Jello Biafra, My Pussy Friend


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Jello Biafra is a pussy. And I say this even though I kind of consider the guy a friend. But after watching what the ex-lead singer of the Dead Kennedys has been up to for the last few years, I believe this now more than ever.


Recently, I received in the mail a bunch of Dead Kennedys CDs. Man, was I excited. Here were all the DKs cuts, all rereleased digitally. Finally I could hear some of my favorite tunes again, since my turntable broke.


On closer inspection of the CDs (which is all of the albums except Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables) I realized that they were not on Alternative Tentacles, Jello's label, but on some other label out of California called Manifesto. Okay, that made sense. I had heard that Jello's band was suing him over past royalties, which they claim he never paid them, so this was probably payback. And anyway, who really cares. The songs are so powerful that even after 20 or so years they stand up as some of the most politically poignant tunes ever written. One has only to listen to "We've Got a Bigger Problem Now," on Plastic Surgery Disasters (originally on the In God We Trust, Inc. EP), to know what I'm talking about. Jello sings about going to war in Afghanistan, the secret police, etc. On that same CD, "Government Flu" really makes you wonder about AIDS, "Bleed for Me" is dead-on about John Ashcroft and his cronies and "Riot" never made more sense.


Then there's Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death, a sort of Dead Kennedy's greatest hits that contains their most haunting tune ever, "Kinky Sex Makes the World Go Round." More prophetic than anything Nostradamus ever wrote. Really.


But enough about how great the Dead Kennedys were. The real question is, How great are the Dead Kennedys now? Because they're back together sans Jello, and touring around the country.


I've been reading a lot about how "true fans" are really pissed off because the major songwriter and singer is not involved and not making a dime. And do you know where I've been reading about this, besides alt.music.punk?


Jello's own website. Alternativetentacles.com. Oh, it's great reading. Jello claims his old band playing without him is just "karaoke," and no one should waste their money on them or their rereleased CDs.


And it makes me smile. Actually, no, it makes me laugh.


That fucking pussy, who allegedly stole money from his own band by not paying them their fair share, is now bitching about the band's right to make a living? He thinks they're selling out the Dead Kennedys and betraying what they stood for? He was so high and mighty for not allowing the band to license its music for a jeans commercial? Fuck you, pussy.


Let me tell you a little story. About Mr. Jello "Anarchy for Sale" Biafra.


Way back in the 80s, when I was a young 'un playing the punk rock, I loved Jello and what he stood for. I remember his letting my first band, Roach Motel, open for him in Tampa, and the wonderful riot that ensued. It was great.


Later, I joined an outfit called the False Prophets, and we signed to Jello's label, Alternative Tentacles. The first album, which I did not play on, went off without a hitch. The second, which was produced by Giorgio Gomelsky, had some problems. Not with us, but with Jello.


At the time, he claimed we were trying to "sell out," because we had a horn section featuring James White from the Contortions, and had Gordon Gano singing backup. Then he gets on my case because I did an MTV commercial where I banged a stupid gong. I did it because I got to paint False Prophets on the back of my jacket, giving my band, and his label, some free publicity.


But oh no. Mr. "I just did an underwear layout in Spin" claimed I was selling out the music, the kids and the scene. Here was this guy I really admired telling me I was destroying a scene I helped create, while advertising his own records in magazines worldwide. I even helped hook him up with some big publications where he could get the word out, and the only words that got out were Jello Biafra. Not False Prophets, not Alice Donut, not the other bands on his freaking label.


Okay, so he's a bit self-centered. And he sounds like Tennessee Tuxedo. But then he started that whole Legal Defense Fund thing for free speech. And kids gave him money left and right.


And what did he do with that money? I dunno. But allegedly he didn't pay his band, hence the rereleases on Manifesto.


Recently I was checking out his website, and lo and behold, he's started another legal defense fund. This time to help fight his ex-band members for rereleasing the records, and to stop them from touring with a new singer?Brandon Cruz, formerly of the great Dr. Know, but better known as the child actor who played Eddie on The Courtship of Eddie's Father.


How great is that? And it just gets better. Brandon is donating part of his proceeds to a Hollywood Child Actor's fund!


Meanwhile, Jello is collecting money from the kids again (now he even takes credit cards and Paypal) to help him fight off his evil old friends, who he says are backed by "big time" lawyers who formerly defended Bill Graham.


Poor Jello. It was nice when he went up against the PMRC, even if it was just to promote Jello Biafra, but now, well, fuck him.


And when his old band comes to town, I'm there, dood.


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