Rock and Roll will never die on D.O.A.’s ‘Treason’

If you’ve felt the need to indulge in a little political ranting lately, D.O.A. is here to help you scratch that itch, with their 18th studio album, Treason. The fun starts with the cover, a nifty collage that has our beaming president, eyes blocked out by the album’s title in cut up letters, Sex Pistols’ style, surrounded by his merry men: Putin, McConnell, Jong-un, and Giuliani, all having a laugh themselves. No doubt at our expense.

They would be “All The President’s Men,” as it’s put in the album’s rollicking opening track, which has Joey “Shithead” Keithley bawling out “The president was never on your side!” — as if you needed a reminder. From that point on, it’s a (mostly) breathless race to the finish, in this eight-track album that runs all of 17 minutes and 30 seconds. It’s a true punk rock assault, a set worthy of the Ramones (though they would probably have been able to squeeze in another eight songs).

But along with bracing, pummeling numbers like “Gonna Set You Straight” and “It’s Treason,” this is also a release that’s laced with plenty of humor. The Canadian natives take a wry poke at our gun totin’ citizens in “Just Got Back From the USA,” a sort of reworking of the Clash’s “I’m So Bored with the USA.” “It Was D.O.A.” is a light-hearted take on the band’s own history, which sees the band improbably joining the ranks of the Mamas and the Papas and Sleater-Kinney, who also released this-is-what-it-was-like-back-then songs of their own (“Creeque Alley” and “It’s Love,” respectively, in case you’re curious). 

There’s an update of an old D.O.A. favorite, “Fucked Up Ronnie,” released back in that golden age when we thought Reagan was our worst president. It’s now been transformed into “Fucked Up Donald,” aptly described in the press release as “a blistering 73 seconds of mayhem!” And that’s a statement that really can’t be improved upon. 

Most surprisingly, the band also ventures into the realm of classic rock, covering Neil Young’s “Hey Hey, My My.” It’s a faithful cover too, running about the same length as it does on Young’s Rust Never Sleeps album, and roiling in the same kind of power. It used to be that musos would sneer at punk rock, saying that the music sounded so sloppy because the musicians couldn’t play their instruments. “Hey Hey, My My” puts paid to that sort of nonsense; the band really kicks out the jams. 

It’s great that Keithley’s been able to juggle the joint responsibilities of righteous punk rocker and city councillor of Burnaby, British Columbia (a post he was elected to in 2018). But remember, as the band’s motto puts it, “Talk – Action = 0.” Treason gets you energized, but in these imperiled times you also don’t want to let that energy go to waste. Want to send those smiling faces on the album’s cover packing? The power rests with you.

(Get more info about D.O.A. HERE)

Gillian G. Gaar

Gillian G. Gaar covers the arts, entertainment, and travel. She was a senior editor at the legendary Northwest music publication The Rocket, and has also written locally for The Seattle Times, The Stranger, and Seattle Weekly, as well as national/international outlets such as Rolling Stone, Mojo, Q, and Goldmine, among others. She has written numerous books, including She’s A Rebel: The History of Women in Rock & Roll, Entertain Us: The Rise of Nirvana, Return of the King: Elvis Presley’s Great Comeback, and World Domination: The Sub Pop Records Story. Follow @GillianGaar on Twitter.

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