Free LSD

Free LSD

In the eight years since their last album, punk supergroup OFF! has gone through a significant lineup shift. Vocalist Keith Morris (also of the Circle Jerks) and guitarist Dimitri Coats remain, but they’re joined on Free LSD by new drummer Justin Brown (Thundercat) and bassist Autry Fulbright II, formerly of …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead. And while the music maintains the short-sharp-shock tactics OFF! is known for, Free LSD is peppered with jazz-skronk interludes and features a lyrical direction that was birthed out of Blowmind Show, Morris’ podcast with Thelonious Monster drummer Pete Weiss. “These songs are based on conspiracy theories,” Morris tells Apple Music. “And ultimately these conspiracy theories come back to our government or to heads of corporations or to scientists who are on the wrong track. I’m mostly talking about evil, greedy people who only want us to buy stuff. And they’ve dragged us along with them. I would love to be an optimist, but we’ve dug ourselves into a hole that’s going to be extremely difficult to get out of.” Below, he discusses some key songs from the album. “War Above Los Angeles” “In our unidentified flying object research, Pete and I came upon an incident that happened…well, before we had rockets—because if we’d had rockets, we would’ve fired them upon this thing. So, a big silver object is moving through the sky at a snail’s pace. They don’t know what it is. And, of course, when they don’t know what something is, they send the military to start firing upon it with guns and tanks. So it flies over Los Angeles and heads out over the ocean around Santa Monica Bay. It goes out a mile or two, turns around, and comes back. And then it disappears.” “Kill to Be Heard” “Dimitri and I were listening to a lot of Ravi Shankar. When George Harrison went on a spiritual quest to India, he learned to play sitar, and he couldn’t have had a better instructor than Ravi Shankar, who was one of the greatest sitar players to ever live. He had an Indian orchestra playing tablas and sitars and other instruments from that part of the world. Dimitri picked up on bits and pieces of that stuff and turned them into riffs for our songs. I think you can really hear the Ravi Shankar in this song.” “Murder Corporation” “We wouldn’t have NASA if it wasn’t for Wernher von Braun. At the end of World War II, there was a mad scramble between us and the Soviet Union to scoop up all of these German scientists because they were designing military capabilities—like the first fighter jet—that were much better than ours. So we got Wernher von Braun on our side, and he’s responsible for all of our rocket technology. This is a guy who was a Nazi, a member of the SS, and he becomes a key figure in NASA.” “Suck the Bones Dry” “One of the threads that’s happening through our songs is the everyday man versus the powerful people that want to step on us. These people are only happy when we’re buying products and pumping gas into our cars, and there’s one person per car and we’re driving a hundred miles a day to go to work. So, ‘Suck the Bones Dry’ is an us-versus-them song. We’re trained from birth to be a culture of shitheads, and the powerful will twist everything around to fit their agenda.” “Free LSD” “A flood of bands came out of Laurel Canyon in the ’60s, like Buffalo Springfield, Love, The Byrds, The Mamas & The Papas, and Frank Zappa’s band. Neil Young was hanging out with Mama Cass and David Crosby, and they were all doing LSD and partying. Where did that LSD come from? It’s believed that 400 million hits of free LSD were given out in Southern California. All these clubs had just opened on Sunset Boulevard, and they needed bands to play to draw people into these venues. And they all came from Laurel Canyon. It’s interesting, because The Byrds didn’t even play on some of their early songs. It’s the Wrecking Crew playing the instruments.”

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