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Old punks never die; they just do spoken word

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Joey Keithley is still trying to change the world

By Shelley Arnusch

Who: Joey Keithley/D.O.A. with the Antithesis

What: The Punk Night

Where: Boot Pub

When: Sunday, Jan. 25.

Tickets: $10 - $12

Was disco really all that bad?

Let's be glad that it apparently was because it spawned a helluva lot of good music. With the rally cry of "Disco Sucks!" bands anted up to show the world a grittier, more honest, more socially-conscious way to rock.

They sprung up like poisonous mushrooms on a manicured lawn.

Then some of them burned out. Some of them faded away. But a few, like Vancouver's D.O.A., are still around.

So what do old punks who still care do? Well they play the odd show, or join the odd reunion tour, but if they're smart, they realize their years have left them with a wealth of experience, stories and a unique perspective on social issues and they pick up the pen.

Consummate performers, however, they usually end up back onstage presenting spoken word. Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins fills high culture auditoriums. Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra hits university campuses with his political diatribes. And Vancouver's own D.O.A. frontman Joey Keithley has carved out a sort of Beat-on-the-brat-poetry niche for himself. He's only becoming more prolific with the release of his first book, I, Shithead named after his well-worn punk moniker, on Vancouver's Arsenal Pulp Press. The book was released last October in Canada and is slated for U.S. release this spring.

The book is a brutally honest account of Keithley's life in punk rock. From the early days playing for beer at biker rallies through the protests of the Reagan era, the rise and decline of the Seattle scene, marriage, kids, politics, band politics and rock, rock, rock.

Keithley cleans up fairly well, but he'll never be the polished, smooth talking motivational-speaker type, even though now he gets to add "author" to a title cache that includes everything from "smelly punk" to "political activist," to "troublemaker."

He is also, proudly, still a musician. Along with the current incarnation of D.O.A. - The Great Baldini on Drums and Damned Dan Yaremko on bass - Keithley will be taking over The Punk Night this Sunday at the Boot Pub for a set that dips into decades of D.O.A. material. Whistler locals The Antithesis will play an opening set. At 9 p.m. the evening will kick off with Keithley's spoken word session which will include readings from I, Shithead.

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