AltScene

Dead Kennedys

Formed in the volatile San Francisco punk scene of the late 1970s, the Dead Kennedys became one of the West Coast's most visible punk bands, pioneering hardcore. Fueled by a cutting political preoccupation, lead singer Jello Biafra's quavering vocals conveyed the excess that marked such songs as "Drug Me" and "California Über Alles." Biafra and company directed diatribes against the Moral Majority, creeping U.S. imperialism and fascism, and their perceptions of a plastic suburban lifestyle. The band's rapid-fire instrumental overkill attracted punk fans in the U.S. and abroad; they even matched the sex pistols on their home turf, going to #36 in England with the airplay-banned "Too Drunk to f**k." Biafra, the son of a psychiatric social worker, ran for mayor of San Francisco in 1979; one of his campaign planks was that businessmen wear clown suits downtown. The Dead Kennedys formed their own record label, Alternative Tentacles, which in 1982 released a compilation album, Let Them Eat Jellybeans, consisting of tracks by various unsigned American bands.

The DKs' Frankenchrist album made free-speech history when, on April 15, 1986, Biafra's apartment was raided by nine cops; the singer and others associated with Alternative Tentacles were soon charged in an L.A. courtroom with distributing p**nography ("harmful matter") to minors under the nation's revised obscenity laws; the album included the H.R. Giger painting, Landscape #XX, which featured genitalia and s*x acts in a surreal, assembly-line setting. The case ended in a hung jury and was dismissed. Former L.A. deputy city attorney Michael Guarino later admitted the case was "a comedy of errors." But the drawn-out legal battle put such a strain on the Kennedys that they split up after Bedtime for Democrazy. Biafra took full ownership of the label after the band dissolved in 1986. Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death collects the band's more accessible material. The Dead Kennedys made the news again in 1993 when a box of reissues of their first album were mixed up with a package of Christian radio broadcast CDs, and inadvertently shipped to Christian stations around the country.

Biafra has persisted with his political ranting —which often revolves around free speech issues —on his spoken-word albums, college-lecture tours, and occasional collaborations with other artists. Among these collaborations was the band Lard (including Al Jourgenson and other members of Ministry). Biafra also appeared on the Offspring's Inxay on the Hombre. In 1994 he was beaten and his knee permanently damaged by "fundamentalist punks" at the Berkeley 924 Gilman club, once the home turf of Green Day. Mostly, he tends to the business of running Alternative Tentacles, which continues to put out music by button-pushing rock bands. Klaus Fluoride formed the politically charged acoustic band Five Year Plan, and East Bay Ray plays with hard rockers Skrapyard and a surf instrumental band —with East Bay Ray and Fluoride —called Jumbo Shrimp.

Running the label has often been a struggle. In 1997, a federal judge ordered Biafra and Alternative Tentacles to pay $2.2 million to the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police after the label printed a photograph of police on the back of a Crucif**ks album. The singer was also found liable for failing to promote the Dead Kennedys' catalogue (when he refused to license "Holiday in Cambodia" for a Levi's commercial) and for paying insufficient royalties to his former bandmates; a jury awarded East Bay Ray, Fluoride, and Peligro about $222,000 in damages. In a countersuit filed by Biafra, a jury ruled in his favor that Ray had mismanaged the business partnership and had to pay Biafra $5,000. The ruling also stated that Decay Music, not the individual songwriters, owns the band's work and that the partnership can now make decisions based on a majority vote.

In 2000 Biafra toured as part of the Spitfire spoken word tour, founded by Nirvana's Krist Novoselic, and he ran in the New York state primary for the Green Party's presidential nomination. Alternative Tentacles released a live recording by the No WTO Combo, featuring Biafra, Novoselic, and Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil, in protest of policies of the WorldTrade Organization.




PEOPLE WHO LIKE DEAD KENNEDYS

XxOrenxX

Arizona
United States

Sep 16, 2019 17:09

Simnel37

Cambridgeshire
United Kingdom

Sep 16, 2019 17:04

batastrophe

Colorado
United States

Sep 16, 2019 17:03

At_thee_Havok

California
United States

Sep 16, 2019 17:00

pingu.

Zuid-Hollandj
Netherlands

Sep 16, 2019 16:59

Jateca

Merseyside
United Kingdom

Sep 16, 2019 16:49

drummerboi

Essex
United Kingdom

Sep 16, 2019 16:39

Johnthejock77

Carmarthenshire
United Kingdom

Sep 16, 2019 16:28

vinegar

Ohio
United States

Sep 16, 2019 16:11

Tony Zook

Ohio
United States

Sep 16, 2019 16:10

REPTILE

SEINE MARITIME
France

Sep 16, 2019 16:03

The Reject 1312

New Jersey
United States

Sep 16, 2019 15:27

Jimbob

Norfolk
United Kingdom

Sep 16, 2019 15:24

Shadows500

California
United States

Sep 16, 2019 14:48

Hippycore

Suffolk
United Kingdom

Sep 16, 2019 14:03

Sonne

Barcelona
Spain

Sep 16, 2019 13:59

Leon_

California
United States

Sep 16, 2019 13:48

fear of the duck

Berlin
Germany

Sep 16, 2019 13:46

ModestMoose

Georgia
United States

Sep 16, 2019 13:14

Cryptickitty

Ohio
United States

Sep 16, 2019 12:50

Why_not!

Norfolk
United Kingdom

Sep 16, 2019 12:27

Kirai

Florida
United States

Sep 16, 2019 12:21

SunglassesAfterDark

Sydney
Australia

Sep 16, 2019 12:09

Sable Blayde

West Sussex
United Kingdom

Sep 16, 2019 11:12

Skullchewer

Oxfordshire
United Kingdom

Sep 16, 2019 10:32

Taxationistheft

New Mexico
United States

Sep 16, 2019 10:18

Misfits1313

California
United States

Sep 16, 2019 10:15

Botoasdomike

New Mexico
United States

Sep 16, 2019 09:57

Vominoir

Texas
United States

Sep 16, 2019 09:41

witchdoctor

Leicestershire
United Kingdom

Sep 16, 2019 09:32

Blackbaron

Queensland
Australia

Sep 16, 2019 09:31

Hellandyou87

Utah
United States

Sep 16, 2019 09:15

Evilbonez666

North Carolina
United States

Sep 16, 2019 08:53

ReidEKing

Tyne and Wear
United Kingdom

Sep 16, 2019 08:41

KMBrutality

Texas
United States

Sep 16, 2019 07:32

Holidays in the Sun

Essex
United Kingdom

Sep 16, 2019 05:54

benno85

Staffordshire
United Kingdom

Sep 16, 2019 05:52

Sceleratis

Florida
United States

Sep 16, 2019 05:11

sam

victoria
Australia

Sep 16, 2019 05:09

extreme_machine

California
United States

Sep 16, 2019 04:16

DillyBones

California
United States

Sep 16, 2019 04:14

edgybassist

Surrey
United Kingdom

Sep 16, 2019 03:32

marqueemoon93

Massachusetts
United States

Sep 16, 2019 02:42

alexandra23

Florida
United States

Sep 16, 2019 02:37

Jimmy

London
United Kingdom

Sep 16, 2019 01:44

trashgod

Pennsylvania
United States

Sep 16, 2019 01:00

Knightfaux

Utah
United States

Sep 16, 2019 00:54

Lee

Northamptonshire
United Kingdom

Sep 15, 2019 23:57

Isittime2dieyet?

California
United States

Sep 15, 2019 23:48

Epigramatix

London
United Kingdom

Sep 15, 2019 23:32

Rainfromheaven.

Yorkshire
United Kingdom

Sep 15, 2019 22:27

Billypete

Hampshire
United Kingdom

Sep 15, 2019 22:26

GothIsTheNewBlack

Manitoba
Canada

Sep 15, 2019 21:56

grotesquesnail

Pennsylvania
United States

Sep 15, 2019 21:02

TheRedWolf

Wisconsin
United States

Sep 15, 2019 20:46

Freskafresa

California
United States

Sep 15, 2019 20:46

IA1777

Oregon
United States

Sep 15, 2019 20:36

Robin Jansson

Dalsland
Sweden

Sep 15, 2019 20:10

Strawberry girl

London
United Kingdom

Sep 15, 2019 19:51

d e n n i s

Overijssel
Netherlands

Sep 15, 2019 18:28

Butcher

Hampshire
United Kingdom

Sep 15, 2019 18:10

Siman

Germany
Germany

Sep 15, 2019 18:09

alkalinezombie

Pennsylvania
United States

Sep 15, 2019 17:59

Hummer82

Altai
Russia

Sep 15, 2019 17:19

LoveToMeIsSin

Pennsylvania
United States

Sep 15, 2019 17:10

DumbassPunk

Stockholm
Sweden

Sep 15, 2019 16:55

Dark-Deviant

Cambridgeshire
United Kingdom

Sep 15, 2019 16:47

TeslaGirl

Tyne and Wear
United Kingdom

Sep 15, 2019 15:08

salathial

Northamptonshire
United Kingdom

Sep 15, 2019 11:05

MetaManCam90

Idaho
United States

Sep 15, 2019 08:53

Kamerad

Washington
United States

Sep 15, 2019 06:07

strangegirl1016

Oregon
United States

Sep 15, 2019 04:26

loz bb

London
United Kingdom

Sep 15, 2019 03:44

Gwen Ever

Kent
United Kingdom

Sep 15, 2019 03:31

LillyVex

Missouri
United States

Sep 15, 2019 03:25

Jaden

Indiana
United States

Sep 15, 2019 00:12

Michael

Kent
United Kingdom

Sep 14, 2019 23:16

Halo_of_sin

Wisconsin
United States

Sep 14, 2019 22:38

Elisa Day

Greater Manchester
United Kingdom

Sep 14, 2019 22:22

AstroZombies138

Massachusetts
United States

Sep 14, 2019 21:56