The last founding band of the hardcore punk genre, Dead On Arrival (D.O.A), comes to Williams Lake next week for a one night show at the Limelight Theatre.
Brought to the lakecity by Even Catalano and Shock Collar Records, D.O.A. will be performing on July 11 with doors opening at 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show. Joining them on stage will be a selection of pulse-pounding B.C. bands including Kootenay based ska-punk band NewTronBomb, the all-lady punk band No Big D and Evil Twin, a Williams Lake-based high energy rock’n’roll band. Admission for this licensed night of energetic and quality music is $20 at Red Shreds and at the door.
“This is not a show to miss. D.O.A. has been a band for 40 years and this will be their first time rocking the Cariboo,” Catalano said. “It’s an honour to put on the show for them.”
D.O.A., as Catalano observed, is one of the oldest original punk bands still performing today. First founded in Vancouver in 1978 by Joey Keithley, Chuck Biscuits and Randy Rampage the band went on to gain success in their hometown and later down in San Francisco.
Fast forward 40 years, 16 different band members, 17 studio albums and 4,500 shows on five continents later, Keithley still leads the band he helped found as lead vocalist and guitarist along with Paddy Duddy on drums and Mike ‘Maggot’ Hodsall on bass. Now a Green Party city councillor for his hometown of Burnaby, Keithley said the politics have always been important part of his, and by extension D.O.A.’s, music.
Keithley remembers first getting into punk rock back in 1976 and began playing it shortly after, at first with a shortlived punk band called The Skulls. A big inspiration for himself and a lot of the early ‘new wave punk movement’ in Vancouver came from a show put on by legendary American punk band The Ramones, then relatively unknown.
Unable to sell enough tickets, they ended up giving them away to a few hundred people like Keithley who came out and realized “that is what punk rock is.”
“I got into music kind of for the sheer thrill of getting people excited, making them go crazy at shows and I also really liked the politics of (punk),” Keithley said. “I think that was a real pertinent thing, I was really into the counter culture.”
A big part of the reason he’s still into music is its ability to change the world. Keithley said that music is a universal language that promotes kindness, understanding and healing rather than hatred, greed and racism. Music also has the ability to inspire people to support causes or events, which is why the D.O.A. motto has long been “talk minus action equals zero.”
Along the way, Keithley said D.O.A. has put on about 300 shows for political causes including environmental rights, women’s rights and Indigenous rights, including forming the first Vancouver chapter of Rock Again Racism back in 1979. Now as a city councillor, he continues to champion these concerns and others including affordable housing, projects to assist the homeless and environmental issues like the controversial Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project.
On the music side of things, however, Keithley is happy to still be able to play alongside Duddy and Hodsall in addition to his political career. Both are former members of the ACDC tribute band BCDC and are experienced musicians in their own right, Keithley said.
He’s excited for the upcoming performance in Williams Lake as, funnily enough, he observed, D.O.A. has never played in Williams Lake before marking a first in the D.O.A.’s four-decade career. Keithley plans to live up to the reputation of driving people crazy with D.O.A.’s punk rock sound at the concert.
“D.O.A. we’re one of the originators of punk rock. We didn’t write the book on it but we donated a bunch of chapters to the book of punk rock,” Keithley said.
The band will be playing a selection of songs from their most recent album Fight Back and a collection of their greatest hits including songs from their second album Hardcore 81. The band’s great live music reputation is part of what he believes has led to their enduring appeal to audiences of all ages.
“D.O.A. we’re a Canadian institution or we should be institutionalized, it’s one or the other,” Keithley joked.