It's been 10 years since former Vancouver mayor Larry Campbell declared Dec. 21 D.O.A. Day to mark the 25th anniversary of the legendary local punk rock band. The trailblazing group, whose accomplishments range from introducing the term "hardcore" into the rock 'n roll lexicon, touring in support of nearly 20 full-length albums (including last years We Come In Peace) across 30 different countries and being cited as influences by such diverse acts as Nirvana, Green Day and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are finally throwing in the towel. The band will play what they are calling their final Vancouver show Jan. 18 at the Rickshaw Theatre before heading out on the road for a dozen more shows across B.C., Alberta and California.
Frontman and guitarist Joe Keithley admits its a little strange the bands actual swan song won't be at home.
"It would've made more sense that Vancouver would be the last one," said Keithley, 56, over the phone from the office of his record label, Sudden Death Records. "D.O.A. is pretty synonymous with Vancouver in a lot of ways."
New bassist Dirty Dan Sedan and drummer Floor Tom Jones are the latest to fill in for original members Randy Rampage and Chuck Biscuits, and a number of other former band members are expected to turn out for the farewell performance.
"Randy will be there, Wimpy [Roy] will be there, but Chuck is a bit of a recluse now. Whoever we can dig up really, although I don't mean that in a literal sense," said Keithley, who was recently nominated for a Governor Generals' Lifetime Artistic Achievement award. "We're going to play everything that's pertinent and that people know and a few things that are impertinent just because we feel like it."
The band was known for its left wing political and social activism long before it became fashionable and has performed at countless benefit concerts for everything from Greenpeace to womens rape/crisis centres and anti-globalization groups.
"I think the big thing with the band is we entertained people, of course, because that's what musicians do but the other thing is I think we got people to think about a lot of different issues, some of which we were a little ahead of our time on. We've met a tremendous amount of people who've said, 'Hey, you and your music made a positive difference on my life,' so thats a very gratifying thing."
The musician could have a chance to have a more direct impact on political issues if he defeats former Coquitlam city councillor Barrie Lynch and KidSport executive director Chris Wilson on March 3 to secure the NDP nomination for the Coquitlam-Burke Mountain provincial electoral district. The winner will then take on Liberal backbencher MLA Douglas Horne in the May election.
"People keep telling me,' Come on, Joe, you can't say youre not going to play again,' but really, when you think about it, if I do get the honour of being the MLA for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, it is a full-time job," said Keithley, who ran previously as a Green party candidate in the 1996 and 2001 general elections for the now dissolved riding of Burnaby-Willingdon. "You have to devote all your energy into that to do a good job, although all of my energy would probably be about 500 per cent more than [Horne]. I mean, I knocked on 2,000 doors this fall and don't think I met 10 people who even knew his name. There's always a chance I'll play again someday but people cant expect there to be a D.O.A. show in Vancouver every year any more because there won't be."