'War on 45 - March to the End'

(Sudden Death records)

MARK: 85/100


3,000 shows, 1,000,000 record sales, 10 vans, 343 tires, 1,000,000 miles travelled, 286,879 beers consumed, 9 riots, 17 CDs, 45 releases, 28 punch-ups, 27 busts, 17 roadies, 39 deaf soundman and 9 lives (not used up yet)!
This is the only way to adequately celebrate 28 years of existence of an historical, quite influential band possessing a pithy style that mostly covers the true traditional UK Punk/Hardcore (created thru the years along with Sex Pistols, Stiff Little Fingers and many others), the combat Rock of Clash, sometimes the NY school of Ramones and - in their coarsest tracks - other legendary acts such as Black Flag or Dead Kennedys.
Unfortunately, even this doesn't do justice to the Canadian act's life, gone thru several line-up changes, dedicating this album to the memory of their fallen comrades: Dimwit, Ken Jensen and Simon Wilde. Altho constantly wearing politics on their sleeves, Joe 'Shithead' Keithley's pack has undoubtely made way for unpolitical (or temporarily political only when it comes to embracing a trendy cause) bands ranging from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, to Green Day, Rancid, Offspring, Henry Rollins, Sonic Youth, to the recent Foo Fighters.
Blatant slogans like 'Talk - action = 0' sum up their basic creed, applied to plenty of issues and corresponding benefits these activists played for: rape relief, anti-racism, rock-for brains, anti-globalization, OXFAM, first nations' rights, anti-censorpship and environmental policies are some amongst a large quantity of others. The crowning of so strong a commitment sooner or later arrives, and that's why at the end of 2002 mayor Larry Campbell of Vancouver (the Canadian city of course, not the one in the Washington State) declared December 21st to be 'D.O.A. Day' in Vancouver. Moreover Joe's first book, "I, Shithead, a life in punk" was named one of the top non-fiction books of 2003 by www.amazon.ca, and as if it weren't enough, film maker Marcus Rogers ("The Widower") is developing a documentary on these artists' purport.

As anticipated before, this compilation album exposes their career and therefore includes compositions impregnated with lots of more genres: for instance "War", which has recently made the fortune of Danko Jones and their imitators; "Masters of War", a cover version of a Bob Dylan's hit, comprising solutions later dear to the Datsuns or the International Noise Conspiracy. Even Reggae is touched in "War in the East", but the song is not excessively soporific thanks to a finalé in the sign of Rock. Another tune different from their main style is the cover version of Barry McGuire's evergreen "Eve of Destruction", but a mention must also go to "Earache", a Ska song containing a formula that made too many younger meteor bands rich. This is the price to pay to be a pioneer of course, but it can be a disappointment to some to learn from these young bands' fans that they know little to nothing about the Canuck predecessors. The age is hardly any excuse: their older brothers or friends should've routed them better.
Besides this, no-one need be afraid of comparing "Bombs away" to certain Metal combos! Yes, indeed, I an't nuts! If you pay attention to this track you will find many guitar tunes and the sound of the guitar highly similar to Iron Maiden's first two records as I did.
That said, this exhaustive anthology comprises D.O.A.'s best tracks; allow me to cite you the irresistible "Liar for Hire", "We Don't Need No God Damn War" and "World Falls apart"; this latter rude jewel in particular should make your neurons excited seamlessly, owing to an unmatchable combination of ineffable music and lyrics; in fact, as far as I remember, I've seldom read such good words put to a song in my life; were you not be stimulated by these, sorry but my diagnosis is that you are hopelessly dead inside, period.

What can be inferred from this 18-track exposé is that also the recent production haven't lost inspiration nor verve, a proof that the 3-piece still has much to say in sight of their third career decade and that's a good news. The bad side resides in the fact that unluckily all these tracks turn out to be scarcely attractive to who already own their whole discography, with the exception of "Fortunate Son", John Fogarty's coverversion excerpted from a 1987 demotape. Yet, those who have scarce knowledge of these politically-uncorrect figureheads (compared to Bono or Springsteen, but the real success in life is not money but being able to do what one likes) will find it useful, as it shows all the sides of these wry-mouthed performers. Not all their records are up to their name, most are from monumental to unforgettable. Nevertheless, tho one mayn't agree with all of their beliefs, every part of their discography aims at hurling messages spurring to reflect and being in on social topics, thus making our world's governors' lives more difficult to manipulate our behaviors. Or, as Joey Shithead Keithley lately stated in a more efficient way: "To question and doubt the powers that be is far more patriotical than blindly obey". Thank you, Dead on Arrival, we wish you many successful years like this for the future!

MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - 20th September 2006

Line-up on this record:
Tracks 1-7: Joey Keithley (v., g.), Dave Gregg (g., v.), Brian Wimpy Roy Goble (b., v.), Dimwit (d., v. piano)
track 8: Joey Keithley
(v., g.), Chuck Biscuits (d., v.), Randy Rampage (b., v.)
track 9: Joey Keithley (v., g.), Chuck Biscuits (d., v.), Randy Rampage (b., v.), Dave Gregg (g., v.)
tracks 10-13: Joey Keithley (v., g.), the Great Baldini (d., v.), Damned Dan Yaremko (b., v.)
track 14: Joey Keithley (v., g.), the Great Baldini (d., v.), Randy Rampage (b., v.)
track 15: Joey Keithley (v., g.), Ken Jensen (d., v.), Brian Wimpy Roy Goble (b., v.)
track 16: Joey Keithley (v., b., g.), Brien O' Brien (d., v.), Michael Rowe (v.), Ford Pier (v.)
track 17: Joey Keithley (v., g.), Dave Gregg (g.), Brian Wimpy Roy Goble (b.), Jon Card (d.)
track 18: Joey Keithley (v., g.), Randy Rampage (b.), Dave Gregg (g.), Chuck Biscuits (d.)

Sudden Death records
c/o D.O.A.'s Joe 'Shithead' Keithley
Moscrop, P.O. Box #43001 / Burnaby, BC / Canada V56 3HO
Phone: (604) 777-6972 Fax: (604) 777-6974

E-mail: info@suddendeath.com
Official site:

-Disco Sucks (4-song 7", 1978)
-Prisoner/13 (7" single, 1978)
-World War 3/Whatcha Gonna do? (7" single, 1979)
-Something Better Change (album, 1980)
-Triumph of the Ignoroids (4-song live 12" EP, 1980)
-Hardcore 81 (album, 1981)
-Positively D.O.A. (5-song 7" EP, 1981)
-War on 45 (8-song 12" EP, 1982)
-Right to Be Wild Burn It Wild Fuck You (7" benefit single, 1982)
-General Strike (7" benefit single, 1983)
-Bloodied but Unbowed (compilation album with different tracks on UK and US version, 1983)
-Let's Wreck the Party (album, 1985)
-Don't Turn Yer Back on Desperate Times (4-song 12" EP, 1985)
-Expo Hurts Everyone (4-song 7" benefit single with 3 other artists)
-True Strong and Free (album, 1987)
-Last Scream of the Missing Neighbors (album with Jello Biafra, 1989)
-Murder (album, 1990)
-Talk - Action = 0 (live album, 1990)
-Greatest Shits (compilation album, 1991)
-Dawning of A New Error (compilation album, 1991)
-13 Flavors of Doom (album, 1992)
-Loggerheads (album, 1993)
-The Only Thing Green (7" benefit single, 1993)
-Moose Droppings (Australian compilation album, 1993)
-It's Not Unusual, but It Sure Is Ugly (7" single and 5-song EP, 1994)
-The Black Spot (album, 1996)
-D.O.A./Show Business Giants (10" split 5-song EP, 1996)
-D.O.A./Colorifics Marijuana Motherfucker (7" benefit single, 1996)
-D.O.A./Hanson Brothers (7" single, 1996)
-Festival of Atheists (album, 1998)
-The Lost Tapes (rare old tapes collection, 1998)
-D.O.A./D.B.S. (4-song 7" split single, 1998)
-Beat Trash (solo album by Joe Keithley, 1999)
-D.O.A./Dog Eat Dogma (7" split single, 2000)
-Just Play It Over and Over again (5-song EP, 2001)
-Win the Battle (album, 2001)
-The End (live 1990 DVD w/ Jello Biafra, 2001)
-We Still Keep on Running with D.O.A. (7-band Japanese tribute album, 2001)
-War and Peace (comp. album, 2003)
-Greatest Shits (DVD/VHS with different tracks than CD version, 2003)
-Let's Start the Action (international electronic tribute album, 2003)
-Live Free or Die (album, 2004)
-War on 45 - March to the End (comp. album, 2005)