D.O.A. still alive — and making a point
Joe Keithley is still looking for the perfect album.
The D.O.A. frontman says he listens to every kind of music, from Black Sabbath to Willie Nelson, “but I haven’t found an album in a few years where I went, ‘Wow, this is great from top to bottom’.”
Even bands that lay claim to the mantle of punk-rock D.O.A. was christened with “are a bit more of a fashion show than a statement,” Keithley said.
Not that he’s dissing the current crop of bands. It’s just that, back in the 1970s and early 1980s, “bands like the Clash might draw 2,000 people, but their impact was greater.
“Now, you’ve got bands drawing 10,000 people, but their impact isn’t as great.
“I’m always hoping a new generation will come along and start kicking some asses.”
There are many reasons why he hasn’t seen it happen yet, Keithley said.
Foremost is the fact that, back when the band was just getting started, “we realized music was a great vehicle to suggest ways to change things.
“That’s a bit of a lost art these days. When you think about it, punk bands are more of a commodity now.”
Keithley has chronicled the rise of
the band from obscurity to world tours in a new book, Talk - Action = 0, which has been a band slogan through the decades.
“It came out just great,” Keithley said of the book that was “a germ of an idea last summer.”
He’s kept memorabilia from the early days onward and has “boxes and boxes of stuff. I’ve got 17 boxes of posters.
“So, I picked the best 500 things, took them [to the publisher] and dumped on them on a boardroom table and said ‘Here’s your book’.”
They put it all in order and Keithley wrote the story.
The result is more than 300 pages of photos, notes, lyrics, posters, set lists — the history of D.O.A.
Original plans were for the book to be published just in black-and-white, to keep the costs down, but “we discovered we could get it printed in Hong Kong in colour way cheaper but we only had two months to get it done if we did that.”
Keithley’s delighted with the product.
He’s particularly happy he took the time at every gig to hunt down a poster to save, particularly for the band’s European tours.
“We got great posters in Europe in the 1980s,” he said. “Each town had its own poster and it’s a unique take on what they thought D.O.A. was about.”
Even though he’s been performing with D.O. A. since 1978 — and through 29 lineup changes through the years — Keithley said he still loves to perform.
“It’s fun playing for people. If you can get them excited, you get excited.”
The average D.O.A. audience these days ranges in age from 18 to about 30, generations that probably don’t remember those first releases and shows.
Keithley’s aware the under-19 set comprises a large fan base, but often can’t see the band because it performs most often in bars.
Before the Kamloops show at Pogue Mahone Irish Alehouse, 843 Desmond St., Keithely’s adding another public event open to all ages.
He’ll be at Pirate Palace Tattoos, 445 Seymour St., at 5 p.m. that day to do a short acoustic
show, answer questions and promote and sign the book.
The Jolts, a Vancouver band Keithley said he likes, will open for D.O.A. at Pogue Mahone.
Tickets are $10 at the door.