Books - I

I, SHITHEAD: A LIFE IN PUNK - Joey Keithley (239 pages)
There aren't many people in Punk Rock who are as imposing, as resolute, as individual or as infamous as Joey 'Shithead' Keithley, vocalist and guitarist of Canada's finest Punk Rock stalwarts, D.O.A.  I remember interviewing him in the early days of Scanner.  I was spoilt by this interview, as Joey was helpful, forthcoming, open and frank - much as he is in this book.
In the preface to the book, Joey makes it clear this is not an exercise in boasting about who did what drugs or who got the most wasted.  Those kinda stories are pretty tedious, not to mention sensationalistic. Instead, the book focuses on the recordings, the tours, the politics, the scraps and the general obstacles that seem to have plagued the career of D.O.A since almost day one.  There is also an interesting sideline of events occurring in Joey's own, personal life giving mention to girlfriends, his wife and his children.
Joey's style of writing is very accessible.  There's no hint of egotism, no suggestion - as there could rightly be so - that he and his band were responsible for busting open North America to touring Punk bands.  Joey just writes it as he sees it, with a good helping of dry, ironic Canadian humour and opinions on the way.
One of the most intriguing aspects the book puts forth is how, over the years, Joey has matured.  Those humble beginnings of a snotty Punk Rocker just wanting to kick up some noise and raise some shit mutate as time progresses.  Sure, Joey still wants to kick up some shit, but today he has targets - the establishment, Pro-nuclear organisations, those who destroy eco-systems, globalisation and more. 
It's an inspirational story really - many could, would and did drop out and take the easy way out.  Not so Joey; in the face of broken down vans, riots, bands falling apart, dodgy record labels, injury and more, D.O.A. retain every piece of credibility that the band has ever had - even while playing shows with Bryan Adams and Dave Lee Roth (about whom there is a great story about Roth being put in a headlock!).
As the book charts Joey's story of a longhaired college dropout, through to Punk Rock discovery, forming THE SKULLS and ultimately D.O.A., there are photos, lyrics, flyers, record covers and more to keeping the book as aesthetically vibrant as the writing.  It's rounded off with a D.O.A. family tree and a discography that's really eye opening - I'm missing sooooooo many records!!  There's a neat introduction written by Jack Rabid also.
Ultimately, this is a very readable document of an era of Punk Rock that was inspirational, groundbreaking and confrontational.  For those who were there (or there abouts) it's a trip down memory lane.  For those who are only familiar with today's touring festivals and sanitised version of 'Punk', this is a great history lesson that should come on like a shot in the arm.
The final chapter suggests that Volume II is already planned.  Given the legacy of the band - and the man - I'm sure it will be another essential read.