by Wade Chamberlain
Circle Jerks are the first punk band I ever heard, and
consequently they've had a huge impact on my life (mainstream
music just wouldn't do for me after that). When they came through
Salt Lake and I had the chance not only to see them, but to
interview Keith Morris, the lead singer. It was a dream come true
for me. Keith is just as cool as I ever imagined he was. He is a
very humble, and down to earth guy with a very intense sense of
humor, that is full of cynicism and sarcasm. I hope that I was
able to portray that in this article.
- (As he waves "hello" to the tape player) My name is
Keith and I'm the lead singer of the incredible,
fabulous, star studded Circle Jerks.
- First of all I wanna say I really like the new album. I
think you guys have really matured with this album. It's
still punk rock, but it's got more of a depth to it. Is
that because of the time off you've spent working on
- I think it's been our time off . I also think that it's
because the bulk of the material was written by the bass
player and myself. The bass player being the fabulous Z
boy Schloss. A lot more of our musical influences crept
up into what we were writing and playing this time
around. When you listen to it you'll hear Kinks or Who,
you might hear a little bit of Mowtown running through,
especially on the bass lines. We wanted to make a real
loud thrash album, but at the same time we wanted to
rock out a bit to. We didn't want to make the type of
record that all of the other bands are making right now.
One of the problems I have in listening to all of these
bands that are popular is that they all have the same
type of song quality really poppy and snappy. I mean
we're covered with bands that are doing that kind of a
thing and that's the last thing we wanted to do was make
a radio friendly album.
- I have a friend who's seen you in LA recently and he
says that your show now is the best it's ever been. He
also saw you guys several times back in the 80's.
- Well, it's due to mass drug consumption. The designer
drugs work wonders and they're very readily accessible.
The crystal meth is really good, too. I just attribute
our energy to the fact that we're playing to younger
kids and we just feed off their energy. Basically, one
of the things we're doing right now is proving ourselves
to these kids. We are in our 30's, some of us in our
upper 30's, but we're not a bunch of burn outs. I mean
if we came out and just stood around, there are too many
bands that do that! We're not that kind of a band, and
if you want to see that go see one of the English shoe-
- I've actually heard you guys referred to as the eternal
- That's a great way of putting it. That teenager in side
of all of us could be a spark! That could be one of the
reasons we have the energy we have. Like I said, we
gotta work hard for the time that we're up there. Right
now we're playing 24 to 27 songs. You'll definitely
definitely get your money's worth.
- Does that include a lot of the old classics?
- Now, when you say old, does that mean that you think we
are sitting around on our fat asses?
- I want to hear the songs I grew up with, like Wild In
the Streets, When The Shit Hits The Fan, Wonderful, etc.
- Keep goin'! They're all there. It's like a stroll down
hardcore memory lane. All your favorites brought you by
the Circle Jerks.
- How has it been, being signed to Mercury?
- They've treated us really well, the people are really
friendly. They're not doing all of the work that we had
hoped they would do for us, but the album has only been
out for a month and a half, so it s still early. I mean
we're not out there blowin' the doors out sale wise, but
I hope this is one of those albums that gains momentum.
- How did working with Debbie Gibson on "I Wanna Destroy
You" come about?
- That was actually Tiffany disguised as Debbie Gibson!
The guy who produced our record Nico, got a call from
Debbie Gibson's management to mix her new album. His
mind set was, "how incredibly lame! What a nail in the
coffin career wise!" So he requested a demo of the
songs, and he thought, "Wow!, this is not like what I
thought it would be!" So he ended up mixing her album,
and in that process they started dating, and she
happened to be in the studio the day we recorded the
I was thinkin' to my self something else needs to be
done to this song and one of my best friends is living
with Suzy Gardner of L7, and I thought Wow! How cool
would it be to have all the gals from L7 screaming and
yelling in their kinda voices, with this pretty pop
princess singing right next to them. That would make for
a pretty wild scenario! The problem was L7 were leaving
for Europe the next day. So I was only able to get Suzy
Gardner to come down. I did have to explain to Debbie's
mom what the song was about.
- It's about sitting around all day watching TV, and how
that destroys you, right?
- the bottom line of that song is complacency.
- I just have one more question, and that's about Brain
- One of the things I try not to do is talk about
everybody else's projects. As you know our guitar player
plays in another band who are much more popular than we
are. So that's kind of a distraction. Our bass player is
in a couple of other bands which can be distracting. So
when I'm asked about what other things I'm working on I
wanna be fair to everybody else. Brain Taco is comprised
of Zander, myself, Dave Naverou and Chad from the Red
Hot Chili Peppers. Sometimes Norwood Fisher from
Fishbone. Sometimes Mike Mart who plays in another band
With Zander. Sometimes Stephen Perkins and Mark Lanobel
from Porno For Pyros. We just get together and play
songs that they don't get to play which are punk rock
Also another name I wanna mention is Jay, who's the
guitar player for White Zombie. We get together and play
benefits. We don't make any money for doing it. We've
done a couple of benefits for NYA which is the
neighborhood youth association, which is to deter LA
kids from becoming gang members. Our last benefit was
for the Surf Rider's Foundation, which is set up to help
keep the ocean clean.
The concert that followed was amazing! Circle Jerks were full of
energy and even better than I had imagined they would be. They
did play all of my favorites, besides "Love Kills" and it did
bring back a flood of good memories.
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