So Keith Morris has written a book and it takes longer to read than it does to listen to the man’s entire discography.
Morris starts things off with his childhood, which was quite eventful and tells the story of a scrawny kid who didn’t feel like he fit in anywhere until he discovered drugs, booze and punk rock. From there on, it’s just a small step to get to Black Flag and subsequently, Circle Jerks.
While his time in Black Flag and Circle Jerks has already been well documented in other publications and documentaries, it’s still interesting to read about it in his own words. Morris is not exactly hesitant to point out his own flaws, but he is also not afraid to point out others’ as he paints a rather ugly picture of Chuck Dukowski’s brutal practice regime, refers to Greg Ginn as a dictator on more than one occasion and calls out Circle Jerks guitarist Greg Hetson for always putting Bad Religion first.
But My Damage is more than Black Flag and Circle Jerks. There’s some music business bullshit, a short flirtation with A&R and band management, fractured relationships, Midget Handjob, the man’s battle against diabetes which almost killed him and of course his time with OFF!. Maybe even more so, My Damage is the story of a man who almost lost his way on more than one occasion, but is still left standing and has become a better man because of it.
While Morris admits that his some of his memories of the 70s and 80s are a bit hazy due to substance abuse, there is no shortage of colorful anecdotes. Written with the help of Jim Ruland, My Damage is an easy read. At times it’s a bit of a jumbled mess, but it helps create a feeling that you’re hanging out with Morris while he’s telling all of his war stories. Not a bad way to spend some time.