News / Vancouver

From punk rock to politics: D.O.A.’s Joe Keithley hangs up guitar for NDP

The man known as Canada’s “Godfather of punk” and “Shithead” wants a different title: NDP Member of the Legislative Assembly.

B.C. punk rock band D.O.A. announced its farewell tour dates as founding member Joe Keithley gives up his nickname and enters the NDP nomination fray for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain.

“The NDP has got a real energy with its membership – it’s time for a change in government,” Keithley said in an interview with Metro. “I’m a progressive guy and I’m open minded, and I think I could make a difference in a really positive way.”

 Joe Keithley (Contributed/Murray Siple)

Joe Keithley (Contributed/Murray Siple)

Keithley will run against three other candidates for the NDP nod on March 3. The winner will compete with Liberal MLA Douglas Horne in the May 14 provincial election.

Should he win, Keithley’s priority will be education. B.C. needs more ESL and special needs teachers, to train people in the trades and to help post-secondary students with debt, he said.

This isn’t his first foray into politics. D.O.A. has always been political, playing at benefits for anti-racism, education, First Nations rights and environmental causes.

“People knew we were political and people knew we always stood up for the regular person,” he said.

Keithley also ran for the Green party in 1996 and 2001, but moved to the NDP because of its social and financial policies.

Keithley has been involved in activism since he was 16, started his own record label and was named B.C.’s most influential person in a 2010 Vancouver Sun poll.

In D.O.A.’s 35 years, it sold one million albums. The band will perform its last Vancouver show at The Rickshaw on Jan. 18. It wraps up its farewell tour in Banff on Feb. 24.

But Keithley’s not sad to give up the stage – “It’s always good to take on new challenges.”

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