'I'm in a Southern California punk band! Who would have thunk that?"

So says Dimitri Coats, who led the Philly psychedelic hard-rock band Burning Brides in the early 2000s. Now, Coats is the guitarist in the punk rock supergroup Off! alongside singer Keith Morris, who was in an early incarnation of Black Flag in the late 1970s before forming the Circle Jerks; bassist Steven McDonald of Redd Kross; and drummer Mario Rubalcaba of Rocket From the Crypt.

Coats ended up with Morris by accident. He and Melanie Campbell, his future wife and his partner in Brides, decamped from Philly to Los Angeles in time for the Brides' third album, 2007's Hang Love. After 2008's Anhedonia, they set aside the Brides to focus on raising their two children.

Coats grew up in Boston as a heavy-metal fan and didn't care much about punk rock or hard core.

"I remember there was this red-haired kid in high school that had a red-haired dog," Coats says from the tour van en route to Detroit. "He played me Black Flag, and it sounded like nails on a chalkboard. He had another album that I wanted to hear, which was like Dio or something; I was more into that. When I met Keith, I didn't know who he was. I thought he was a homeless person floating around in our friend's pool. And then he was shooting up in the kitchen, and I was like, 'Goddamn, this guy's sketchy.' And he was like, 'No, no, it's not what you think! I'm a diabetic!' " That was Morris.

Coats persuaded Morris to let him produce a Circle Jerks record, but when that fell through, Coats and Morris started writing songs together: short, fast punk-rock songs, with Morris' shouted vocals. Off! released its acclaimed first EP in 2010. Its second full-length, the 23-minute, 16-track Wasted Years, just came out, and the band plays an all-ages show at the First Unitarian Church Friday night.

The 90-second-or-less songs Coats now writes with Morris are a far cry from Burning Brides' heavy-rock epics, but Coats sees some connections.

"We're all Beatles fans, except for Mario - and he appreciates them. For the rest of us, they're our favorite band of all time. We just appreciate good songwriting; the style of music is not completely important. Slayer has catchy songs; Elliott Smith has catchy songs," Coats says.

"The way Keith and I approach writing these songs, it's a bit old-fashioned. There's attention paid to the lyrics; he likes to rhyme a lot, and he's clever with alliteration. I look at what he does like punk-rock poetry. We've got to have a catchy riff and then build a verse around that, and then go into a chorus, which is probably going to be the name of the song. It's got to be something everyone can relate to and sing along with. It's got to be clever and kind of stupid at the same time, which isn't always easy to do. You don't want to come across as being pretentious."

Coats is looking forward to reconnecting with old friends when he's in Philly, and he's eager to play the Church basement again.

"The Church is perfect for what we're doing," he says.