Keith Morris in LA

VOTM: What’s the most unusual experience you’ve had at a show?

KEITH: One night I was partying with The Ramones at the Tropicana when they were filming Rock and Roll High School. In those days, the Tropicana was practically a clubhouse for touring bands that came to L.A. to play at the Whisky. At one point Jim Morrison had a permanent space at the Tropicana. There was a restaurant in front called Duke’s that everyone called Duke’s grease shoot because the food was horrible. You really had to hold on to not lose it.

The staff at the Tropicana was cool because they were used to all kinds of oddball behavior. It was almost expected. The Ramones played the Whisky and afterward everybody ended up at the Tropicana. A lot of people were there: Stan Lee from the Dickies, Phast Phreddie Patterson, Jeffrey Lee Pierce and Joan Jett were all hanging out by the pool.

One of the things I liked about The Ramones is that they didn’t look punk. They had that Prince Valiant, Ivanhoe, Knights of the Round Table look that a lot of garage bands used to go for back in the ‘60s. Everybody else at the time was wearing short, spiked hair. I was thinking about hair for whatever reason when I noticed a pair of hedge trimmers. I grabbed them and gave myself a haircut, chopping off all of my hair. I don’t know how I managed to make it to work down at the bait shop in Hermosa Beach the next day, but my dad’s partner’s wife wanted to know what had happened to my hair.

“I cut it myself.”

“That’s pretty obvious, Keith.”

Keith Morris is the founding vocalist of Black Flag, the Circle Jerks and OFF! His memoir, My Damage: The Story of a Punk Rock Survivor, was published by Da Capo Press in 2016

Come see Keith read at Book Show in Highland Park on Friday, January 19 at 7:30pm. 

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