These days, we’ve traded fliers for Facebook and ’zines for blogs, but the amalgamated forces of bullshit that spawned early-’80s American hardcore remain essentially unchanged: consumerism, alienation, angst. For the past 35 years, pioneering punk band D.O.A. has confronted these forces with a steady stream of conscientious hardcore. Hailing from Vancouver, B.C., and fronted by the legendary Joey Shithead (aka Joe Keithly), D.O.A. is the real deal, with record sales and road travel that testify to an uncommon endurance (3,000 shows, 1 million records sold, 1 million miles logged, nine riots, etc.)
EW recently called up Keithly to talk about D.O.A., past, present and future. “It’s a lifetime,” Keithly said of the band’s long haul through punk history. “It’s like a life sentence,” he jokes. Keithly says that, at 57, he doesn’t really consider himself a punk rocker anymore. “I don’t think I’ve been a punk for a long time,” he says, “but I play punk and have a lot to say. There are still a lot of people out there that have their heart in the underground scene.”
What Keithly doesn’t have time for are commercialized bands playing what he calls “mawl” punk. “A lot of punk bands don’t have fuck-all to say,” he observes. Keithly says he does admire the late Pete Seeger (“great songs and great action”), along with fellow punks like Henry Rollins and Jello Biafra. And he hopes the younger generations take up the good fight. “Not that everything’s wrong all the time, but of course it isn’t all right,” he points out. “We live in a free society, and part of freedom is questioning authority. That’s the kind of role that I’ve taken. It’s a tough thing. Unfortunately, a lot of people under 30 are not motivated to try and promote change. They live looking at their phones and they don’t care and they throw up their hands and say, ‘What can I do?’ It can’t just be up to guys like Biafra and Rollins and me.”
Hear that, people? Toss your cell phones and get thee to the mosh pit.
D.O.A., M.D.C. and The Soothsayers play 9 pm Saturday, March 29, at Luckey’s; $10.