Biafra performing with the Dead Kennedys
|Birth name||Eric Reed Boucher|
|Also known as||Occupant, Count Ringworm, Osama McDonald, J Lo|
|Born||June 17, 1958|
Boulder, Colorado, United States
|Genres||Punk rock, spoken word, hardcore punk|
|Occupation(s)||Vocalist, speaker, record label director, Green Party politician|
|Associated acts||Dead Kennedys, The Witch Trials, Melvins, No WTO Combo, Lard, Revolting Cocks, Mojo Nixon, 1000 Homo DJs, Tumor Circus, Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, NoMeansNo|
Eric Reed Boucher (born June 17, 1958), better known by his professional name Jello Biafra, is an American singer who is the former lead singer and songwriter for the San Francisco punk rock band Dead Kennedys. He is a musician and spoken word artist.
San Francisco, officially the City and County of San Francisco, is a city in, and the cultural, commercial, and financial center of, Northern California. San Francisco is the 13th-most populous city in the United States, and the fourth-most populous in California, with 883,305 residents as of 2018. It covers an area of about 46.89 square miles (121.4 km2), mostly at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, making it the second-most densely populated large US city, and the fifth-most densely populated U.S. county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. San Francisco is also part of the fifth-most populous primary statistical area in the United States, the San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area.
Punk rock is a rock music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as "proto-punk" music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They typically produced short, fast-paced songs with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels.
Dead Kennedys are an American punk rock band that formed in San Francisco, California, in 1978. The band was one of the first American hardcore bands to make a significant impact in the United Kingdom.
Initially active from 1979 to 1986, Dead Kennedys were known for rapid-fire music topped with Biafra's sardonic lyrics and biting social commentary, delivered in his "unique quiver of a voice."When the band broke up in 1986, he took over the influential independent record label Alternative Tentacles, which he had founded in 1979 with Dead Kennedys bandmate East Bay Ray. In a 2000 lawsuit, upheld on appeal in 2003 by the California Supreme Court, Biafra was found liable for breach of contract, fraud and malice in withholding a decade's worth of royalties from his former bandmates and ordered to pay over $200,000 in compensation and punitive damages; the band subsequently reformed without Biafra. Although now focused primarily on spoken word performances, Biafra has continued as a musician in numerous collaborations.
An independent record label is a record label that operates without the funding of major record labels. Many artists begin their careers on independent labels.
Alternative Tentacles is an independent record label established in 1979 in San Francisco, California. It was used by the Dead Kennedys for the self-produced single "California Über Alles". After realizing the potential for an independent label, they released records for other bands as well. Dead Kennedys guitarist East Bay Ray and vocalist Jello Biafra formed Alternative Tentacles, but Biafra became the owner in the mid-1980s. Alternative Tentacles no longer owns the rights to Dead Kennedys recordings after a 2000 lawsuit.
Raymond John Pepperell, better known by his stage name East Bay Ray, is a guitarist best known for his membership in the San Francisco Bay area-based punk band Dead Kennedys. His guitar work was heavily influenced by surf music, jazz and rockabilly. Alongside Jello Biafra's astute lyrics and unique vibrato-based vocal style, East Bay Ray's playing was one of the defining factors of the music of the Dead Kennedys, and by extension, of the "second wave" of American punk. He is also the only Dead Kennedy to remain a constant member of the band since its formation.
Politically, Biafra is a member of the Green Party of the United Statesand supports various political causes. He ran for the party's presidential nomination in the 2000 presidential election, finishing a distant second to Ralph Nader. He is a staunch believer in a free society, and 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.
The Green Party of the United States (GPUS) is a green federation of political parties in the United States. The party promotes green politics, specifically environmentalism; nonviolence; social justice; participatory, grassroots democracy; gender equality; LGBT rights; anti-war and anti-racism. On the political spectrum, the party is generally seen as left-wing.
The 2000 United States presidential election was the 54th quadrennial presidential election held in the States. It was held on Tuesday, November 7, 2000. Republican candidate George W. Bush, the Governor of Texas and the eldest son of the 41st President George H. W. Bush, won the election by defeating Democratic nominee Al Gore, the incumbent vice president. It was the fourth of five presidential elections in which the winning candidate lost the popular vote, and is considered one of the closest elections in US history.
Ralph Nader is an American political activist, author, lecturer, and attorney, noted for his involvement in consumer protection, environmentalism and government reform causes. The son of Lebanese immigrants to the United States, Nader was educated at Princeton and Harvard and first came to prominence in 1965 with the publication of the bestselling book Unsafe at Any Speed, a highly influential critique of the safety record of American automobile manufacturers. Following the publication of Unsafe at Any Speed, Nader led a group of volunteer law students—dubbed "Nader's Raiders"—in an investigation of the Federal Trade Commission, leading directly to that agency's overhaul and reform. In the 1970s, Nader leveraged his growing popularity to establish a number of advocacy and watchdog groups including the Public Interest Research Group, the Center for Auto Safety, and Public Citizen.
Eric Reed 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 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.
Boulder is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Boulder County, Colorado, United States. It is the state's 11th-most-populous municipality; Boulder is located at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 5,430 feet (1,655 m) above sea level. The city is 25 miles (40 km) northwest of Denver.
As a child, 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 ignored his high school guidance counselor's advice that he spend his adolescence preparing to become a dental hygienist.
Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.
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. 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.
The Nails were originally a five-piece new wave band that formed in Boulder, Colorado in 1976. In Colorado, they were originally named The Ravers, and their roadie, Eric Boucher, later became known as Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys. The band members were Marc Campbell, Dave Kaufman (keyboards), Al Leis (drums), Artie Freeman, and Jon Cormany (bass).
The University of California, Santa Cruz is a public research university in Santa Cruz, California. It is one of 10 campuses in the University of California system. Located 75 miles (120 km) south of San Francisco at the edge of the coastal community of Santa Cruz, the campus lies on 2,001 acres (810 ha) of rolling, forested hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Monterey Bay.
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. 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 band's lyrics were written by Biafra. The lyrics were mostly 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 punk and other types of hard-core music. 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".
Biafra initially attempted to compose music on guitar, but his lack of experience on the instrument and his own admission of being "a fumbler with my hands" led Dead Kennedys bassist Klaus Flouride to suggest that Biafra simply sing the parts he envisioned to the band. [ clarification needed ] By all accounts, including his own, Biafra is not a conventionally skilled musician, though he and his collaborators (Joey Shithead of D.O.A. in particular) attest that he is a skilled composer and his work, particularly with the Dead Kennedys, is highly respected by punk-oriented critics and fans.Biafra sang his riffs and melodies into a tape recorder, which he brought to the band's rehearsal and/or recording sessions. This later became a problem when the other members of the Dead Kennedys sued Biafra over royalties and publishing rights.
Biafra's first popular song was the first single by the Dead Kennedys, "California Über Alles." The song, which spoofed California governor Jerry Brown, was the first of many political songs by the group and Biafra. The song's popularity resulted in its being covered by other musicians, such as The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy (who rewrote the lyrics to parody Pete Wilson), John Linnell of They Might Be Giants and Six Feet Under on their Graveyard Classics album of cover versions. Not long after, the Dead Kennedys had a second and bigger hit with "Holiday in Cambodia" from their debut album Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables . AllMusic cites this song as "possibly the most successful single of the American hardcore scene"and Biafra counts it as his personal favorite Dead Kennedy's song. Minor hits from the album included "Kill the Poor" (about potential abuse of the then-new neutron bomb) and a satirical cover of Elvis Presley's "Viva Las Vegas."
The Dead Kennedys received some controversy in the spring of 1981 over the single "Too Drunk to Fuck." The song became a 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 .
The Dead Kennedys toured widely during their career, starting in the late 1970s. They began playing at San Francisco's Mabuhay Gardens (their home base) and other Bay Area venues, later branching out to shows in southern Californian clubs (most notably the Whisky a Go Go), but eventually they moved to major clubs across the country, including CBGB in New York. Later, they played to larger audiences such as at the 1980 Bay Area Music Awards (where they played the notorious "Pull My Strings" for the only time), and headlined the 1983 Rock Against Reagan festival.
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. 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 [and an] inspirational force [who] could also be a real prick ... Biafra was a visionary, incendiary [performer]."
After the Dead Kennedys disbanded, Biafra's new songs were recorded with other bands, and he released only spoken word albums as solo projects. These collaborations had less popularity than Biafra's earlier work. However, his song "That's Progress", originally recorded with D.O.A. for the album Last Scream of the Missing Neighbors, received considerable exposure when it appeared on the album Rock Against Bush, Vol. 1 .
In April 1986, police officers raided his house in response to complaints by the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC).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 . 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." [ citation needed ] 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.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.
Biafra has a cameo role in the 1988 film Tapeheads . 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, three former members of the Dead Kennedys sued Biafra for nonpayment of royalties. The other members of Dead Kennedys alleged that Biafra, in his capacity as the head of Alternative Tentacles records, discovered an accounting error amounting to some $75,000 in unpaid royalties over almost a decade. Rather than informing his bandmates of this mistake, the suit alleged, Biafra knowingly concealed the information until a whistleblower employee at the record label notified the band.
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.Biafra maintained that he had never denied them royalties, and that he himself had not even received royalties for re-releases 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, written to his legal name of Eric Boucher. Biafra also complained about the songwriting credits in new reissues and archival live albums of songs, alleging that he was the sole composer of songs that were wrongly credited to the entire band.
In May 2000, a jury found Biafra and Alternative Tentacles "guilty of malice, oppression and fraud" by not promptly informing his former bandmates of the accounting error and instead withholding the information during subsequent discussions and contractual negotiations. Biafra was ordered to pay $200,000, including $20,000 in punitive damages.After an appeal by Biafra's lawyers, in June 2003, the California Court of Appeal unanimously upheld all the conditions of the 2000 verdict against Biafra and Alternative Tentacles. Furthermore, the plaintiffs were awarded the rights to most of Dead Kennedys recorded works—which accounted for about half the sales for Alternative Tentacles. Now in control of the Dead Kennedys name, Biafra's former bandmates went on tour with a new lead vocalist.
In the early 1980s, Biafra collaborated with musicians Christian Lunch and Adrian Borland (of The Sound) for the electropunk musical project The Witch Trials, releasing one self-titled EP in its lifetime.
In 1988, Biafra, with Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker of the band Ministry, and Jeff Ward, formed Lard. 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.While working on the film Terminal City Ricochet in 1989, Biafra did a song for the film's soundtrack with D.O.A.. 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. Biafra also provided lyrics for the song "Biotech is Godzilla" for Sepultura's 1993 album Chaos A.D. .
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 worked 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 was also working with a band known as Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, which included Ralph Spight of Victims Family on guitar and Billy Gould of Faith No More on bass. This group debuted during Biafra Five-O.[ citation needed ]
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.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. 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.
In June 1979, Biafra co-founded the record label Alternative Tentacles, with which the Dead Kennedys released their first single, "California Über Alles". [ citation needed ]. Biafra has been the owner of the company since its founding, though he does not receive a salary for his position; Biafra has referred to his position in the company as "absentee thoughtlord".The label was created to allow the band to release albums without having to deal with pressure from major labels to change their music, although the major labels were not willing to sign the band due to their songs being deemed too controversial. After dealing with Cherry Red in the UK and IRS Records in the US for their first album Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, the band released all later albums, and later pressings of Fresh Fruit on Alternative Tentacles. The exception being live albums released after the band's break-up, which the other band members compiled from recordings in the band partnership's vaults without Biafra's input or endorsement.
Biafra is an ardent collector of unusual vinyl records of all kinds, from 1950s and 1960s ethno-pop recordings by the likes of Les Baxter and Esquivel to vanity pressings that have circulated regionally, to German crooner Heino (for whom he would later participate in the documentary Heino: Made In Germany); he cites his always growing collection as one of his biggest musical influences. In 1993 he gave an interview to RE/Search Publications for their second Incredibly Strange Music book focusing primarily on these records, and later participated in a two-part episode of Fuse TV's program Crate Diggers on the same subject.His interest in such recordings, often categorized as outsider music, 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. 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.
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 alternativetentacles.com. 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.
His ninth spoken word album, In the Grip of Official Treason , was released in October 2006.
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 a 2012 interview, Biafra said "I'm very pro-tax as long as it goes for the right things. 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."
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. 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.
His platform included unconventional points such as forcing businessmen to wear clown suits within city limits, erecting statues of Dan White, who assassinated Mayor George Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978, around the city and allowing the parks department to sell eggs and tomatoes with which people could pelt the statues,hiring workers who'd lost their jobs due to a tax initiative to panhandle in wealthy neighborhoods (including Dianne Feinstein's), and a citywide ban on cars. Biafra has expressed irritation that these parts of his platform attained such notoriety, preferring instead to be remembered for serious proposals such as legalizing squatting in vacant, tax-delinquent buildings and requiring police officers to run for election by the people of the neighborhoods they patrol.
He finished third out of a field of ten, receiving 3.79% of the vote (6,591 votes);the election ended in a runoff that did not involve him (Feinstein was declared the winner).
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. 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.
After losing the 2000 nomination, Jello became highly active in Ralph Nader's presidential campaign, as well as in 2004 and 2008. During the 2008 campaign Jello played at ralliesand 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.
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." Biafra dubbed Obama "Barackstar O'Bummer". 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 his campaign for the 2016 presidential election.He has strongly criticised the political position of Donald Trump, saying "how can people be so fucking stupid" on hearing the election result, and later adding "The last person we want with their finger on the nuclear button is somebody connected to this extreme Christianist doomsday cult."
In the summer of 2011 Jello Biafra and his band were scheduled to play at the Barby Club in Tel Aviv. They came under heavy pressure by the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, and finally decided to cancel the gig – after a debate which according to Biafra "deeply tore at the fabric of our band ... This whole controversy has been one of the most intense situations of my life – and I thrive on intense situations". Biafra then decided to travel to Israel and the Palestinian Occupied Territories, at his own expense, and talk with Israeli and Palestinian activists as well as with fans disappointed at his cancellation. In the article stating his conclusions he wrote: "I will not perform in Israel unless it is a pro-human rights, anti-occupation event, that does not violate the spirit of the boycott. Each musician, artist, etc. must decide this for themselves. I am staying away for now, but am also really creeped out by the attitudes of some of the hardliners and hope some day to find a way to contribute something positive here. I will not march or sign on with anyone who runs around calling people Zionazis and is more interested in making threats than making friends."
Biafra married Theresa Soder, a.k.a. Ninotchka, lead singer of San Francisco-area punk band the Situations, on October 31, 1981.The wedding was conducted by Flipper vocalist/bassist Bruce Loose, who became a Universal Life Church minister just to conduct the ceremony, which took place in a graveyard. The wedding reception, which members of Flipper, Black Flag, and D.O.A. attended, was held at director Joe Rees' Target Video studios. The marriage ended in 1986.
Biafra lives in San Francisco, California.
For a more complete list, see the Jello Biafra discography.
|1980||The Witch Trials||Jello Biafra with East Bay Ray, Adrian Borland, Morgan Fisher, Christian Lunch|
|1989||Last Scream of the Missing Neighbors||Jello Biafra with D.O.A.|
|1991||The Sky is Falling and I Want My Mommy||Jello Biafra with Nomeansno|
|Tumor Circus||Tumor Circus|
|1994||Prairie Home Invasion||Jello Biafra & Mojo Nixon|
|2000||Live from the Battle in Seattle||The No WTO Combo|
|Deviant||Pitchshifter (Biafra is featured on As Seen On TV)|
|2004||Never Breathe What You Can't See||Jello Biafra with The Melvins|
|2008||Jezebel/Speed Demon 7"||Jello Biafra with members of Zen Guerillas|
|2012||We Occupy||Jello Biafra with D.O.A.|
|2015||Walk on Jindal's Splinters||Jello Biafra and the New Orleans Raunch & Soul Allstars|
|2016||In the Age of Corporate Personhood||Disaster Strikes (Biafra is featured on Age of Corporate Personhood)|
|2019||bi/MENTAL||Le Butcherettes (Biafra is featured on spider/WAVES)|
Frankenchrist is the third album released by the American hardcore punk band Dead Kennedys in 1985 on Alternative Tentacles.
Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death is a compilation album by the American hardcore punk band Dead Kennedys. It was released in June 1987 through front man Jello Biafra's record label Alternative Tentacles.
"California Über Alles" is a song by Dead Kennedys. The single, which was the group's first recording, was released in June 1979 on the Optional Music label, with "The Man with the Dogs" appearing as its B-side. The title track was re-recorded in 1980 for the band's first album, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, and the original recording as well as the B-side were later included on the 1987 compilation Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death.
Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables is the debut studio album by the American punk rock band Dead Kennedys. It was first released on September 2, 1980 through Cherry Red Records in the United Kingdom and later issued by Jello Biafra's own Alternative Tentacles label in the United States.
Darren Henley, better known by his stage name D. H. Peligro, is an American punk rock musician, most commonly known as the drummer for the Dead Kennedys along with a brief stint as the drummer for Red Hot Chili Peppers.
"Holiday in Cambodia" is a song by American punk rock band Dead Kennedys. The record was released as the group's second single in May 1980 on Optional Music with "Police Truck" as its B-side. The title track was re-recorded for the band's first album, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (1980); the original recording of the song, as well as the single's B-side, are available on the rarities album Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death (1987). The photograph in the front cover of the single was taken from the Thammasat University massacre in Thailand, and depicts a member of the right-wing crowd beating a hanged corpse of a student protester with a metal chair.
The No WTO Combo was a one-shot punk rock band started by Krist Novoselic. The band consisted of Jello Biafra ; guitarist Kim Thayil of Soundgarden; and the rhythm section of Sweet 75, with Gina Mainwal on drums and Novoselic on bass.
The Crucifucks were a Lansing, Michigan-based punk band formed in 1981. They were noted for their political agitation, provocative lyrics, and unusually shrill vocals by band leader Doc Corbin Dart. Dead Kennedys vocalist Jello Biafra signed them to his independent Alternative Tentacles label.
Lard is an American hardcore punk/industrial band founded in 1988 as a side project by Jello Biafra, Al Jourgensen, Paul Barker, and Jeff Ward .. Over the years, several other members of Ministry played with Lard, namely Bill Rieflin, Mike Scaccia, and Rey Washam.
"Police Truck" is a song by the Dead Kennedys. The song was originally released in May, 1980, as the B-side of the "Holiday in Cambodia" single and later released in June 1987 on the DKs' compilation album, Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death. The song is a satirical attack on the actions of two police officers, and takes a first person view from the authorities themselves. The song was inspired by an incident that occurred in Los Angeles in the late 1970s in which two police officers performed illegal activities such as drinking on the job, beating up drunks, and raping prostitutes. It also functions more generally as an attack on police corruption and brutality and the police's support for a capitalist system.
Let Them Eat Jellybeans!, subtitled "17 Extracts From America's Darker Side", is a compilation album released by Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles in 1981. It was one of the earliest compilations of underground music in the United States and its original release included an insert of all of the punk bands known to be playing in the U.S. and Canada at that time. The first side of the LP features songs by a number of bands that formed the canon of American hardcore punk in the 1980s, while the second side features more of an art rock sound.
Dash Rip Rock is an American musical trio known for their high-octane roots rock. The New York Times stated that Dash Rip Rock combines “fluency in American roots music with a robust dose of punk-rock spirit.” Bill Davis, Dash Rip Rock’s founder and frontman, is a songwriter known for his blistering guitar work. Spin praised Dash Rip Rock as “undeniably the South’s greatest rock band.” In 2012, Dash Rip Rock was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.
Life After Life was a self-described gypsy punk band, active from 1993–1998 and based in San Francisco, California. The group featured Jim Čert, an accordion-playing folk singer originally from the Czech Republic, Jaroslav Erno Šedivý, a Czech drummer noted for his collaborative work with Plastic People of the Universe, and four American musicians involved in the Bay Area rock scene.
Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine is a punk rock band led by Jello Biafra. They released their debut album, The Audacity of Hype in October 2009.
Burning Image are an American deathrock band formed in Bakersfield, California in 1982. Burning Image first released a 7" single with the songs "The Final Conflict" and "Burning Image, Burning" in the summer of 1984. The compilation 1983-1987 in 2004 and album Fantasma (2009) were both released on Alternative Tentacles, record label owned by former Dead Kennedys singer, Jello Biafra, with album Oleander (2011) being self-published. Burning Image celebrates 36 years as a band, in 2018, with a new album and a tour.
False Prophets were a New York City punk rock/hardcore punk band formed in 1980. The original members were Stephan Ielpi (vocals), bassist Steve Wishnia (bass), Peter Campbell (guitar) and Matt Superty (drums).
DUH was a San Francisco-based alternative and noise rock supergroup. The band comprised an ever-rotating line-up that featured members of Steel Pole Bath Tub, Faith No More, Models, Fang, Milk Cult, Phantom 309, Pansy Division and Despise You.
With 295 votes, Nader received 92% of the convention total, followed by ten votes each for Jello Biafra and Stephen Gaskin