• D.O.A. Is Not Dead Yet - An Interview With Joe 'Shithead' Keithley



    D.O.A. recently put out a pretty bad ass record called Talk – Action = 0. In celebration of this event, D.O.A. founding father and proverbial punk rock legend Joe ‘Shithead’ Keithly took the time to answer a few questions. And while you're at it, check out our coverage of the band's Brooklyn stop on their 2013 farewell tour here!

    Ian: So Talk – Action = 0 is out now and I personally feel it’s the best thing that D.O.A. has done in a long time. Did the shitty state of the world over the last year or so fuel the record or did you guys just hit a stride or what?

    Joe: Yes, the crappy state of the world had a lot to do with the song writing. Tunes like I Live In A Car, Atheist and Tyrants Turn in Hell speak to that.

    Ian: The band’s been around over three decades, which in band years, is a really long time. What’s your shining moment? What are you most proud of? What’s the coolest thing D.O.A. has ever done?

    Joe: That’ a tough one, been lots of highlights, I’ll meet you for a beer sometime and try and figure it out.

    Ian: I love beer, you’ve got a deal! The band, through various incarnations, has also recorded with some pretty interesting co-conspirators over the years, like Jello Biafra and the almighty Thor. For the record, I love Thor. Any good stories from working with either of these two fine men? Did Thor wrap a microphone stand around your neck or subject you to multiple viewings of Rock ‘N’ Roll Nightmare?

    Joe: Yes Biafra’s very cool and Thor is as well. The first time I met Thor I was hosting an online TV show and I had him on for an interview. He took a really solid straight steel bar and bent it into a U only using his teeth! The funniest was a trip where he got hired by a bunch of bikers to play at a kick boxing event here in Vancouver and he needed a band. So we learned a bunch of Thor songs and we played inside a wrestling ring, the ring’s canvas was really bouncy and pretty well all the amps fell over by the end of the set.

    Ian: Thor rules! Are there any more collaborations in D.O.A.’s future?

    Joe: Sure , I am trying to talk Willie Nelson and Neil Young into some recording.

    Ian: Both of those would be amazing opportunities, I hope they pan out. So what’s up with the Star Trek song on the new album? You just felt like writing about Kirk and his pals or is it a clever allegory for the world without heroes we all live in now?

    Joe: Both , it was my favorite show as a kid and on that show they saved people and the world because it was the right thing to do. Not because they could get rich, acquire property and bling and be idiot celebrities.

    Ian: Bling is overrated, it’s true. You’ve done some acting here and there, even appearing in Graveyard (with Thor!) and the excellent Hardcore Logo. Any movie projects in the pipeline? What was it like getting in front of the camera? Any thoughts on Joe Keithley: Actor?

    Joe: I’m wondering when the Academy will nominate me??? Acting’s pretty fun, I have been in about six different TV shows doing small parts, I usually play a “heavy”! Typecasting all the way……

    Ian: Well if you’ve got it, flaunt it! You also run Sudden Death Records, which in addition to releasing D.O.A. records puts out discs from the likes of Thor (yes, Thor!), The Real MacKenzies, The Vibrators, The Damned, Sham 69, The Pointed Sticks, Vice Squad, M.D.C., and even some rascals from Portland called Apt. 3G. That’s a pretty bad ass line up of Canadian and international bands right there. How’d you get these guys to sign on with Sudden Death?

    Joe: It wasn’t too tough, I know a lot of these bands from all my travels , so it just kind of worked out.

    Ian: How has the record business been treating you? Is the internet really killing the CD or did Lars Ulrich make that up to screw Metallica’s fans out of more money?

    Joe: The biz is tough right now, but I you are careful you can survive, SDR’s still going fine.

    Ian: Well I’m glad to hear that. You recently played the Punk Island Festival in New York June 20th. It was a blast. But you also toured the U.S. in support of the new release. Does touring in the U.S. differ much from touring in Canada? Are the crowds nuttier? Less nutty? Equally nutty?

    Joe: It’s different for sure, there’s more of an emphasis on DOA’s ‘hardcore” tradition in the USA. But both countries have their good points and cool people.

    Ian: So there was an incident involving some riot cops at a show in Switzerland recently. What happened there? There’s gotta be a good story about that.

    Joe: That’ a long story, Clint can send you the details. (Editor’s note: Clint is D.O.A.’s PR guy and he did send the details, click here to read them!)

    Ian: Mike Ness has been ranting about the state of punk rock from the stage for years now, lamenting the fact that you can go to the mall and get your little pussy pierced. But here’s D.O.A. stating the opposite, claiming that ‘They Hate Punk Rock.’ Do you feel punk’s been watered down or homogenized over the years or is Mike just babbling?

    Joe: Well the They Hate Punk Rock is referring to the real tradition of punk, which has been and can still be a dangerous thing to society. So I am saying mall punk kind of sucks .

    Ian: On that we can agree. You’re not the only punk band to cover a Dylan track with the new album. The Cobra Skulls did it recently too. He’s not really punk rock at all, or at least you don’t really associate him in that regard because he’s a bit of a hippy/beatnik type. What made you want to cover ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’’?

    Joe: It speak volumes about our world. I feel the lyrics are timeless, I got the idea to cover it after watching an odd movie.

    Ian: We love odd movies around here. Last question – what’s next for D.O.A.? Are you going to play until you die or is there a plan? You’ve lasted way longer than most of your counterparts and are still going strong but nothing lasts forever. How long is D.O.A. going to be around?

    Joe: Well I’ve always been a activist/musician, so I will keep playing till I cannot play anymore, if that is still in the form of D.O.A. , that I am not sure.

    Ian: Well I hope you’re around for a long time. Thanks again for taking the time to do this. I know you’re a busy guy and appreciate your efforts!

    Wanna learn more about D.O.A.’s latest and greatest record? Check out the Sudden Death Records homepage by clicking here!