My dinner with Shithead
The band is done with their first encore and Joey takes a step back to drink some beer and wipe some sweat–
Here’s my chance, I’m thinking. Time to go up there and rouse the crowd.
Get one more song out of em, let them know how we really feel about the mighty goddamn D.O.A. !!
I’m thinking I’ll quote a little Rimbaud, something about golden chains across the stars, maybe tell these yokels how, yeah, we might’ve lost Ramone and Strummer, but we’re left with one good true Joe: Shithead!
And then Joey will tear up, of course, and we’ll say our goodbyes right there on stage , 2 big lugs hugging it up, all sweaty brows and Newcastle-soaked shirts.
It’s the Valley on a Superbowl Sunday night, of all things, and we’re a tad burnt from the night before:
A quick jaunt down to the Brick in San Diego to meet up with D.O.A. with all good intentions of keeping things easy.
You know, catch up with Joe and get the lowdown on this farewell business, maybe a few sane cocktails before our warmup set, catch the band and be in our motel beds in time for SNL—har!
It turns into a beer dripping night down South, of course, a hazy thing recalled through bizarre images: Wolf head shirts and double guitars hung around necks ala Rick Nielsen.
We got there early for soundcheck (….theirs, not us ya silly goose-we obviously have not soundchecked since 1984!) and load in: rainy Saturday evening.
Have’t seen Joe and the fellas for a year or so, and it’s good to catch up for a few ticks in the quiet of the club before the nights’ inherent shenanigans unfold.
Joey explained that he was taking an indefinite break from the band, there was a chance now for some real action, something about a real shot at getting a spot on the Legislative Assembly with the BC New Dems…..
(Hell, I don’t know— what am I, goddamn Mike Wallace? Check Andy Nystrom’s awesome blog for details on Joe’s political plans)
I hint that perhaps this might not really be the end of the line, hmmmm?, but when he tells me of the recent sale of the rugged War Wagon tour van (mileage, a conservative 800k!), I know he is sincere about his new political chores before him–best of luck man!
If any of you have the means to go vote for the man, I’d say by all means, do it!
We’ve known a lot of characters in our time out there, and one constant of swinging back through town every couple years is change.
Seems like every straight edged vegan who was running the Anarchist Food Co-op last time through is now a junkie with mascara and surviving on AmPm hotdogs….
But Joe has always stood behind the talk, God Love him, and shamed us in a good way to recycle those beer cans, pick up that goddamn cigarette butt, and hey! maybe eat a salad now and then, huh?
We’re gonna miss him out on there!
We’ve crossed paths so many times, and it’s always been our very real pleasure to play with the men of DOA:
Different incarnations, rowdy gigs with Chuck Biscuits and Dave Gregg in the band, Dimwit on bass, Dimwit on drums.
The band as a 4 piece of 3, it didn’t matter as long as Joe was up there, legs wide, eyes straight ahead, singing the truth!
A blizzardy New Year’s Eve, 1982, and we’ve gathered in NYC for a big Punk a Rama gig at Irving Plaza.
We scored an opening slot on a bill with Misfits, The Big Boys, D.O.A., last minute to salvage a cancelled UK tour with Blitz.
We play a shaky set on borrowed gear, still rattled by the red eye flight and the incessant taunting from Doug Holland.
And then the sound is cut and the lights come up: Nobody’s getting paid, apparently!
The turnout is bad and the promoter has left the building.
The bands are all grumpy: Biscuit is counting heads of those who paid, Danzig and Doyle looking around like they’re sizing up various bar utensils to use as weapons.
We all complain about the weather.
But in come the DOA boys, all flannels and Sorels, looking like lumberjacks who just enjoyed a game of street hockey on the black ice of 15th Street: They did.
And then we all adjourn to A7 for some late night drinks, Joe telling us jolly tales of just driving 2000 wintry miles, avoiding horny moose all the way, for this abandoned gig.
But what ya gonna do?
Joe gets up from the bar and sizes up the tiny stage, and soon they’re setting up for a late night set, the New Year salvaged.
We get to the club late, having spent the day on the couch alternately snoozing and rousing to see the 49er’s blow the big one through inane coaching.
It’s out to the Valley for our last gig with the mighty DOA. It’s bittersweet to be having a last visit backstage and we really don’t feel like drinking again…but, oh, we do!
And then those fearsome Canucks climb the stage one more time, Joe counts it off, and on downbeat, a beer goes sailing through the air and baptizes the crowd for a last visit with the man!
It’s a loud sweaty set, people singing along with the songs and shouting out requests:
Fucked Up Ronnie! The Prisoner! …..War!
Kids are slipping around in the pit, falling on their asses for all the lager that has been sloshed out of the pitchers held aloft in cheer.
It’s a fitting sendoff, just another Sunday night for a band that has traveled a million miles, one last trick: to make a blah Sunday night into something fine, communal and rousing, a night of smiles and hugs.
It’s time for my farewell toast to the band, and as Joe turns his back to tune up I jump up on the stage.
But when I stumble to the microphone, the Bushmills we’ve been nipping on all night kicks in, and my eloquent goodbye turns out to be:
“Blah! Fuck! Come on!!- WOOOO!”
There are immediate beer cups flying at my head and the chant Get off the stage Jethro!, but I am not to be denied.
Our long road with these gentlemen has apparently come to an end.
And so I can only spread my arms wide, as if to encompass the whole fuckin’ thing that we’ve all been through and shout out, “Don’t you understand? It’s D.O.A.!!”