Jello Biafra
Singer and activist
Jello Biafra
Jello Biafra is an American musician, spoken word artist and leading figure of the Green Party of the United States. Biafra first gained attention as the lead singer and songwriter for San Francisco punk rock band Dead Kennedys. After his time with the band concluded, he took over the influential independent record label Alternative Tentacles, which he had co-founded in 1979 with Dead Kennedys bandmate East Bay Ray.
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Shepard Fairey (and His Art) Make the Jump From <i>Covert to Overt</i>
Huffington Post - over 1 year
When Shepard Fairey was growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, and showing the early signs of an affinity for subversive art, his parents warned him that he was hanging with the wrong crowd. Turns out they were only sort-of right. "I was creating the wrong crowd," Fairey now says with a grin. The street propagandist-turned-cultural icon has spent most of his life doing just that, combining the social commentary of his revered punk rock with the aesthetic vision of his art-world idols in works ranging from small stickers to mega-murals that adorn the skylines of major world cities. There might be no better name, then, for a coffee-table book about Fairey's work than Covert to Overt, released last week in the midst of new gallery exhibits in both New York and Los Angeles. The 256-page book is filled not only with spectacular photos of Fairey's output over the past five years, but also fascinating narratives written by both the artist and guests like comedian Russell Brand and ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Shepard Fairey (and His Art) Make the Jump From <i>Covert to Overt</i>
Huffington Post - over 1 year
When Shepard Fairey was growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, and showing the early signs of an affinity for subversive art, his parents warned him that he was hanging with the wrong crowd. Turns out they were only sort-of right. "I was creating the wrong crowd," Fairey now says with a grin. The street propagandist-turned-cultural icon has spent most of his life doing just that, combining the social commentary of his revered punk rock with the aesthetic vision of his art-world idols in works ranging from small stickers to mega-murals that adorn the skylines of major world cities. There might be no better name, then, for a coffee-table book about Fairey's work than Covert to Overt, released last week in the midst of new gallery exhibits in both New York and Los Angeles. The 256-page book is filled not only with spectacular photos of Fairey's output over the past five years, but also fascinating narratives written by both the artist and guests like comedian Russell Brand and ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Music DVD Review: A Band Called Death
Seattle Pi - almost 4 years
Music DVD Review: A Band Called Death Seattle Post-Intelligencer Copyright 2013 Seattle Post-Intelligencer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Updated 1:15 pm, Monday, May 20, 2013 The all-black power trio from Detroit played a fierce and fast rock and roll that, like fellow Detroit bands like the MC5 and The Stooges, anticipated punk. [...] a few years ago, hardly anyone had heard them. The Arista Records impresario was ready to snap up their debut album, recorded at Detroit's legendary United Sound Recording Studio, on one condition: they change their name. When Death's sole 45, "Politicians in My Eyes," got into the hands of record collector/former Dead Kennedys front man Jello Biafra, word began to spread, and reached critical mass around the time of a New York Times article in 2009, the same year their 1974 album ...For The Whole World To See
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Seattle Pi article
Coachella 2013 Lineup Released
Huffington Post - about 4 years
Coachella Music Festival released their official 2013 lineup in a tweet on Thursday evening, and the headliners for each day are Blur, The Stone Roses, Phoenix and Red Hot Chili Peppers as the closing night act. This will be Coachella's 14th hurrah and its second year of splitting the festival into two identical weekends in order to accomodate their vastly multiplying audience. Weekend 1 will take place April 12-14 and Weekend 2 will be April 19-21. Festival passes for both weekends go on sale Tuesday, January 29th at 10AM PST. Festival passes for Weekend 1 must be purchased with a shuttle pass or a car camping pass. New for 2013, the price you see is the price you pay — $349 for a GA ticket and $799 for VIP. Prices reflect all fees included. Layaway is no longer an option for either weekend. Last year's tickets sold out online in under two hours. Friday, April 12 &amp; 19 Blur, The Stone Roses, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Modest Mouse, Lou Reed, Jurassic 5, Grinderman, Bassnec ...
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Huffington Post article
Shepard Fairey: I'm Voting for Barack Obama Because I Believe Progress Is Possible
The Huffington Post - over 4 years
I'm voting for Barack Obama, but not because of "Hope," the poster I made in 2008, or because of hopes, of which I can't say mine have been particularly fulfilled. I'm voting for Barack Obama because I believe evolution is real and possible. I want to see this country move forward, not backward, and I know that four more years of Obama in office will have our country and our planet looking far more like the ones I want to see than a Romney presidency ever could. When I created my Obama portrait, the image was originally accompanied by the word "progress," not "hope," because I thought Obama was the candidate who would lead us in the right direction. My poster wasn't directly affiliated with the Obama campaign, but when they politely asked me if I'd change it to say "hope" I obliged, because without hope there is no action, and without action there is no progress. I come from the worlds of skateboarding and punk rock, and the "Hope" poster was about as un-Jello Biafra as ...
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The Huffington Post article
Jello Biafra at the Beachland, Preservation Hall Jazz Band at Blossom & more: A&E on the Tens events
Cleveland - over 4 years
From concerts to authors speaking, there are lot of things happening about town. Check out our Friday magazine's listing of what to do "on the tens."
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Cleveland article
Jello Biafra on 'Nazi Punks' and hate speech
LATimes - over 4 years
The ugly subculture of neo-Nazi punk rock is back in the news after the shooting at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee. But within the punk community itself, many voices have loudly opposed this strain over the decades and worked to combat it with music.
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LATimes article
The Portland Mercury - almost 5 years
Less purple, in patches. DISAMBIGUATION RE: "Whamby Thank You Ma'am" [Letters, March 29], in which reader Anna Murillo accuses Editor in Chief Wm. Steven Humphrey of being a "whamby." (Turns out HK is at least partly right: see "What Is This 'Whamby'?" [Letters, June 28, 2007].) DEAR MERCURY—I believe the term "whamby" as used by comrade Murillo was originally coined in the Portland Mercury letters by a pro-union carpenter complaining about a trust fund kid. A small group of PDX and Troutdale situationists decided to make the term popular in reference to the new kind of post-second depression creative-class bobos. Jello Biafra makes the point that both the boutique owners of expensive hippie craft in Boulder, Colorado, and the arrogance of dot-com bobos in the good ole Bay Area were the enemy. -HK SHAME, SHAME, SHAME RE: "Dear Jeff Foxworthy" [I Love Television, March 29], an open letter to the comedian/actor providing su ...
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The Portland Mercury article
Tallinn Music Week, Estonia
Clash - almost 5 years
When the President of Estonia opens Tallinn Music Week with a speech quoting Jello Biafra and PJ Harvey, you know you are in a cool country. He also shows a video of punk band Pussy Riot playing a guerrilla gig in a Russian Orthodox Church, one of the acts leading to members being held in custody in neighbouring Russia. Not only is the President offering support to the activists, he is also providing a contrast to Estonia which is rightly proud of its liberty and where musicians would not be arrested for speaking out against the government. This is a city relishing its creative freedom, which during the course of the fourth Tallinn Music Week is showcased by hundreds of diverse musical acts, both from Estonia and other (mainly north European) countries. Estonia is a small country and capital Tallinn only has a population of 416,000, yet it was European Capital of Culture in 2011: there is a lot going on. Opening the festival in big, jubilant style are Finns Rubik (pictur ...
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Clash article
Re: Dave Mustaine sings for Santorum, cries for Metallica
Charleston City Paper - about 5 years
Really not sure why anyone would care who Mustaine backed for president. Now if <a class="fplink fp-135148" href="/jello+biafra+1">Jello Biafra</a> comes out and backs Santorum that would be a shock. Posted by artrogue
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Charleston City Paper article
Comment on It’s Time To Occupy Mainstream Media by Ole Ole Olson
News Junkie Post - about 5 years
Don’t hate the media, become the media -Jello Biafra
Article Link:
News Junkie Post article
Bruise Cruise Adds Jello Biafra to Lineup, Announces Schedule, Releases King Khan and the Shrines Track and More [Cruise-y Bits]
Nashville Scene - about 5 years
The highly anticipated high-seas hi jinx of the Bruise Cruise are only a month away!… [ Read more ] [ Subscribe to the comments on this story ]
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Nashville Scene article
Jello Biafra Speaks Out on Israel, Palestine, and a Cancelled Concert
Green Party Watch - over 5 years
Earlier this year, Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School Of Medicine had a scheduled concert in Tel Aviv, which led to pressure on him to cancel the concert to respect the Boycott movement against the Israeli State due to their Human Rights practices vis a vis Palestine. It was an awkward situation, and Jello chose [...]
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Green Party Watch article
Today in Music History - Aug. 27 - (press release)
Google News - over 5 years
Also in 1987, Jello Biafra, lead singer of the defunct punk rock group &quot;The Dead Kennedys,&quot; and several associates were acquitted of pornography charges in Los Angeles. The charges stemmed from a sexually explicit poster included with &quot;The Dead
Article Link:
Google News article
Interview with Shepard Fairey - Monterey County Weekly
Google News - over 5 years
Jello Biafra had an incident years ago in which he was attacked by punks because they thought he had sold out the movement... It&#39;s funny you brought up Jello. He&#39;s one of my heroes. I love the Dead Kennedys [Biafra&#39;s former political punk band]
Article Link:
Google News article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Jello Biafra
  • 2014
    He would later reunite with many of the same musicians during the Carnival season 2014 to revisit many of these classics at Siberia, New Orleans.
    More Details Hide Details A live album from the 2011 performance, Walk on Jindal's Splinters, and a companion single, Fannie May/Just a Little Bit, were released in 2015.
  • 2012
    Biafra refused to support Obama in 2012. Biafra has stated that he feels that Obama continued many of George W. Bush's policies, summarizing Obama's policies as containing "worse and worse laws against human rights and more and more illegal unconstitutional spying." On September 18, 2015, it was announced that Jello would be supporting Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election.
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    In a 2012 interview, Biafra said "I'm very pro-tax as long as it goes for the right things.
    More Details Hide Details I don’t mind paying more money as long as it’s going to provide shelter for people sleeping in the street or getting the schools fixed back up, getting the infrastructure up to the standards of other countries, including a high speed rail system. I’m totally down with that."
  • 2011
    In the summer of 2011 Jello Biafra and his band were scheduled to play at the Barby Club in Tel Aviv.
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    In 2011, Biafra appeared in a singular concert event with an all-star cast of Southern musicians including members from Cowboy Mouth, Dash Rip Rock, Mojo Nixon and Down entitled, "Jello Biafra and the New Orleans Raunch & Soul All Stars" who performed an array of classic Soul covers to a packed house at the 12-Bar in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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  • 2008
    After Barack Obama won the general election, Jello wrote an open letter making suggestions on how to run his term as president. Biafra criticized Obama during his term, stating that "Obama even won the award for best advertising campaign of 2008."
    More Details Hide Details Biafra dubbed Obama "Barackstar O'Bummer".
  • 2006
    His ninth spoken word album, In the Grip of Official Treason, was released in October 2006.
    More Details Hide Details Biafra was also featured in the British band Pitchshifter's song As Seen on TV reciting the words of dystopian futuristic radio advertisements. Biafra was an anarchist in the 1980s, but has shifted away from his former anti-government views.
    In 2006, along with Alternative Tentacles employee and The Frisk lead singer Jesse Luscious, Biafra began co-hosting The Alternative Tentacles Batcast, a downloadable podcast hosted by
    More Details Hide Details The show primarily focuses on interviews with artists and bands that are currently signed to the Alternative Tentacles label, although there are also occasional episodes where Biafra devoted the show to answering fan questions. Biafra became a spoken word artist in January 1986 with a performance at University of California, Los Angeles. In his performance he combined humor with his political beliefs, much in the same way that he did with the lyrics to his songs. Despite his continued spoken word performances, he did not begin recording spoken word albums until after the disbanding of the Dead Kennedys.
  • 2005
    His collection grew so large that on October 1, 2005, Biafra donated a portion of his collection to an annual yard sale co-promoted by Alternative Tentacles and held at their warehouse in Emeryville, California.
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  • 2000
    After losing the 2000 nomination, Jello became highly active in Ralph Nader's presidential campaign, as well as in 2004 and 2008.
    More Details Hide Details During the 2008 campaign Jello played at rallies and answered questions for journalists in support of Ralph Nader. When gay rights activists accused Nader of costing Al Gore the 2000 election, Biafra reminded them that Tipper Gore's Parents Music Resource Center wanted warning stickers on albums with homosexual content.
    In 2000, the New York State Green Party drafted Biafra as a candidate for the Green Party presidential nomination, and a few supporters were elected to the party's nominating convention in Denver, Colorado.
    More Details Hide Details Biafra chose death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal as his running mate. The party overwhelmingly chose Ralph Nader as the presidential candidate with 295 of the 319 delegate votes. Biafra received 10 votes. Biafra, along with a camera crew (dubbed by Biafra as "The Camcorder Truth Jihad"), later reported for the Independent Media Center at the Republican and Democratic conventions.
    Politically, Biafra is a member of the Green Party of the United States and actively supports various political causes. He ran for the party's Presidential nomination in 2000, finishing a distant second to Ralph Nader.
    More Details Hide Details He is a staunch believer in a free society, who utilizes shock value and advocates direct action and pranksterism in the name of political causes. Biafra is known to use absurdist media tactics, in the leftist tradition of the Yippies, to highlight issues of civil rights and social justice. Eric Boucher was born in Boulder, Colorado, the son of Virginia (née Parker), a librarian, and Stanley Wayne Boucher, a psychiatric social worker and poet. He also had a sister, Julie J. Boucher, the Associate Director of the Library Research Service at the Colorado State Library (who died in a mountain-climbing accident on October 12, 1996). Biafra is 1/8th Jewish. As a child, Eric Boucher developed an interest in international politics that was encouraged by his parents. An avid news watcher, one of his earliest memories was of the John F. Kennedy assassination. Biafra says he has been a fan of rock music since first hearing it in 1965, when his parents accidentally tuned in to a rock radio station. Boucher was informed by his high school guidance counselor that he should be spending his high school years preparing to become a dental hygienist.
  • 1994
    His heavy interest in such recordings (often categorized as outsider music) eventually led to his discovery of the prolific (and schizophrenic) singer/songwriter/artist Wesley Willis, whom he signed to Alternative Tentacles in 1994, preceding Willis' major label deal with American Recordings.
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    On May 7, 1994, punk rock fans who believed Biafra was a "sell out" attacked him at the 924 Gilman Street club in Berkeley, California.
    More Details Hide Details Biafra claims that he was attacked by a man nicknamed Cretin, who crashed into him while moshing. The crash injured Biafra's leg, causing an argument between the two men. During the argument, Cretin pushed Biafra to the floor and five or six friends of Cretin assaulted Biafra while he was down, yelling "Sellout rock star, kick him", and attempting to pull out his hair. Biafra was later hospitalized with serious injuries. The attack derailed Biafra's plans for both a Canadian spoken-word tour and an accompanying album, and the production of Pure Chewing Satisfaction was halted. However, Biafra returned to the Gilman club a few months after the incident to perform a spoken-word performance as an act of reconciliation with the club. Biafra has been a prominent figure of the Californian punk scene and was one of the third generation members of the San Francisco punk community. Many later hardcore bands have cited the Dead Kennedys as a major influence. Hardcore punk author Steven Blush describes Biafra as hardcore's "biggest star" who was a "powerful presence whose political insurgence and rabid fandom made him the father figure of a burgeoning subculture an inspirational force who could also be a real prick... Biafra was a visionary, incendiary performer."
  • 1993
    In 1993 he gave an interview to RE/Search Publications for their second Incredibly Strange Music book focusing primarily on these records.
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    Biafra also provided lyrics for the song "Biotech is Godzilla" for Sepultura's 1993 album Chaos A.D..
    More Details Hide Details In 1999, Biafra and other members of the anti-globalization movement protested the WTO Meeting of 1999 in Seattle. Along with other prominent West Coast musicians, he formed the short-lived band the No WTO Combo to help promote the movement's cause. The band was originally scheduled to play during the protest, but the performance was canceled due to riots. The band performed a short set the following night at the Showbox in downtown Seattle (outside the designated area), along with the hiphop group Spearhead. No WTO Combo later released a CD of recordings from the concert, entitled Live from the Battle in Seattle. As of late 2005, Biafra was performing with the band The Melvins under the name "Jello Biafra and the Melvins", though fans sometimes refer to them as "The Jelvins." Together they have released two albums, and have been working on material for a third collaborative release, much of which was premiered live at two concerts at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco during an event called Biafra Five-O, commemorating Biafra's 50th birthday, the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Dead Kennedys, and the beginning of legalized same-sex marriage in California. Biafra is also working with a new band known as Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, which includes Ralph Spight of Victims Family on guitar and Billy Gould of Faith No More on bass. This group debuted during Biafra Five-O.
  • 1989
    While working on the film Terminal City Ricochet in 1989, Biafra did a song for the film's soundtrack with D.O.A..
    More Details Hide Details As a result, Biafra worked with D.O.A. on the album Last Scream of the Missing Neighbors. Biafra also worked with Nomeansno on the soundtrack, which led to their collaboration on the album The Sky Is Falling and I Want My Mommy the following year.
  • 1988
    In 1988, Biafra, with Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker of the band Ministry, and Jeff Ward, formed Lard.
    More Details Hide Details The band became yet another side project for Ministry, with Biafra providing vocals and lyrics. According to a March 2009 interview with Jourgensen, he and Biafra are working on a new Lard album, which is being recorded in Jourgensen's El Paso studio.
    Biafra has a cameo role in the 1988 film Tapeheads.
    More Details Hide Details He plays an FBI agent who arrests the two protagonists (played by Tim Robbins and John Cusack). While arresting them his character asks "Remember what we did to Jello Biafra?" lampooning the obscenity prosecution. On March 25, 2005, Biafra appeared on the U.S. radio program This American Life, "Episode 285: Know Your Enemy", which featured a phone call between Jello Biafra and Michael Guarino, the prosecutor in the Frankenchrist trial. In October 1998, former members of the Dead Kennedys sued Biafra for nonpayment of royalties. According to Biafra, the suit resulted from his refusal to allow one of the band's most well known singles, "Holiday in Cambodia", to be used in a commercial for Levi's Dockers; Biafra opposes Levi's because of his claim that they use unfair business practices and sweatshop labor. The three former members claimed that their motive had nothing to do with advertising, and that they had filed suit because Biafra had denied them royalties and failed to promote their albums. Biafra maintained that he had never denied them royalties, and that he himself had not even received royalties for rereleases of their albums or "posthumous" live albums which had been licensed to other labels by the Decay Music partnership. Decay Music denied this charge and have posted what they say are his cashed royalty checks. Biafra also complained about the songwriting credits in new reissues and archival live albums of songs that Biafra claims he composed himself to the entire band.
  • 1986
    The marriage ended in 1986.
    More Details Hide Details Biafra lives in San Francisco, California. For a more complete list, see the Jello Biafra discography.
    The Dead Kennedys disbanded during the trial, in December 1986, due to the mounting legal costs; in the wake of their disbandment, Biafra made a career of his spoken word performances.
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    In June 1986, L.A. deputy city attorney Michael Guarino, working under City Attorney James Hahn, brought Biafra to trial in Los Angeles for distributing "harmful material to minors" in the Dead Kennedys album Frankenchrist.
    More Details Hide Details However, the dispute was about neither the music nor the lyrics from the album, but rather the print of the H. R. Giger poster Landscape XX (Penis Landscape) included with the album. Biafra believes the trial was politically motivated; it was often reported that the PMRC took Biafra to court as a cost-effective way of sending a message out to other musicians with content considered offensive in their music. Music author Reebee Garofalo argued that Biafra and Alternative Tentacles may have been targeted because the label was a "small, self-managed and self-supported company that could ill afford a protracted legal battle." Facing the possible sentence of a year in jail and a $2,000 fine, Biafra, Dirk Dirksen, and Suzanne Stefanac founded the No More Censorship Defense Fund, a benefit featuring several punk rock bands, to help pay for his legal fees, which neither he nor his record label could afford. The jury deadlocked 5 to 7 in favor of acquittal, prompting a mistrial; despite a motion to re-try the case, the judge ordered all charges dropped.
    In April 1986, police officers raided his house in response to complaints by the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC).
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  • 1981
    The Dead Kennedys received some controversy in the spring of 1981 over the single "Too Drunk to Fuck".
    More Details Hide Details The song became a big hit in Britain, and the BBC feared that it would manage to be a big enough hit to appear among the top 30 songs on the national charts, requiring a mention on Top of the Pops. However, the single peaked at number 31 in the charts. Later albums also contained memorable songs, but with less popularity than the earlier ones. The EP In God We Trust, Inc. contained the song "Nazi Punks Fuck Off! " as well as "We've Got A Bigger Problem Now", a rewritten version of "California Über Alles" about Ronald Reagan. Punk musician and scholar Vic Bondi considers the latter song to be the song that "defined the lyrical agenda of much of hardcore music, and represented its break with punk". The band's most controversial album, Frankenchrist, brought with it the song "MTV Get Off the Air", which accused MTV of promoting poor quality music and sedating the public. The album also contained a controversial poster by Swiss surrealist artist H. R. Giger entitled Penis Landscape.
  • 1979
    In the autumn of 1979, Biafra ran for mayor of San Francisco, using the Jell-O ad campaign catchphrase, "There's always room for Jello", as his campaign slogan.
    More Details Hide Details Having entered the race before creating a campaign platform, Biafra later wrote his platform on a napkin while attending a Pere Ubu concert where Dead Kennedys drummer Ted told Biafra, "Biafra, you have such a big mouth that you should run for Mayor." As he campaigned, Biafra wore campaign T-shirts from his opponent Quentin Kopp's previous campaign and at one point vacuumed leaves off the front lawn of another opponent, current U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, to mock her publicity stunt of sweeping streets in downtown San Francisco for a few hours. He also made a whistlestop campaign tour along the BART line. Supporters committed equally odd actions; two well known signs held by supporters said "If he doesn't win I'll kill myself" and "What if he does win?" In San Francisco any individual could legally run for mayor if a petition was signed by 1500 people or if $1500 was paid. Biafra paid $900 and got signatures over time and eventually became a legal candidate, meaning he received statements put in voters' pamphlets and equal news coverage.
  • 1978
    In June 1978, he responded to an advertisement placed in a store by guitarist East Bay Ray, stating "Guitarist wants to form punk band", and together they formed the Dead Kennedys.
    More Details Hide Details He began performing with the band under the stage name Occupant, but soon began to use his current stage name, a combination of the brand name Jell-O and the short-lived African state Biafra. The concatenation of the two was likely a wry reference to well-meaning and yet grossly ignorant people in North America donating foods like Jell-o (which requires clean water to make) and others of questionable nutrition to charities, to mitigate mass starvation in Biafra in the late 1960s. Biafra wrote the band's lyrics, most of which were political in nature and displayed a sardonic, sometimes absurdist, sense of humor despite their serious subject matter. In the tradition of UK anarcho-punk bands like Crass, the Dead Kennedys were one of the first US punk bands to write politically themed songs. The lyrics Biafra wrote helped popularize the use of humorous lyrics in hardcore. Biafra cites Joey Ramone as the inspiration for his use of humor in his songs (as well as being the musician who made him interested in punk rock), noting in particular songs by The Ramones such as "Beat on the Brat" and "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue".
  • 1977
    He began his career in music in January 1977 as a roadie for the punk rock band The Ravers (who later changed their name to The Nails), soon joining his friend John Greenway in a band called The Healers.
    More Details Hide Details The Healers became infamous locally for their mainly improvised lyrics and avant garde music. In the autumn of that year, he began attending the University of California, Santa Cruz.
  • 1958
    Born on June 17, 1958.
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