OFF! includes San Diego drummer Mario Rubalcaba (Rocket From the Crypt, Hot Snakes), as well as singer Keith Morris (Black Flag, Circle Jerks), guitarist Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides), and bassist Steven Shane McDonald (Red Kross). Released in 2010, their debut album First Four EPs was produced by Coats, who co-founded the band with Morris after he was hired to produce an aborted Circle Jerks album
The band was arrested in Arizona en route to SXSW 2011, for stealing used vegetable oil from a restaurant. Rubalcaba says they were driving in guitarist Dimitri Coats’s cooking oil–powered van and the tank was running low. “There was a place that Keith and Dimitri had stopped at before in Avondale, Arizona. It was, like, the Valhalla of veggie oil.” Rubalcaba describes a vast fast-food restaurant row. But the eateries, it turns out, were no longer band-friendly.
“All of a sudden there’s this ’80s Miami Vice guy that drives up in some ’80s sports car and he yells, ‘Freeze!’ He ended up calling the cops.” OFF! was arrested on charges of theft and detained for three hours. “The two arresting officers said that in eight years they’d never seen anything like that...they wanted to let us go. But the security company wanted to press charges,” says Rubalcaba, “so technically they had to arrest us.”
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Rubalcaba says veggie oil from Asian and sushi restaurants is best. “It’s, like, the cleanest oil you can find.” He says OFF! found several restaurants on their tour that were willing to let them take the used cooking oil. “Some of them were even grateful.”
But, the demand for recycled cooking oil may be on the rise. “Apparently, a lot of places are starting to contract out to companies to take the oil and the grease from them, and this particular restaurant,” he says of the outlet in Arizona that had them arrested, “I guess, had a contract. They had 24-7 security there.” In the end, OFF! members were required to appear in an Arizona court. “But it turns out the prosecutor is a fan of the Circle Jerks, and they dismissed the charges in return for a small fine.”
They performed a few weeks laters at the Coachella festival. They played Philadelphia: Riot Fest on July 19, 2012, alongside Refused, the Promise Ring, August Burns Red, Gameface, Boy Sets Fire, and Hirs.