Tag Archives: DOA



A towering presence in more ways than one, a true rara avis, I had the great privilege of knowing Dave Gregg since our punk rock heyday, when he presided over Fort Gore and played in Private School then DOA and the Real McKenzies. He became close to me and my family through my best friend Cathy after they hooked up. Cathy is my son’s godmother and Dave was like an uncle, an exceptionally jolly uncle and a wonderful role model with his indefatigable exuberance and generousity. Cathy’s an equally extraordinary individual and she and Dave complemented one another. They revelled in a symbiotic relationship, partners in business, life and love. The pair travelled extensively and we always looked forward to meeting up with them for a vacation or whenever they landed in Vancouver. I hold close fond, precious memories; celebrating my birthday on Molokai, kids indulged with kayaking and horseback riding, sleeping in tenatlows on the beach. During a momentous holiday gathering in Whistler, much to our delight and amazement, Dave and Cathy bestowed us all with commemorative white terry robes. One year it was cabins in Waimea Canyon on Kauai, grilling tuna steaks and mahi mahi for Christmas dinner on the Na Pali coast.  We shared many good times and bad jokes over countless meals together.

Three weeks after his departure I am only now beginning to navigate the void, assimilate the sorrow. The loss. He meant so much to us all. Yes, Dave was a consummate musician, a great showman, and a wild man who was as free as a man can be in this world. As bitingly observant and wickedly funny as he was, I never heard Dave diss anyone.  Truly benevolent, I’m certain the man didn’t have a malicious bone in his body, as they say.

Here is a poem that as I told Cathy, couldn’t bear to write in past tense. Dave will always loom tall in our home, hearts and minds.



Head of fur.

Unabashed depth charger


As a cascading river

Wilderness alive inside him

Night a badge

Over savannah heart.

Heroic trickster

Dutifully howls,

Coyote-like scatters stars

Unerringly sharing his light.


“What is west coast music?”

Onstage at the Smilin' Buddha

My friend, singer/songwriter Julie Vik recently posed the question, “What is west coast music?” because as she said, I was there for the “transition.” Well, I replied, I can only speak from my own experience. I used to tour up and down the west coast, play the west coast circuit. I always say we shared more camaraderie with our American punk cohorts than those in the rest of Canada. I know some bands like DOA toured across country and around the world but most of us were strapped for cash and stayed closer to home, or at least west of the Rockies. A fellow islander and musician Chris Corrigan said that in the traditional music community there are strong connections within the scenes in Washington and Oregon and not so much with the rest of Canada. “When I was really active in the scene in the 1990s, you could look at the repertoire of traditional Irish tunes we played and see that they were heavily influenced by what was happening in Seattle. We’ve always been closer to Cascadians.” Makes sense to me. Cascadia, as a region, certainly, draws musicians, the arts together. I’ve noticed lots of overlap between the San Juan and Gulf Islands as well in the spoken word, literary scenes.

In any case, it was always more expedient for us to tour in a southerly direction than back east. The snowy passes and mountains certainly are formidable, then you have three days or so of flatlands-prairies-and then three more days of bush-Ontario!

The Dils (from San Francisco) came up and played Vancouver often, hung out with us and were very comradely. Black Flag from LA as well. I became friends with many Californians introduced to me by Brad Kent who had done a stint as the Avengers guitarist; Chuck Dukowski, Gregg Ginn, Darby Crash, Margo from the Go-Gos, Jello Biafra, Kid Spike and Karla MadDog from the Controllers. I got so weary of driving up and down the 1-5, pooling pennies to buy gas and arguing over which fast food drive-in to pull into. One time I begged to take PCH, just for a change of scene, and mentioned that it would be fun to go visit Henry Miller in Big Sur. They thought I was crazy. “Henry who?”

I shared these opinions with Scott Beadle once too, in an interview. He is Vancouver’s defacto punk rock historian, did a talk at the Vancouver Museum a few years back. Man, does that make me feel old! I recall being at the Experience Music Project in Seattle, in the punk rock section and looking at flyers under glass, flyers I have copies of at home!

In my humble opinion, Vancouver was Continue reading