Hey look, a new DOA record! Produced by Bob Rock, the guy who slowly and mercilessly bled the life out of Metallica over the course of 12 years! And for their 30th anniversary at that! I’ve been wondering about these guys lately, so this is great. Let’s do a quick status update: it seems the cops are still beating them up every day, Joey’s still dragging around the Shithead surname and that upside down triangle face, and everyone who has anything other than replacement studs and a photo of a middle finger in their wallet is still a corporate fascist. Well good.
Musically, this is everything you thought it would be. Because it has been the same. For 30 years. Color by numbers punk that I cannot honestly believe these guys really enjoy playing anymore. And that’s fine - I don’t think anyone really buys that Bon Jovi still likes writing the soundtrack to once-every-six-months parent-sex after “date night” at the local Benihana either, but I do believe that he enjoys the consequent perks. What is Joey Shithead getting out of slapping this dead horse around like this? A sense of fuck-you pride in his own staying power? The ability to continue to put off thinking about what the last 30 years have actually accomplished? A free round at Good Ol’ Boys Bar and Grill?
There are a couple obligatory ska songs that are, of course, even more skin-crawling here. Ever heard a geriatric Canadian use a mock Jamaican accent to implore “we got to set, set the people free”? I have! There’s also a head scratching John Fogerty cover. And just about everyone better watch out, because a 60-year-old cannuck who once published an autobiography entitled I, Shithead is really P.O.’d!
The second track “Golden State” is highlighted by the inclusion and mostly successful rhyming of “San Andreas Fault” (with “get ready for a total assault”), and a good burn on Schwarzenegger for not “apologizing for hippies and Scientology.” The song then deteriorates into a free association game in which Joe just lists things that he can remember about California: drug gangs, Clint Eastwood, divorce lawyers, the Mexican border, and Rodney King all get shout outs.
Also put on notice: a fictional hockey team made up of some mean and unskilled jocks in “Donnybrook,” and police everywhere in the shockingly titled “Police Brutality” (“police, police, police brutality, lose your life, fascist finality!!”). Also, everyone! In the tune “Last Chance,” Joey and the crew tell us “it’s the last chance”...and that’s about it. They just tell us that, like 20 some-odd times. Not sure for what, or why really. Did they forget to write the rest of this? Anyway, watch out!
Look, I guess its cool that they (maybe) used the word hardcore before other people, but I’m honestly just bummed out on this. It’s not just shooting fish in a barrel--that’s an apt description for a few offhand digs at Gym Class Heroes while it plays over the stereo in Duane Reade or whatever. This is shooting really, really fucking old fish in the same decaying water-logged barrel they’ve been butting their heads into the side of for decades. It smells and it's fucking sad.
PS: I just Googled DOA really quickly to make sure there wasn’t some kind of “We wanted to hang it up years ago but Joey’s niece has cancer and this band is the only thing paying her medical bills” thing I didn’t know about (there isn’t), and found this little tidbit--when Joey can’t rally the other guys and ends up playing a gig alone, they bill the shows as “Anar-coustic” performances. Jesus fucking Christ guys.