D.O.A. Is Alive

Page 3

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D.O.A. Is Alive -  Page 3
By Michael Barclay1985
D.O.A. record Let's Wreck the Party with Brian "Too Loud" MacLeod of the considerably more mainstream Vancouver band the Headpins. They have their hometown release show at the upscale Club Soda, where MacLeod joins them for a cover of BTO's "Taking Care of Business," a song D.O.A. was also invited to play with Hüsker Dü at an early '80s gig. The LP also features their thoroughly embarrassing rap parody "Dance o' Death," which MTV names one of the two worst rap videos of the year; the other is by Dee Dee Ramone. After Youth Brigade, D.O.A. is the second Western punk band to play in Poland. This is the year they name the "Endless Tour," with 132 shows in 105 cities in 13 countries, covering 63,000 miles.

Dimwit leaves the band on the eve of a Western Canadian tour, offering to stay if the band pays him $700, which they reluctantly do. Ex-SNFU and Personality Crisis drummer Jon Card replaces him. D.O.A. contributes "Billy and the Socreds" (a mangled cover of CCR's "Willy and the Poor Boys") to an EP entitled Expo Hurts Everyone, assembled by their manager Ken Lester. They open a free benefit show in Stanley Park with Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie protesting the Expo evictions, which raised $10,000. Bowing to noise concerns, the band plays acoustically for the first time. They also play a Stein Valley benefit show "and almost got killed by loggers," before it becomes a Sarah MacLachlan-endorsed cause celebre. D.O.A. signs a deal with Profile Records, known mostly for Run-DMC, which had also recently signed Montreal's the Nils. The next day Joe gets engaged to his girlfriend Laura.

Their major label debut is called True (North) Strong and Free. It features their cover of "Taking Care of Business." Before they record it, Joe gets a call from Randy Bachman asking if he can play on it. He does, and he also joins them on stage at several gigs and in the classic Canadiana video, in which Team D.O.A., coached by Bachman and decked out in red flannel, plays hockey against corporate suits. Ironically, the album is never released in Canada. "It was probably the most Canadian album we'd done, with four songs about Canada and the BTO cover. They could have sold tons of records up here!" The album also features Joe's debut on musical chainsaw. Joe becomes a father for the first time.

D.O.A. get a last-minute opening for David Lee Roth at Vancouver's Pacific Coliseum when a member of Skid Row breaks their leg and cancels. They're pelted with coins, and D.O.A. guitarist Dave Gregg tells the audience, "Thanks, now I have enough for dinner." D.O.A. is also asked to play a main stage gig at the Vancouver Folk Festival. "For the festival to hire us was extremely unusual. I'd never played so bloody quiet in my life, and they were like, 'Oh, it's so loud!' And the TV footage showed people packing up their blankets and leaving, so that was the pay-off for us. But a lot of people really liked it. I've always thought punk rock was the new folk music, singing about troubles in the world." They're also asked to play at a maximum security prison in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan with BTO at the request of MuchMusic. During a rain delay that threatened to cancel the show, prisoners started banging on their cell bars and chanting: "BTO, DOA, BTO, DOA." Joe changes the words of Johnny Cash's "San Quentin" to "Saskatchewan Pen, I hate every inch of you." The band parts ways with both manager Ken Lester and guitarist Dave Gregg.

Nirvana's second show is opening for D.O.A. in Seattle. D.O.A. sign a new deal with Restless Records. They also start performing as Drunks On Acoustic, which involves incredibly inebriated country songs. Vancouver Folk Festival programmer Gary Crystal diversifies their repertoire by introducing them to the songs of early 20th century leftists the Wobblies (International Workers of the World). At an acoustic benefit show with the Hard Rock Miners, that band's Michael Turner gets the idea for his book Hard Core Logo. Joe co-stars in Terminal City Ricochet, a local Orwellian film also starring Jello Biafra. Jello and D.O.A. collaborate on "That's Progress" for the soundtrack, which leads to the full-length album The Last Scream of the Missing Neighbours. It's the best selling D.O.A. album ever. "It sold close to 200,000 copies. The next closest one would be [the 1984 compilation] Bloodied and Unbowed, which is about 80,000 copies, but it's hard to tell with all the different labels it's been on." D.O.A. plays two benefit shows with Bryan Adams for Environment Watch, who are protesting pollution from the pulp and paper industry. "His manager, Bruce Allen, is a difficult person to deal with at the best of times. He tried to boot us off the second show, even though we came up with the idea to do this thing. At the end of the second night, I was watching Bryan Adams from the side of the stage while he was singing 'Stand By Me,' and he motioned for me to come join him. I love that song – it was my wife and I's first dance at our wedding – so it seemed like the thing to do. A picture of the two of us made all the papers the next day." A year later, the pulp industry agrees to new emission guidelines.
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Article Published In Oct 03 Issue