It’s been nearly 40 years since punk activist Joe Keithley founded the legendary band D.O.A., but the 58-year-old singer show no signs of slowing down. While he continues to tour and write with D.O.A.— who have been cited as influences by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, Rancid and the Offspring—he’s also developed a solo acoustic career.
And as if that’s not enough to keep him busy, he still found time recently to be on the front lines of the protest against Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion on Burnaby Mountain.
“For me, punk was always based on being defiant, anti-authoritarian and thinking for yourself. Doesn’t matter what it sounds like. It’s those ideals that are important,” said Keithley, who will be playing a live broadcast show at Kootenay Co-op Radio on Saturday, December 6.
“When you become an activist you go out and try to change the world, which was the idea of D.O.A in the first place. Of course we wanted to play obnoxious music and go hard, but we took what we were doing really seriously,” he said.
So during the broadcast, Keithley will be playing his latest protest song: “Pipeline Fever”.
“I grew up on Burnaby Mountain. It’s what I call home,” he said.
Other issues on his mind include the recent police shooting of Michael Brown and the resulting riot in Ferguson, Missouri and the killing of Sammy Yatim in a Toronto streetcar in 2013.
“This is partly a Canadian thing, but more of a worldwide thing. People were trying to get justice and they’re not getting it,” he said. “There’s really senseless stuff going on, mentally challenged and homeless people being killed unnecessarily. Something needs to change.”
Keithley admires the late Pete Seeger, who died earlier this year but played music right until the end, and said he plans to follow his example.
“That guy was an anti-war activist, a songwriter, a banjo instructor, he revived American folk music…if I could even have a quarter of that energy, I’d be happy,” he said.
Though he’ll be primarily playing solo work, Keithley said fans can expect to hear D.O.A. favourites such as “World War 3” and “Race Riot”.
On top of his musical career, Keithley has also published two memoirs with B.C. publisher Arsenal Pulp Press. He said he’s currently at work on a third.
At his KCR show, the opening act will be local act The Other Wayne King. He’ll be playing a quirky half-hour set of originals.
Kootenay Co-op Radio promoter Nelson from Nelson said he’s thrilled Keithley is returning to the Kootenays.
“He’s a Canadian punk rock legend and he’s still doing what he did when they started in 77. He’s still writing protest songs in a time where punk, and not even folk musicians are doing that. He’s using it as a social platform,” he said.