This week will see punk supergroup OFF! return to Australia. Following their explosive debut last year, the band are back to play all the Big Day Out Festivals, as well as three headline shows in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. The first of which happens this Thursday at the Annandale Hotel in Sydney with guests Toe To Toe and Chinese Burns Unit. On Monday 21st they’ll play The Zoo in Brisbane with Velociraptor and Undead Apes, and the Corner Hotel in Melbourne on Wednesday 23rd January with Bloody Hammer and Bat Piss. Limited tickets remain, snap one up and head along if you get the chance. Recently Niam Hegarty caught up with Dimitri Coats from the band to have a chat about the tour and current happenings for OFF! Expand this post to take a read and grab all the tour details.


Hey man, how’s it going?
Good how are you.

Good thanks. My name is Niam; I’m calling from Melbourne, Australia
One of the best cities in the world. I love it, I could live there.

So you guys have been to Australia before, how did you find it last time?
Oh, it was fantastic as we expected. It has been great everywhere we have gone around the world. The crowds tend to be a little wilder in certain places. Australia has definitely been one of the countries that likes high energy rock music which is exactly what we are.

Is there anything you are looking forward to about getting back here; is there anything you are especially looking forward to checking out?
Well definitely Big Day Out, we have heard all about that over the years. I am not sure any of the other guys have played that festival in any of their other bands. For me it has been something that I have wanted to experience right up there with like Reading, Leeds, Coachella – we have done all that stuff so that is one I have always had on my list for us. I am looking forward to going to New Zealand before that and playing a couple of arena shows with The Chilli Peppers. We opened for them in LA and it was a lot of fun you know just a different experience to what we are used to.

Yeah definitely, do you find it weird playing on the larger festival circuit. Traditionally punk bands like you guys play in smaller venues is it hard to adjust?
Well not for me and I don’t think for Steven either because Red Kross and Burning Brides did a lot of that. You know I’ve done four years of touring where every night I was opening up for some band that was playing a hockey rink or something like that but I haven’t done it in a while. I forgot how much fun it is. Plus the catering is great.

Are you guys doing any sideshows in New Zealand or is it just those Chilli Peppers shows?
Just three (side) shows in Australia I wish we were doing something in New Zealand. The last time I was there with my other band Burning Brides me and my now wife (then girlfriend) and bass player decided to stick around and spend a week in New Zealand just travelling round, we rented a car. It was awesome.

Oh cool man. I was going to ask since you are in Burning Brides and that is the band you had first was OFF! a side project or is it something you are doing on a more full time basis? What were your goals when you started the band?
OFF! is definitely a full time project and I manage the band so it is a lot of work for me. It is quite successful considering how new we are and we are usually booked months ahead of time. So at this point for the other projects to exist they sort of have to fit into the holes of what’s left after we pave out our OFF! schedule for the year, ya know.

Can you tell me a bit what is different about your new album compared to your previous releases like your seven inches?
I think more colours are starting to emerge and we are not just falling into like a pop rock formula. We are never going to stray too much from our target as some bands tend to lose the plot and we know we have landed on something that is meaningful and exciting. Given the genre and what is expected from us I think we can play around. A song like ‘King Kong Brigade’ on the new record is a good example of how we can sort of experiment a little bit and let some of our classic rock influences bubble up to the surface a little bit.

So you kind of have this raw sound that brings to mind a lot of older rock and roll, late 70s early 80s punk rock stuff. Do you have any production techniques you use to recreate the sound? Are you using pro tools or what’s the process of recording?
We have so far (used Pro Tools), there is a not a whole lot of vintage gear involved. Really it is more about, what I do as a producer is making sure the songs are great and when we are going in to record an album it is largely about not giving ourselves very much time to overthink anything. We really only spent a couple of days making the record so it comes down to sticking the microphones in front of the amps and saying “yeah man, that sounds like a guitar” and we record live. We will play a song four times in a row and come back into a room and listen to it and say “you know what that third take was the one, let’s move on”. I think that kind of thing has been lost; bands spend too much time and they can easily move away from what makes a recording exciting if they are not careful. You know I asked Keith how did all this stuff go down back in the day because I was curious as to what made those recordings so special. It was really how they would do it, he said that they would push the tape into the red and did it very quickly and then they would have somebody that would cancel at a studio and they would sneak in late and night and do it all in a couple of hours. So that is kind of how we do it.

I noticed the aesthetic of OFF seems to be slightly different to most punk bands you work with places like Vice and Pitchfork who don’t often seem to work with bands like you. How did you get involved with these kinds of media outlets and develop those relationships?
That had everything to do with us wanting to be taken seriously as a new band. We knew that the old school punk crowd would be curious about what Keith was doing but we also wanted to cross over a little bit and reach a younger hipper crowd; so working with Vice was definitely calculated on our part and fortunately Pitchfork got involved and welcomed us. It all worked to our advantage and that is why I think we are probably as successful as we are because we didn’t just pigeonhole ourselves into a corner.

Right, you seem to have some really interesting video ideas as well, who is coming up with these ideas?
The guy we have been working with lately his name is Whitey McConnaughy, we just shot another one that is going to come out in a few days and Jack Black is in it so it was a lot of fun.

What do you think the punk scene in LA is like at the moment is there a bit of resurgence after the success of OFF or have you noticed anything there?
There is a bunch of cool stuff going on that is been called Punk. It’s not what you would think of as Punk Rock if you are comparing it to what we do but there is kind of like a whole garage, garage rock scene happening all over the country with The Black Lips and Waaves and that type of stuff and you can hear that with LA bands like Pangea and Bleached. So I would say that we have little to do with that but it is definitely a cool town to be doing our thing in these days.

Do you ever play any house parties or small shows? Or is it all just bigger stuff?
Well up until recently I booked every one of our LA shows. I always tried to get us in a non-traditional venue like a warehouse space. We have been shut down by the cops, you know. I think that was part of our story when we first started. Our first LA show we played in front of this skate ramp, Tony Alva was the DJ and it was a free show, we had a bunch of free beer. The whole crowd got behind us; the LA weekly gave us a couple of weeks of free ads. You know I think 1500 people came to our first show, we played for 18 minutes and it was on – OFF! was on.

Right, so do you guys still hang out and party after the show, or are Keith and everyone beyond that now?
Oh yeah we hang out, I have mellowed out a bit personally you know having become a dad and uh Keith has been sober for like 30 years but as long as the company is pretty happening I’m down, I am a bit of a night owl you know. The other guys Steve and Mario will go to the bar until the wee hours and get hammered and Stephen would probably take LSD if he was offered some.

Are there any bands that you would like to take on tour that you haven’t yet? Is there anyone that sticks out?
Yeah, Ceremony!

Ok cool, you guys are known for doing a fair amount of in store performances; do you have any favourite record stores around the place?
Favourite record stores? You mean like anywhere in the world? Yeah The Philadelphia Record Exchange, The Amoeba chain is always good. Keith and Mario are the real obsessive you know like nerds when it comes to that stuff. I’ve slowed down a bit I’ve worked at so many in my life. I worked at a few places in New York and at the Philadelphia Record exchange so that’s how I got such a big record collection. I got all the stuff for cost.

Can you explain a little bit about how you write the songs? I understand you and Keith write them together?
Yeah we will get pretty jacked up on coffee and we will walk around and start talking about stuff. I like to get him to talk about all the crazy stuff he’s done in his past when he was a total fuck up like trying to see if there is any kind of beef he has with anybody still, something that pissed him off about other bands he was in or whatever. Keith will play records and turns me onto a lot of music that I have never heard before; whether it is seminal early LA punk or even well-known classic rock stuff. He is like way into Blue Oyster Cult and Alice Cooper and Credence and shit like that, Black Sabbath. We will just get our party on you know I’ll just get to the point where I want to play guitar and I will just start hammering out chords until he gets really excited and starts writing down stuff on newspapers and we just sort of do it in front of each other real fast. We usually set a deadline like we have one month to write this record we need 16 songs so it will be like we have to write 2 songs now and they have to be fucking great, that kind of thing.

Do you have any favourite crazy Keith stories from back in the day?
Yeah we have this song called ‘Peace in Hermosa’ on the first record where he talks about crashing his car and breaking his tooth. He was so fucked up one time that he drove into a house and went right into the living room where luckily no one was there, one of the many stories I get to hear. Just read the lyrics to that tune, he’s singing about drinking elephant tranquiliser or a song on the new record ‘Man from Nowhere’ is about bonging speed down the Strip. I mean he was just a freak.

Wow that is pretty wild. Is there anything else you want to talk about in particular? Do you have any plans after this touring cycle?
We are just really looking forward to coming back and we have heard a lot about Big Day Out so I am really looking forward to checking it out in the flesh.

Hey thanks for talking to me man. That is pretty much it.
Hey cool man, thanks for the support.

OFF! - January 2013

Destroy All Lines and present…

Thursday 17 January – Annandale Hotel (18+)
with Toe To Toe and Chinese Burns Unit
Tickets: Oztix: 1300 762 545,, Oztix Outlets

Monday 21 January – The Zoo (18+)
with Velociraptor and Undead Apes
Tickets: Oztix: 1300 762 545,, Oztix Outlets

Wednesday 23 January – The Corner Hotel (18+)
with Bloody Hammer and Bat Piss
Tickets: Corner Box Office: 03 9427 9198 or

Friday 18 January – SYDNEY – Showgrounds SOLD OUT!
Sunday 20 January – GOLD COAST – Parklands
Friday 25 January – ADELAIDE – Showground
Saturday 26 January – MELBOURNE – Flemington Racecourse
Monday 28 January – PERTH – Claremont Showgrounds

OFF! – Self-Titled Album available now on 12″ vinyl and CD via UNFD
Ticket/LP and Ticket/CD bundles for all three shows are available from

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