Hardcore kings bring the punk politik to St. Johns

Karla Hayward
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Theyre Canadas punk kings. They coined the hardcore. And for more than 25 years, Vancouver-based band D.O.A. has been pissing off parents and kick-starting the kids.

D.O.A. last performed on Newfoundlands stage in 1984. Lead Joey Keithley explains the glaring gap: No one ever made us an offer to come back! he says laughing.

You know what it is though? he continues. The people who book shows are generally in Toronto or Vancouver and generally dont know anything about Newfoundland that its a real fun time going there. So, Im blaming it on the agents. Thats my story and Im sticking to it.

Regarded as a major influence for some of the biggest bands of today, from Red Hot Chili Peppers to Green Day, D.O.A. has always been about more than just the music. Im an activist and thats a large part of why I do this, and why Ive done this for so many years, says Keithley. Because Ive believed in trying to change the world into a better place and this is one of my vehicles for doing that.

Hes not just talking the talk. In his home province of British Colombia, Keithleys run for the Green Party three times. Plus, the band has played benefits for all kinds of causes like Rape Relief, Oxfam, First Nations rights, various environmental initiatives and more.

After three decades of activism, Keithleys showing no signs of slowdown. I think (Canadians) should hold politicians more responsible for their actions If they say one thing, we should hold them to it. Mind you, the world is a flexible place. But, if you say youre going to build a bridge between point A and point B, then a highway that goes a hundred miles in the other direction doesnt substitute for a bridge.

He continues, And people need to realize that a provincial or federal election is not the only time to affect change. It happens at a real local level. If you get an idea on how to change the world, start it in your own neighbourhood.

Present at its birth and all the way through its maturity, Keithley knows about punk and its effect on the masses. Before, people were almost afraid of it. It was like this weird social phenomenon. People went like, Whoa these people are f**king crazy! But I think that musicians owe it to the people and to (their) band to keep stirring things up. And that goes for whatever stripe of music they do.

D.O.A. has grown into its own label over the years, Sudden Death Records. We have about 70 releases on there now. Theres no prerequisite sound-wise or philosophically, but I think (the chosen acts have) something I like A: because its alive and has some fire in the belly, B: because its funny or topical or C: just cause I like the sound of it.

Keithley promises a stellar show for anyone who can tear themselves away from bunny-binging on Easter Sunday. Theyre in for a wild, berserk, out-of-control show, to put it in a nutshell. D.O.A. does a lot of things. We try to make people think, make people laugh and we try to entertain people. And you know what? We try to rile people up too and affect some positive action.

And after almost 30 years, does Keithley think hell ever be too old for punk? Thats really up to the fans. I dont think I can decide that I just think about being an artist and being a musician and Ill be doing that until the day I die in some sort of form. Whether people will still call it punk rock is another thing all together.

D.O.A. performs an all-ages show Sunday afternoon at Junctions. Doors open at 2:30 and the lineup is Nerve Attack, Dig up The Dead, Fireign and D.O.A. Doors for the bar show open at 9:30 p.m., with Dog Meat BBQ, Tough Justice and D.O.A. set to take the stage.

Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door and are available at Freeride, Freds Records, OKeefes Grocery and Gas Bar, X-It Skates and Books-R-Us Plus. Learn more at www.suddendeath.com.


Organizations: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Party, Oxfam First Nations Freeride

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Toronto, Vancouver British Colombia

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