Punk rock supergroup Off! will be performing at DeLuna Fest, Sept. 21-23 on Pensacola Beach. / Special to GoPensacola.com
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Do you like your music hard and fast? How do you feel about 16 songs in 16 minutes? You must be a fan of the rock supergroup Off!, consisting of lead singer Keith Morris of Black Flag/Circle Jerks, guitarist Dimitri Coats of Burning Brides, bassist Steven Shane McDonald of Redd Kross and drummer Mario Rubalcaba of Rocket From the Crypt/Hot Snakes. Off!'s first four EPs form one album that is full of the same raw, frenetic music that influenced a lot of punks and skaterboarders back in the day as the punk/hardcore genre emerged. Coats was kind enough to divulge in a phone interview who he is listening to now and who he is looking forward to seeing at DeLuna Fest this year.
Q: Is there anyone playing at DeLuna that would be like a dream to collaborate with Off!?
A: Well, I mean we are playing the day before Bad Brains. So I think it would be fun to do a split with them, ya know?
Q: Yeah, like a split EP?
A: Yeah! Like a split 7-inch, just like one song each.
Q: So you are a fan of Bad Brains … who else have you been listening to lately?
A: Who I've been listening to a lot is a band that we are bringing on the road in the fall called Double Negative, from out in North Carolina, and also another band from Southern California called Bad Antics.
Q: I see that you guys are coming off from a tour playing with Refused. Do you see any major differences between the upcoming fall tour with the shows you have just finished playing?
A: Well we're opening for a bigger band on that tour with Refused, playing for a lot more people and the audience … there's like a bit of a challenge because I don't think a lot of them knew who we were. You know, that band has the strange situation of having broken up years ago when they put out a record that went on to be really important to a lot of kids. The audiences were young — younger — so we had to work hard to win them over, you know? The upcoming fall tour is going to be more like playing to our fans and fans of the kind of music that we do.
Q: So there's going to be a little bit of a demographic shift in the fan base?
A: Yeah, I mean, it's the difference between opening for a bigger band and trying to make fans versus just shooting fish in a barrel and headlining your own show.
Q: I imagine that there would be major differences in playing a large, outdoor festival like DeLuna Fest compared to Off!'s upcoming show at the Staples Center in Los Angeles opening for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Do you have a preference over what kind of venue that you like to play?
A: That really depends. We have certainly walked on stage at festivals in front of thousands of people and had a great time and were really well received. We've also had incredible shows at warehouses that had just sort of a makeshift P.A., where the cops come and break up the show and we end up moving it somewhere else — there's really not that much separation between the crowd and what's going on onstage, or lack thereof [laughs]; it really varies. As long as people are into it, that's all that matters. We don't really enjoy performing for people that are just standing there.
Q: Well, I think with your kind of music, it's kind of hard to just stand there. [laughs]
A: Yeah, it's sort of an idea that invites a certain kind of physicality from a crowd, which is fun!
Q: Along those lines, there are going to be so many different genres of music going on at DeLuna Fest, so what can people that aren't really familiar with the punk/hardcore scene expect from your set?
A: What they can expect from us even though they may have a preconceived idea as to what punk or hardcore is, I mean, we just describe ourselves as a rock band, like Black Sabbath sped up really fast. Underneath it all, what we're proud of, is that we have good songs. They're sort of mangled, but we're Beatles fans at the end of the day. We put a lot of work into these tunes, to make sure that they are fun and catchy and we definitely throw a party. It might be a darker party than people are used to [laughs] but it's still fun nonetheless.