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MUSIC REVIEW (Alternative)
Joe "Shithead" Keithley
Beat Trash

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Unfortunately you'll have to go here...

Label: Sudden Death Released: 1/1/2000

In my teen years (was it that long ago?) nothing could pass the time between classes like a Dead Kennedys / D.O.A. compilation tape in my cheap Consumers' Distributing Walkman-clone. So it was with slight trepidation that I removed the shrink-wrap from the new Joe "Shithead" Keithley CD... could he live up to the god-like status that I had elevated D.O.A. to over the years?

The album starts out with a folky acoustic-based number, perhaps to instantly distance himself from the D.O.A. legacy? Regardless of the intent, it works and helps to put the CD in its own context. But before you know it the song is accelerating, the distorted vocals start to get a little more incisive, the guitar starts to get a little more frantic and by the second song the distinctive Joey Shithead snarl is back in full force, despite the folky bent of the song

The sharp wit and political lyrics don't stray far from the expected Keithley territory: Jerry Falwell, Rush Limbaugh, the Christian Coalition, APEC, organized labour and the plight of native people all get their moment in the spotlight.

But wait, what's this, by track 4 we're into some sort of rock/rap thing?!? And he's actually learned to play guitar? And he doesn't look any older than he did on the first D.O.A. albums. And then there's "Armageddon Time", a flash-back to the reggae stylings of "War in the East". Could he have actually recorded this album in the eighties and just waited until now to release it? The only thing that contradicts this theory is the crisp, clean studio production that D.O.A. would never have been able to afford in the 80's.

OK, so he's decided to explore some varied musical territory; can anyone blame him after X number of years as a seminal punk-rock god? I don't think so, and the consistently political lyrics make some interesting listening. Heck, this album might even get you thinking about some issues that you care about but had forgotten about in your day-to-day rituals...

Steve Donnelly Email WWW


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