Bill: So for your new album Northern Avenger, you recorded with Bob Rock again. You guys are old friends, right?
Joe: Yeah we’ve known each other since the early days of the
Bill: What was it like working with him again?
Joe: Uh, well he’s a fun guy, so it’s easy, right? He doesn’t come in with a bunch of pre-conceptions. He does what a good producer is going to try to do, which is take a good band and make them sound better, right?
Joe: So it’s just kind of what the band is after before you do a record. So for us, D.O.A. is usually a pretty heavy band and he made us sound heavier than we usually do, so he did a great job. We didn’t really change the approach that we’ve had at all, we just wanted to make a lasting punk rock record and that’s what we came up with.
Bill: Was your 30th anniversary kind of an impetus to go back and work with him again?
Joe: Yeah, it just made sense. He agreed with us that it was the right time. The timing was perfect with the band on Sudden Death and having a new album. You know, he did a good job with it; it’s all going to work hand in hand for sure.
Bill: Have you been paying attention to the
Joe: Oh yeah, of course, we watch it every day up here. How could you not? (chuckle, then stammering) It’d be crazy of John McCain got in there, especially with the vice-presidential candidate he has in there right? (chuckle)
Bill: The worst woman in the world!
Joe: It’s affecting the whole world you know, with the war in
Bill: Well a lot of people were saying this in 2004 and I know a bunch of people who are saying it now, that if McCain wins they’re moving up to
Joe: (hearty laugh) Yeah we get a lot of that! We were actually down there traveling around in 2004 going between
Bill: (laughter abound)
Bill: Yeah, yeah. I know that a lot of the people have this really idealized version of
Joe: Yeah totally, and he actually stands a pretty good chance of getting a majority up here which would be absolutely horrible. I mean
Bill: Yeah every single day it seems like it’s being forgotten more here.
Joe: Absolutely, same thing here.
Bill: Do you have any plans to ever run for office again?
Joe: Well the only thing I’ve thought about is maybe running for mayor of
Joe: It’d just be listening to a bunch of windbags talking Parliament, right?!
Bill: Yeah, not worth it. With Sudden Death you’ve been doing a lot of archival stuff.
Bill: Is there anything left in the vaults that you haven’t released yet?
Joe: Well the one we really wanted to get but we didn’t was this cool band from
Bill: Yeah, True (North) Strong and Free I didn’t even know existed until I read I: Shithead.
Joe: What was that?
Bill: I didn’t even know the True (North) Strong and Free record existed until a couple years ago.
Joe: Yeah, it’s a pretty good record. It’s only ten tracks, we did it in 1987? Yeah, it came out in 1987, yeah, recorded in ’86 and came out in ’87. The guys who put it out are idiots, right? Profile Records. We’ve tried to get it back but they won’t give it back to us, or even sell it back. And you can’t find it, right?
Bill: Yeah I’ve never even seen it.
Joe: It has some cool songs on it.
Bill: Murder I found a used copy of a couple years ago but I’ve only seen it that one time.
Joe: That’s another real hard one to find too! That company has been bought and re-sold about four times. It was Restless Records then Hollywood Records and then some other crap. That was just a nightmare with the accounting and trying to get paid from all that stuff. We got really ripped off on the whole thing. But hey, you know what, that’s part of the music business! I guess that’s why I started my own label.
Bill: Yeah, pretty much everyone I’ve talked to has been ripped off at one point by a label in some way.
Joe: Oh yeah yeah yeah, it’s par for the course.
Bill: Is there any, uh (stammering) your version of The Skulls, is there anything recorded that might come out of that or is it all lost to time?
Joe: Well we did a three song demo in a recording studio. I’m trying to think of what stuff was on that. One was “Fucked Up Baby” which was the predecessor to “Fucked Up Ronnie.” Uh, there’s that and two other songs that I wrote or helped write. Then there’s a basement tape we did in
Bill: Now with your book I: Shithead, you stopped that after, I forget the exact time frame, but it covered the first half of D.O.A.’s career. Do you have any plans on writing another one?
Joe: Yeah I’ve got a couple ideas. One of them is rather than doing it as a linear history of D.O.A. like I: Shithead is, it would be a funny punk rock guide book. You know I’ve got a lot of ideas and it would get into things with D.O.A. and other things that have gone on in the world since that time. I’ve got kind of a rough framework but I’ve never found the time to sit down and do it, right. I’ve been totally swamped with this record and with the label. You know what, I thought I’d have another book out three or four years ago but that’s the way things go. Time marches on if you’re busy and you don’t have time for much else.
Bill: Yeah, definitely. I mean you’ve been pretty consistently D.O.A. I mean there was that time period in the early 90s where you broke up for awhile.
Joe: Yeah we’ve been playing about 40-50 shows a year for the last six or seven years. The last year where we did a lot was in 2002. We went down into the states, we went across
Bill: Oh wow, you’re going to
Joe: Yeah, we’ve got four shows lined up there and it’ll be interesting, it’ll definitely be an eye opener for sure.
Bill: How’d you end up getting it?
Joe: There’s a guy that got in contact with me. He’s an American guy who lives over there but he’s fluid in Cantonese or Mandarin, one of the main languages over there. He brought over a band here that I know in
Bill: Now this is all promoting the new record, is that out yet?
Joe: Yeah, actually. If you let me grab a piece of paper I can send you a copy, we’re doing a bunch of shipping today. The label, such as we are, the three of us are sitting around doing shipping stuff today. Just let me grab a piece of paper and I’ll take down your address. Actually, this may be easier, why don’t you send us an email with your address?
Bill: Yeah, definitely, I’ll shoot it over. I have the conversation with Bill (Sudden Death press guy) up on my computer; I’ll send it over once I’m done talking to you.
Joe: Yeah, yeah, we’ll send some copies over there so you can have some for the people working on the festival.
Bill: Yeah cool, thanks a lot!
Joe: Yeah, no sweat. It’s just out now, and officially in the States on October 7th. So I guess it’s not out there but it’s out here in
Bill: Wow, that’s pretty good! Did you have any old band members come up?
Joe: Yeah we did. We had Wimpy come up, you know, the bass player.
Bill: Oh cool.
Joe: We had Pierre who played with us in 95-96. And Thor, you know, the old metal guy? He came up, he’s a buddy of mine. Then we had a whole horn section and keyboards for the encore. It was pretty good actually.
Bill: That sounds awesome; I wish I could’ve seen it.
Joe: Yeah the encore was a riot. Billy from the Black Halos came up, he’s a buddy of mine, he sang a bit.
Bill: As you just mentioned with the 30th anniversary, you’re still going at it, but has there been any time where you’ve gotten tired of it or uninspired?
Joe: Well that happened in 1990 and 1991, but then we started going again. But no, it’s pretty good, it’s quite a lot of fun. We just did a couple big shows with Rancid, that was a real riot because there were just a TON of kids. And if you get something that’s interesting you know, like a trip to
Bill: Yeah you’ve done that for a long time, you’ve paid your dues.
Joe: Yeah that’s what I’m kind of thinking, right. So if you find something interesting I love to do it. I’d love to get to South America or other parts of
Bill: (sarcastically) Ah, capitalism, improvement!
Joe: (laughter) Ha, well yeah well with capitalism it’s like gangsterism. Not everybody but a certain select part of the population.
Bill: Still running on the old ways.
Joe: Yeah some of them went from the KGB into being gangsters.
Bill: Similar skill sets. Well I’m just about out of questions, do you have any last words or anything you want to say?
Joe: No, just that we’re looking forward to being there. And of course, the D.O.A. motto that talk minus action equals zero. What I always say is be your own boss, think for yourself, try to affect some positive change in this world. Certainly get out there and vote at least, right. Encourage everyone you can, because four more years of Republican rule would be a disaster.
Bill: (dejectedly) It’d be the worst thing that could happen.
Joe: Yeah. Maybe there will be a drove of people that come up and I’ll be that guy to help them get over the border and where to stay.
Bill: You can be the coyote!
Joe: (laughter) Yeah! Well that’s it.
Joe: Yeah, we’ll see you at the shows then.
Bill: Yeah, definitely looking forward to it.
Joe: Take care buddy.
Bill: You too Joe.