On June 12, 2010, Sailor Jerry's Rum hosted an afternoon at San Francisco's Cell Space dedicated to tattoos and the punk rock lifestyle, which, naturally, go hand in hand.
The afternoon opened with the showing of Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry, a documentary about the man who lent his namesake to the Rum company. The documentary featured an in-depth look at Norman Collins aka Sailor Jerry, who, little to my knowledge, was responsible for some of the most important advances in modern western tattooing. Although Collins was innovative and clearly dedicated to his craft, the documentary also focused on who the man was and did not shy away from his racist comments nor the fact that he seemed to despise most of the people that he tattooed. Certainly a complex man, Sailor Jerry was survived on film by accounts from people who worked with him that ranged from pure love to downright hate and jealousy. Also, the film spent some time on the competition between tattoo parlors during the second world war in Hawaii, which was a stopover for soldiers going off to battle. Apparently, tattoo parlors would tattoo messages and insults to each on willing marines and send them over like human pigeon messengers. Ha!
After the documentary concluded and food was served*, the legendary Keith Morris took the stage with his new band OFF!. Morris, who was the first singer of Black Flag and also founded the Circle Jerks, quickly ripped into the infant band's new material. While the last few Circle Jerks albums may have leaned in the hard rock direction, OFF! is a return to form for Morris. Each song was loud, ferocious and usually under a minute. However, where early Black Flag guitars were quirky, jittering mousetraps, OFF!'s sound seems to be equally based on mid-era Stooges and the MC5. Guitarist Dimitri Coates and bassist Steven McDonald worked in conjunction, ripping out sledgehammer riff after sledgehammer riff while drummer Mario Rubalcaba pounded out tribal rhythms more similar to early Flag's Brian Migdol than Damaged-era Robo. Morris himself seemed rejuvenated, alternating his manic sing-talking with his high-pitched scream/growl. Playing for about 20 minutes, the band's set echoed the manic sound and energy of early west coast punk shows. After Morris left the stage, the band fittingly played a guitar freakout outro based on the Stooges' "TV Eye."
If this is any indication of what Morris has been up to since the Circle Jerk hiatus, then one of punk's living legends has discarded the cliché about "aging well" and has decided simply to not age at all.
* - Oh man, this might be Punknews' first food review. The place had BBQ by "Memphis Minnie's" BBQ. Let me tell you, they had the BEST damn beef brisket I've ever had. It was tender enough to pick apart with toothpicks but was bursting with succulent flavor. Also, they had this delicious mustard-based BBQ sauce which was spicy, but enhanced the flavor and retained an underlying smoky flavor.