D.O.A. - Confessions Of A Shithead

By Jens Hellroute

Canada's oldest punk combo has been at it for over 26 years, and they're still raising hell with their raw political anti-authoritarian tunes, which is quite admirable in these MTV punk days of shallow designer rebels. What's the fuel that drives a uncompromising man like Joey Shithead to carry on in this fucked up corporate war-crazed world decade after decade, you ask? Well, read on cuz Uncle Joey is about to spill the beans on politics, Tom Jones, hockey etc.

WC : While other old school punkbands like Dead Kennedys and Misfits have turned into lawsuit circuses, D.O.A. seems to have found the key to consistency over the years. What's the secret?

Joey : You have to stick to your ideals, stick to your guns so to speak. I really haven't changed what I believe in over the years and that is; be your own boss, work on making the world a better place and have a helluva good time doing it.

WC : Tell me about the "I, Shithead" book?

J : It is my story about D.O.A. It starts out getting politicized and into rock n' roll as a teenager. It covers D.O.A.'s career 1978-1990, when we broke up for 18 months. I tried to put in as much funny stuff, as much activist stuff and as much stuff about the odds that were against us as I could in about 250 pages. That's why the book only goes up to 1990, lack of pages.

WC : You've done an acoustic album of versions of Leadbelly, Les Rice, and Woodie Guthrie lately?

J : That was in 1999, I did a solo acoustic CD, what I call 'anarcoustic' called "Beat Trash" that was a lot of fun , I play a lot of those songs when I play acoustically at rallies and such.

LC : Has Tom Jones heard your awesome version of "Its Not Unusual"?

J : I don't think so, its an ode to that great man, I bought a Tom Jones tape in Italy in 1985 and we just drove (I wasn't driving) around drinking wine and eating olives listening to it.

WC : What do you think of today's Canadian punkscene in general?

J : It is OK, it is like anywhere else, a lot of bands tying to imitate sucessful pop-punk bands.

WC : Is George Bush Jr. more dangerous than Ronald Reagan was?

J : Probably on a par, but the times are different, we are in a more dangerous time in some ways. George Jr definItely has a lot of the same people that George Bush Sr. and Ronnie Raygun had helping him to make lousy policy choices.

WC : How come there seems to be less political punkbands around now than in the 80s?

J : In those days punk rock was threat to mainstream society, now to a large extent it isn't.Not in all cases though, there are still a lot of punks out there who are still kicking butt and doing the D.I.Y. thing. It is just another genre of music bent on making money.

WC : Is D.O.A. still a 'hockey punkband'?

J : Due to injury and age we retired the Murder Squad after taking on and taking apart all comers including Bad Religion and SNFU.

WC : Whats the difference between North American audiences and Europeans?

J : Well, it used to be that the Europeans were more politicized than the North American audiences, but I think that has evened out over the years. For example the people that led the squat scene in Europe, a brilliant movement in my book, have moved on. Now all around the world you have a great deal of people working on anti-globalization and environmental causes. That is cool in my book.

WC : Any recent crazy incidents on the road, Spinal Tap-worthy?

J : Yeah a few years back we got caught coming out of the Czech Republic into Austria, thus entering the E.U., we didn't declare a bunch of CDs and vinyl from Poland we had picked up. We got stuck there for hours, got fined $10,000 dollars, missed the show in Vienna, then got drunk and had a big fight with a pinhead from Missoula, who then threatened to sic Interpol on us, that was a fucked up day.

WC : Recent news in the D.O.A. camp? Future plans?

J : Yes, we have done the bed tracks for a new studio album, it has some interesting anti war songs on it, that should be out in September, We will start this summer on a quasi solo/reggae/ska album for next year. I have started writing a new book, about how to survive our modern fucked up times while being an activist.

D.O.A.'s Official Website