25 years is a long time to be a punk, especially a Canadian punk:
- Fast guitar, furious lyrics and fierce political action have been the identifiable markings of D.O.A.
It’s a formula that’s given the band, which turned 25 this year, the distinction of being one of Canada’s longest reigning punk outfits. To celebrate the milestone, the trio – bassist (Damned) Dan Yaremko, drummer Jan (the great Baldini) Rodgerson and guitarist and lead vocalist Joey (Shithead) Keithley – have compiled War and Peace, a 25-track greatest hits album. They’ve also gone on a cross-country tour and released their sordid story via Keithley’s autobiography, I, Shithead, A Life In Punk (Arsenal Pulp Press).
“There’s always been a good audience for D.O.A.,” Keithley said recently over the line from the road.
….Like most bands in the early punk scene, much of D.O.A.’s lyrics were anarchist in nature, intent on fighting government and war policies, especially those of former U.S. president Ronald Reagan.
“When I was a young man and I started playing music I thought things were screwed up. After being around for a long time I know they’re screwed up, I just didn’t realize how complicated things are,” said Keithley, now a father of three.
Keithley, whose tour mates have included The Clash, The Ramones and The Dead Kennedys, said he couldn’t help but include his politics in the band’s work.
“When you’re a youth you take a simplistic approach, and I wrote songs that were angry about things going on in the world. As you go along you try and get a bit more specific . . . but a lot of the same issues that were going on then are still happening,” said the 47-year-old musician who unsuccessfully ran for provincial office as a Green Party candidate in B.C. three times.
….Keithley says he’s glad the rebellious attitude has withstood time even though punk bands aren’t leading protest movements anymore.
“The thing about punk rock is that it’s not the revolutionary force that it was for the first five or 10 years of its existence,” he said. “But a lot of its do-it-yourself attitude is still there. This is why I’m still involved. It appeared to me it was a perfect way to kick the establishment straight in the groin repeatedly. That angle of punk rock is still there.”
He said in some ways the recent riot in Montreal over the cancellation of The Exploited concert was a good thing for the genre.
“Rock has to mean rebellion and if it’s not then it’s not really rock. It becomes pop music of some form,” he said.
….Upcoming shows and book readings include Nov. 20, 21 in Montreal, Nov. 22 in Quebec City and Nov. 29 and Dec. 2 in Vancouver. [CP]
In an odd coincidence, thanks for the heads up on this story to Barry Stoller, the Bloodrock biographer – Bloodrock’s one hit was “DOA.” Hmm.