After the Skulls split up in early 1978, Joey Shithead began forming a new band, auditioning drummers and bass players. One of the auditioning drummers was Randy Rampage, a teenager from North Van. Joey didn’t think much of his drumming, but he wanted him in the band, so he convinced him to switch to bass instead. The drummer would be Chuck Biscuits, Dimwit’s younger brother. DOA’s “classic” trio lineup was born. Their first performances were at the Japanese Hall that spring. When the Avengers came to Vancouver in April, DOA were on the bill. DOA recorded the Disco Sucks 7-inch EP, then added guitarist Brad Kent in July. They toured down the west coast twice, but in November Brad was ushered out of the band.
Disco Sucks was released on their own Sudden Death label; followed by two more singles on Quintessence: The Prisoner b/w Thirteen, and World War Three b/w Whatcha Gonna Do. They toured North America for the first time in 1979, including the Rock Against Racism outdoor concert in Chicago. They also played New York City with San Francisco’s The Dils, their fellow travelers for most of the tour. In September 1980, DOA released their debut LP Something Better Change (Friends Records). Before embarking on a North American tour, Dave Gregg was added to the lineup, where he remained for the next decade. Their next album, Hardcore ’81, was followed by another North American tour. Upon their return, the closely confined conditions of no-budget touring had exacerbated personality conflicts in the band. When they played a New Years Eve show at the Smilin’ Buddha at the end of 1981, it was the last time Randy Rampage would play onstage with them (until 2001).
In 1982 former Subhumans and Pointed Sticks drummer Dimwit joined DOA on bass. In July, Chuck Biscuits left DOA and joined Black Flag. When older brother Dimwit replaced him on drums, Subhumans singer Brian Goble joined on bass, which meant the dissolution of the Subhumans in September 1982. Goble spent the better part of the next 15 years in DOA.
Les sez: The undisputed heavyweight champions of the punk world. Gone are the Ramones, the Sex Pistols and the Damned. DOA continues. Always creating new music, never a nostalgia act after 32 years, DOA is one of the most powerful live acts in rock’n’roll. For two generations, DOA has been the standard-bearer of punk rock.