FLAG's Keith Morris on Being the Wild Old Man of FYF Fest
Photo by Dimitri Coats
Since FYF Fest shed the profanity and went all family friendly on us with that acronym, the two-day music festival that was founded in 2004 by 19-year-old music promoter Sean Carlson has gotten huge. Since it has partnered with Goldenvoice, the festival has gotten more established acts in the same lineup that heralds LA's underground scene. This year, My Bloody Valentine and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are headlining. But the festival has also spawned a comedy spinoff, Festival Supreme, which has snagged acts such as Sarah Silverman and Zach Galifianakis. Keith Morris, lead singer of FLAG (which is the original members of Black Flag sans Greg Ginn and Henry Rollins performing Black Flag's music), helped build FYF from the ground up. FLAG is performing at FYF this weekend. While Morris apparently couldn't talk about how the Greg Ginn lawsuit would affect their performance, he did wax poetic about how FYF fest developed into the monster it is today.
OC Weekly (Lilledeshan Bose): You used to help plan FYF when it first started, right? Keith Morris: I'm still a full-fledged, honorary member of the FYF or what was formerly known as the FUCK YEAH FEST, as a large amount of my early band picks are performing this year. Sean "Peachfuzz" Carlson and I would meet for breakfast and toss around ideas as to who we'd like to perform and what we'd like to have happen.
We'd compile lists of bands and solo artists that have included Neil Young, Ryan Adams, Tom Waits, My Bloody Valentine, The Melvins, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Butthole Surfers, Jesus and Mary Chain, Limp Wrist, Primal Scream, Brian Eno and too many others to mention. I've been a part of the FYF for about seven years and each year the festival passes I get pushed down a couple' rungs on the ladder to the point I've become the senior citizen that makes comments and choices that pass through one ear and out the other. 'Yeah old man ... blibiddy, blabiddy blah!'
How do you feel about Goldenvoice helping run FYF and the festival getting so big? My feeling towards Goldenvoice getting involved is that it's all good because they're cool peeps. Paul Tollett and his crew really care, and I've worked with them and Gary Tovar since their birth as a company. They know what they're doing, and it relieves Sean of some duties, which frees him up to actually get to witness some of the music.
Do you think it still has the DIY punk aesthetic it was known for? I don't think the FYF has the D.I.Y. punk aesthetic it once had as that was lost when the fest was moved to Chinatown onto a California state park. This new situation is great as it presents a new opportunity for some other kid to come along and try to create or try to build something as wild and wacky just like Sean did with the FYF.
What do you miss about the old days and what do you love about FYF now? I miss the in-your-face intimacy and the indoor, backyard vibe, the perspiring walls, and 200 people partying on the sidewalk in front of the Echo on Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park. I was totally blown away running into Sean sitting on a bus bench taking swigs off of a brown bagged adult beverage freakin' out over the fact that they were about 200 people over capacity. Chaos! What's happening now is a giant fiesta that has bands on different levels and faraway places wanting to participate.
What's up with Festival Supreme? Why the need for it? How could you not be psyched to check out Tim & Eric who played the FYF two years ago, or Eric Idle who was, is, and will always be a member of Monty Python's Flying Circus and a kook like Zach Galifianakis? We've always had some kind of humor attached to the FYF and we all need some levity in our lives so this is an extension of that. I'm actually way beyond impressed with the comedy lineup and we've always wished to have David Cross as an emcee so maybe one of these future festivals will have him happen.
Is FLAG planning anything special for the FYF performance? If we can pull it off, we will get a major portion of the crowd busting out their best dance moves ... especially the ladies!
FYF Fest, Los Angeles State Historic Park, 1245 N. Spring St., Los Angeles, Aug. 24-25, 2 p.m. to midnight, $99
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