Interview with Joey Shithead
by Steve Weatherholt

This over zealous interviewer would like to apologize to Joey for being a little too talkative during this interview. I was a little bit excited and nervous, and therefore had a few beers in me. D.O.A., from Vancouver B.C., are the oldest hardcore band in North America still around and playing. The only original member still in the band is Joey Shithead on guitar/vocals, now with Kuba on bass and Skid on the skins.

Live photos by Robert Blaylock. A big thank you to Audrey for arranging the interview!

How does it feel after 20 years?

Joey Shithead: It's the accumulation of good and bad times, long memories, things you have learned. Like anything else you hopefully try and learn some more as you go rather than stop your learning. That's the bottom line of the whole thing.

Have things changed or have they stayed the same?

Joey: Some things are obvious that have stayed the same. People come out generally to music and D.O.A. shows because they fall into the category of thrill seekers of some type. They want some sort of stimulation, whether it is philosophical, alcoholic, sexual or something like that. The reasons people come to rock shows…D.O.A. has a particular slant that involves all those things.

Kuba: Who said sex?

Joey:Kuba on bass and Skid on drums.

You have a new album, is it Black Spot?

Joey: No, our new LP has been out since March. It is called The Festival of Atheists, on Sudden Death records. You probably did a web search of D.O.A. and came up with our site. L. Mercer, ex-manager of D.O.A., and I run this site,

[ photo by robert blaylock ]
photo by robert blaylock

That site isn't quite done is it? It only covered up to about 1984?

Joey: We started on a book and haven't quite finished it yet. He released Black Spot LP on his label Essential Noise. Sudden Death Records is my label, and the new LP is on this. We have about 8 releases out right now.

How long is this tour?

Joey: About two weeks, just down to L.A.

Did you know that back in '85, you guys, or the closing down of your show, caused a riot here?

Joey: This was at the Lincoln Arts center in '83-'84 [located at 66 Bell St. most recently artists' housing, now sits empty awaiting condo yuppiefication. --ed.] What happened was they canceled the show on us. Seattle is weird and it has been difficult to put on all ages shows. The city council is weird here, and I don't know what is wrong with Seattle. We tried to do a show at the Lincoln Arts center, about 300-400 people showed up. The Fire Marshall closed us down. They tried to kick everybody out and the punks wouldn't leave, so the cops came in to clear them out. There was a bunch of scuffling in the street. The thing I remember most vividly was three Seattle Police cars getting D.O.A. spray painted on their back ends (laughter). We have photos of this.

You set up the Free The Five benefit show here in Seattle at the Metropolis, what ever became of those people?

Joey: Great show! All eventually got out at various times. My best friend, bass player in the Subhumans (Canadian), spent almost six years in jail. Others spent ten years in jail.

Robert Blaylock (photographer): What was that for?

Joey: They bombed a hydro substation and caused about $5 million worth of damage. They also bombed two video pornography stores called Red Hot Video, and Litton Systems in Toronto. They make the guidance systems for U.S. Cruise missiles. The whole issue was based around trial by media. The RCMP had them dead-to-rights. These people had done it, but it was their way of protesting stuff that they didn't agree with. Not everybody agrees with those methods, and violence isn't necessarily the way. Although you can fight fire with fire, there are many different ways to take down a wall. Sometimes you take it down with words. Sometimes with songs.

[ photo by robert blaylock ]
photo by robert blaylock

Your retirement tour with G.B.H. in 1989 at the Commodore Ballroom...there were many TV cameras. Are you guys well respected in Canada?

Joey: People know us in the States quite well. People across Canada respect us.

I like the Commodore Ballroom.

Joey: Yeah, it is going to reopen in May and we'll be playing Puck Rockorama, which is a whole hockey oriented punk rock show.

Should I get into Eric Lindros now or save it for later?

Joey: I just did a TV show with his brother, Brett Lindros. He used to play for the NY Islanders. He was forced to retire after getting six concussions.

I had to shell out $40 for the retirement show. D.O.A. played for over two hours.

Joey: I realized that I was 33 years old and didn't have any money. How was I going to retire? It didn't make any sense to retire. We took a couple of years off and came back at the end of '92.

Benefit shows…you guys have done many in the past. Do you have any plans for any upcoming events?

Joey: We just did one in Vancouver in '97. There was a riot in Vancouver in November '97 when APEC were attending a meeting. The prime minister in charge of security had some people surreptitiously dragged off the streets by unmarked vans and police not showing ID's. These people were removed because they might embarrass the leaders. We did a benefit show for the protesters that got pepper sprayed and are trying to sue the Government.

Who are JP5?

Joey: A band on Sudden Death records with Brian our old drummer, Lee, Kim, Jerry Wilson and a temporary drummer. Three women and two guys, they will be doing an album called Burn Rubber. It should be out in April.

Any last words?

Joey: It's always great to be back in Seattle. It's like a home away from home. It is a great stop between B.C. and San Francisco.

Kuba: I got some final words. I'll see you next year when D.O.A. spans two centuries!

[ photo by robert blaylock ]
photo by robert blaylock

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