‘It’s politics, fun and loud rock music’

Vancouver band brings their own brand of punk rock to the Mansion next week

Lead singer Joey “Shithead” Keithley (left) says although the band’s lineup has changed a lot over the years
Image by: Supplied
Lead singer Joey “Shithead” Keithley (left) says although the band’s lineup has changed a lot over the years

Dead men do tell tales.

Dead on Arrival is the people’s punk — and they’ve got something to say to you.

“We’re a band that’s really got something to say about what’s going on in the world, and we employ loud, obnoxious guitar, bass and drums,” said lead singer and guitarist, Joey “Shithead” Keithley.

It’s that explosiveness and excitement of punk rock that continues to make Dead on Arrival (D.O.A.) a success over three decades after the band first got together.

Known for strong political opinions, the band aims to deliver the message of “people power.” “[It means] having some justice and rights within this world. That’s music, and the whole purpose of it in a lot of ways.”

This statement is exemplified by the band’s support for the Occupy Vancouver protests, which they participated in by playing a free concert on Day 21.

“The main thing is to try and get some financial equity around the world,” Keithley said.

But it’s not all about politics.

“We want to make sure people have fun when they come to the show. It’s politics, but also fun and loud rock music,” he said. “If you’ve got that, then you’ve got a good time.” Keithley said he wants his band’s music to matter and make a difference, not only for its political ideals, but for its audiences as well.

“We have some change-ups. We play some ska tunes and reggae tunes. So there’s variation there, that’s for sure,” he said.

Needless to say, their music is not for the withdrawn, or faint of heart, Keithley said.

“Rock and roll has to be wild and aggressive.” Keithley is the only band member who’s been in D.O.A.’s lineup since its formation. and he said the band has always been about camaraderie.

“People change and want to do different things. It’s not like the end of a friendship or anything. I’m still friends with them and everything,” he said. “We’re just not in a band together anymore.”

After talking about previous band members of D.O.A. over the years, Keithley explained how his nickname has stuck.

Discussion of the band’s members encourages reminiscence of Dead on Arrival’s history, specifically the story of how he got his rock and roll nickname.

It’s a pretty weird one.

“Our drummer thought the first part of the name of the band should be ‘Shithead,’ and I was the singer, so he was like ‘I guess you’re Joey Shithead.’”

Nicknames are a staple in the history of punk rock music, Keithley explained.

“When you think about the history of punk rock, when everybody started, we all had nicknames. We all thought we’d have to have one,” he said. “When you get a nickname, it sticks with you for life.”

Dead on Arrival plays the Mansion on Oct. 16.


D.O.A., Dead on Arrival, Occupy Vancouver

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