The all-star punk band Off! came as a bit of a surprise to its founding members.
Guitarist Dimitri Coats of Burning Brides had been hired to produce a new album for the iconic group the Circle Jerks. But frontman Keith Morris, who was also in the equally revered Black Flag, was dissatisfied with the direction the project was heading, he and Coats began working on a new and more immediately fruitful batch of material that became an album called “First Four EPs.”
“Keith and I realized that we could collaborate very well together, and it just turned into a different thing,” Coats, 40, explains. “It just really comes down to songwriting and having a very specific vision as to what sort of a target we wanted to aim for. We just instantly locked into it.
“And as that (Circle Jerks) record fell apart, we just knew what we were onto something that could potentially be even greater.”
Coats and Morris filled the Off! lineup with bassist Steven Shane McDonald from Red Kross and drummer Mario Rubalcaba (Rocket From the Crypt, Hot Snakes) and have been gratified by the “overwhelming” response to “First Four EPs.” The group is planning plenty of touring, including a slot at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival this month, and Coats says the quartet is excited about the prospects of another album and a future for Off! as a going concern.
“Somebody is just gonna tell us, ‘Hey guys, you need to make another record,’ and we’ll probably take about a month to write and record it,” Coats says. “We live close by, so we can just take an evening and bang out a couple of songs if we have to.
“It all depends on how (angry) Keith and I get at each other. It’s not an easy process, even though we’re dearest friends. But there’s heavy opinions egos in this band as well as trust — and being angry is part of what punk rock’s about, after all.”
Off!, Trash Talk and Hellmouth perform Friday, April 1, at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call 313-833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.
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