By Jon Pebs
What makes a great song? Lyrics? Melody? Rhythm? Chords? Fuck, I don’t know. What I do know is I’m always talking about songs I wish I wrote. Songs that are so good that loving them isn’t enough. I want to be a part of them. I want to be there for their birth and childhood and teenage years! I want to see them develop in the studio and come out as a complete and gold piece of sound.
Like a lot of musicians, I love all kinds of music and wish I wrote songs in just about every genre. My favorite, of course, being Classic Punk and 2-Tone era ska. I also love metal, country, reggae and jazz. I love Tom Waits as a genre, not just an artist. I wish I wrote most of his songs.
I feel good about my three, very different, bands I play in. Buck-O-Nine is a ska’punk band, Labeled Victims is a crossover Punk/Thrash band and Pebs & The Midnight Welders is a folk/country band. I love it all. I wish I had more time to write and record. No matter where life takes me, I will always have that.
I compiled a list of my favorite classic punk songs (I wish I wrote):
1. “Sing Along Forever” Bouncing Souls
2. “Bob” NOFX
3. “Ruby Soho” Rancid
4. “Bikage” Descendents
5. “Where Eagles Dare” Misfits
6. “21st Century” Bad Religion
7. “Another State of Mind” Social Distortion
8. “Kids of the Black Hole” Adolescents
9. “O.C. Life” D.I.
10. “Stukas Over Disneyland” The Dickies
11. “Generals” G.B.H.
12. “Blood Stains” Agent Orange
13. “Alcohol” Gang Green
14. “I Don’t Care About You” FEAR
15. “Living” Circle Jerks
16. “Intense Energy” Agression
17. “Jealous Again” Black Flag
18. “Tiny Town” Dead Milkmen
19. “Cashing In” Minor Threat
20. “Suspect Device” Stiff Little Fingers
Ladies and gentlemen, Keith Morris has returned to making music full-time and it is everything you would hope it to be. The former Black Flag and Circle Jerks singer unleashes a storm of punk fucking rock fiercer than I have heard in a long time. Joined by former Clikatat-Ikatowi and RFTC/Hot Snakes drummer, Mario Rubalacaba, the beats are full of slamming goodness. Steve McDonald, another legend of Southern California punk rock, largely known for co-founding Los Angeles’ own Red Kross when he was 11 years old, joins on bass. Dimitri Coats from Burning Brides adds walls of treble guitar, contagiously cascading through every song and tough enough to make Greg Ginn smile.
On their most recent release, self titled, they waste no time with pre-chorus bullshit or extended bridges, and really lay into it. No song on this album is longer than 99 seconds.’Wiped Out’ is destined to be the summer anthem of 2012. Not to mention having a sick as hell guitar solo which makes me wonder if Dimitri is actually Nels Cline’s little brother. ‘I Got News For You’ is classic punk in the vein of Circle Jerks and early Black Flag, but not solely because of Keith Morris’ vocals. Mario, Steve and Dimitri really glue this release together, making OFF a solid effort, far more so than a Keith Morris solo record could ever be. Coats and Keith co-write OFF’s material. Rubalacaba and McDonald could be the punk rock Sly and Robbie if they wanted to, but luckily for Morris and Coats they are with OFF.
The artwork is by Raymond Pettibon, an internationally famous artist known for his close association with Black Flag and SST records.
Obviously, I would highly recommend OFF or any of their other releases to all my friends.