D.O.A. Canada’s Men of Action are back. It looked like they were about to ride into the sunset in 2012 as Canada’s leading protest singer and cultural politician Joe “Shithead” Keithley entered into the world of formal politics, only to lose his primary/nomination by five votes. Not long after Joe had this to say “I may have lost, but I haven’t forgotten how to play my guitar, how to sing, how to write songs and how to kick ass when I’m up on stage!” sounds like D.O.A. is ready to take on the world again.
D.O.A. started out in a whirlwind of controversy and upheaval. In 1978 three suburban guys fresh out of high school from the backwaters of western Canada heard about the Punk Rock revolution. Well shit, that was it, D.O.A. formed, but after a handful of shows in their hometown of Vancouver, they came to the sad conclusion that “Everyone hates us, we’ll never get a record deal and we’re going nowhere”. Joe, who had attempted to become a civil rights lawyer at a local university, concluded that the band had to take the Do It Yourself approach long before D.I.Y. became a common expression. So he formed a fledging record label called Sudden Death Records and the label released D.O.A.’s first snarling slab of vinyl, the Disco Sucks 7? EP. It soon became an underground hit and the band started touring from Vancouver to California five to six times a year.
In 1980 Joe Shithead came up with the term “Hardcore”. The band soon released their landmark album Hardcore 81, that was soon followed by a North American tour of the same name and that pushed that expression into our common vernacular. So now for the first time ever D.O.A. will play the Hardcore 81 album from start to finish on their 2015-16 world tour. So fans will get the three main things they love and have come to expect from D.O.A.: Lots of loud ripping guitar riffs and pounding drums, bucket loads of irreverent humor and a healthy heaping of street level politics. Plus they’ll get to hear one of punk’s most influential albums in its entirety.
Recently Keithley said, “Wow! It will be cool to play Hardcore 81 from start to finish, I never knew that it would be such an influence, even change a generation. I said to Kevin Seconds one night that D.O.A. was hardcore and it spread along the grapevine from there. I took it to mean, never surrender and never give up hope. Damn. It went farther than that”.
Canada’s Mega Decibel Minstrels are of course led by Canada’s godfather of punk Joe “Shithead” Keithley, who on stage mesmerizes the crowd, coming across like “The new man in black” (with all respect to Johnny Cash) but he is pushed to greater heights by his infamous henchmen Paddy Duddy on drums (Rusty Nails) and Mike Hodsall on bass (Circle The Wagons). This blistering trio will embark on a world tour starting in 2015 that will run through 2016 where they will tour the four corners of the globe including China, Japan, SE Asia, South America, Europe, Australia and North America. The band is currently preparing material for a new studio album to be released later in 2015.
Over the last three and half decades D.O.A. has released 14 studio albums, sold a million records and played over 3,000 shows on five different continents. The band’s performances, albums and attitude have won over three generations of fans and influenced the likes of Green Day, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Offspring, Henry Rollins and Jello Biafra, to name a few. Joe has also found time to write two books, “I Shithead, A Life in Punk” and “Talk–Action=0”.
From day one, Joe Keithley and D.O.A. have helped organize and lead hundreds of benefit concerts and protests for good and just causes like: anti-racism, women’s rights, anti-war, environmental issues, Fair Trade-Not Free Trade and now the fight against oil pipelines.
Keithley has been called a cultural politician, trying to change the world from outside the system for the last three and half decades. He recently ran for a mainstream political party in his native British Columbia, only to lose the nomination by five votes. Joe also ran for the Green Party in 1996 and 2001. He’s also been an ardent supporter of the Occupy movement, having played at a number of the Occupy sites. Joe uses his depth of political knowledge, to put forward his vision of people orientated grass roots democracy.
So that folks, in a nut shell is D.O.A. When they take their wild, unbridled live show on the road, it’s a must see, because you never know just how long that, what really is the last real punk rock band in the world, will still be there. It’s always an atmosphere of chaos, veering out of control, but somehow D.O.A. manages to reign it all back in at the last possible minute and in an indescribable way you are not quite the same afterwards.