D.O.A.'s Joe Keithley isn’t the first high-profile punk rocker who’s plunged into the world of politics. Recall if you will Dead Kennedy’s legend Jello Biafra running for the mayor of San Francisco back in 1979. (He lost, the biggest tragedy of that being his platform included forcing all businessmen to wear clown suits within city limits).
TSOL singer Jack Grisham ran for governor of California in 2003, losing to Arnold Schwarzenegger by roughly 4, 198,000 votes.
Former American presidential candidate—and Democratic party rising star—Beta O’Rourke, meanwhile, made it to Washington’s House of Representatives. Once upon a time the American underground knew O'Rourke as the bassist for El Paso-based Foss, which featured future At the Drive-In and Mars Volta member Cedric Bixler-Zavala.
And speaking of punks who’ve successfully transitioned into politics, D.O.A. mainstay Joe “Shithead” Keithley has established himself as someone as comfortable in a suit as he is on-stage with his signature Gibson SG. And that’s led to a project looking at the iconic frontman’s ongoing journey from punk founding father to Burnaby city councillor.
Documentary filmmaker Scott Crawford (CREEM: America’s Only Rock’n’Roll Magazine) and producer Paul Rachman (American Hardcore) have today announced a kickstarter for Something Better Change. The film—named after D.O.A.'s seminal debut full-length—will touch on Keithley’s rise from suburban Burnaby kid to punk rock icon to politician and dedicated family man. The hook will be Keithley’s upcoming bid for Burnaby City Council re-election in 2022.
In announcing the film's Kickstarter campaign, Something Better Change's team has promised a film dedicated to “exploring how music and activism often interlink via raising awareness about important social issues, inspiring people to get involved, and fostering real, dynamic change."
Those who’ve already sat down for the camera include punk legends like Henry Rollins, Keith Morris (Circle Jerks), Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat) and Krist Novoselic (Nirvana). Also making appearances are Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan (who cut his teeth in the Seattle punk scene), as well as Biafra and O’Rourke.
To support the Kickstarter click here. This project will be funded if it reaches its goal of $38,000 by February 21 2021.
Right before you do that watch the trailer below.