The Vancouver-based punk band D.O.A. has been riffing and raging since the late Seventies, and they’re still going strong: their 14th studio album, We Come in Peace, will be issued on Sudden Death Records on July 22nd. A single, “We Occupy”/”Who the Hell Do You Think You Are,” has just been released, the reggae-ish A-side of which sees D.O.A reunite with their old pal, ex-Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra.
“I first met Jello when we did our first trip [to San Francisco]. It had to be summer 1978, I think,” says D.O.A. singer-guitarist Joey Keithley. “We had the ‘Disco Sucks’ single just out, so I sent that down to the Mabuhay Gardens, and they got us to come down for two shows. A Friday and Saturday – we opened up for the Avengers one night, and on the third night, the Sunday night, the Dead Kennedys were there. A decent crowd showed up at the Mab, and I met Jello briefly.
“I went and caused a bunch of trouble with the bouncers after having a few too many beers. So the bouncers picked me up and threw me out. Jello got on the P.A. – he saw what happened – and he said, ‘We’re not playing until Joey gets back in!’ Biafra’s plea got me back in.”
Later, D.O.A. played shows with the Dead Kennedys and issued albums through Biafra’s label (Alternative Tentacles). D.O.A. and Biafra even did an album together, 1989’s Last Scream of the Missing Neighbors. Now their paths have crossed once again, with Biafra lending vocals to the politically charged “We Occupy.”
“When you think about Occupy Wall Street and the consequential Occupy movement, it’s one of the most brilliant strategies – maybe not the most organized, but one of the most brilliant strategies I’ve heard in years,” explains Keithley. “Because what you do is you take the most obvious fact, that one percent of the people in the world have most of the money and they make most of the decisions. Big decisions – they affect everybody’s lives all throughout the world, every day. So the strategy is great to try and bring some financial equities in light of what’s been happening since time immemorial, and most recently the ’08 recession.
“I think it’s great that you’ve got a movement that set forward the idea that you want to make things fair,” he continues. “What’s an easier thing to get behind than trying to make things fair and trying to make things right? Uh . . . nothing! That’s why I’m attracted to it.
“A lot of people don’t understand it. The straight press writes it off as being ‘misguided youth that would leave in an instant if somebody gave them a job offer.’ How many times have you heard that on Fox News or CNN? But those people involved in those camps, they’re idealists. They’re fighting for something that makes sense. And I think it’s going to reorganize pretty strongly this spring.”
“We Occupy” will not be the only political tune on the forthcoming album. D.O.A. has recorded an unlikely cover: the Beatles‘ “Revolution.” “Perfect timing, right?” says Keithley. “And people would never think that D.O.A. would do a Beatles song. But I guess if there was one that was perfect for D.O.A., it would be ‘Revolution.'”
Keithley describes We Come in Peace as having “a different flavor to it. We’ve got ballbreakers, breakneck-speed type things that you’d expect from D.O.A., and there’s some cool ska-reggae stuff,” including a ska version of “War Hero” by Toxic Reasons. D.O.A. will be launching European tours in May and August before hitting the U.S. in the fall.