D.O.A. headed to the Blue Grotto on Thursday

The frontman for Vancouver's protest band is now a Burnaby city councillor

Talk minus action equals zero.

That has long been the slogan of a man named Joey Shithead, the lead singer of Vancouver punk pioneers D.O.A., who will play in Kamloops on Thursday.

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Joe Keithley is now on a quest to prove that man right.

Keithley and Shithead are really one and the same.

In the 2018 municipal elections, Keithley became something he had been throwing his middle finger up to for years: a politician.

But as a Burnaby city councillor, what’s on his mind these days is much the same as before.

“I just never knew it would get to this level of detail and intensity,” he said.

That intense work is focused around issues Keithley has held close for years: social justice and protection of the environment.

“When we started, we were Vancouver’s protest band. Anti-racism, stuff against nuclear weapons buildup, even transit fares — we would block buses,” he told KTW.

Although his city council work isn’t quite as dramatic and in-your-face, it sounds like those tactics are something he could return to, if he wanted..

“I’m taking the same punk rock attitude at council I did my whole life with D.O.A.,” he said.

“We’re going to make change and we’re going to cause trouble if we have to.”

His official status hasn’t hindered his unofficial work. He’s still the lead singer and guitarist of D.O.A. and will play about 35 shows this year, down from the band’s typical year of 60 to 70 and its peak of 150 to 200 shows per year.

Part of that reduced tour workload can be attributed to his council seat, but he said the band is also working on some new music and plans to release an EP in March that will focus on what is sure to be a raucous U.S. election campaign season and “hopefully the last term of the Trump presidency,” he said.

So, the 63-year-old still has music in him and he said he has his audience to thank for that.

“You feed off the energy. I think that’s what keeps D.O.A. really resilient and able to deliver the goods, so to speak,” he said.

It’s his attitude, too. He said a certain amount of irreverence has been a good thing, and mixing humour with politics and not taking things too seriously has kept his passion from turning into pontification.

“You don’t want to get too preachy,” he said.

It's a lasting power that has come to be recognized.

The band’s seminal album, Hardcore 81, was recently awarded the Polaris Heritage Prize, beating out albums from other notable Canadian acts like Sarah McLachlan, Stan Rogers and k.d. lang.

A taste of Hardcore 81 is sure to be had in Kamloops at the Blue Grotto Nightclub on Thursday. The band will play there at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door, available online at ticketor.com/thebluegrotto.

© Kamloops This Week


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