They were Vancouver’s outsiders in the 1970s.
Their aggressive lyrics and wardrobe choices didn’t help their reputation but Joe Keithley aka Joey Shithead of D.O.A. said with pride that they became public enemy number one with out even trying.
“The lyrics were a really big part of it and the statements coming out of songs and band, and the movement in general were seen as a threat to society,” he said.
D.O.A. has released 17 studio albums and numerous other compilations and live albums in their 34 years.
Keithley has said that the band has really only take 22 months off and still tours regularly.
Being based in Vancouver over the last three decades, Keithley has been able to watch the ebbs and flows of the Pacific Northwest music scene.
“I’ve talked to an awful lot of people from the bands of the old grunge movement and for a lot of them their first experience with live music or punk rock was seeing D.O.A.,” he said.
Narduar the human serviette who is a celebrity interviewer and musician, told Keithley that he had discovered that Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love met at a D.O.A. concert.
“I went, ‘how unfortunate was that, I wish I had cancelled that night.’ We’re missing one of the greatest songwriters,” he said.
D.O.A. has been called the founders of hardcore punk.
“We popularized the term because of the album called the Hardcore ‘81 and subsequently did the first show that was kind of a mini festival with us and Black Flag and other main bands of the time, and we did a tour around North America,” he said. “It makes sense that people would attribute hardcore punk with D.O.A. I think it’s a good thing because we went out to try and say something and that was kind of our attitude and what we took out was a non-compromising way of looking at music and in a larger fashion life and how you conducted yourself.”
At the heart of the hardcore punk movement is a spirit of activism which Keithley became involved in as a kid listening to his older sisters 60s protest music.
Even though it’s been over 30 years since D.O.A. emerged, Keithley said the message behind their music hasn’t changed much.
“When we started out the world was rampant with war mongers, people who lived to exploit each other and other people through business and greed, racism and sexism, and when I look today the world is still full of war mongers, racists, sexists and people who take too much. In some cases that’s gotten worse and in some cases it’s marginally better,” he said.
D.O.A. plays The Royal on Saturday, April 21. Keithley will doing an acoustic show at Packrat Annie’s the same day at 3:30 p.m.