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An hour with Keith Morris and Sean Carlson of the F**k Yeah Fest: Fuck Yeah!

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On a Thursday night in Los Feliz, the dudes who throw on the Fuck Yeah Fest set aside an hour to sit on a stoop and have a lengthy, convoluted conversation with me. Despite the perpetual interruptions and digression, I arrived at a very straightforward conclusion. Keith Morris (of Black Flag, The Circle Jerks, and Midget Handjob) and Sean Carlson are two friends who are real characters. They hate doing interviews, they love ice cream (both sugar-free and vegan respectively), they hate technology, and above all, they bask in a concert-going lifestyle. Somehow we connected on a plane riddled with tangents, utmost chaos, and hilarity. The very notion upon which the Fuck Yeah Fest was built.

(Keith mistakes my recorder for a cell phone)

Sean: He doesn't know the difference between the two.

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(Keith walks off)

Sean: Where are you going?

Keith: By the time I get down hopefully the interview will be done.

Sean: Oh, go fuck yourself. Oh man, you know what? We were supposed to do another interview earlier tonight. Luckily it got cancelled.

LAist: Really?

Sean: Oh yeah we both hate doing interviews. It's fun though. You seem much more loose.

LAist: No, this is very relaxed.

(We're sitting on the stoop in front of Keith's house in Los Feliz)

Way more after the jump

Sean: It would've been fun, but it just wears you out talking about yourself. I would rather get to know you than talk about me. I was reading something by Rollins today. It was a book that he wrote from touring with Black Flag, it was all of his journals, and he was saying that he hated doing interviews because they're so self-indulgent. But if the interview is informative that's really good. I'm not talking about myself. I just want people to go to the fest. That's like the main purpose. Anything I can do to expose people to these bands, these artists, and these comedians will make me happy. And I'll talk for any length of time. But when you're talking about yourself and they ask, "So, what are your influences?" Hot dogs and pasta. I could care less. I don't want to know what their influences are.

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Sean: Ask Keith about how long he's been growing his dreadlocks for. I can give you some good Keith questions. Ask him is it true that Midget you know what Midget Handjob is?

LAist: No.

Sean: Midget Handjob is his spoken word project. Ask him if it's true that Midget Handjob is the lowest selling release on Epitaph of all time. Ask him about the worst job he's ever worked.

(Keith finally comes down with a sealed Virgin Mobile cellphone)

Sean: We're waiting for you.

Keith: I hope you guys don't mind if I talk on my Virgin Mobile cellphone.

Sean: Oh, you're finally going to use it after having it for 3 years? Didn't you get that for Christmas in 2005?

Keith: I got it like 3 years ago as a Christmas gift.

Sean: You know it's great because we went to Texas and the whole time I needed to get a hold of him at SXSW. The only way I could get a hold of him was when he called me from a pay phone. That's the only way I could get a hold of him. If I don't hear from him, then I don't see him for the whole day.

Keith: There's a pay phone in front of Emo's.

Sean: Yeah, you called to tell me about Turbonegro and I didn't know. I just didn't pick up because I didn't recognize the number. I didn't check my messages until the next day and Keith was like, "You fucked up! You missed the best show!" That was the one band I wanted to see and I didn't...I got drunk.


LAist: Tell me about Midget Handjob

Keith: It was a lifestyle and a concept. What happened was I had come down with diabetes. Instead of having a cold that lasts a week, you get a cold that lasts two months. My friend Brett Gurewitz said, "We gotta do something to get Keith out of his funk." So, he sicked Andy Culkin on me, who's the president of Epitaph, because they're big fans of The Circle Jerks and Black Flag. They understand the importance of those bands...

(A small kitten walks by)

Keith: Not you! That cat is going to end up becoming cat soup. If it were up to the women who live below me.

Sean: We could save it's life.

Keith: Because it has big balls. That's what one of the ladies said. But Midget Handjob. I had written all this jumbled...there was no message to it. They said, "Keith, all the punk rock kids still look up to you. So, do you want to do a spoke word album? You could do something like Jello Biafra or Henry Rollins because you're right up there with them." I never really liked spoken word. I just think most of it's crap, pretentious fucking garbage.

Keith: There used to be a place right up here on Vermont that was a coffee shop and they had a piano. They would do spoken word performances. Most of it's just a bunch of crap. 99% of it is just worthless garbage to me, except that 1% can be really cool. I'm not dissing on Hank and Mr. Biafra because I admire them for going out and doing it. I have a bunch of friends who are into free-jazz and making a bunch of noise. I'll just talk over whatever they come up with. Let it be this cacophony, people banging on pots and pans and breaking bottles. Turn on the fan and maybe it'll be broken and it'll go, "Wacka wacka wacka wacka". Then maybe somebody will want to do their wash and they'll overload the washing machine. The washing machine gets overloaded and it starts going, "Fumpumpumpu Fumpumpumpu".

LAist: Did you feel like it was successful?

Keith: It was the worst selling recording that Epitaph ever put out. They sold like 500. They said, "Keith, we've got like 20,000 CDs in our warehouse that we're getting ready to destroy." You know because they're taking up so much room in the warehouse. There's this big palate of CDs...I can give you some if you want. What I wanted to do was on a The Circle Jerks tour if you buy 10 dollars worth of The Circle Jerks merch, we'll just give you a Keith Morris spoken word Midget Handjob...Well you guys go ahead and talk. I've said enough because we're not here to talk about Midget Handjob. Midget Handjob has absolutely nothing to do with the Fuck Yeah Fest!

Sean: So, you're going to sleep?

Keith: Yeah, I'm going to go upstairs and go to sleep. So, you guys just continue talking like the two young guys who are secretly GAY!

LAist: But come back for the dread lock questions!

(Collective uncomfortable "alright")

LAist: How did the notion of the Fuck Yeah Fest come into fruition and how'd you meet Keith?

Sean: We'll wait for Keith to come down. I'll tell you how it came together because I started it and Keith has always been a part of it, but he wasn't a huge part of it until the third year. In 2003, I was touring with a band called Against Me! I was in Gainesville and this was when I was doing zine tours. I put a couple issues of the Blacklist and toured the country. I'd fill up my car with a couple friends and we'd bring a couple thousand zines. We'd sell them at shows to cover gas and food. We were able to do it for about nine months. When I was in Gainesville I met up with my friend Tony Weinbender. Tony puts on this event in Gainesville called "The Fest". "The Fest" takes place in multiple venues. Now it's twelve different venues, when I was there it was four. All the venues were in walking distance of one another and you had a bracelet, enabling you to walk in and out of the venues. The thing was it was all one sound: It was all like the No Idea punk rock, but there wasn't anything like Hot Water Music, Against Me, or Lawrence Arms. There were some thrash, some metal bands, but it was mostly just that one sound. The idea was amazing. So, I came home from tour and I started telling friends about this. I was like, "I want to start this in LA, but I want to do it differently. I want to mix the line-up as much as possible."

(Keith comes down with two boxes full of Midget Handjob CDs)

Sean: Why have you never told me about this? We talk everyday and you didn't bring this up to me.

Keith: Do you know what a palate of CDs looks like?

LAist: Not entirely.

Keith: It weighs like a ton. It's just like they couldn't even give them away. So, I said to the guys in The Circle Jerks, "We'll take out a few boxes and we'll give them to the kids." And the kids didn't even want them. The critic for the...uh...oh god what's that real arrogant...

LAist: Pitchfork?

Keith: No, not Pitchfork.

Sean: Well, you said arrogant!

Keith: No, Pitchfork wouldn't even listen to this.

Sean: Here's the thing. I think Pitchfork would really "get" it because there's so much meaning behind it. Their trying to do this like Coltrane thing mixed with the angst of Black Flag, all thrown into one. Then they'd write like a five paragraph essay.

Keith: What was it? Oh the New Yorker. The critic said it was like sea-sick jazz. There's one piece...we don't call them songs we call them pieces. I had this one girlfriend who just made my life pure hell and I had to talk about her. If she were to get a Christmas tree she'd set it on fire. She'd nod out and set it on fire, smoking dope and smoking crack. She'd pass out and set her apartment on fire. Kind of like a nod-scene. Because you know how cool heroin is.

LAist: Yeah, definitely.

Keith: It's one of the coolest things to happen to mankind.

Sean: It just takes you up to that level.

Keith: If it doesn't take you up to that level, it'll take you down to that level. It's like I can't be creative unless I'm nodding out. I can't be creative unless I'm like curled up in the fetal position. So, I can think about things, but I'm so messed up that I can think about these things, maybe. And if I do come across something that might be interesting, I still can't write it down. Maybe I could mumble into a cassette recorder. I'm talking in circles and that's basically what this was. It was a concept album that got in the way of being a concept, like songs get in the way of the concept. But I was very fortunate to have these incredible musicians that have played in Clawhammer and the Geraldine Fibbers. There was some great musical history. Like Black Flag and The Circle Jerks were the worst out of all of the bands. They're just stocking stuffers! Maybe you can take two or three of them over to Amoeba and they might give you a couple of bucks for them.

LAist: So, I was asking about how you two met.

Keith: Believe it or not. We met at Epitaph. Sean would ride his bike up from the South Bay. He would take the RTD and I would take the Crenshaw line at like 2 or 3 in the morning.

Sean: I was just turning 15 and...

(Helicopter flies by lowly overhead, interrupting)

Keith: Wait, are you picking up this helicopter? Well, no, because you want the helicopter to think that we're committing some kind of crime or drug deals or we're terrorists plotting to like...

(Neighbor comes over to ask who the kitten belongs to)

LAist: So, you met at Epitaph...

Sean: I was working at Epitaph when I was 15 and I'd just ride my bike up, hang out. I'd talk to Keith because I'm from the South Bay and that's where he grew up. So, we had something in common. I didn't see him for about a year and then we started writing each other more and more. Then around the first Fuck Yeah Fest, I ran into Keith at the Roxy. Whenever we'd see each other we would hang out and talk.

Keith: He was also doing his zine, his fan zine.

Sean: I'd always bug Keith about doing an interview.

Keith: We'd hang out at the burrito stand.

Sean: Yes.

LAist: Yuca's?

Sean: No, no, umm.

Keith: Casa Diaz!

Sean: Which is now owned by the people who do Yuca's. It's the best burrito stand in LA. Anyways, I was in front of the Roxy one night and Keith was there and I was telling him about the fest. I gave him a flier and I was like, "Well, you should come down and do something." He agreed and then he was going to come down and do spoken word. I remember the first fest was so ridiculous. It was very unorganized. I had no idea what was going to happen. I thought 400 people were going to be there and there was about 2,000.

(Parking enforcement pulls up)

Keith: Ok, this guy wants to give you guys parking tickets. So you're going to have to move. Like immediately! Immediately, yeah because...

(Sean and I rush to move our cars)

Keith: Do you need me to turn this (the tape recorder) off?

LAist: Yeah, just press stop.

(As I move my car Keith is left alone with the recorder and this is what he had to say while he was by himself)

Keith: Well, if this is still on, I think that you're all just a bunch of kooks. Because the way that society is going and the direction that we're heading, even with the democrats. It's just, why bother?! We try to do these intellectually artistic, creative endeavors and it's kind of like what for?! Some idiot is just going to blow everything up or allow them to blow things up. Even though I live behind the Vista Theatre and I'm looking at the Children's Hospital. They've been working on adding on to the hospital. So, I'm looking at this big construction-type scenario where there's this rig and they move the big girders, the big steel girders. Every morning at about 6 AM there's this, "Klunk, Klunk, Klunk, Klunk". They have to pile drive these girders into the ground just to meet construction standards or whatever standard they have. "Oh, we want to add 60,000 rooms to the Children's Hospital." And because we're not kids we can't go there. So, what good are these 60,000 rooms. Unless you're a kid, you can't go there. In an emergency situation, heck, you might as well just kill yourself because you can't go there. If you get in an automobile accident, they're not going to take you there. Oh well. Hey, I think they just turned on some lights. So, they're working late. Maybe they're doing some administrative-type work. You know who we can charge, who we can't charge. What am I saying?! Oh well. I'm going to go upstairs because I'm going to go to the bathroom. I'm going to get a sugar-free ice cream and maybe one of the cats in the neighborhood here might urinate on this device, this recording device.

(I return to an empty stoop and Keith comes down with three sugar-free fudgesicles)

Keith: I get to deal with this thing called Hypoglycemia. You don't have enough sugar in your blood. This is one of the things I get to eat that's actually really good.

(A neighbor pulls up)

Keith: That's Pete Weiss. He used to play drums in a band called Thelonious Monster. They used to describe his drum playing as if you had a drum kit and you threw it down the stairs.

LAist: So, this whole neighborhood is musically connected?

Keith: The guy on the corner he's a record producer. Bronx Style Bob has played with the Chili Peppers and the guys from Fishbone.

(Sean returns, Keith offers him a sugar-free fudgesicle)

Sean: What's this?

Keith: Ice cream!

Sean: I can't eat it. I would love to eat it, but I can't.

Keith: Why?

Sean: I've been vegan for like, what, seven years!

Keith: You had ice cream last night!

Sean: That was vegan ice cream!

LAist: Scoops? They we're sold out last time I went. I've never tried it.

Sean: It's so good. It's my favorite place. We're going to have vegan ice cream at the fest. Vegan rootbeer floats and vegan ice cream.

Keith: Well then, you're a poser because your t-shirt says, "Ice cream is going to save the day!"

Sean: I just wore this shirt because I didn't have any clean clothes.

Sean: Keith hates me. Thank you though for the ice cream.


Sean: The first year of the Fuck Yeah Fest Keith was supposed to do the spoken word and this is kind of a funny story. So, he gets up there and I'm not even in the venue. I'm nowhere to be found. I don't even have a cell phone at the time. Keith gets up there and he's just like, "Fuck it, this is too much. I can't talk over these people." There's about 500 people in The Echo. There's no security, there's nothing. So, it was just chaos and Keith leaves. He's walking to the bus stop and he sees me just sitting on the staircase that drops into Glendale Blvd. from Sunset and I'm drinking with a friend. He's like, "Shouldn't you be running the festival?" And I was like, "That's a good point. I should!"

Keith: But why? For what?

Sean: Let the festival run itself.

(Much more laughter)

Sean: The first year passed. The second year the festival actually went over really well and Keith DJed. We started talking more and this was when we were talking on a regular basis and hanging out a lot. And after that...

Keith: Giant Drag played and they were amazing.

Sean: Giant Drag, Dillinger Four, Beehive and the Barracuda. The Mean Reds played. That was a really good show, but they only played four songs. They played for about ten minutes and it was incredible. The fest went over really, really well. So, the next year I told Keith I wasn't interested in doing it anymore. Mitchell and Liz from The Echo were really pushing for me do it. I told Keith that the only way I'd do it was if he was affiliated with me. I asked him. I thought that would be the best plan. So, we decided to curate the festival together last year. Every band that we booked we booked together. There was one band on the bill that I chose that Keith was opposed to and there's one band on the bill this year that I chose that Keith is opposed to.

LAist: Interesting.

Sean: I can't say the band.

LAist: Of course not.

Sean: Keith knows the band and he's still upset about it, but...

LAist: Because he doesn't like the music?

Keith: I hate music! But I'm not doing anything else, so...

Sean: So, we curated it last year and obviously I wouldn't do it ever again if it wasn't with Keith. Plus, it makes it much more fun.

Keith: Has any of this made sense so far?

LAist: All of it.

Sean: Ice cream, the fest, Midget Handjob...

Keith: I was talking in circles and just was wondering how we jumped from a cellphone to Midget Handjob.

LAist: There was an LA Weekly article written about the Fuck Yeah Fest in 2005 , in which it describes the festival as "the hipster teen Altamont". Should we expect a grip of Hells Angels to show up with lead-filled pool cues?

Sean: Well, let's have it this year. This is a calling right now! We need Hells Angels, we need fights, and we need pool sticks. Keith and I can't be involved because we don't have any muscles.

Keith: We can't really say stuff like that because Mitchell and Liz will get upset.

(Neighbor Bob comes over and says hello)

Neighbor Bob: Just trying to be neighborly.

Keith: There's a lot of people in this neighborhood who don't want us to be here. They don't know why were here. Like what are they doing? Like the old woman that lives across the street. She was telling someone, "Why does he live here? He's a child molester!"


Sean: That's amazing. You're a child molester. That makes good for the interview.

(All of the sudden a cacophony of shredding guitars blasts from Keith's apartment upstairs)

Neighbor Bob: Tell me what you think of these lyrics.

(Bob continues to share his impromptu lyrics over the blaring music playing in the background)

Neighbor Bob: I just wrote it on the way back from the Thai food spot. What's going to happen is I'm going to write the song. Something is going to happen to it. In the liner notes, I'm going to say: In Los Feliz on a Thursday night, sitting around cigarette smoke and a hypoglycemic.

Sean: Andy Warhol glasses, sailor cap wearing...Morris

Keith: We have some High Rise upstairs. Japanese, just, white-out!

LAist: Is that your roommate playing that?

Keith: That's me playing that!

Neighbor Bob: It's not your delay pedal?


Keith: Actually, that CD player was the CD player that you left our here!

(Much more laughter)

Keith: Just loaded up with five CDs and random whatever. Earlier it was german gypsy metal psychedelic...Here comes a helicopter!

Neighbor Bob: That's all we need dude. We got a nice little mix going. It was nice meeting you.

(Neighbor Bob leaves)

Keith: See ya later Bob. I gotta turn that down. Oh wow, that's High Rise. Have you heard Acid Mothers Temple?

Sean: Of course! There's Acid Mothers Guru and what else? They all have their own solo projects. Should we answer more questions or do you want to go turn that down?

Keith: Does it matter? Here comes a helicopter!

Sean: This is what it's like interviewing us.

LAist: So, you talked about artists that you disagreed about...

Sean: Basically every artist we've agreed about. Maybe like one or two. There isn't a decision that's made without both our approval. How would you say it Keith?

Keith: You're such a blatant liar! This year, the fest, I personally chose like four bands!

Sean: Oh man. Go fuck yourself!

LAist: Who are you looking forward to this year?

Sean: Like every band that's playing the fest, but who am I really, really looking forward to? Langhorne Slim. I'm a huge, huge Langhorne Slim fan. I think he's breathtaking. The Nice Boys. Deerhunter. The Explosion's last show will be a blast. There's a band Keith is in called The Fuse that is reuniting for the show. Lavender Diamond will be really good. Who are we looking forward to?

Keith: Midnight Movies, Darker My Love, Entrance, Deerhunter. I saw them twice at SXSW, once at The Echo. I saw Bradford over at the Goodwill store with Karen O.

Sean: That was a great show!

Keith: And that wasn't even a show. They were just over there looking for clothes to make a movie.

Sean: Bands I'm looking forward to...definitely the Nice Boys and the Muslims. I really like the Muslims a lot. The Vultures. There's so many bands playing, I always draw a blank. The Fleshies.

Keith: Triclops!, The Strange Boys from Austin, TX.

Sean: Red Fang is definitely one of them. There's a lot of small bands that people haven't really heard of that we bring here from like Portland, Seattle, Austin, from all different parts of the country.

Keith: San Pedro.

Sean: San Pedro, San Francisco. We put together a couple of larger bands, local bands, and a bunch of these smaller bands to expose the smaller bands. It's what they really want because a lot of these bands can't even come on tour out here because they have nowhere to play. If they're able to play a packed house, then that's awesome. Oh, I forgot one band that is playing: Mr. Free and the Satellite Freakout! It's Nick Albutson from The Mean Reds. His band is going to play BBC. There will be a couple of special guests, some secrets hopefully. Maybe Midget Handjob will perform?

Keith: No. Don't ask us to. There was enough chaos last year. We don't need any...

Sean: Chaos last year? There wasn't that much chaos last year, just a little. There was chaos the year before.

LAist: You were under 21 in years past. Now that you're "legal" do you think that anything has changed?

Sean: No actually, not at all.

Keith: Legit? Too legit to quit?!


Keith: That's somebody that we should've approached.

Sean: 2 Live Crew?

Keith: No. Wasn't "Too Legit To Quit" Baby Ice?

Sean: Oh, MC Hammer was "Too Legit To Quit". That's gotta be it. We should've had 2 Live Crew perform too. I can tell a good story after the interview about 2 Live Crew. When I was 18 I didn't know what I was doing. I just had this idea and somehow it was put together.

Keith: Now that he's 22, what's the difference?

Sean: Yeah, exactly. I know how to respond to e-mails and talk to people, convince them that the festival is going to be a good time.

LAist: And that's the incentive for the bands?

Sean: Well, they know it's great exposure and it's going to be a big blast. Every band that's ever played has had such a great time. It's been so positive afterwards. When they go home and they tell their friends, "You gotta play Fuck Yeah Fest!" It's happened multiple times. We get e-mails from bands from all over the country and their like, "We'll come out there and play for free!" And Keith and I just don't have room for them. It's like, "We want you to play. Your band is great, but we just don't have enough room for your band." People all over the country know about Fuck Yeah Fest and they know it's just this big party. You're not in the sun, you're not baking. It's not really strict, things are really loose. You get to play a half an hour set. It's a good time.

Keith: Kind of like the Warped Tour.

Sean: Yeah, it's a lot like the Warped Tour.

Keith: You get to play a half an hour set.

Sean: But hold on there's not this band called The Circle Jerks playing. So, it's not like the Warped Tour. Or New Found Glory.

Keith: Or The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.

Sean: Oh, your favorite band!

LAist: They're awful.

Sean: Keith loves them.

LAist: Are there going to be any pre-festival parties?

Keith: Well, there's always a warehouse party. It doesn't necessarily have to be attached to the "FYF Fest". In the press, that's what we have to say.

Sean: We can call it "F*ck Yeah Fest".

LAist: Keith, dreadlock question. How long do you intend to keep growing them? Would you consider making a spectacle of it at the Fuck Yeah Fest by cutting them on stage?

Keith: No, no.

LAist: Just had to throw it out there.

Keith: It's just laziness. Besides...what's it to you?!


Sean: He wants to buy one man.

Keith: Well, hold on.

(Keith promptly runs off to his apartment)

Sean: Oh is he going to go cut one for you?

LAist: Are you kidding me?!

Sean: If this happens, then it's going to make my fucking year. This is the best interview you've ever done.

LAist: It definitely is, by far. This one takes the cake.

Sean: Because we couldn't answer one question properly. It's just going to be like Keith and Sean talk for a while. This is who they are.

F**k Yeah Fest IV

August 25th & 26th


curated by Keith Morris & Sean Carlson

Saturday, August 25th

The Explosion (very last west coast show)

The Fuse! (reunion show and only show!)

Lavender Diamond


Boom Bip


American Steel

The Mae Shi


Bobby Birdman

Residual Echoes

Imaad Wasif

Times New Viking

Hit Me Back

Thee More Shallows

Greg Ashely of Gris Gris

Upsilon Acrux

Toys that Kill

Brother Reade

Wooden Shjips

Love or Perish

Devon Williams

Japanese Motors

Sabertooth Tiger

+many more

Sunday, August 26th


Indian Jewelry

No Age

Midnight Movies

The Blood Arm

Jay Reatard

Foreign Born

Pissed Jeans


Darker My Love

The Nice Boys

Langhorne Slim

Great Northern


Whispertown 2000

Red Fang

Best Fwends

Vultures (San Diego)

Luke Top


Whispertown 2000


The Strange Boys

60 Watt Kid

Abe Vigoda

The Muslims

The Prayers

Bad Dudes

Jail Wedding

+ more.

Comedy by:

Bob Odenkirk

Fred Belford

Josh Fadem

Jonah Ray

Matt Braunger

Matt Dwyer

Wyatt Cenac

Cracked Out (Brett Gelman and Jon Daly)

Anthony Jeselnik

+ Many More

Spoken word by Salvador Plascencia

Artwork by Milano Chow, Raymond Pettibon, Tim Presely, Danny Gibson, Travis Millard, Mechgod, Skull Phone + many more.

$13* each day / All Ages / 5:00pm

$24 for a 2-day pass….

*$1 of each ticket will be donated to 826LA & FOLAR (Friends of the Los Angeles River). More information on each non profit can be found below.

@ The Echo, EchoPlex, Rec Center, Taix, + more

1822 Sunset Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90026

For more information: