DOA Vancouver Punk

Formed: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

"You call us weirdos, you call us crazy
You say we're evil, you say we're lazy
You say we're just the violent type
Kinda dumb, not too bright
We don't care what you say - fuck you!"

 

DOA Vancouver Punk 1981

Discography / Lineups

One of Canada’s most venerable punk bands, D.O.A. have been mixing crusading left-wing politics with beery hell raising since time immemorial.

Through a succession of very hit-and-miss albums and EPs that veered between frenetic hardcore and mundane rock, leader Joey Shithead (born Joe Keighley but later changed to Keithley) has been their charismatic front man, coming across as a drunken redneck lumberjack arsehole with a social conscience. D.O.A. gave the hardcore movement a name on their second album and like Black Flag trail-blazed their way across Northern America, playing hick towns and kick starting local punk scenes where previously there was none. Additionally, D.O.A. was also home to one of the best hardcore drummers: Chuck Biscuits who went on to play with Black Flag, Circle Jerks and others.

Highly and indeed increasingly political, they have made a point of playing benefit gigs (such as the Black Lung Benefit in 1978), went to Britain to show support for striking miners, and were the only vocal support for the anarchist terrorist group known in the press as the Vancouver Five. Alongside The Subhumans (one of whom was a fifth of the convicted Vancouver Five), with whom they had something of love/hate relationship, they were Canada's foremost punk pioneers. Little wonder that in 1981, Wimpy Roy and Dimwit left The Subhumans to join D.O.A..

In short, they were important and people took notice of both their music and their message.

The roots of the band lie in Stone Crazy, a go-nowhere pre-punk pock band that featured Shithead, Brian 'Wimpy Roy' Goble, Ken 'Dimwit' Montgomery, Gerry Hannah and Simon Werner (as well as Brad Kent at one time). By 1977 they had morphed into Canada's first punk band, The Skulls, which went unrecorded save for one song which later ended up on the double compilation CD Last Call: Vancouver Independent Music 1977-1988. The band split in early 1978. Werner and Wimpy went to London, England, and Shithead recruited Randy Rampage on bass/vocals and Chuck Biscuits on drums. Brad Kunt (ex-Victorian Pork / pre-Avengers) was briefly a second guitarist, but he never made it to vinyl, nor did a guy called Harry Homo who was actually the original singer with Shithead merely the guitarist. D.O.A. - Disco Sucks - Canada	7" 1978 (Quintessence - QET 002) A-Side

WOKE UP SCREAMING

I don't really care, what they say
I don't really care, what they do
I just know i'm sick of this crowd
and of you
The cops they took me and beat me blue
It wasn't what I was or what I do
It was just being alive

I took a chance on the other side
Got off this downhill slide
Stopped wasting my time

Had a dream, saw a scheme
Saw a man hang on a beam
Next thing was, I woke up screaming

It wasn't what I was, or what I do
It wasn't anything to do with you
It was just, not dreaming

NEW AGE

New age, I don't believe you,
You give nothing I can use.
New age, I don't believe you
But everybody wondering what to do. D.O.A. - The Prisoner
What do you want me to say.
And what do you want me to do.

Everybody going out of their heads just runnin' around like a fool.
New age, I don't believe you, you slice me up like a cutting tool.
New age, don't let it deceive you, pull the plug, don't let it rule.
You put me in a corner.
While you're trying to keep order.
You know there's only one way out.
Everybody's gonna scream and shout.

New age, I don't believe you, I thought you were talkin' about something new.
New age, I'm gonna destroy you, after what you put me through.
I'm still gonna be alive when you're through this time.

New age, I don't believe you, you slice me up like a cutting tool.
New age, I don't believe you, I won't drown in your concrete pool.

America is so proud, new streets and a brand new crowd.
But it's just the same old garbage, hangin' around draggin' me down.

New age, I don't believe you, I'm not a pawn that you can use.
New age, don't let it deceive you, pull the plug, don't let it rule.
It's a new age a new age a new age and one that you can't use.

D.O.A.'s debut single, Disco Sucks was a generic affair ('Nazi Training Camp', 'Royal Police' etc) on their own Sudden Death label. Utterly standard issue punk rock, it also happens to be very funny. It took until 1980 for the band to record an album, by which time they had amassed a further three singles, all of which are classics: The Prisoner, the live Triumph Of The Ignoroids EP and the rockier-sounding World War 3.

D.O.A. At the Royal, 1979DOA Hardcore 81 Cllub Au Go Go

Released with their classic four-piece lineup of Shithead, Biscuits, new rhythm guitarist Dave Gregg and Randy Rampage, Something Better Change is a splendid album, offering short sharp shocks, a hail of four-letter-words, fierce playing and no small amount of humour. 1981's Hardcore 81 was only twenty-odd minutes long (and even then a couple of “songs” are pure filler), but compensates for its meager running time with its bravura approach and strong songs. A contemporary EP, the outstanding Positively D.O.A. - culled from various recordings - earned them their first British release via a deal with Alternative Tentacles.

D.O.A. 1980

At this point bassist Randy Rampage absconded, and was replaced by Ken "Dimwit" Montgomery, However, then Biscuit also left, going on to form short-lived alliances with Circle Jerks, Black Flag and other projects. Dimwit switched to drums and the bass-player vacancy was filled by ex-Subhumans vocalist Brian Goble. (Rampage went on to issue a solo EP in 1982.)

DOA Live at the London Greyhound 1981DOA Live 1981

DOA / Middle Class / Adolescents / UK Decay / Black Flag 1981 handbillDOA / TSOL Flyer 1981DOA - The Dawning Of A New Error Flyer 1982

ABOVE: Handbills from 1981 and 1982

War On 45, their 12-inch EP from 1982, was an eight-song affair that was probably their finest moment, with covers of the Dils and Edwin Grant amid originals, linked by a theme of war and featuring their most polished production (by Thom Wilson). (Note: The US version of this EP replaces 'Rich Bitch' and with 'The Unknown' with ' Liar For Hire' and 'I'm Right You're Wrong'.)

DOA Vancouver Punk 1983D.O.A. Free The FiveDOA - War On 45 Poster

In 1983 they issued two more excellent 45's, Right To Be Wild! and General Strike / That's Life. These singles were their first so-called "Emergency Issue" singles, quickly recorded and swiftly released fast responses to current events, with proceeds going to worthy causes. Right To Be Wild! was in aid of "The Vancouver Five", so-called terrorists who were arrested and sent to prison for bombing a hydro-chemical plant and fire-bombing pornography outlets. You can read about them below. General Strike was written, recorded and released within a week of the re-election of the right-wing premier Bill Bennett, supporting workers threatening to go on strike. (Later, in 1986, Bill Bennett was the subject of another D.O.A. song, 'Billy And Socreds", released on the 7" Expo Hurts Everyone E.P.).

DOA Canada Punk 1985DOA - Repent You Fucking SavagesDOA - Action Speaks Louder Than Words

ABOVE L-R: 1985 promo material, art from the 1982 War On 45 12", and DOA slogan

At this point the band went a bit quiet, but a great comp called Bloodied But Unbowed plugged the gap, compiling the best bits from all of their singles and both long-players, re-mixed for maximum audio pleasure. Each sweary song counts: 'Fuck You', 'Rich Bitch', 'I Don't Give A Shit', 'Fucked Up Ronnie', 'Slum Lord', 'Smash The State', 'Woke Up Screaming' etc. The UK version differed to the US one, and the CD version differed from both.

DOA 1985 Punk FlyerDOA - Brian 'Wimpy Roy' GobleDOA / Frightwig 1985 Handbill

ABOVE L-R: 1985 concert flyer; Wimpy Roy in action, and a handbill from 1985

Let's Wreck The Party was something of a mixed bag, marking a move away from hardcore towards a more traditional rock (not heavy metal) sound, probably something to do with producer Brian "Too Loud" McLeod, who had played in a Canadian hard rock band called Headpins. Apart from a few outright boring songs, it's mostly solid, and at the very least boasts two of their most dynamic and confrontational recordings ('Race Riot', 'General Strike'), as well as a funny cover of 'Singin' In The Rain', complete with a horn section.

True (North) Strong And Free featured new drummer Jon Card (ex-Personality Crisis), a new version of an old song ('Nazi Training Camp') and a new, even more rock-orientated direction. Check out the Bachman-Turner-Overdrive cover version, 'Takin' Care Of Business'!. It was their last release with Dave Gregg, who was replaced by Chris Prohom, and it was also their first album that failed to get released in their homeland.

D.O.A. - MurderDOA - Joey Shithead

This lineup - Shithead, Goble, Card, Proham - recorded their superb collaboration with Jello Biafra (Last Scream Of The Missing Neighbors) and a new studio album, Murder. From its cover plastered with blood-splattered corpses, it wasn't a pretty record. Two Subhumans songs ('Behind The Smile', 'No Productivity') were given another chance, as was a longer version of 'Waiting For You'. By recording (admirably) yet another old song, the soul classic 'Midnight Special', one might suspect a problem coming up with the goods. Rockier than before, there was no shortage of anger but the overall effect was muted by production that placed the vocals too low in the mix.

Issued after the band temporarily broke up - they had played a farewell gig in 1990 at The Commodore with GBH in support - Talk Minus Action Equals Zero was a beezer live album drawing on material from all of the band's incarnations, with a handful of new numbers, including 'Fuck That Shit', a comically angry reggae number.

DOA Vancouver Punk 1989DOA - Joey Shithead 1998

ABOVE: 1990: L-R: Brian 'Wimpy Roy' Goble, Joey Shithead, Jon Card, Chris Prohom

DOA Vancouver Punk 1990 Restless Records PromoDOA Vancouver Punk 1980

ABOVE: Promotional material from 1990, during the band's stay at Restless Records

The Polish-only Greatest Shits was an interesting anomaly, with funny cover art depicting Shithead on the toilet. It rounds up material from the debut album not included on Bloodied But Unbowed, along with the whole of Triumph Of The Ignoroids, various single sides and compilation tracks. There are also some unreleased songs from their rockier period, including fairly straight covers of 'Won't Get Fooled Again' and 'L.A. Woman'. The sound is a bit ropy, suggesting that, despite liner notes by Shithead himself, it isn't strictly legit, but it's still well worth seeking out.

D.O.A. - 1993!D.O.A. - The Only Thing Green

Back in action in 1992, the new D.O.A. was a power trio centring around Keithley, Wimpy Roy and new drummer Ken Jensen, previously of Red Tide fame.

DOA - You're Already DeadProduced by Nomeansno's John Wright with all guitars at full tilt, 13 Flavours Of Doom was their strongest release since 1983. Although the LP had been recorded for Restless Records (their label for Murder), Restless were bought out by another company and DOA's services were no longer required. They ended up on Alternative Tentacles instead. The LP boasted thirteen kicking songs with an emphasis on decay and destruction ('Death Machine', 'The Living Dead' and 'Already Dead'), D.O.A. are (generally) punkier than on the last few albums. Although typically issue-conscious (there are songs about sexual equality, the environment, AIDS) there's still room for some crapulence on 'I Played The Fool' and no less than two attacks on heavy metal.

Reunited with John Wright, Loggerheads sounded like more time had been devoted to it but dipped back into the group's penchant for rockier stuff and gave Goble freer reign (he sings a quarter of the songs). As ever, most of the material is superb ('The Only Thing Green' is essential) but there were too many mid-tempo numbers and a patience-testing grunge version of 'Folsom Prison Dirge'. Overall the album precludes serious enthusiasm, but when it is good it is very good.

In 1995, Ken Jensen died in a house fire and was the subject of a tribute single compiling two of his D.O.A. recordings with two from his old band, Red Tide. John Wright became a stand-in drummer for the punkier The Black Spot, considered by many their best album in quite some considerable time. However, as usual the lineup was unstable, and by 1998 both Wright and Goble had left.

Festival Of Atheists saw D.O.A. thus reduced to a duo, with Shithead doing everything apart from the drums (delegated to Brien O'Brien). The songs are perfectly okay, but the impact was fatally diminished by a lack of audible overdubs that render the results akin to demos, and it was probably their weakest album so far. As usual the songs veer between rock and hardcore, with a couple of reggae-based numbers and a C&W ditty. In addition to the usual attacks on organised religion and lying politicians there's songs about "yuppie cowboys" and the Americanisation of ice hockey, but this is a minor, frustrating effort.

Win The Battle marked the return of Randy Rampage after twenty years, expanding the D.O.A. squad to a trio for another tirade against multi-national corporations, the government, rednecks, and TV preachers. In other words it's business as usual, the sensible sentiments of 'Warmonger' and the like mixed with the predictable odes to alcohol consumption ('The Beer Liberation Army'). Adhering to a strict formula and offering no surprises this album seems ever so slightly tired, with too many rocky tracks, a needless rehash of one of the band's oldies ('Fuck You W/The Blues'), and a cover of ZZ Top's 'La Grange', which pales beside their 1993-vintage disembowelling of Tom Jones' 'It's Not Unusual'. Reasonable, but dispensable. Rampage left the group shortly after its release.

The band has continued to record new records, including one (Northern Avenger) with Rampage once again (briefly) in the fold.

According to Wikipedia, "in 2003, Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell declared December 21 to be "D.O.A. Day" in honour of the band's 25th anniversary".

DISCOGRAPHY

Singles / Albums

D.O.A. - Disco Sucks D.O.A. - The Prisoner D.O.A. - Triumph Of The Ignoroids D.O.A. - World War 3 D.O.A. - Something Better Change
Disco Sucks
(7", 1978)
The Prisoner
(7", 1978)
Triumph Of The Ignoroids (12", 1979) Whatcha Gonna Do / World War 3
(7", 1979)
Something Better Change (LP, 1980)
D.O.A. - Hardcore '81 D.O.A. - Positively D.O.A. D.O.A. - War On 45 D.O.A. - Right To Be Wild D.O.A. - General Strike / That's Life
Hardcore '81
(LP, 1981)
Positively D.O.A.
(7", 1981)
War On 45
(12", 1982)
Right To Be Wild!
(7", 1983)
General Strike / That's Life (7", 1983)
D.O.A. - Bloodied But Unbowed D.O.A. - Let's Wreck The Party D.O.A. - Don't Turn Yer Back On Desperate Times D.O.A. - True (North) Strong & Free D.O.A. - Last Scream Of The Missing Neighbors
Bloodied But Unbowed (LP, 1984) Let's Wreck The Party (LP, 1985) Don't Turn Yer Back On Desperate Times
(12", 1985)
True (North) Strong & Free (LP/CD, 1987) Last Scream Of The Missing Neighbors (LP/CD, with Jello Biafra, 1989)
D.O.A. - Murder D.O.A. - Talk Minus Action Equals Zero D.O.A. - 13 Flavours Of Doom D.O.A. - It's Not Unusual... But It Sure Is Ugly D.O.A. - Loggerheads
Murder (LP/CD, 1990) Talk Minus Action Equals Zero
(LP/CD, 1991)
13 Flavours Of Doom (LP/CD, 1992) It's Not Unusual... But It Sure Is Ugly!
(7"/CDS, 1993)
Loggerheads
(LP/CD, 1993)
D.O.A. - The Only Thing Green D.O.A. - Ken Jensen Memorial Single D.O.A. - The Black Spot D.O.A. - D.O.A. / Show Business Giants D.O.A. - D.O.A. / Colorifics
The Only Thing Green
(7", 1993)
Ken Jensen Memorial Single (7", 1995) The Black Spot
(CD, 1995)
D.O.A. / Show Business Giants (10", split, 1995) D.O.A. / Colorifics
(7", split, 1996)
D.O.A. - D.O.A. / The Hanson Brothers D.O.A. - D.O.A. / d.b.s. D.O.A. - Festival Of Atheists D.O.A. - D.O.A. / Dog Eat Dogma D.O.A. - Win The Battle
D.O.A. / The Hanson Brothers (7", split 1997) D.O.A. / d.b.s.
(7", 1998)
Festival Of Atheists
(CD, 1998)
D.O.A. / Dog Eat Dogma (7", split, 1999) Win The Battle
(CD, 2002)
D.O.A. - Just Play It Over And Over D.O.A. - Are U Ready D.O.A. - Live Free Or Die D.O.A. - Northern Avenger D.O.A. - Human Bomb
Just Play It Over And Over (CDS, 2002) Are U Ready (CD, split with Thor, 2003) Live Free Or Die
(CD, 2004)
Northern Avenger
(CD, 2008)
Human Bomb (7", 2008)
D.O.A. - Kings Of Punk, Hockey And Beer D.O.A. - Talk - Action = 0 D.O.A. / Hard Core Logo - Split D.O.A. - We Come In Peace D.O.A. feat. Jello Biafra - We Occupy
Kings Of Punk, Hockey And Beer (CD, 2009) Talk - Action = 0
(CD, 2010)
D.O.A. / Hard Core Logo (7", split, 2010) We Come In Peace
(LP/CD, 2012)
We Occupy (7", featuring Jello Biafra, 2012)
DOA - Welcome To Chinatown: D.O.A. Live D.O.A. / Attentat Sonore      
Welcome To Chinatown: DOA Live (2xLP, 2013) D.O.A. / Attentat Sonore (7", split, 2013)      

Extraneous Releases

D.O.A. - En Concert 1985 D.O.A. - Ready To Explode D.O.A. - Greatest Shits D.O.A. - The Dawning Of A New Error D.O.A. - Bloodied But Unbowed
En Concert 1985
(Tape, 1986)
Ready To Explode
(12", promo, 1987)
Greatest Shits
(LP+7"/CD, 1991)
The Dawning Of A New Error (CD, 1992) Bloodied But Unbowed / War On 45
(CD, twofer, 1992)
D.O.A. - Moose Droppings D.O.A. - The Lost Tapes D.O.A. - War And Peace D.O.A. - War On 45 - March To The End D.O.A. - Live In San Francisco
Moose Droppings
(CD, 1993)
The Lost Tapes
(CD, 1998)
War And Peace
(CD, 2003)
War On 45 - March To The End (CD, 2005) Live In San Francisco (CD+DVD, 2007)
D.O.A. - Punk Rock Singles 1978-1999        
Punk Rock Singles 1978-1999 (CD, 2007)        

Bootlegs

D.O.A. - The Menace Lives D.O.A. - White Noise Tour D.O.A. - Live At The Fillmore October 31 1981    
The Menace Lives
(7", 1991)
White Noise Tour
(7", 1993)
Live At The Fillmore October 31 1981
(MP3, 2010)
   

Various Artists

Let Them Eat Jellybeans! US LP 1981 (Alternative Tentacles): The Prisoner

Eastern Front US LP 1982 (ICI/Sanoblast): Unknown / Fucked Up Baby

Rat Music For Rat People US LP 1982 (Go!): America The Beautiful / Fucked Up Ronnie

P.E.A.C.E. US 2xLP 1984 (R Radical): America The Beautiful

Something To Believe In US LP 1984 (Better Youth Organization): Tits On The Beach

Basic Sampler US Tape 1984 (Deux Ex Machina/Basic Tapes): Slumlord

We Wont Be Your Fucking Poor UK 2xLP 1986 (Mortarhate): General Strike

Expo Hurts Everyone E.P. Canada 7" 1986 (Sudden Death): Billy And The Socreds

Rat Music For Rat People Vol. I, II & III US CD 1987 (CD Presents): America The Beautiful / Fucked Up Ronnie

Terminal City Ricochet - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack UK/US LP/CD 1989 (Alternative Tentacles): Behind The Smile / That's Progress / Concrete Beach

Last Call: Vancouver Independent Music 1977-1988 Canada 2xCD 1991 (Zulu): Disco Sucks

The Futility Of A Well Ordered Life US CD 1994 (Alternative Tentacles): Already Dead

Johnny Hanson Presents... Puck Rock Vol. 1 Canada CD 1996 (Wrong/Konkurrel): Overtime

Short Music For Short People US CD 1999 (Fat Wreck Chords): I Hate Punk Rock

Smells Like Bleach (A Punk Tribute To Nirvana) US CD 2000 (Cleopatra): All Apologies

A Punk Tribute To Metallica UK CD 2001 (Anagram): Motorbreath

Rock Against Bush, Vol 1 US CD+ DVD 2004 (Fat Wreck Chords): That's Progress

Links

 

 

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