Vancouver's D.O.A. started out making head-banging music in the thick of the punk rock movement 10 years ago.
This year the group recorded a song and music video titled "Where Evil Grows" (written by Terry "Seasons in the Sun" Jacks), which, write the members, is "our band's musical and social contribution to saving our planet and its precious environment."
They even sent a copy of the video to George Bush -- you know, the Environmental President.
Okay. What's wrong with this picture? Wasn't anarchy one of the primary doctrines of punk rock? Rebelling against the status quo -- particularly, the political Establishment -- by committing disturbing acts onstage and in public?
"I wouldn't describe us as a punk rock band anymore," says lead singer Joey Keithley. "That's what it started out as. Now it's loud, obnoxious guitars. It's rock music that's got a lot of edge to it."
Still, sending videos accompanied by poignant, precisely worded correspondence to the president of the United States seems a bit, um, mature.
"We try to do things in a constructive fashion," Keithley says. He's calling from a pay phone somewhere outside Kansas City. In a little while, the band is going to play in a "club" called the Outhouse, a cinder-block building in the middle of a cornfield where its obnoxious guitars won't disturb any neighbors and where admission is charged by the carload. "We've been involved in lots of benefit-type things: anti-nuclear things in Vancouver, strip mining in South Dakota, trying to stop pollution from the paper and pulp industry in Canada."
Now, not to stereotype, but this seems to be somewhat out of character for both punk rockers and obnoxious guitarists.
"I never had safety pins in my cheeks and a Mohawk, or spit blood on people," Keithley says. "To me, rock music represents rebellion. We aren't trying to sell Schlitz beer or Mazdas. My original intent was to get people to think for themselves -- and go out and raise hell. Nonconformity. That's what it's about. D.O.A. usually does well where there is social upheaval."
Ah. This is starting to make a little sense.
"I don't think what we do represents a calm, clean type thing. I don't think we've gotten anywhere by being subtle."
D.O.A. is performing at the 9:30 club tonight. Doors open at 8. Tickets are $12 and available at Ticketron outlets or by Teletron at (800) 543-3041. For information, call 638-2008.