Jon Card, punk rock drummer who played with SNFU, DOA, dead at 63

Drummer Jon Card, who played stints with Canadian punk rockers D.O.A., SNFU, The Subhumans and Personality Crisis, has died at the age of 63 in Vancouver.

Card was a staple in the Canadian punk scene for four decades, recording and performing with some of the country’s most influential and enduring acts.

He died on Monday, friends and former bandmates said.

On D.O.A.’s Facebook page, the band posted “RIP old friend” with a black and white photo of Card and frontman Joe Keithley.

Keithley said in an interview that Card was “was one of the great punk rock drummers of all time in Canada.”

“John was a good guy. He was a fantastic drummer,” Keithley said, adding that Card played with the band for about five years starting in the mid-1980s.

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He’d known him from his time playing with Winnipeg’s Personality Crisis, and estimates Card played around 400 shows with D.O.A.

Keithley said Card is the seventh former member of the band to pass away.

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“I wish he had made another 20 years,” he said. “You’ve got to take care of yourself.”

In his 2012 authorized biography of SNFU, Canadian punk historian Chris Walter calls Card “arguably the best punk drummer in the country.”

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Walter’s book says Card was born Dec. 11, 1960 in Zweibrucken, Germany, to Jean and Lester Card.

His father was a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force and his mother a teacher, according to Walter’s book, SNFU: What No One Else Wanted To Say. It says Card started on the piano and oboe, but switched to drums to his mother’s chagrin, and eventually joined the Calgary Stampede Marching Band and later took lessons from the Calgary Philharmonic‘s principal percussionist Tim Rawlins.

Subhumans bassist Gerry Hannah said in an interview that he was still processing the news of Card’s death, but remembers the drummer as a charming and genuine man with a great sense of humour.

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Hannah said Card was serious about his craft, took great pride in his playing and had strong views about how a punk rock band should operate.

Hannah said The Subhumans enlisted Card in 2005, releasing the album New Dark Age Parade the next year, and Card’s drumming “propelled” the band forward.

“John just took on that project methodically and with total focus and helped us put out, in my opinion, two of our best ever records,” Hannah said.

Former D.O.A. roadie Chris Crud, who had been in touch with Card’s family, said his health had been failing and he’d been in hospital in a coma leading up to his death.

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“This is extremely devastating to a lot of us,” Crud said. “He was a huge personality.

“He was incredibly smart and incredibly funny, like he could just get you laughing for hours to the point of like, almost pain.”

Crud knew Card more than 40 years. “Watching him drum, I was completely, absolutely, utterly blown away, in awe really of the just pure ferocity of his playing style,” Crud said of his first impressions.

Crud said Card sometimes had a television on during performances, watching a hockey game while drumming.

Other times, he had a bucket ready in case he threw up during a show, not missing a beat if he did so mid-song.

“He was an instantly fun and accepting and inclusive person,” Crud said.

“The fun that would ensue around him was always huge.”

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