Against all odds, Joey “Shithead” Keithley, DOA frontman and longtime activist, won election to city council in his Canadian hometown in 2018. He defeated a former 5-term mayor who was infamous for mocking the homeless. Documentary filmmaker Scott Crawford (CREEM: America’s Only Rock n’ Roll Magazine, Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington D.C.) is working on a new film about Joey, called Something Better Change. He needs some help getting it across the finish line.
Scott Crawford, documentary filmmaker and rock ‘n’ roll meme king, has over ten years of experience bringing his passion for music to celluloid by way of journalism. He is the creator of the critically acclaimed documentaries Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington D.C., as well as CREEM: America’s Only Rock n’ Roll Magazine.
Scott has recently completed a documentary film called: Something Better Change, a story about D.O.A. frontman Joey “Shithead” Keithley’s political journey within his home country of Canada. In 2018, the hardcore punk singer was elected a city councilor of Burnaby, British Columbia, representing the Green Party, and he is running again to keep his seat in the 2022 election. Though he was considered the underdog during his 2018 run for office—having only a $7,000 campaign budget and all the odds stacked against him—he still managed to win election. Joe helped unseat the five-term reigning mayor, Derek Corrigan, who once famously said, “I would never bend over to give a homeless person a dime because he might steal my watch.”
A Kickstarter campaign to raise money for Scott’s documentary is nearing its final days of crowd funding. Scott is hoping his film will be completed before the 2022 British Columbia municipal elections. Scott Crawford explains his inspiration, “Not only have I been a longtime fan of D.O.A., but Joe Keithley’s ‘David Vs. Goliath’ story of affecting change from within the political ecosystem is one that I think will resonate with audiences – especially given our current political climate.”
This film explores how music inspires activism and helps create a dialog to cultivate change. Social issues have always been at the root of punk music. Just listen to Crass, Minor Threat, or the Clash. So the transition from intelligent, young punk to slightly older politician isn’t a far cry. After all, former Congressman and presidential candidate Beto O’ Rourke was in a punk band in his younger days.
Jello Biafra may have set the precedent for all of this in 1979, when the outspoken Dead Kennedys’ singer ran for mayor of San Francisco. Jello was extremely popular, placing fourth among ten candidates, even with a zany campaign promise to make businessmen wear clown suits inside city limits.
As we have all noticed, there have been clueless celebrities who were elected to public office mainly due to their popularity in society. This is not one of those stories. Joey has been a freedom fighter in the punk scene for most of his life. His lyrics express the injustice, racism, and greed that have been pervasive within the powers that be. An example of Joey’s strong code of ethics can be found in the title of his last D.O.A. album, Talk – Action = 0.
“The bloody-bloody tyrants can now all go to hell/ They run the world with greed and hate, they make life a living hell/ They stand on freedom and every time need to be taken down.” – “Tyrants Turn In Hell”- by D.O.A.
D.O.A. are often referred to as the founders of hardcore punk rock. Their second album, Hardcore ’81, is thought to be the first known reference to the second wave of American punk which included other bands like Black Flag, the Germs, and Bad Brains—although, of course, there have been millions of arguments for and against this notion in barrooms around the world.
DOA – The Prisoner (1979) music video:
Joey recently told a Rolling Stone reporter, “When Scott Crawford approached me about making a documentary, it wasn’t long before I saw that we shared the same vision; we both wanted to tell the same story – that punk rock activism can take on any bullshit thrown our way and create results that really make a difference in our communities.”
Fans of hardcore punk music are going to want to watch this documentary. It’s embedded with loads of vintage D.O.A. videos, which Joe rounded up during his COVID lockdown time, as well as interviews from eccentric musicians like Keith Morris, Jello Biafra, Henry Rollins, Ian MacKaye, Krist Novoselic and Duff McKagen among others.
I’ve been in D.O.A. for 40 years, and the entire time we fought against racism, greed, war, and sexism. There’s a lot of reasons I ran for politics. I believe in grassroots democracy where people really have a say and an input into what’s going on.” – Joey Keithley in Something Better Change
Help support Something Better Change by supporting Scott Crawford’s Kickstarter. After all, the D.I.Y. way is the spirit of punk rock! KICKSTARTER LINK