A&E » Arts

Hardcore creative approach

Punk legends D.O.A. still crank out high-octane show along with films,
and solo and anniversary albums

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By Nicole Fitzgerald

Who: D.O.A.

When: Sunday, Feb. 18

Where: Garfinkel’s

After 29 years, you would think punk icons D.O.A. would be kicking the hardcore bucket, but instead they are making movies about it and punk king D.O.A. Joey “Shithead” Keithley is even going out on his own to produce a debut solo album.

“It’s hard to stop when you are creative,” he said. “That is what an artist should do: to create, to entertain and make people think. You’ve got to come up with new angles.”

Keithley has plugged away at every angle possible: he ran for political office, penned I Shithead, a life in punk (Arsenal Pulp Press), stands up to the mic with spoken word, plays solo acoustic shows, fronts D.O.A. and is now adding silverscreen superstar to the list.

Last year, the musical political activists, played the Sundance Film Festival, for the opening of a documentary they were featured in called American Hardcore, which follows the birth of American punk rock. Now you might ask what a Canadian band is doing in American history, but D.O.A.’s citizenship crosses global boundaries as the founders of the hardcore scene.

“We were the only band in the film that wasn’t American; I guess we were in it because we invented or popularized the term hardcore. People throw the term around like crazy,” Keithley said. “We’ve got a couple songs featured in the film and we talked about the origins of hardcore punk.”

The band is already involved in a second documentary with a Vancouver filmmaker to flesh out the stories of the early 1970s and 1980s Vancouver music scene — something these hardcore luminaries are well acquainted with. But D.O.A. is hardly limited to Vancouver fans. Their music has influenced the likes of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, Rancid and The Offspring. The boys have toured their politically charged music tackling globalization, environment, racism and censorship all over the world.

Down from the band’s early days of 180 to 200 shows a year, the current 40 to 50 show date schedule left room for Keithley to start writing his own music. He draws on the talents of more than a dozen Vancouver musicians to complete the new album slated for release later this year.

“It’s pretty interesting,” he said of the album. “It’s a punkabilly, ska and roots kind of thing. Very lively, but not straight up punk rock. It’s more melodic with different elements.”

D.O.A. has also re-released classic albums such as Something Better Change and Hardcore 81 last year — the albums were recently chosen as among the top five Canadian punk rock albums of all time.

D.O.A. might just add a third to that top five with the band getting ready to record a new D.O.A. album for their 30 th anniversary next year.

Delve into a wild time with D.O.A. playing Punk Night on Sunday, Feb. 18 at Garfinkel’s.

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