There once was a band called Black Flag. This band had an original vocalist named Keith Morris, who would later go on to form Circle Jerks, whilst Black Flag would become more known as being a vehicle for Henry Rollins. Then a bunch of time passed, as it always seems to do, and Keith Morris came out with this band called OFF!.
When I was growing up, I didn’t know a whole lot about hardcore punk. I guess in some ways I knew what it was, but didn’t, really. I had heard the names like Black Flag and Bad Brains before, but never really heard their music. It’s like how when you’re a kid you know who The Beatles are long before you actually hear any of their music. Then one day, you start putting all of the pieces together: “Oh, this song is The Beatles? Really? This one too?”
My musical youth consisted of me knowing Henry Rollins more for his song “Liar” and his role in the movie The Chase than it did for him being in the band Black Flag, yet, for whatever reason, I still knew the name “Black Flag”; I just never connected the two together.
One thing that I’ve always felt was missing in the modern-day music scene was real punk rock. We’ve become a society of musical critics where our “punk rock” now comes in the form of what can be called pop-punk or the sort of Oi!-punk like the Dropkick Murphys.
These days, where are the bands that have the mentality of the Ramones? Where are the bands that maybe can’t play so well but put on an entertaining show, like the Sex Pistols? Where have all of the punk rock bands truly gone? I will never know, but then this genre of hardcore punk seems to be even smaller.
I’m not saying that there aren’t hardcore punk bands out there. I could probably name a few of them if I really wanted to, but it doesn’t make for a scene. It doesn’t make it as important as it was back when it first started.
Thankfully, OFF! is here to teach the kids (hopefully) how to make music again. These songs are all around a minute long or so, with the speed dulled down from a band like 7 Seconds. The songs can be somewhat political in terms of lyrics, but they can also just be about someone calling himself the king of the scene.
So kids, if you want to see how it’s done, listen to this album, call up your friends, and go on tour with Violent Bullshit or Fucked Up or Black Coffee or someone. Let’s get this scene going again.