In 1985 I went to an “Unpatriotic 4th of July” festival on the Boston Common. This was the year I really into punk rock and I saw some formative shows (like Black Flag) that summer. A bunch of bands played that day but two stood out for me. First, the Dicks, led by the mighty Gary Floyd, a self-proclaimed “fat faggot from Texas.” I had never heard them before that day but I instantly became a fan and I still love their stuff. The headlining band was D.O.A. from Vancouver, BC. They had been around for six years at that point and they put on a ferocious show. I enjoyed those performances so much that I went to see the Dicks and D.O.A. again a few days later when they played at the Channel.
I didn’t think too far in the future in those days, so it certainly never occurred to me that 24 years later I’d be going to another D.O.A. show, but indeed that is where I found myself this past Friday. The band is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a tour and they came down to play El Corazon with Ch3 and the Cute Lepers. The last 10 years have seen a lot of old bands get back together but what makes D.O.A a rarity is that they have been recording and touring the past three decades. There have been many lineup changes, of course, but Joey Shithead is apparently unstoppable. He’s pushing 50 and he was still up there tearing it up like it was 1985.
The show was a blast, with D.O.A. playing a great selection of material from across their career. As the show went on, I found myself wanting to hear “Fucked-up Ronnie” (about Reagan, natch, so rather dated). Later in the show when Joey asked what folks wanted to hear, there was a chorus of “Fucked-up Ronnie!” He smiled and said, “He’s retired, or hadn’t you heard?” Then during the encore they broke into “Deep in the Heart of Texas” and I wondered what was up. Then Joey sang, “…the village idiot has gone home,” and they did “Fucked-up Ronnie” as “Fucked-up Bush.” A perfect way to celebrate the end of 8 years of bullshit that makes the Reagan Era look tame by comparison. Now Reagan’s dead and Bush is disgraced, but D.O.A. is still rocking out. At least some things are right in the world.