November 11, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 40  

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Shithead talks punk

By Christopher Hodge
Gazette Staff

Everyone has a little punk in them, says Joey “Shithead” Keithley, lead singer of the legendary Canadian punk band D.O.A..

According to Keithley, even the most unassuming person has the potential to be a hard-core punk rocker — you just have to scratch the surface.

“Punk rock is about being open minded,” Keithley says. “It’s about being anti-establishment and thinking for yourself. It’s not about puking in the gutter and huffing glue. You don’t have to have a punk look to be punk — you just have to have a rebellious spirit. Even the most straight-edge person in a three-piece suit can be a punk.”

For over 29 years, Keithley has remained true to his punk ideals. A father of three, life for this punk rock dad has yet to lose any of its momentum. In addition to being a record executive of his label Sudden Death records, Keithley has also found the time to compile the greatest hits CD War & Peace, as well as write a book entitled I, Shithead detailing his many exploits on the road and overseas in support of the punk rock cause.

Hmmmm, a greatest hits CD and a personal memoir? Could this be a sign that the end for D.O.A. is soon approaching?

“No, it’s just a coincidence,” he insists. “I sat down in January and started thinking about writing a book. At the same time I was compiling a best of D.O.A. CD.”

Having screamed into a mic to the delight of audiences for over three generations, Keithley is as good as anyone to ask about the general mood and mindset of today’s youth. Are the kids still mixing politics with their punk or has apathy run rampant and turned an entire generation off the good fight?

“There is a real hard-core group that are very active in things like the environment and anti-globalization,” Keithley says. “If you don’t stand up now when you have the chance to speak, you won’t be able to stand up later when you want to.”

Speaking of highly charged issues, as a record executive who relies on record sales to stay afloat, how does Keithley feel about the mp3 explosion? Does it conform to a punk ideal of free music for the masses or is it just plain stealing?

“Mp3s are a good thing,” he says without any hesitation. “Unless you’re a major record label it’s hard to get your CDs into a big chain retail store. Another problem is, even after getting into the stores, it’s difficult staying there. Year by year they lower the percentage of indie music they carry. Kazaa at least opens up the music to a lot of people who may have never heard of anything beyond the mainstream.”

D.O.A. play Fanshawe College tonight. Included on the bill are a few spoken word excerpts from Keithley’s new book, I, Shithead.



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