The Offs – First Record

The Offs – First Record. In my earlier Rammelzee post I alluded to this record as another record the artist Basquiat was involved with. Unlike “Beat Bop”, Basquiat’s involvement with the Offs merely involved designing the cover.

If ever a record could win an award for “Most Underrated New Wave LP”, it would be this one. Its weird. I bought this in 85 and still listen to it. I love it. Check out some other people’s opinions on it:

The Offs’ LP, however, takes the band into fake jazz and reggae pastures and sacrifices that single’s directness. The journeyman grooves, punctuated by corny horn parts, do nothing to launch the lyrics over their unrealized pretensions. The album offers cool, atmospheric music, but that’s the best thing one can say about it. – Trouser Press

The band obviously lost everything that made their early 7″s interesting; no swing, no groove, just boring wanna-be ska; production’s much too slick, too – FLEX

So either I am missing something or they are. Sure the ska tracks have not aged well. But the funkier ones like “True Story” and “One More Shot” are cool. Lyrically, its all pretty seedy…heroin, hooking, cruising etc. A nice example of late 70′s SF art wave.

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18 Responses to The Offs – First Record

  1. Anonymous says:

    Not as rough and ready as their earlier singles, but STILL quite good. Thanks for putting this out there. I have been looking for this for awhile!!

  2. jon manyjars says:

    DAMN, I was going to post this record on my blog. Well done! I just got the Offs’ Live at the Mabuhay CD, and it’s good stuff. I like their tracks on Live at the Deaf Club too.

  3. Joe Stumble says:

    Beat ya to it Jon! I forgot about the tracks on the Deaf Club LP. Those were really cool. The Tuxedomoon cover of David Lynch’s “Heaven” was pretty great on the Deaf Club LP as well.

  4. jon manyjars says:

    Yeah, it was. And the DK’s live version of “Police Truck” was hot.

    I actually have a soft spot for the tracks on the Deaf Club album by the band KGB, esp. “Dying in the USA”. Dunno if they ever released anything else.

    Let me know if you want to hear the Offs Live at the Mab!

  5. adamgreenfield says:

    doth anybody have a copy of “johnny too bad” that they feel like throwing up?

  6. takovtheenight says:

    You really should have seen them live when they were fresh. I was fortunate enough to be at their first gig in early 1978, and believe it they totally blew away any recordings that were later released. The first two 7″s are not terribly bad facsimiles, but the LP loses it completely, and the live CD unfortunately does not do them justice.

    By the way, the band KGB (on the “Deaf Club” LP) very soon had changed their name to No Alternative. Same band, so check out their releases.

  7. Worm says:

    Does any one know where all the OFFS singles can be found?

  8. Worm says:

    Does anyone have the OFFS older singles?

  9. Joe Stumble says:

    I got the first (Everyones a Bigot / Zero Degrees) and third (You Fascinate Me / My World). Used to have the Johnny Too Bad 7inch but I lost it somewhere along the way. I will post the 2 I have shortly.

  10. Tim says:

    Do you have this album for sale?

  11. Linda X says:

    Wow! I used to go out with Billy Hawk from the Offs and went to all of their gigs in NY. They were great!..I love ‘You Fascinate Me’……I Left NY and moved to London and married a member of Renegade Soundwave in 1986,I completely forgot about this episode in my life until I checked out Romeo Void on myspace and the Offs were mentioned there..Thanks for posting these tracks, Brings back some fine memories!

  12. monsterstiffy says:

    Joe, Johnny Too Bad was the first. Also the first punk-reggae single ever. They beat the English Beat by a week. Bigot was the second, originally called “Blacks are Bigots” Also, KGB did change to No Alternative.

  13. Saint Bob says:

    I first heard Everyone’s a Bigot on the Let Them Eat Jellybeans compilation, which can be downloaded for free at

  14. dogmadic says:

    How cool it is to stumble across this page. Don Vinil, the lead singer, was a good friend of mine back in San Fransisco in the golden days and later in NYC. I saw the OFFs loads of times, mostly at the Mabuhay Gardens. One time Billy Idol sang with the OFFs because his band Gen. X couldn’t get into the country. Jello Biafra was a Mab regular and liked being kicked when he fell to the floor while “dancing” in the audience, before he he started the Dead Kennedys. Don and I went to the Sex Pistols concert together and ended up at the party afterwards with Sid Viscious and company.A bunch of us moved to New York around 78, 79. Don called me up one night and wanted to know if I wanted to get high with him. I told him “thanks but no” because I was trying to lay off the heroin. The next day I found out he’d overdosed and died. I really miss the hell out of him. He turned me on to other musical genres. It took me quite awhile to fully appreciate Richard Wagner tho lol.

  15. beverley says:

    Anyone remember the name of the first bass player? We were once close…

  16. JohnnyCNote says:

    I knew Don Vinil through a band called The Ghouls. Most of what I knew revolved around a guy, whose brother had just reenlisted in the Navy for 6 years and had a $12,000 cash bonus. These 3, plus another, who was more or less the instigator, shot nearly all of this up their arms in the early part of ’81.

    Meanwhile, the Navy never returned to duty, thus becoming a federal fugitive. He gravitated to speed, which caused him to forget semi-important things like where he left his guitar. He played guitar for The Ghouls, I should add. A year or so later I saw a guitar that looked a lot like his hanging in the window of pawn shop. Once the “instigator” speculated about the problems they’d have once their names were on the lips of residents in every household with at least a radio. I chose not to give voice to my rather strong sentiment that they’d manage to avoid being discommoded thus.

    It was a sordid time, and Don finally succumbed to the heroin and OD’d in ’83. From what I saw, it’s a wonder any of them are still alive (if they are). Don was a friendly guy, at least from my experience. It’s too bad he wasn’t able to overcome the heroin . . .

  17. Peter Crowley says:

    The Offs’ bass player was Fast Floyd, an original member of Mink DeVille, who didn’t go to NY with Willy ’cause he had warrants there.

    In 1980, based on my appreciation for their early, lo-fi singles, I booked The Offs at Max’s Kansas City, but when I heard them play live, I realized they were capable of making great records, so I took them into Paul Wickliffe’s Skyline Studio and produced four songs. Two of the songs from that session (You Fascinate Me b/w My World) were released on a Max’s Kansas City Records 45, long out-of-print.

    Unfortunately, The Offs went back into Skyline to record the album without me.

    First Record was produced by Roland Young.

    And then they were gone.

    Now, I hear there’s a CD reissue of the LP – with You Fascinate Me and My World as bonus tracks – in the works.

  18. The Offs, those who are left from the early lineup, are getting back together again to do a few shows and some recording. It will be Billy Hawk, Bob Morgan and Johnny Genocide (who played with them early on). They are going to be releasing some new material over the next year.

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