Category Archives: Rock Life

live music, festivals, musicians and music history – curated links about the above – your mileage may vary

Levon’s Dirtfarmer Documentary

Levon Helm is one of my all-time heroes – drummer, mandolinist, songwriter, sanger, southern gentleman (Arkansasan), cancer (throat) survivor, actor, friend of Canada and a Grammy winner for his folk album Dirt Farmer. Here’s a little featurette of Levon playing music and talking about the state of the USA for farmers, country folk, and civilians everywhere. “I can’t say, i’m just having a soda.”

Levon Helm – “Only Halfway Home” 20:57
A short film inspired by and featuring music from Levon Helm’s
GRAMMY Award winning album Dirt Farmer.
Features: “Calvary”
(Byron Isaacs); (BMI)
“Poor Old Dirt Farmer”
(Tracy Schwartz); Traditon Music Co., (ASCAP)
“False Hearted Lover Blues”
(Trad, arrangement by Levon Helm, Larry Campbell);
Dirt Farmer Music, Talkhouse Music (BMI)
“Got Me a Woman”
(Paul Kennerley); Irving Music (BMI)

Joey Shithead’s Band of Rebels play for Pot

band of rebels benefit for marc emery

Punk and Pot – two of my fave “things” come together as Vancouver legend Joe Shithead brings his eclectic and musically diverse rock circus out for a once-only rock show in solidarity with Marc Emery the (somewhat self-aggrandizing) seed seller who is hassled by the now-fired, former pit-bull US district attorney John Mackay and other DEA narco-terrorists seeking his extradition to the USA to face re-donk-u-lous charges of conspiricy and mass volume drug peddling.

I’ll be there enjoy the rock and the pot. And you?

Free the BC three Here’s from Sudden Death records announcement:

The long awaited live performance with Joe Shithead Keithley’s Band of Rebels will take place in Vancouver on Thursday December 6th at the Plaza Club. Band of Rebels is Keithley’s solo album, released this past summer that features many of Vancouver’s best musicians. Many of them will be performing at the CD release party, which is also Sudden Death Record’s Christmas party, DVD live recording event and a benefit for Cannabis Canada. The event will also include guest speaker Marc Emery and band Aging Youth Gang.

Joe also did a book – I, Shithead: A Life In Punk – and there is a the full DOA backcatalog available by mail order online too (though i’ve got my $15 aimed at a Bloodied by Unbowed vinyl picture disk at Noize on Seymour).

DOA on DVD with Smash the State

D.O.A. Smash the State DVD release show Sept. 27th The Plaza Club, Vancouver, BC
World renowned punk band D.O.A. is back with the brand new DVD “Smash the State.” It will be released September 25th, 2007 on Joe Shithead’s Sudden Death Records.

This long awaited compilation is loaded with a ton of raw footage shot at four shows in the San Francisco/Bay Area and the infamous Canada Day Anarchist Picnic in Vancouver.

The DVD features D.O.A.’s original line up: Joe Shithead Keithley, Chuck Biscuits, Randy Rampage and Dave Gregg at their best. Smash the State includes 21 classic songs, interviews, newscasts, plus footage of the day anarcho punks took over Vancouver’s Stanley Park on July 1st, 1978.

  • Guest appearances by: Keith Morris (Circle Jerks), Dirk Dirksen (Mabuhay Gardens/San Francisco punk guru), JB Shayne (legendary Vancouver DJ) and Zippy Pinhead (Los Popularos, The Dils)

Canada’s punk godfather Joe Shithead had this to say: “I really wanted people to see the original version of D.O.A. performing. You know, the completely raw band that went out and took on the world. So I gathered together some of the best footage I could find and came up with Smash the State. Most of the footage is taken from shows in San Francisco and the East Bay. This makes a lot of sense, as San Francisco became D.O.A.’s home away from home in the late seventies and into the eighties.

Our very first show outside of Vancouver was in S.F. I took a train, Biscuits and Rampage took a bus and Brad Kent hitch hiked. When we arrived we had to scramble around to find enough gear to play. But it was great, so from that point on, it just took a phone call like “Hey, can D.O.A. play a show with the Avengers and the Dead Kennedys next week?” Of course we fucking can! So we would hop in any old wrecked vehicle we could find, and headed down to the Bay area to help start a punk rock riot.

The last part of the DVD was our fifth show. It was an anarchist gathering in Vancouver‘s Stanley Park on Canada Day in 1978. It was billed as “Anti-Canada Day”. We didn’t have a permit, so the cops tried to stop D.O.A., The Subhumans and Private School from playing that day. Our pal Phil Smith managed to talk a local picnicking church group into lending us their park permit once the picnic was over. This of course infuriated the Vancouver Police, but they could not stop the show. This is documented on Smash the State, there’s even footage of Rampage giving a cop a kiss. Hey, cool shit, but I don’t know if the cop thought so.” – Joe Shithead


For a lot of people all over the world, D.O.A. was either their first exposure to punk rock, or one of their earliest memories of that blistering phenomenon. When you watch Smash the State you’ll understand why D.O.A. has influenced everyone from Green Day to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Henry Rollins to Jello Biafra, Rancid to Nirvana and NOFX to Bad Religion.

The Police Dress Rehersal – Vancouver

Stew!!!!!! Tonight Live.

REM recording in Vancouver

REM Begins Recording in Vancouver

from R.E.M.hq via Heading to Vancouver

I have many things to mention about this …:

1) Story about meeting REM (fairgrounds SLC, UT circa 1985/6, Guadacanal Diary opening) – Buck and Mills were real friendly to a young sprout like me

2) Story about meeting EKap and explaining about REM’s album Fables of the Reconstruction before i realized he was tight with the band

3) Story about telling EKap i saw REM 6 times before Green tour (in 4 time zones to boot) most of which before he was out of elementary school (grizzled am i)

4) Discourse on the transitions of Vancouver as a recording hotspot for various genres (cheesepop, punk, metal, and most recently REM and Police)

5) Commentary about REM’s role in music these days (no Bill Berry, why do they still work so hard?, what is their legacy? (and i don’t mean all the hall of fame sh!t) are they really more important that U2? as i always argued with Corey Demille about in 10th grade)

6) Ponder what happened to my sweet 4-colour-bleed tour book about pondering perpetual motion from (which?) tour (no doubt lost with so much other misc rcok stuff)

7) Reminise about first buying “Murmur” at a record store in Bellingham and rewinding Radio Free Europe a dozen times before moving on to the next tracks (on cassette)

8) Happy memories on “Perfect Circle” as a stealth song for smoothing the ladies (before released much later and some lame band hi-jacked the name making things confusing)

9) Stories of Peter Buck’s other bands and projects i caught or listened to + his wife’s ownership of the Croc Cafe in Seattle (scene of much fun)

10) Recalling buying Dead Letter Office (along with Stewart Copeland’s Rumblefish Soundtrack) on vinyl in Toronto and flying them home with some damage to SLC (Still my fave REM album though Reckoning and Fables are perenial faves too)

11) Rambling about the disconnect i felt with the band when they chezed out with the Shiny Happy Radio Song pablum (but i’m mostly over it now) – shoot not even sure what happened on their last few albums … anyone wanna lend me a copy?

But since i am toiling away, i will just say the REM are recording somewhere in Vancouver – nothing more. 

(photo above uncredited – assumed to be Kaplan’s like this one)

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Bob Dylan – Subterranean Homesick Blues

Police in Vancouver

After rehearshing in NOrth Van the past while, this announcement is totally unexpected but exciting.   Stand in line now for tickets!

LOS ANGELES — The Police 30th Anniversary reunion world tour will kick off May 28 at Vancouver’s GM Place and travel through North America until early August, Sun Media has exclusively learned.

CANOE — JAM! Music – Artists – Police, The: Police reunion tour starts in Van.

D.O.A. and The Furies Rock Richards, Vancouver, Feb 10 2007

DOA and the Furies live in vancouver

Punk Rock Confidential presented by
JEM Gallery and Sudden Death Records

D.O.A. and The Furies @ Richard’s on Richards, Vancouver, BC, Sat. Feb. 10th

www.suddendeath.com

Vancouver’s first punk band, The Furies will play their first show in 30 years!

  • All ages show 3 PM-6 PM
  • Over 19 show 8 PM-2 AM

Canada’s most influential punk band D.O.A. is teaming up with The Furies, Vancouver’s legendary first punk band for two shows at Richard’s on Richards, 1036 Richards St. Vancouver, BC.

The event has been dubbed Punk Rock Confidential and features a blistering cast. The amazing D.O.A. will headline the festivities. They are led by Canada’s godfather of punk, Joe Shithead Keithley, with the help of the legendary Randy Rampage on bass and The Great Baldini on drums.

The Furies started putting on shows at the old Japanese Hall in the summer of ’77. These mind blowing gigs shocked the public as the posters boldly announced “Punk Rock”. Now, The Furies, led by the incredible Chris Arnett along with the help of original bassist Jonathan Werner, are back. These shows will be their first in 30 years.

Rebel Spell will also play. They’re a great new band from Vancouver. Further support will come from First Reign, a good hard drivin’ outfit from Abbotsford.

Tickets are $15.00 in advance and $18.00 at the door. Tickets available at Red Cat, Noize To Go, Zulu, Highlife, Scratch,Bone Rattle and JEM Gallery. Tickets at JEM Gallery have no surcharge and they take phone orders as well 604 879 5366, email; thejemgallery@yahoo.com

For more info, email; info@suddendeath.com
Phone: 604.777.6972
Fax: 604.777.6974

www.suddendeath.com

Punk Rock Confidential is also sponsored by; The Only, Red Cat Records
and R and B Brewery

DOA’s Classic collection “Bloodied But Unbowed” Re-released Today

DOA frontman Joey Shithead Keithley’s record label Sudden Death is re-releasing the seminal collection of kick-ass punk today. DOA's bloodied but unbowed I’ll be picking one up for sure though i’ve owed the vinyl and CD before but both are MIA – lent to some friends, somewhere – rock on, enjoyed i hope.

DOA at NY Theater

Along with The Clash and The Ramones, DOA showed that you could write good songs, which rocked and had something to say.

I was 13-ish when i first heard them as a frustrated kid in the suburbs and over the next several years saw them many times. Often taking the bus to way out venues and street-hiking long distances after the last bus to the burbs had rolled.

When they played Bumper’s, an all-ages venue in Surrey – i got to chat with them and they treated me like one of them, not some fan kid in specs and a mac jacket.

In those days, i collected their vinyl like holy artifacts – from the toe-tagged 7″ to the General Strike John Peel Sessions 12″ EP (the best ever). Even the uhh… not so good albums as they sorted through a few line changes – but there was always something that mattered on every disc. Gregg, Goble (Sunnyboy Roy), Dimwit, Biscuits, many more … all through the revolving door.

DOA Spores AOT in Surrey fro pUnk History Canada Years later, i hung out with Joe on the set of a music video he was making with Randy Bachman – some goofy thing with scaffolding and searchlights and safety vest and hardhats. I saw him then as a sharp-as-a-tack professional who remembered everything and worked efficiently so he could get on to other things – “there’s shit to get done man.”

He bantered with me about some rock and roll reminicenses – dingy clubs he’d played in Germany where i been tagging along with the Bad Yodellers on a tour and saw Gwar amongst jack-booted, German acid-heads and he wondered what new bands i was listening to.

DOA by Bev Davies
Photo by Bev Davies

Again, years later in Olympia, Joe got me up on stage at the 4th ave Tav to sing Taking Care of Business in my Canucks jersey – yup i rocked it too. The band and crew came to watch the game on the replay tv (Canucks lost to Avs in Game one of playoffs on a controversial offsides non-call by Chris Drury IIRC).hockey lounge

In the Hockey Lounge, we drank kegged beer and then moved to Kokanee or Canadian cans while gravelly voice Randy Rampage drank Scotch from the bottle and told rock n’ roll stories from Japan and Joe broke down the hockey game with focused concern.

They made lovely houseguests (maybe i should keep this a secret) … they even folded their towels and tidied up before leaving (thanks).   BTW, As i talked about on a Clubside Breakfast Time episode, i ended up meeting the roadie’s brother in Granada, Spain and having a good laugh about the coincidence as i crashed at his place.

Sure they can play their instruments decent but the passion and vigor is more important to their stew. Virtuosity is often overrated when the songs are good enough to carry the day – tough as East Hastings concrete but with a (shock) melody and a structure under the noise.

But as much as the rock rocks, the social messages are what gives their music soul … Not overt but strongly worded, no subtley here but not preachy either ~~ global trade, environment, voting, nuclear proliferation, music theory (disco sucks) ~~ all sacred cows are all up for hitting with the bulldozer.

If the message don’t open yer mind, the fuzz will lever it open like a greasy tire iron prying off a hubcap.  What i think he’s saying is … whatever decision you come up with is probably OK as long as you aren’t harming anyone innocent, you got a reason to do it and you actually do something about it.

The lyrical breadth (big words for punk rock but deal with it) is recently more evident as i’ve mined the DOA catalog for snippets to use on podcasts and most any controversial topic is dissected and set to loud guitar.

My old t-shirt spells out the root of the DOA mantra: Talk-Action=Zero.

This past year has been a busy one for Joe and the gang, films, tours, a more tasty reflective seasoning sprinkled from this era of Vancouver hardcore – read Suddendeath for current chronicles and don’t forget that the legendary Bev Davies has a photo calendar too. Punk History Canada is a trove of documentation – if you got any olden punk stuff, scan it, send it, no excuses ya hear.