Q&A: Keith Morris Of OFF! On Greg Ginn, The Black Flag Days And SST Records
OFF!, "Wiped Out"
That all said, you've been on the outs with [SST Records proprietor] Greg Ginn essentially since you exited Black Flag back in 1979.
Um, we tried to make up, tried to be "punk rock boyfriends"I'm just being facetious, of course. I'm writing a book and one of the chapters in the book will be "What happened when he and I tried to get back together." There was a scenario where Black Flag was going to play a couple of reunion shows at a place called the Hollywood Palladium [in 2003]. The Hollywood Palladium is a space that if you jam it full of people, there's 5000 people in there. I was asked by the promoters to come in and make sure that, you know, Robo was going to perform and Dez and Ron Reyes and Henry and Chuck Dukowski and Kira was gonna be there and it was gonna be this truly amazing thing. Once I started to get involved and started to take the bull by the horns, I got gouged by the bull. It got really ugly. I'd only rehearsed twice. When I left the rehearsals it was like, "You know what? I gotta start making calls. I gotta make sure the guys are gonna be here because if it's gonna be anything like what these rehearsals have been, I'm not gonna be there." It started to spiral into this "He said this and you're talking shit and you've been spreading vicious rumors." It turned very, like, third or fourth grade, like little kids pointing fingers at each other and I didn't want to have anything to do with that. All of a sudden, I started to see the headtrip, the skulldruggery, the BS starting to rise up. I was starting to feel the bad vibes and I realized this is pretty much the same reason why I left in the first place.
Were the bad vibes mainly coming from Ginn, or from the other Black Flag members, as well?
Well, in the psyche department, in the headtrip department, we have to say anybody that looks at the situation and you look at the list of credits and you look at the mastermind, Black Flag is Greg Ginn's band. Now, I've talked to a few other people, and Keith Morris says, "That's right. Greg Ginn was the mastermind. Greg Ginn wrote some pretty brilliant songs." But all of us stumbled into somethingwe didn't know what we were creating. But the fact of the matter is, you can't have a band unless you have other people playing in the band; you can't go up on stage with just a guy and his guitar and play those songs. It just doesn't work. There has to be some other people. There has to be a Ron Reyes or a Dez Cadena. There has to be a Billy Stevenson or a Kira Roessler. There has to be Chuck "The Duke" and there has to be Johnny "Bob" Goldstein. It doesn't work any other way. I'm an administrator on the Black Flag Facebook page and I'm one of the guys that has to deflect some of the bullshit. A lot of people get on there and want to immediately grind on Henry Rollins. Henry Rollins in Black Flag: I saw him perform with Black Flag twice and they were pretty fucking amazing. At one of their performances, I was in tears, I couldn't move, I was paralyzed. When I walked away, while I was crying, I was thinking to myself, "Why did I quit this band?" One of the greatest bands I'd ever been a part of, but also one of the greatest bands I'd ever seen perform. So, I get to let everybody know that you don't get to badmouth any of the people in this band, because everybody put in their time, had stuff thrown at them, had their lives threatened. We were constantly having the police kick in our door and making us vacate a space at three in the morning, five in the morning. "Grab whatever you can and run."
It appears that most of the ex-members of Black Flag are on good terms, but Ginn is the isolated one.
He chose to be the isolated one. He, being the creator and being the guy that who he was, also brought a lot of BS onto himself in some of his moves and the way that he practiced his business and just some of the terrible things that he's done.