Saturday, March 7, 2009


I just saw an amazing video of the great Vancouver punk/hardcore band DOA from 1980 and was reminded of just how choice they really were back in the early 80s. Often overlooked for not being "core" enough, they (like Black Flag and Dead Kennedys) were literal trailblazers, touring relentlessly when there was no network at all set up for bands visiting foreign lands. I saw them in 82 or 83 and they put on a hell of a show with their politically charged yet fun twin guitar assault. Joey Shithead always seemed like your goofy, lunk headed next door neighbor, ready to share a beer and fuck some shit up. But inside, you knew he was smarter than that....

And the records! 1979's "Triumph of the Ignoroids" 12" and the "World War 3" 7", and the holy trinity of 1980-1982: "Something Better Change", "Hardcore 81", and "War on 45". I always loved The Clash, but it seemed around 1981 or 1982 they started to get their heads up their asses musically. DOA stepped in to fill the void. Anthems like "The Enemy", "Fucked Up Ronnie", "13", "Woke Up Screaming", "Smash the State" and "America the Beautiful" blasted 80s complacency and rocked to boot.

Finally, there's Chuck Biscuits. He was 15 YEARS OLD on the 1980 video that I saw, and was as amazing as Keith Moon in 1969, I shit you not. There's even footage of him at 13 (!) thrashing away at an anarchist rally DOA played in 1978. Most people (idiots) think of him as the "Danzig" leather guy, but he was in DOA from 1978 to 1981, he played with Black Flag for the infamous unreleased and untitled 1982 "metal" album, and he bashed away for Circle Jerks in 1983 and 1984. I met him during this period and he drew me an awesome cartoon self portrait on the back of a gig flyer. I still have it. Nice guy all around.

DOA are still out there kicking butt, and Joey even wrote an entertaining autobiography about his life in music and politics, called "I, Shithead". He still runs a DIY label (Sudden Death Records) that has been reissuing the DOA back catalogue and other underground Canadian bands. Do yourself a favor and pick up "Bloodied But Unbowed", 19 classic tracks from 1980 and 1981; punk DID matter once, and DOA is one reason why.


John said...

DOA friggin rules. I remember when I was like hmmm 15 I got a tape from this major punked out dude (who ended up playing bass in a band with not long after) that introduced me to really classic hardcore punk. DOA's "The Prisoner" was on the tape, as well tons of other classic songs. I wish I still had the tape but it got me into so many excellent bands, and I especially latched onto a lot of the UK ones like Discharge, Conflict and The Varukers. First place I ever heard Minor Threat too. A lot of the crustier stuff like His Hero is Gone, Amebix, Disrupt, etc probably helped get me into extreme metal to a degree. Particularly stuff like the Disrupt stuff and Dystopia. While I'm not particularly much "extreme" metal at this time (unless you count doom as "extreme, I sure don't) that stuff she broadened my horizons and just got me into true underground rock in general. Great memories.

Anonymous said...

I saw DOA at an outdoor show on July 4, 1980-something. Yes, they were great. I still blast "Fuck You" and it still rocks me. War on 45 is a record I wish I still had. Amusingly, they went on to record a version of a Poppy Family tune with Terry Jacks! Wacky Canucks.

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