Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the Canadian album that coined the term “hardcore punk.”
Vancouver punk band D.O.A. is celebrating the release of their classic album Hardcore 81 by putting out a 40th anniversary reissue and playing the record live in its entirety on tour. On Jan. 27 that tour brings D.O.A. to the Queen’s in Nanaimo.
This is the first time the band is playing an album from start to finish.
“It’s interesting,” said frontman Joe Keithley, the last remaining original member. “Some of the songs I went back and relearned I haven’t played in like 35 years.”
Keithley describes Hardcore 81 as “a landmark record” that “set the template for hardcore punk and defined the term.” In 2019 it won the public vote for the Polaris Heritage Prize.
Keithley noted that he’s recorded about 20 albums and in many cases he doesn’t listen back to them for years because “you listen to it so much when you’re doing them that you go, ‘OK, I’ve had enough of that.’” He said he was pleasantly surprised by the Hardcore 81 remaster.
“I listened to the new mastered version in my van, which is always my go-to audio test, [and] I was amazed,” he said. “This is a really great record. I’m really glad that we’re getting it out again.”
D.O.A has only played a handful of shows as COVID-19-related restrictions on gatherings loosened up in 2021. Keithley said their first show was in Golden in late September.
“We were a little bit late because it’s a super long drive from Vancouver … and we all got up there and looked at each other like, ‘You remember how to do this?’ ‘Yeah, I think so,’” Keithley said. “We were kind of surprised. We went like, ‘Oh, we actually played OK.’”
Keithley said the excitement of performing live is what made him pursue music as a teenager and it’s what continues to drive D.O.A. today. But he said 40 years ago he probably wouldn’t have thought he’s still be playing these songs 40 years later.
“When the band had been going for five years … this one writer down in California went like, ‘Well, Joe, how’s it feel to officially be an old fart?’” he said. “So I didn’t think D.O.A. would go for two years when we started back in ‘78 and we went five years and now it’s been 43 years.”
WHAT’S ON … D.O.A. performs at the Queen’s, 34 Victoria Cres., on Jan. 27. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Bands start at 8:30. Tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the door.