Jello Biafra calls bait-and-switch on his old bandmates.
January 15, 2002 8:41 PM   Subscribe

Jello Biafra calls bait-and-switch on his old bandmates. Jello Biafra states, "In my opinion, this is the real great rock and roll swindle. They have a right to play cover versions of Dead Kennedys songs. Everyone does. But I feel really badly for all the people paying ticket prices, reported to be as high as $25, thinking it's the real Dead Kennedys, and wind up getting stuck with the world's greediest karaoke band."
posted by skallas (19 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Poster's Request -- frimble

this really sucks - while I am willing to allow that the other members of the Dead Kennedys made some contribution to the albums, Biafra was the heart and soul of the band.

I was actually amused by the Sex Pistols reunion - given that that band was essentially formed as a combination of fashion advertisment and stupid joke with a bit of bad politics thrown in, a for-profit gig made sense - but a DK reunion simply makes no sense without the core values being represented.

Let's be honest here - the music was powered by the rage behind the lyrics - with that elsewhere, what is left?
posted by thatwhichfalls at 9:25 PM on January 15, 2002

I could not agree more with the Biafra. I'd rather listen to some unkown hack shag out the guitar chords to Holiday in Cambodia while he sang than listen to the "genuine" DK guitarist bang away while some shit-for-brains sang lyrics he didn't write.

In some cases, this kind of dipute is a lead-singer ego-problem. But not here. In other words, there is no Dave Gimour factor here.

I love the DKs for their intelligence, humor, and attitude. 90% of which comes through in the lyrics and stage presence of Biafra. The rest of the band could be any handful of 16 year-olds IMHO....
posted by scarabic at 9:25 PM on January 15, 2002

Read about this on Sun. Thanks for bringing it up. I ran into a local that was primed for the real thing at the Gothic and pissed to find out no Biafra. It's true that it was originally billed as "Dead Kennedys" and then was amended to "DK Kennedys". Total swindle. And Brandon Cruz from "The Courtship of Eddie's Father"?! (Worlds are colliding!) I especially love how he's noted as the "scab singer". Biafra references him as "the former child star, a trust-fund baby as far as I know." Kill the poor.
posted by Vek at 9:28 PM on January 15, 2002

One of my friends put it quite succintly, "I love the Dead Kennedys, except for the guys behind Jello."
posted by phalkin at 10:23 PM on January 15, 2002

Have they no shame? How could one, for so long be affiliated with such an agressive capitalistic dissenter (Biafra) and feel right with the world, that this tour is underway, by way of promotional obfuscation?

Talk about a bunch of dilapidated phonies. Jello was, still is, DK. The legal upadates underscore the great equanimity of Biafra.
posted by crasspastor at 11:03 PM on January 15, 2002

The rest of the band could be any handful of 16 year-olds IMHO....

Shit, I always thought East Bay Ray was pretty innovative on that guitar. All that sinewy surf/spy stuff he played... nobody else in punk rock was doing that at the time. And D.H. Peligro was a total maniac on the drums. Sure, Jello was the mouthpiece and the masthead for the band, but I think the DKs had a pretty substantial band chemistry going on.

But to this Jello imposter: may you and the other three former DKs be condemned to a life of cleaning toilets at Long John Silver's for this most grievous affront to DK fans, not to mention to yourselves. Show a little dignity, assbutts!

I think the saddest thing about this is that a lot of younger punkers will pay the $27 or whatever it is just to see this shameful karaoke display.
posted by yalestar at 11:14 PM on January 15, 2002

These guys, right?
posted by kindall at 11:19 PM on January 15, 2002

Shouldn't they be touring in the summer with Lynyrd Skynyrd and Journey?
posted by ttrendel at 11:19 PM on January 15, 2002

I agree. I grew up listening to the Dead Kennedys. They were, and still are...a large part of the childhood that I seem to have prolonged into my mid twenties. The fact that they are depriving the audience of Jello is a scam and nobody should attend these shows. If there's no Jello, there should not, and will never be a Dead Kennedys.

However, Biafra conveiniently forgets to mention a very interesting fact as to not only why the ex members of the DK's sued him in the first place, but why they won the legal battle. Sure, he mentions the Levi's ad, but that wasn't the actual reason for the lawsuit. Biafra, who owns DK's label Alternative Tentacles, had always paid an agreed percentage of album sales as royalties to the ex members. However, when the price of DK cd's, tapes, and lp's went up a few years ago, he never adjusted the percentage rate. In other words, the percentage rate that the ex members were receiving dropped. They were, in fact, getting ripped off. This is why the cort case didn't last very long (it was a cut-and-dry issue of illegal forfeiture of contract). The fact that Jello never reveals this to the public in his all-too-famous rants is very intersting. Instead, he hides behind the pathos of such notions as a Levi's agreeably dumb thing for the ex members of the DK's to want to do. However, this is just done to chalk up sympathy for a man who had been financially ripping off his ex bandmates for the past 5 or 6 years.

Also, in an interview with Punk Planet last year, Biafra made a sweeping statement about the court case, stating that the ex members "just want to sit around and collect free money". Royalties are not free money. East Bay Ray, R.H Peligro, and Klas Flouride were significat members of the band, writing upwards of 60% of the material. This is money that not only is owed to them, but was also agreed upon by Biafra himself when he signed the contract to give the ex members a percentage rate of album sales.

In short, there's a few sides to this story that the public really doesn't hear about that often. I think it's shitty that the ex members are touring without Biafra (I for one will definetely not be attending these hoax shows) but it was also shitty for Biafra to rip off his old band mates. In a move that is clearly motivated by bitterness and hostility, the ex members claimed that they would like to see Alternative Tentacles go "out of business", which may well happen considering that the entire DK catalouge has been removed from the shelves as demanded by the court. Either way you look at it, the financial overtones that seem to envelope each and every part of this debate is a clear sign that punk is truly dead...
posted by tiger yang at 11:24 PM on January 15, 2002


I think it's shitty that the ex members are touring without Biafra (I for one will definetely not be attending these hoax shows) but it was also shitty for Biafra to rip off his old band mates.

Shit, if completely true, I wouldn't want to tour with him either. Maybe I'm so out of the loop these days, but could you kindly direct us to some background on this tiger yang?
posted by crasspastor at 11:39 PM on January 15, 2002

I'm a big Dead Kennedys fan. If the deception is in fact happening, then that's underhanded and dishonest as it would be in any case of misleading promotion. No better, no worse.

However, for Jello to call the other members of his band a karaoke act is pretty disrespectful and egotistical. He was definitely the most visible member, as vocalists usually are, but he seems to be asserting that he's the only one that ever mattered at all. Last I checked there was an awful lot of songwriting credit given to the other members of the band.

Is it wrong for them to want to play shows without Jello? The impression I get is that a lot of people, including Jello, think it is. I don't see what the big deal is. I won't be paying to go see a DK without Jello, but I think the only minds they've tarnished the entire history of the Dead Kennedys in were altogether too fragile and delicate to begin with.

Is it a bad thing if it's a cash grab on their part? Really, I don't see what's wrong with it. I seriously doubt that a DK tour is going to put them in mansions and sports cars and strippers for the rest of their lives. The guys contributed to a large part of my angry teenage years and I'm happy to see them get paid.
posted by frenetic at 11:47 PM on January 15, 2002

Show a little dignity, assbutts, indeed. Total bummer all `round.
posted by dong_resin at 12:11 AM on January 16, 2002

Here's an article that seems to try to be somewhat balanced in contrast with most everything else I've seen. Everything I had heard previously was straight outta the mouth of Jello and I have known him to gloss over details in his fervor.

The "one show" for a record release turned into a small California tour turned into a nation-wide tour going on right now.

Anyway, I still think Jello got the ass-end of the stick in all this and won't buy any DK release on Manifesto or go to any of these shows (unless I can scam my way in for free).
posted by rocketpup at 2:11 AM on January 16, 2002

Hell, I like Brandon Cruz better than the Dead Kennedys. I would never pay money to see Jello, so this is about the only way I would consider seeing the band. Scab singer! Ha.
posted by thirteen at 8:17 AM on January 16, 2002

Biafra opposed the use of ³Holiday in Cambodia² in a Levi¹s Dockers TV commercial

That's funny stuff.
posted by quercus at 8:25 AM on January 16, 2002

so, yeah. i wanted to go to that show, before i found out. here in burque, at least, they're still billed as dead kennedys 'with special guest.' i guess now i can tell everyone the special guest isn't going to be jello.

this blows.
posted by sugarfish at 8:46 AM on January 16, 2002

posted by at 8:57 AM on January 16, 2002

I think buddyhead put it best... "the dead kennedys are touring again. we would be excited about this if we were still in high school."
posted by mcsweetie at 12:56 PM on January 16, 2002

I always found Biafria painfully obnoxious... and I agree with his politics!
posted by Eamon at 1:06 PM on January 16, 2002

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