D.O.A. Northern Avenger

D.O.A. Northern Avenger
The big news about D.O.A.’s latest, after 30 years of touring and recording, is that it was produced by Bob Rock. Yes, the Bob Rock that cut his teeth producing acts like the Young Canadians, Subhumans and Pointed Sticks in Vancouver’s burgeoning punk and hardcore scene of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Of course, he’s better known today as the monstrous rock producer who helped craft the over-the-top sound of bands like Metallica, Bon Jovi and Mötley Crüe. The guy produced two early singles for D.O.A. during their ’80s heyday though, so he’s snaked back into the scene for this, the band’s 12th studio full-length. And shit, it’s great. Like, really great. While the band’s last few outings have lacked the passion of their classic recordings, Northern Avenger is a full-fledged rock’n’roll attack on corrupt cops, dirty hockey players and CCR classics. Rock’s crisp, heavy production adds the kind of low-end balls that separates the men from the boys. While the band don’t possess the same youthful vitriol they did when they recorded Something Better Change, any youthful punch they may have lost is made up for by a fine-tuned sense of songwriting and the best-sounding record of the band’s long-running career.

Bob Rock is someone you worked with during the really nascent stages of your career. How did his name come up for this record?
Joey "Shithead” Keithley: He’s helping out with the soundtrack to this movie being shot out here about the early Vancouver punk rock scene so it just occurred to me, "Why not ask Bob?” Someone asked Bob, "Why have you never worked with D.O.A. before?” and he said, "Because they never asked me!” So we could have got him years before. It was a pretty casual three days in the studio. But he’s insanely busy. It’s like, "Okay, let’s mix this like this, do this and now I have to run to the airport to get back to Hawaii.” And I thought I was a busy guy.

When you get to your 12th studio album, do you ever get to point where you just don’t know what you want to write about anymore?
When you’re younger, bands try to record an album every year. And at some point you realize you’ve made enough records and you take a break. We haven’t made a record since 2004, and I had my solo record, so I got some different types of songs out there. But I just really love writing. Writing a song is my favourite thing in the world. But you need to be able to put some passion into it or else it will just sound flat. Like a batch of pancakes, I suppose. (Sudden Death)