Last January, on a Sunday afternoon, a cigarette ignited a couch at the Vancouver home where seminal Canadian punk band D.O.A. practiced. The house went up in flames.
Five people were in the house, according to front man Joe Keithley. Four had to jump from windows to save their lives.
The fifth, D.O.A. drummer Ken Jenson, wasn’t so fortunate. He tried to escape via stairs, tripped, fell, was knocked unconscious and died of smoke inhalation at the bottom of the stairs.
“It was pretty grim,” said Keithley in a recent phone interview.
After a 17-year career marked by constant struggles, crucial records, lineup changes and political activism, Jenson’s death could have been the tragic final chapter of the colorful D.O.A. saga.
“I’m sure Ken wouldn’t have wanted us to stop,” Keithley said.
At the time of his death, D.O.A. had been working on material for its upcoming album, “The Black Spot.” The album comes out Oct. 10.
“We had all the new songs worked out with Ken when the fire happened,” recalled Keithley. “Certainly thereafter, we asked John Wright (co-leader and drummer for NOMEANSNO) if he would do it because he was really good friends with Ken. John was one of Ken’s favorite drummers.
“When you’ve played music for as long as we have, you find a way to carry on through tough circumstances.”
D.O.A., which plays the Big Dipper on Saturday, most recently played the Bumbershoot festival, appearing at Seattle Center on the same night as its peers, the Ramones. Unlike the Ramones, which will disband after touring for “Adios Amigos,” D.O.A. isn’t bitter about staying underground indefinitely.
“Things could have gone better,” said Keithley. “We could have had more people at various shows and stuff like that. But if you believe in what you do, you’ll keep doing it.”
Word is, D.O.A.’s forthcoming 16th album, “The Black Spot,” is its best since “War on 45.”
Seattle’s North American Bison opens. Music starts at 9:30 p.m. The cover is $4.
Elsewhere in the night
Seattle’s Second Coming, said to be the biggest local draw of any Northwest band since Nirvana’s early days, stops at Outback Jack’s on Saturday.
Second Coming is known for its connections with members of Alice in Chains (vocalist Layne Staley sings on the band’s song “It’s Coming After”). Second Coming released its debut CD, “L.O.V.Evil,” about a year ago. Many of the CD’s songs became top requests on Seattle radio stations.
Second Coming whips up a contagious stew of crunchy heavy metal and dance-inducing techno.
Seattle’s Hitting Birth opens. Music starts at 9:30 p.m. The cover is $5.
Stuck Mojo, an Atlanta-based foursome that marries rap to metal, whirls into Ichabod’s North tonight.
The band, which has sold more than 20,000 copies of its debut album, “Snappin’ Necks,” has been called “a train wreck of styles.” Stuck Mojo wields punishing grooves, crunching riffs and rapid-fire vocals. The barrage begins at 9:30 p.m. with Buddha Leadbelly. The cover is $3.
Homespun blues bands Rumrunners, Electric Bossman and Toohug play the Fort Ground Tavern in Couer d’Alene tonight and Saturday. There’s no cover. Both nights kickoff at 8.
Rumrunners and Electric Bossman will perform live on the “Neil Elwell Blues Show” on KPBX Sept. 23 at 9 p.m.
The One Bridge North Tavern near Division and Indiana will have comedian Keith Stubbs on stage Saturday.
The zany Stubbs has performed twice on A&E;’s “Evening at the Improv.” He’s also appeared on “Comedy Central,” a TV pilot called “Comedy Underground” and in a film, “No Reply.”
Comedian Todd Link will also stir up some yucks.
Laughs start at 9 p.m. The cover is $2. Bring your ID.
The Slaughter concert rescheduled for Oct. 2 at the Cotton Club in Hayden has been canceled. According to the club, the band’s tour fell apart. The club and G&B; will issue refunds for tickets.