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ATTITUDE “I come from a place, having been in Black Flag and growing up at the beach, when you’re standing at the end of the pier and the intention is to leap off the end of the pier and into the water, you jump. You don’t wet your thumb and stick it up into the air to find out what direction the wind is blowing in. You’ve got to take on that attitude. That gung-ho, go for it, who gives a fuck mentality.”

OFF! “We’re playing a very angry, spiteful kind of music. Music that slaps you in the face. We’re playing a music that steps on your toes. Kicks you between the legs. I’ve had people say, ‘Keith, you keep playing this music and it’s so destructive. You’re going to die early because you harbour all of these ill-wills and all these hateful thoughts. These dark, black thoughts.’ The fact of the matter is, it’s just who I am.”

UNDER YOUR INFLUENCE “The thing that [OFF!] have going on is that we love and enjoy a lot of different bands. We’re older guys so we’ve heard a shit tonne of music and one of our common threads in our band is that we all love Led Zeppelin and the first Led Zeppelin album was one of the first albums I ever owned. My first three albums were ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, ‘Are You Experienced?’ by Jimi Hendrix and the first Zep album and they are three of the greatest albums ever recorded.”

FLAG SINCE 2011 “We had to rehearse of course because the songs, even though we’d played them several thousand times, sometimes leave your memory. We actually rehearsed in a very hot and sweaty room in the summertime.”

FAMILY

KEITH MORRIS Touring the UK and Europe with other former BLACK FLAG members as FLAG in August, including shows in London and a set at Rebellion Festival in Blackpool, what better time to talk to vocalist and 60 year old hardcore punk legend Keith Morris? Born and raised in Hermosa Beach, California, he formed Black Flag with his friend Greg Ginn in 1976, singing on the band’s seminal 1979 debut EP ‘Nervous Breakdown’ before leaving that year after “freaking out on cocaine and speed”. He then formed CIRCLE JERKS with former Redd Kross guitarist Greg Hetson and released albums including 1980’s mighty ‘Group Sex’ (which included fan favourite ‘Deny Everything’). In 2010 he formed a new band called OFF! with members of Burning Brides, Redd Kross and Rocket From The Crypt, with a couple of albums proper and a collection under their belts, and is now touring with FLAG. Down For Life looks closer at the man behind the music. 98

DOWN FOR LIFE

“I’m not a dad, I’m an uncle. I can’t bring kids into this fucked up world. Too much of a big mess this world, it’s not fair unless you’ve got a ton of money and you can surround them in a castle!”

SURVIVOR “I’ve suffered three comas and lived to tell the tale. Rolled a van in black ice and crushed it to the point nobody was supposed to walk away. I also experienced dysentery when I was quite young to the point where I shrivelled up to the size of a large prune. Maybe we’re not supposed to be having this conversation but we are. I just consider myself very lucky and I do use near death experiences as a fuel to continue doing what I’m doing.”

CIRCLE JERKS REUNION? “To be honest, I’m in no hurry. I’m having the time of my life. I’m not fretting and worrying. If and when there’s a right time then we’ll get back together but only when the time is right.”

Flag play two shows at London Underworld on August 1st and 2nd and play Rebellion Festival in Blackpool on August 4th, as well as various other European shows.

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