Everyone loves a good comeback, or a story about the kid who got pushed around when he was younger but eventually gets his revenge, or the cautionary tale about the guy who lost it all to drugs and drink and somehow turned it around. Lucky for us, with My Damage, the autobiography of Keith Morris, we get all three.
Written with help from Jim Ruland, this honest, no holds barred account of one of punk rock’s most influential and ground-breaking frontmen doesn’t waste time with allegories or allusion. Like Keith’s music, it hits like a stiff forearm to the chest. Keith lets us know right off the bat his dad was a hard partying thug who had his fair share brawls and battles with the hard life. Then we hear that his own diminutive stature as a lad meant that he got his own fair share of beat downs from local goons twice his size who like to do that sort of thing. We hear firsthand accounts of what it was like living in the glory days of Hermosa Beach, CA, when surf, skate, sun, sand and somehow punk rock all mingled together suspiciously on the pier and on the strand. What makes this an engaging read for those who don’t know the intricacies of how hardcore punk rock was born in this sleepy beach town, is how thoroughly Keith takes ownership of his shortcomings and fuck-ups, as well as the rock solid reputation he built over the years leading notorious punk bands like Black Flag, The Circle Jerks and OFF!
This is why I assume he chose the My Damage title over other options, because let’s face it, the album the mighty Flag is most known for is one where Henry Rollins adorns the cover and bears a similar moniker. We find out after closing the last chapter that Keith is referring to the damage that was done to him and the damage done to others, and that somehow, he made it through it all and came out in one piece, and still commands the stage with as much authority as people less than half his age. So if you like any of Keith’s bands, or just like a good unlikely hero story, check out this book form a true legend.
Buy the book here!