYC)

25 October 2010

The CMJ conference brought hundreds of wet behind the ears new bands (and the masses of college kids they are trying to attract) to New York City this past week.
However, it also brought some distinguished vets, without whom the current musical landscape would be far different.

OFF!, comprised of punk rock legends Keith Morris (Circle Jerks, Black Flag), Steven McDonald (Redd Kross), Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides) and Mario Rubalcaba (Rocket From the Crypt) found themselves playing to a crowd in which 90% of the attendees weren’t born until after their original bands had released albums. In fact, it appeared most people were at the show for the free beer and vodka and to listen to crappy house music played between sets.

In talking to several of the crowd, they were far more familiar with Anti-Flag then they were with Black Flag.

Despite the age gap, once OFF! started thrashing, the band was enthusiastically received; as Morris led the band through a dozen songs which were so fast and hard that they were over almost before they started. OFF! is supporting their new self titled 4 song ep (on Vice Records) and also recently appeared on Carson Daly. In talking to Keith Morris, I observed how the sound of the band really takes one back to the early Circle Jerks classic lp Group Sex. Keith replied that he was growing frustrated with getting the Circle Jerks back together as he wanted to make this type of music, and other members wanted a poppier and safer sound.

The name “OFF!”, according to bassist McDonald is a play on words just as Black Flag was. Back when THAT band was named, the black flag represented anarchy. Soon after the band was sued by the makers of the bug spray. Similarly, McDonald’s band Redd Kross had to change the spelling of their band’s name to satisfy the Red Cross relief organization. Well, OFF! is another bug spray! Punk Rock!

When asked where he wanted to take the band, McDonald responded that they were just having fun, and that they all had family’s that interfered with long term touring; but they hoped to get a tour in the future. McDonald referenced that OFF!‘s sound is a flashback to the original Black Flag “Nervous Breakdown” ep, when “Redd Kross also first got their start”. OFF! has a song called “Panic Attack” which Morris said “is our new version of “Nervous Breakdown”.

With songs like “Darkness”, “Upside Down” and “I Don’t Belong”, OFF! is bringing it all back to the nascent days of L.A. Punk Rock. It’s about time that another generation learns what real punk rock is.

Official OFF! Website