Smash the State: The Raw Original D.O.A. 1978 — 81
Sudden Death Records
Sudden Death Records’ latest DVD Smash the State documents the rowdy early years of D.O.A., Canada’s greatest punk rock band. Joey Shithead, Chuck Biscuits, Randy Rampage and Dave Gregg are in top form (and probably drunk) through this interesting (if flawed) collection of shows and archival footage. Clearly, a lot of loud hardcore punk music, extreme politics, and beer went into the making of this DVD. If these reasons alone aren’t enough to make you buy it right now, you may want to consider the following information before dropping $15.
As one might expect of early ’80s DIY punk film making, some of this footage can be hard to watch. The cameraperson seems to have been drunk when filming the Old Waldorf show, wildly panning side to side from backstage and losing focus through the entire show. The other shows are a bit better, but not by much. Sound can be an issue too. It fades out briefly at points, but since distortion and incoherent lyrics are the mantra of hardcore punk rock, you won’t miss much. The band’s attitude and the crowd’s reaction speak for themselves. The lone exception is the On Broadway show in San Francisco. The camera is stable, set well above the stage for a good view of the action. The sound quality is quite good too, on par with many hardcore punk albums. Luckily, this show is the longest and makes up about 20 minutes of the one-hour program.
Some of the best features on this DVD take place offstage. The Anarchist Anti-Canada Day show includes great footage of Joey Shithead and the band before a show. The band’s politics and personal hygeine are on full display, especially when the cops show up. Bonus features include a studio-recorded music video and a totally rad TV news report from 1979 about the punk movement in Vancouver, BC. Seriously, it’s awesome.
Because this DVD is reasonably priced on Sudden Death’s website, I can easily recommend it to D.O.A. fans and contemporary punks in need of a history lesson. All the rest of you powder punks should probably just play it safe and invest that $15 in the latest Sum 41 or Paramore album. This shit is too hard for your precious sensibilities anyway.