By Lachlan Labere/Black Press
Since 1978, Joey Keithley has been “kicking-ass” with Vancouver’s premier hardcore punk band DOA on stages world-over.
Revelstoke will have an opportunity to share in that experience on Nov. 2, when the band brings their raucous show to the Last Drop Pub.
While the line-up has changed over the years since the band released its first EP, Disco Sucks, Keithley continues to be the frontman and mouthpiece for DOA, still challenging listeners to take action, whenever and wherever there’s need. He says it all comes down to the band’s motto: talk-action= 0.
“In reality, that’s probably the biggest effect that punk rock has had on society,” says Keithley, championing the band’s long-practised DIY approach. “It’s not the hairstyle, the sound or the look, the bad attitude or whatever kids are doing with it these days. It’s really people can take greater charge of their own life, and punk rock was one of the key proponents of bringing that forward.”
DOAs’ DIY approach came about when band was cutting its teeth in Vancouver, attempting to land gigs in a city Keithley says at the time was musical “backwater,” not quite ready for punk music.
“I played a tape for a few people at a place called the Cave, a famous old nightclub in Vancouver and – that’s the guy, Stan – he listened to it… after about 30 seconds, he turned it off and said, ‘you know, disco is really popular these days Joe,'” recalls Keithley. This experience led to an early iteration of Keithley’s label, Sudden Death Records, and the release of Disco Sucks.
Since then, the band has put out 18 studio albums, three live albums, including the recent Welcome to Chinatown, and numerous EPs. They’ve toured the world repeatedly, and are preparing to do so again in 2015.
Keithley’s longevity comes from a love for playing music and encouraging fans to think.
The band is often linked to political activism, and Keithley to political pursuits. He ran in two B.C. elections for the Green Party and, in 2013, he attempted to win the nomination to be the BC NDP candidate for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, but lost by five votes. That last experience left him with a bit of a bitter taste.
“When I lost, it just reinforced the fact that politics was a dirty business, and the party clearly didn’t want me as a candidate….,” said Keithley. “I thought OK, you know what, DOA has always been a pretty handy soapbox for me, I thought I’d get back on.”
With municipal elections underway in B.C., Keithley was willing to share one piece of advice for candidates: talk and listen to constituents.
“When I was trying to run to be a candidate in the last election, I probably knocked on 3,000 doors, strangers’ doors, and just tried to engage them in conversation and sign them up for my campaign,” said Keithley. “The number one reaction I got was, ‘wow, I never had a politician knock on my door before.’ I thought, ‘well, that is ridiculous.’ If you don’t go and talk to people, you’ll never know what the people want.”