Published Sep 20, 2010When Exclaim! last spoke with hardcore punk mainstays D.O.A., founding member, guitarist and vocalist Joe "Shithead" Keithley was in the throes of creating what was to be the seminal band's 13th studio effort.
At the time, Keithley was unsure of exactly what the affair would be called, tentatively referring to it as This Machine Kills Fascists. He eventually settled on the name Talk - Action = 0 . More recently, the band confirmed a number of show dates across the nation in support of the new LP.
Now, Keithley has finally had a moment to discuss the inspiration behind Talk - Action = 0, explaining why he, current drummer Jesse Pinner and bassist Dan Sedan opted to use this longstanding D.O.A. motto as a title after so many years.
"[Talk - Action = 0] is the D.O.A. mantra so it's the perfect title for our album," he notes. "I also thought it fit the material really well, 'cause it's a philosophical call-to-arms. The songs are pretty straightforward: [they are] about the state of the world."
With tracks like "That's Why I'm An Atheist" condemning the hate and war that religion spawns, "The R.C.M.P." offering its stance on those paid to serve and protect, as well as pieces outlining the poverty assailing many North Americans ("I Live in a Car"), there's no denying that the album shoots straight and minces no words.
In keeping with this straightforward approach, the band opted to move away from the refined sheen of the album's 2008 predecessor Northern Avenger, in hopes that a raw, unpolished sound would accentuate the urgency of each track. "We didn't fuck around doing lots of takes or anything," Keithley says. "Basically, we went in and got the feel for each song's pace after a two or three takes. Other than a few overdubs, we usually kept one of those initial versions because they had more energy. When you play a song too many times, it loses the spirit. You almost get sick of it. There were some we had to play more than others but it was important for us to keep the motivation up."
Featuring a striking aural explosiveness and trademark socio-political lyrical tendencies, Keithley believes Talk - Action = 0 is one of D.O.A.'s bst albums in years. While many thought the band had hit an unavoidable wall of stagnancy in the late-1990s/early-2000s, Keithley has pulled himself from the wreckage, brushed himself off and let fly another impressive barrage of commentary, insight and inspiring riffs. He laughs when asked how this is possible after a solid three decades of unyielding work.
"When we were starting out," he notes, "there were things wrong with the world: war mongers, sexism, racism, poverty and more. All of these things haven't gone away. In some situations, they've gotten even worse over the last 30 years. People might be more aware of 'em but there's not a hell of a lot being done about it. People are aware of what's going on environmentally. Does that mean we're changing our habits? Wasting less or taking care of our water? Not eating up the ozone, over-fishing or polluting the oceans? There are people who get it and those who call it like it is. This is why we're fucked up and on our way to a crunch." He continues, "Here's how it is: When I was an angry young man writing angry young man songs, I knew the world was fucked up. I just didn't realize how fucked up it is."
9/24 Victoria, BC - Evolution Nightclub
10/1 Vancouver - Biltmore Cabaret
10/5 London, ON - Call The Office
10/6 Waterloo, ON - Chainsaw Waterloo
10/7 Hamilton, ON - The Casbah
10/8 Toronto, ON - Horseshoe Tavern
10/9 Ottawa, ON - Mavericks
10/10 Montreal, QC - Café Chaos
10/11 Kingston, ON - The Mansion
10/13 Saskatoon, SK - Amigo's
10/14 Regina, SK - Distrikt Nightclub
10/15-16 Winnipeg, MB - The Zoo