D.O.A. | The Canadian Encyclopedia



D.O.A. Vancouver punk/rock band. The band was formed in 1978 by the singer, guitarist and songwriter Joey Keighley (also known professionally as Joey Shithead and Joey Keithley, born Burnaby, BC, 3 Jun 1956), previously of The Skulls.


D.O.A. Vancouver punk/rock band. The band was formed in 1978 by the singer, guitarist and songwriter Joey Keighley (also known professionally as Joey Shithead and Joey Keithley, born Burnaby, BC, 3 Jun 1956), previously of The Skulls. Band members frequently changed: besides Keithley, long-time members included guitarist Dave Gregg 1980-8, bassist Brian "Wimpy" Goble (who left the Subhumans for D.O.A. in 1982, replacing Randy Rampage) and a succession of drummers, among them Chuck "Biscuits," Montgomery, Ken "Dimwit" Montgomery, and, 1986-90, Jon Card. From the Smilin' Buddha, the band's Vancouver base during the late 1970s, D.O.A. quickly established an exhausting touring regimen in Canada, the US and, beginning in 1981, Europe. During eight months in 1985, for example, it performed in 105 cities in more than a dozen countries. D.O.A. has toured with Nirvana, The Clash, The Ramones, The Dead Kennedys, Black Flag and Minor Threat.

D.O.A. established itself as a punk group with a talent primarily for outrage; the group evolved into a potent hard-rock band whose strong, leftist political convictions took it as far afield as the 1988 Vancouver Folk Festival. Assessing the 1983 compilation LP Bloodied But Unbowed: The Damage to Date, 1978-83, Tom Harrison referred to the band's "crude but accurate humor, blunt but articulate statements, classic punk attack with traces of heavy metal roots, and the first signs of D.O.A'.s present evolution into a group that can mix driving rock, off-the-cuff reggae and... metallic funk." (Vancouver Province, 8 Dec 1983).

D.O.A. was known for its "instant singles," ie, songs written and recorded in response to specific events in Vancouver, including "Right to Be Wild," "General Strike," "Expo Hurts Everyone" and Rich Bitch. Its 'covers of BTO'sTakin' Care of Business and the Poppy Family's "Where Evil Grows" (the latter produced by its composer, Terry Jacks) brought the band some mainstream recognition in the late 1980s. D.O.A. released EPs and LPs 1979-90 under a variety of independent Canadian and US labels including Friends (Triumph of the Ignoroids, Hardcore '81), Virus (War on 45), Profile (True [North] Strong & Free), Justin Time (Let's Wreck the Party), and Restless Records (Murder). On the basis of its itinerary and discography D.O.A. was the leading Canadian group to emerge from the punk idiom.

In 1990, D.O.A. announced they were disbanding and gave their "final" performance at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver; the band released Talk Minus Action = 0 posthumously that same year. After almost two years, Keithley re-established the group with Brian Goble on bass and Ken Jansen on drums. During the 1990s the band underwent many personnel changes, yet continued to release albums including Bloodied But Unbowed/War On 45 (1992 re-issue), The 13 Flavours Of Doom (1992), Loggerheads (1993), The Black Spot (1995), and Festival Of Atheists (1998). Not including the three founding members, since 1978 D.O.A. comprised more than 18 different members as part of its lineup; Keithley is the only musician to stay with the band throughout its history.

In 2003, in Vancouver, 21 December was declared as "D.O.A. Day" to celebrate the band's 25th anniversary. That same year, the band released a career-spanning retrospective entitled War and Peace. The band released a ska inspired album in 2004, Live Free or Die. After their 2008 release of Northern Avenger, D.O.A. began their 30th anniversary tour, followed by performances with the Van's Warped Tour in 2009.

D.O.A. concerts have often been connected to political and environmental messages, drawing attention to human rights, their anti-nuclear position and anti-globalization statements. "Anti-mainstream" messages resonate throughout D.O.A.'s albums with themes that range from cultural disintegration and assimilation with the US, to the escalation of fascism. The band's "DIY" (Do it Yourself) motto combined with the message "Talk-Action=Zero" has been part of their commitment to social change; the royalties from certain songs are donated to organizations such as the African National Congress.

Established in 1978, Keithley's recording company, Sudden Death Records had limited activity until 1998. Since 2000 Sudden Death Records produced several D.O.A. albums, and re-released earlier D.O.A. albums including The Lost Tapes, a compilation of unreleased tracks from 1978-1984. In 2003, Keithley published I, Shithead: A Life in Punk, an autobiography detailing his activism and music.

Joe Keithley was inducted into the Canadian Independent Music Hall of Fame in 2004.

After appearing at several venues in late 2012, D.O.A. disbanded in early 2013.

Selected discography

Disco Sucks. 1978. Sudden Death Records

Triumph of the Ignoroids. 1979. Friends

Something Better Change. 1980. Friends

Hardcore 81. 1981. Friends

War on 45. 1982. Alternative Tentacles

Bloodied But Unbowed. 1984. CD Presents

Don't Turn Your Back (on Desperate Times). 1985. Alternative Tentacles

Let's Wreck the Party. 1985. Alternative Tentacles

True (North) Strong & Free. 1987. Rock Hotel/Profile

Murder. 1990. Restless

Talk Minus Action Equals Zero. 1990. Restless

The Dawning of a New Error. 1992. Alternative Tentacles

13 Flavors of Doom. 1992. Alternative Tentacles

Bloodied But Unbowed/War on 45. 1992. Restless (Reissued)

It's Not Unusual...But It Sure Is Ugly!. 1993. Alternative Tentacles

Loggerheads. 1993. Alternative Tentacles

The Black Spot. 1995. Essential Noise/Virgin

Festival of the Atheists. 1998. Sudden Death

Win The Battle. 2002. Sudden Death

Live Free Or Die. 2004. Sudden Death

Northern Avenger. 2008. Sudden Death

Kings of Punk, Hockey and Beer. 2009. Sudden Death

Talk-Action=0. 2010. Sudden Death

We Come In Peace. 2012. Sudden Death

Further Reading