12.03.07: Ness Aquino Benefit Post Show
11.19.07: Blender Lists Dead Kennedys on The Top 100 Greatest Indie-Rock Albums of All Time
10.24.07: Ness Aquino Benefit - Legendary "Mabuhay Gardens" Shows!
10.04.07: Dead Kennedys song Holiday In Cambodia to appear on upcoming Guitar Hero 3: Legends Of Rock
09.19.07: Dead Kennedys Announce Release of New CD
09.17.07: An interview with East Bay Ray of DEAD KENNEDYS by BillyBadBreaks
09.10.07: Foo Fighters Performed Dead Kennedys Song at MTV Video Music Awards
07.31.07: Dead Kennedys Voted in Top 25 Most Influential Punk Bands
06.11.07: Biafra Band Klaus from Dirk Fest
04.27.07: East Bay Ray in Brazil
03.14.07: East Bay Ray Master Class Saturday, March 31, 7-8:30pm
02.08.07: Dead Kennedys #3 on IGN's Top 25 Punk Albums
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12.03.07 - Ness Aquino Benefit Post Show
The Ness Aquino Benefit shows at the Mab were awesome. KUSF and H.E.A.R. co presented with TnT Productions and producer Kathy Peck. David Denny crew did a live recording and Jai Noire crew filmed it. John Epstein, Jack Johnson and Chritian did Front of House sound and Lennon Studios helped provide a great sounding backline with Andy Moraga and Paul Moraga assistance. Paul Lobster Wells was the MC along with Stage Manager, Mike Dingle. The DJ was original Mab DJ Denise Demise. Craig Pop Artist did the spectacular sets. Non profit Organization H.E.A.R. archived the whole event. Funds were raised for Ness Aquino's Medical Benefit.
Sun Nov 11 show, Ness Aquino showed up in time for Polkacide to mount the stage. I heard it was one of his favorite bands. True to form, Ward and the boys and Maggie rocked the house!
NO POLITICS! Fantastic... with Steve DePace form Flipper, Paul Casteel from House of Wheels, Bruno DeSmartas from Bad Posture, Dave Chavez from Verbal Abuse and East Bay Ray of the Dead Kennedys ... Especially a great version of Flipper's Sex Bomb.
Then a rare treat performance of The Pynotics with a reunion of members of Psycotic Pineapple!
Last band of the night Fab Mab All Stars, bandleader John Binkov of the Vktms brain child. It started off with songs by the original members of The Contractions (Mary Kelley- guitar, Debbie Hopkins- drums and Kathy Peck- bass) with back up of John Binkov- guitar from the Vktms and J Raoul Brody- keys. Then Ginger Coyote and Lula Perla from the White Trash Debutantes slammed on stage to sing backup for Kathy Peck with Bobby Imsolucky on drums to do a late Mary Monday cover of "Ricky Boy, I gave my punk jacket to Ricky" (Mary's was the first punk band at the Mab). Then riveting Bob Clic- guitar and J. Sats- vocalist from the Lewd, came on to do Lewd songs"Motel," Pia did Vktms songs with the original Vktms' John Binkov- guitar, Steve Ricablanca- bass and Lou Gwerder- drums, Mike Dingle sang a Mutants song and at last Translator (Dave Scheff- drums, Larry Dekker- bass and Steve Barton- guitar and vocalist) appeared on stage out of nowhere and played a stunning set till the end of the night. "Your Everywhere where I'm Not." That all happened within the Fab Mab All Stars Set. Whoa!
11.19.07 - Blender Lists Dead Kennedys on The Top 100 Greatest Indie-Rock Albums of All Time
The latest issue of Blender features the magazine's take on the 100 greatest indie-rock albums of all time. Albums of note include Dead Kennedys' 1980 album Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables which finishes at 92. The sfits' 1982 album Walk Among Us comes in at 83. Descendents landed the 68 spot with their 1982 album Milo Goes To College while Green Day's Kerplunk! broke the top 50 landing a spot at 47.
Click Here for full list.
10.24.07 - Ness Aquino Benefit - Legendary "Mabuhay Gardens" Shows!
Sat., Nov. 10th and Sun., Nov. 11th, at the former location of the old Mabuhay Gardens, at Club 443 Broadway St. in San Francisco. Produced by T & T Productions and Kathy Peck of H.E.A.R.
Ness Aquino, the original owner of the famous North Beach Filipino Supper Club, the "Mabuhay Gardens", and business partner of the late famed punk promoter of the Fab Mab, Dirk Dirksen, is in ill health from multiple strokes and heart failure; and is in need of emergency medical and financial assistance.
Funds from the benefit will go to Ness Aquino, and a portion to the non-profit organization, H.E.A.R.-- Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers, Inc., producer of the shows.
16 LEGENDARY SF PUNK AND METAL BANDS TO PERFORM
SATURDAY, NOV 10th: The Sheets, The Lifers, Very Special Guest,
Warning SF, Embers of Euphoria, Stretus, Closer To The Real,The Nubs
SUNDAY, NOV 11th:
FAB MAB ALL STARS -(with members of The Vktms, Mutants, Translator, The Contractions, The Symptoms, The Lewd, J Raoul Brody, Surprise Guest)
PYNOTICS (with members of Psychotic Pineapple)
NO POLITICS! - (Paul Casteel - House of Wheels, Steve DePace - Negative Trend/Flipper, East Bay Ray - Dead Kennedys, Bruno De Martis - Bad Posture/Slug Lords and Dave Chavez - Verbal Abuse)
POLKACIDE The Symptoms, Minus One, Kitten On Keys, Acu-Funk-ture, Special Guests TBA!
Sat., Nov 10th (Doors open at 2 pm, Show at 3pm -- 11pm); tickets $10 min donation.
Sun., Nov 11th (Doors open at 2 pm, Show 3pm -- 11pm); tickets $15 min donation.
Must be 21 or over
Tickets online can be purchased through Paypal at www.myspace.com/mabuhayrecords, or at the Door.
10.04.07 - Dead Kennedys song Holiday In Cambodia to appear on upcoming Guitar Hero 3: Legends Of Rock
The final tracklisting has been announced for Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, the second sequel in the wildly successful Guitar Hero series. The game is due out before March 2008 and is set to include artists like Dead Kennedys, Bloc Party, Matchbook Romance,Social Distortion, AFI, Weezer, Beastie Boys, Slayer, Queens Of The Stone Age, Dragonforce, The Strokes, Muse, Tenancious D, Smashing Pumpkins and Iron Maiden.
- AFI - "Miss Murder"
- Aerosmith - "Same Old Song and Dance"
- Alice Cooper - "School's Out"
- Backyard Babies - "Minus Celsius"
- Beastie Boys - "Sabotage"
- Black Sabbath - "Paranoid"
- Bloc Party - "Helicopter"
- Blue Oyster Cult - "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll"
- Bret Michaels Band - "Go That Far"
- Charlie Daniels Band - "Devil Went Down to Georgia"
- Cream - "Sunshine of Your Love"
- Dead Kennedys - "Holiday in Cambodia"
- Die Toten Hosen - "Hier Kommt Alex"
- Disturbed - "Stricken"
- DragonForce - "Through the Fire and Flames"
- Eric Johnson - "Cliffs of Dover"
- Foghat - "Slow Ride"
- Gallows - "In the Belly of a Shark"
- Guns N' Roses - "Welcome to the Jungle"
- Heart - "Barracuda"
- Heroes Del Silencio - "Avalancha"
- In Flames - "Take This Life"
- Iron Maiden - "The Number of the Beast"
- Kaiser Chiefs - "Ruby"
- Kiss - "Rock and Roll All Nite"
- Lacuna Coil - "Closer"
- Living Colour - "Cult of Personality"
- Matchbook Romance - "Monsters"
- Metallica - "One"
- Mountain - "Mississippi Queen"
- Muse - "Knights of Cydonia"
- NAAST - "Mauvais Garcon"
- Pat Benetar - "Hit Me with Your Best Shot"
- Pearl Jam - "Even Flow"
- Poison - "Talk Dirty to Me"
- Priestess - "Lay Down"
- Queens of the Stone Age - "3's and 7's"
- Rage Against the Machine - "Bulls on Parade"
- Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Suck My Kiss"
- Revolverheld - "Generation Rock"
- Santana - "Black Magic Woman"
- Scorpions - "Rock You Like a Hurricane"
- Slayer - "Raining Blood"
- Slipknot - "Before I Forget"
- Smashing Pumpkins - "Cherub Rock"
- Social Distortion - "Story of My Life"
- Sonic Youth - "Kool Thing"
- Stevie Ray Vaughn - "Pride and Joy"
- Superbus - "Radio Song"
- Tenacious D - "The Metal"
- The Hellacopters - "I'm in the Band"
- The Killers - "When You Were Young"
- The Rolling Stones - "Paint It, Black"
- The Stone Roses - "She Bangs the Drums"
- The Strokes - "Reptilia"
- The Who - "The Seeker"
- Velvet Revolver - "She Builds Quick Machines"
- Weezer - "My Name Is Jonas"
- White Zombie - "Black Sunshine"
- ZZ Top - "La Grange"
09.19.07 - MANIFESTO RECORDS TO RELEASE DEAD KENNEDYS TOP DOWNLOADED TRACKS ALONG WITH TWO PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED LIVE TRACKS IN SPECIALLY PRICED COLLECTION MILKING THE SACRED COW ON OCTOBER 9, 2007
||For the first time in twenty years, since the release of 1987’s Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death, Dead Kennedys have compiled their best-known tracks into one well-priced package ($9.98 price point) with the ironically titled album Milking The Sacred Cow. The collection will enable fans to have both a hard copy as well as a digital copy of their favorite DK tunes at an affordable price. The collection features the top ten DK’s downloaded songs plus two previously unreleased live tracks, “Kill the Poor” and “Viva Las Vegas” from Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. Milking the Sacred Cow will be available online and in stores on October 9, 2007 via Manifesto Records
As brick and mortal retail record stores continue to shrink in a changing marketplace, it is becoming more difficult for fans to find their favorite band’s music in shops on CD. Fewer retail outlets equal less shelf space for all music titles so oftentimes a band’s full catalogue isn’t stocked. Bearing this in mind, Milking the Sacred Cow provides an excellent and affordable solution for fans both new and old.
Dead Kennedys have been called "one of the most popular and important American hardcore punk bands of the late seventies/early eighties" by the Rough Guide to Rock. Spin Magazine named the band’s Special 25th Anniversary Edition of Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables one of the Top 10 reissues of 2005, alongside other icons including Bob Dylan, RUN-D.M.C., Ray Charles and the Kinks. Over the years, the band’s catalogue has sold nearly two million units.
- California Uber Alles
- Police Truck
- Kill The Poor
- Holiday In Cambodia
- Nazi Punks Fuck Off
- Too Drunk To Fuck
- Viva Las Vegas
- Moon Over Marin
- MTV Get Off The Air
- Soup Is Good Food (Live)
- Jock-O-Rama (Live)
09.17.07 - An interview with East Bay Ray of DEAD KENNEDYS by BillyBadBreaks
East Bay Ray guitarist and founding member talks about all things Dead Kennedys - From the start of the band to current politics to future plans. Please read below for an in depth interview on the Dead Kennedys by East Bay Ray.
The Dead Kennedys are a punk rock band from San Francisco, California. Attacking assumptions of the political left and right with humor, their music mixed the more experimental elements of English punk with the energy of the American punk scene.(Wikipedia)
An interview with East Bay Ray of DEAD KENNEDYS by BillyBadBreaks
BB - DEAD KENNEDYS are a band that should need no introduction. As a long time fan of the band it was a great opportunity to finally get to speak to Ray. The reason I wanted to talk to him was to try to get to the bottom of all the rumors circulating about the lawsuits with one time singer Jello Biafra, as well as find out what the future had in store.
The album "Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables" changed me from a metal head and opened my eyes to the world of punk rock. It was a real turning point in my life, and so it is truly an honor to speak to you. You changed my world musically. Is that something you hear a lot?
R – When the band was starting we just wanted to make the best music the band could make. But it turned into something more than that and we are really honored that it has affected a lot of people that way. That is why we became musicians in the first place, because we really loved music and music has changed us and affected us deeply. It really is fulfilling for people to be influenced by us, just as we were influenced by other bands.
BB - You guys never had what I would describe as a typical "punk" sound. Your music was always very different from what was going on around you. You were not a typical thrashy punk band, was that because everyone came from different musical backgrounds?
R – Yeah, I think it was because we all listened to different music. We all listened to punk in common, but outside of that we all listened to different music and that was brought in and spiced up the stew, so to speak.
BB - When you first started playing I had the impression that you tended not to play with typical punks bands, you played with more diverse bands. Were you trying to push the envelope?
R – We started in San Francisco and the main club was the Mabuhay Gardens and the booker, Dirk Dirksen, who has passed away, would book 3 bands a night 7 days a week. So that was 21 bands a week and in the early days of the scene the bills would be mixed up, there would be a pop band, an art band and a punk band. I think that made the San Francisco scene very vital because of the cross fertilization that happened. By the time we were big enough to tour the genres had separated a bit and become more isolated I would say.
BB - I am sure you have heard some of the many cover versions out. Have you come across any you like? Or when a band does a different take and goes off in a totally different direction to the original?
R – NAPALM DEATH did a version of "Nazi Punks". They sent me the DVD and it was fun to watch. NOUVELLE VAGUE are doing a version of "Too Drunk" in a lounge style. Those are interesting (when a band changes it up). There is a CD where people do reggae versions of our songs – "Dread Kennedys". There is a punk orchestra that does classical versions and they are great fun.
BB - There are a lot of things I would like to ask you about now, where the band is going. Do you mind if I also ask about the past?
That is not a subject that is off limit?
R – (Laughs) It has had its ups and downs.
BB - Am I right in thinking that you guys never actually split up? I read that you stopped recording and touring but the four of you never sat down and said that is it we are not going to doing anything more.
R – There is a band partnership that we have had since the beginning and that partnership continues. What happened is in January 1986; right before we recorded "Bedtime For Democracy," I felt we were recycling the music and ideas. I kind of gave notice, and everybody agreed to keep it quiet until we had recorded the album and released it. "Bedtime" was released that fall.
BB - I will be honest and say that it is my least favorite record of yours. It is not that it was bad musically or lyrically, but I kinda felt you were going down an avenue you had been before.
R – So you see maybe I was kinda right (laughing)? That is what I felt too, we weren't really doing anything different.
BB - So after "Bedtime" that was going to be it? Later you released "Give Me Convenience Or Give Me Death" which was a chance for the American audience to catch up on the B-sides available on the singles in Europe, but not so easy to get in America.
R – Yes, that's true. It was a compilation of our single releases as well as some other tracks off of compilations and other places.
BB - Although "Fresh Fruit" is probably my all time favorite album, I hope you will not be insulted if I said that your singles often were better for me than your full-length releases. It was as is those short sharp shocks of music had the most effective on me.
R – I kind of agree with you. I like our singles "Holiday In Cambodia" and "California Uber Alles." "Police Truck." "Moon Over Marin" was suppose to be a single.
BB - I like the second album a lot too…
R – "Plastic Surgery Disasters" is one of my favorite album.
BB - I liked "Mutiny On The Bay" but it is kinda disjointed as I guess I am so used to listening to bootlegs where you get the whole concert, where the band screws up, shouts at the audience, etc. So "Live At The Deaf Club" is for me one of the best releases ever. Any chance you will raid the vaults for something else?
R – For live stuff? The only thing I know that might be of high enough quality is a radio broadcast from Germany. But the whole problem with that is it was mixed to stereo. The "Deaf Club" was recorded on 8 track.
BB - You were a heavily bootlegged band back in the day, would you not agree?
R – I believe so.
BB - I have heard some incredible quality recordings. So what are your feelings about bootlegs, is it something you just live with?
R –Really? I have a lot of stuff, but none of it is of incredible quality. Yeah, it is something you live with.
BB - I will be honest, there are not many bands were I want to hear every concert they have ever done.
R – Even now when we play the songs live we don't play them exactly like the record.
BB - I would say you were definitely under-rated musically. The playing on the records was better than you can hear even now.
R – Thanks. You have to understand that we had really, really low budgets, so we had to make up for it with the amount of time we put in.
BB - When you remastered that, everything was cleaned up?
R – Cleaned up? You cannot clean up in mastering; all you can do is reveal what was originally on the tape, what we heard in the studio. If the tape is distorted you cannot clean it up and make it not distorted - though you can take a clean tape and make it distorted. Part of it was our stuff was transferred to CD in the late '80s and the technology was really not that good back then. Another thing, there is an EQ boost used when you put stuff on vinyl. Vinyl does not have a very good high end response so when you master a tape to vinyl you would boost the high end. What happened with CDs in the late '80s, across a lot of genres, is they would take the vinyl EQ with the boosted high end and put it on the CD, but the CD does not cut the high end like vinyl does. So they came out harsh and brittle but then technology improved and people got wise to that. It's like video games, there used to be "Pong" and now look at the quality of games. That is what has happened to CDs. So it wasn't cleaned up, this is the tape we made in the studio, this is what we were listening to, and is a true representation of what we wanted to put out.
BB - When I first played the remastered version of "Fresh Fruit" through my headphones the difference is night and day.
R –Mastering is an art. Another thing was the original CD was too fast. When I remastered that, I found the original was 1.3% faster than the actual pitch of the tape! Have you compared the old "Give Me Convenience" with the new "Give Me Convenience"? You should do that, it is an atrocity. Alternative Tentacles put that out for 15 years and it is like someone took a good painting and put some crappy plastic wrap over it.
BB - With vinyl you could put copious notes on the sleeve and it was part of the release, which is lost with CD booklets.
R – Well, CDs are on the way out now due to downloads, with very little artwork. I don't know if most current music fans care? The other thing is downloads are mainly mp3s and there people who have only heard mp3s. I have an iPod but I changed the sample rate from 128 kbs to 192. I find that 128 cuts the transients off, the beginning of the notes. But then there will be 1000's of people who will listen to that and then complain a vinyl record is all cleaned up because they will be able to hear more of the high end, the cymbals and the transients of Biafra singing and the snare drum hitting, which mp3s tend to squash.
BB - I want to talk about 9/11 and how that changed the political climate in most countries, there was a rise in nationalism and people tying themselves to the flag. How did this event affect you? How did you feel about the government….
R – I am not 100% against the government, I don't know where you got that assumption. For example, my town has a sewer system, stop lights so the government has some useful functions. In 2000 there was a big Green Party thing to vote for Ralph Nader, who helped elect George W. Bush. I agree with the Green Party goals but that year was not the year to vote for them. For instance, Jesse Jackson used to run for President every four years then right at the end he would stop and throw his votes at a candidate and have access to the Whitehouse and the ability to talk about the issues
he wanted to talk about. I thought Ralph Nader was extremely
arrogant. It was not about who is the President, it is about who appoints the Supreme Court. Back in 2000, there were people saying there is no difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. I would like to point out that yes there is a difference as I really believe Al Gore would have appointed different Supreme Court Justices. Now look at what we got! Bush has appointed right wing nuts disguised to sound reasonable. They have their views and then find a rationalization for it, and they are on there for life. People say Nader wouldn't have made a difference but if Nader had gone up until the end then thrown his votes with Gore we would not have these two Supreme Court Justices. Also, we probably wouldn't be stuck in Iraq.
R - I discussed with someone and they said they felt good about voting for Nader, but what about the rest of the people? What about women? I don't like to call it pro-choice, I like to call it pro-liberty, because the definition of liberty is keeping the government out of the private part of your life. Those Supreme Court Justices are not pro-liberty, they are pro-government control. That was such a close election and was not the year to do it (vote for Nader) and I was suggesting to people to wait until 2004. You know, get some publicity, get as big as you can and then step back. I said if he doesn't he is going to set the Green Party back 10 years and look what happened, they went from 3.5% to 0.75%.
R – Bush had the opportunity to rally the country against a common enemy and that was squandered. The New Yorker magazine had an article that during Vietnam, some advisor told Lyndon Johnson to send in more troops, it probably won't help, it only has a 1 in 4 chance of succeeding, but at least then you will look like you are doing something. They are sending 30,000 more troops to Iraq. Are they doing this because it looks good?
BB - I have a question that I think is tough to answer, but can you support the troops but not the war? The reason I ask is I have had family members go over.
R – It is possible.
BB - I read somewhere that D.H. had said something to that effect and you were then criticized for being pro-war! Do you remember that?
R – Oh yeah, I remember that. These punk fanatics will throw up anything and see what sticks. They were trying to say that we support George Bush (laughs). They don't care; it's like the Swiftboat Veterans for Punk Truth, zero morals. They don't even know that they are so self-righteous and have the same mind set as a religious fundamentalist! If you are a fanatic like that you are not a punk rocker. Question authority is not in their vocabulary, particularly if it's a pseudo left-wing authority.
R – The Middle East is becoming a catastrophe – the scariest thing is I read an article about teenage boys getting their martyrdom pictures taken.
BB - Do you think this can be sorted out?
R – Back in the Dark Ages the Muslim civilization was very advanced, they were the ones that saved Greek medicine and mathematics from the Christian Church. They were also tolerant of Jews and Christians in their society as opposed to when Catholics took over Spain they tortured Jews. It is possible. The news is always filled with stories about car bombs, but they don't tell you why. These people are not stupid, they don't do it randomly. They don't tell you who the parties or tribes are, what their goals are, or what point they are trying to make. The mistake Bush made was going in to Afghanistan and the Taliban headed to the hills, so
they thought it was easy. This is their homeland and they are not
going anywhere. Russia was in Afghanistan for 10 years. Bush went into Iraq thinking it was going to be easy. They should have talked to some realists, because Saddam Hussein was the counter balance to Iran and now he is gone. Iraq is in a civil war and there is no way we can win, we cannot choose a side. There was a big democratic election three years ago and look at what happened. The whole domino theory comes into play; they used to say "If Vietnam falls the whole of Asia falls to communism." They are saying the same thing now, "If Iraq falls…" But could Syria and Iran do any better if they had to fix Iraq? You have the Kurds, the Shiites, the Sunnis, and you have tribes below that, big interlocking clans and networks going on. When Bush went in to Iraq they only had one person at the FBI who could speak Arabic.
R - The problem with terrorism is it attracts psychopaths, they enjoy the terror. When society gets past that these people sometimes cannot change as they are used to the exciting life. Do the ends justify the means, well no because when you get
psychopaths who blow civilians up you create a monster. That has
its own momentum its own inertia, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. One of the generals Bush fired said our army is delaying these people reconciling with each other and sitting down at the table and talking.
R - If you are right, Iraq may sort itself out and they may vote for a fundamental Muslim government, but that is democracy. Let's not kid ourselves, Bush went in there for oil and he wanted to revenge his dad. Well, where is the oil? Didn't they say the war was going to pay for itself? We haven't even paid for the war. Bush has been doing these tax cuts and borrowing the money so a generation or two will be paying for this war. Bush has stirred up a hornet's nest that is going to go on for 20 years against the United States.
R – Bush acts tough all the time but if you look at the actual facts his is one of the most incompetent administrations ever. He got into a war, he couldn't handle Katrina, and yet people still think he is tough. I don't care if he acts tough, he is incompetent. What has Bush actually accomplished? He hung Saddam Hussein and put two Supreme Court Justices in office, but in terms of being an administrator he is incompetent. Yet Fox News still takes the state of the union address seriously. Didn't he say we were going to Mars and would be greeted with flowers in Iraq? Why do people still believe this guy? This is one reason why the parliamentary system has an advantage because when you have lost confidence in your leader you can switch them.
BB - What about the Weapons Of Mass Destruction?
R - There was a guy called Hans Blix from the UN who was doing the weapons inspections. He found nothing and said, "Give us another year and we will have a definitive answer", but Bush wouldn't wait that long. They didn't want to wait. Public opinion seems to be we have to get out of Iraq, which is going to end up fundamentalist Muslim no matter what we do. As Ralph Nader has been saying, we have to get over our dependency on foreign oil. Our government is giving tax breaks to SUV's while companies like Toyota are producing hybrid cars (and the tax breaks for them are being reduced). Bush doesn't care, as he believes it is all going to end in Armageddon anyway, and the rapture will happen 10 years down the line!
I was surprised the Democrats won the Senate, although they too
will get corrupted over time. There is the old joke that when the
Democrats form a firing squad they form a circle! That is what Ralph Nader did wrong; he was shooting back at the wrong time. Bush allows us to use inexpensive labor from Mexico, but doesn't want us to get inexpensive drugs because of the big drug companies.
BB - Punks talk about politics, but has much really changed since CRASS, DEAD KENNEDYS and others started pointed out things that are wrong with the world?
R – I guess we all used to believe music would change the world but what I realized is music can change people but it really doesn't change systems. People change systems. Music can inspire people but it cannot change the situation itself.
BB - I think many people reading this interview still believe Jello's side of things concerning what happened, even though…
R – And there are those that say there were Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq (laughs). People will believe what they want to believe. If it makes them feel better hating us, then go ahead. Biafra was responsible for withholding tens of thousand of dollars due the band, but we are attacked by this weird moral majority, which is strange because all we sought was to be recognized as equal partners. But Biafra is an entertainer and he has been manipulating the media for 15-20 years. Karl Rove doesn't have much on him (laughs), accuse your enemy of your own worst crime. The truth is the truth. If you read the Appellate verdict you know that it agrees with us (http://www.phillaw.com/html/dkappeal.html).
There were 12 jury members, who did not know us or anything on either side, and a trial judge. Then there were three Appellate judges. They all looked at the evidence from both sides. Biafra's attorney was from a big corporate insurance law firm with 40 partners, Carroll, Burdick & McDonough LLP (whose big thing is defending asbestos companies). He put forward an expensive case but they all found from the independent evidence that his "story" was not true. And some people can't deal with that, can't deal with reality.
BB - The thing I hear, which is crazy, is that they had to take him to court, and that is not in the spirit of punk.
R – This is blaming the victim stuff. I think standing up for your rights is punk rock. If people actually took the time to check the facts before making a judgment, now there's a concept, they would see that the other three (Klaus, D.H. and Ray) did nothing wrong, Biafra only has himself to blame. All he had to do was to live up to what he preached and the case could have been avoided.
BB - If you have grown up with the band as your heroes you don't want to hear that one of them may be less than that. I think people find it hard to believe that someone like Biafra, who was so strong in his beliefs, would shaft anyone.
R – One of the problems people have is they mix up the spirit of punk with the personalities. It's like when you are a little kid you believed in Santa Claus then at a certain point you realize Santa Claus doesn't exist but that doesn't mean the spirit of Christmas doesn't exist.
Biafra was very strong at espousing certain views. He has great skills as a charismatic public speaker and he loves casting himself as the martyr. People confuse the fact that he talked a good game with him playing a good game. He is not always like that but this time he was. We learned a lesson that there are people who use strong political convictions to cover up character flaws. The sad part is that he is in total denial about it. The way you grow as a human being is learn from mistakes and avoid that in the future. If you don't learn you are stuck in the same place .
People have turned punk into a religion in a certain sense, which was what DEAD KENNEDYS were always against. We make art, not a Bible. Biafra used to say think for yourself, but now he is more about telling people what to think. You have to understand that he was caught with his hand in the till so of course he is going to be defensive. And not admit it to his fans. He needed someone to blame and scapegoat, it's a classic manipulation technique. I mean, if he is willing to defraud his partners, do you think he will be more honest with his fans? Biafra took money from the band just like he tried to take sole songwriting credit. Most people feel that Biafra's post DK music is not as good as the Dead Kennedys material. Why's that? Maybe it's because the originality of Klaus, Peligro and myself is not involved in his later songwriting as it was in the DKs?
BB - You were doing solo stuff, as was the rest of the band. I heard an insider at the record label told you that you were being screwed. Is that kinda how things happened?
R – Originally I started Alternative Tentacles, for the single "California Uber Alles" I put together the recording, the pressing, and then the drummer and I (Ted) did the distribution out of the back of our cars.
BB - I bet you wish you still had a trunk full!
R – Yes, right. Then we formalized it in 1981 when Biafra and I
were partners with a manager who was also a partner. Then in '86 I saw that there was a conflict of interest between the band's interests and the record label's interest. I decided to split the business kinda in half, and I was running the Decay Music partnership, which was the bands partnership, while Biafra was running the record label because he wanted to continue doing that. What started it was the label raised the price they were charging the consumers and was keeping the entire price raise for themselves. Then I went in and said you need to split that increase between the bands and the label and they refused to do that. Then the new general manager of the record label, who had joined about a year before this, was going through the books, and they additionally discovered we were being paid a lot less than all the other bands on the label! Needless to say we were the biggest seller on the label. So we wrote a polite letter asking about that and then there was a meeting where they started to act very belligerent. Biafra had with him his attorney, Richard Stott, who was an old friend of his that Biafra had made band attorney in 1984. They got angry with me and said nothing was owed. At one point, I said that this is not the way a musician should be treated by the people on this label and they said maybe you are not a musician. It was heartbreaking. Klaus was at that meeting; he can verify what they said to me. That was when we knew we were in trouble, so Klaus and I went and got an attorney because this was just bull$hit and not punk rock. When the media later found out about the underpayment, Biafra changed his story and told his fans that he informed us. He tried to keep it in a trust fund under his exclusive control and didn't pay the band until the start of the trial.
R - We tried to negotiate for about a year and they just would not admit they under paid us. So we were forced to get a litigator and file a lawsuit and everybody said we were crazy. The bottom line was everyone was telling us, the distributor Mordam told us we were crazy, all the punk rock magazines, the people on the scene told us we were crazy. But Klaus, D.H. and I knew what was right. Basically what everyone was saying, which is such a sleazy sell-out, is that you need to protect Biafra's image, as his image is more important than the truth. Now it's punk to promote hypocrisy? If you tell me that is punk, then punk rock really is dead. But you cannot confuse image with reality and that is whatis going on here.
BB - Biafra has become larger than life, well that is the way he portrays himself anyway. I used to think he was being ironic and I enjoyed the first couple of spoken word albums.
R – Yes, his own press releases are about how pure he is. But he's a human being. He has kind of fallen into the thing of believing his own hype, his image is more important than reality. I am sorry but that is not punk. That is what punk was supposed to be against, at least DEAD KENNEDYS are.
BB - I think because Biafra is a great speaker that people are not looking for the facts. I have heard numerous accusations about the band only being interested in money, wanting to sign to a major label, and wanting to use "Holiday In Cambodia" in a Levi's commercial.
R – That was voted down. That happened like 2 years before the litigation but Biafra's resurrected the issue – look at the timing of it, to distract from his own problems. Another good manipulation technique. We get offers all the time and we voted it down. He grabbed on to it as a good media spin. Where is the commercial? The partnership won the court case in 2000 and there is no commercial. If people use a little bit of logic they would realize that we have all the rights now so why don't we license it to Levis?
BB - Is Biafra not allowed to make comments about you? I thought I read on his website that he said he had been told he couldn't make any comments.
R – (Laughs) Are you kidding, have you seen his website? He just makes stuff up to make himself look good. Look, he got caught taking royalties from the band to run his label, he will make up anything to get out of it. What more can I say, it just goes on and on. He said he wasn't getting paid yet there is a page on the website that shows four checks were cashed by him. The other thing is, if the partnership wasn't paying him, we would be in jail right now. If what he says is true, why doesn't he sue us for the money. He won't because he knows its not true. He makes more than the rest of us because of the lyrics. Then there is a Tony Hawk video that for years he says he never approved, yet there is a fax from Biafra's manager saying he saw it and approved it. So he's dropped that issue and counting on nobody noticing.
BB - I appreciate you discussing this stuff even though you are probably sick of it.
- I am hoping that this interview puts this to rest.
R – Good luck (laughs). You have to understand that Biafra is running the record label for 15 years and he has spent a lot of money on promotion, buying ads, doing interviews and he has a 15 year head start on us. He is very good with the media; he is very good at coming up with the one-liners and the slogans. But that doesn't make it true. I mean Klaus had a solo record that was one of the biggest sellers on Alternative Tentacles at one point and they told him they didn't have any money to spend on promotion anymore. At the trial it came out that Biafra was hiring an independent PR firm for thousands of dollars a month to promote his spoken word records, while they were telling Klaus they didn't have any money to do promotion (laughs). You have to have a sense of humor about this stuff.
BB - You don't seem to have the hostility, and you seem to see the funny side of it, from what I have heard Biafra is still fairly hostile towards you guys. Would you put it that way?
R – I'm Dick Cheney! Darth Vader! I guess I take it as a compliment that I have that much power over the universe, yet I can hardly control my cat (laughs).
BB - I am trying to piece this together. I believe you got back together for CD release party of "Mutiny On The Bay"? You weren't originally going to play, is that correct?
R – That is correct. We were releasing "Mutiny On The Bay" and had bands that were friends of ours going to play. We were going to have a meet and greet where we release the CD and shake people's hands and signs autographs and CDs and such. And then I think it was D.H. who said you know there is going to be equipment there and stuff so maybe we should get up and play some tunes.
BB - Well, you are musicians!
R – Right. We said who could we have sing and he was hanging out with Brandon Crux from DR KNOW, and said let me ask him. So, he said OK he would do, so we did it. It was planned as a one off, but we got an amazing reaction. Klaus and I flew to LA to rehearse at a rehearsal studio and we hadn't played DEAD KENNEDYS stuff for a long time but when the sound came out, there were dozens of people outside the door. We never announced we were playing, but those dozen people told other people so on the night of the show there were like 300 or 400 people outside of the club who had to be turned way. It sold out just on the rumor. We were very apprehensive about playing, but it turned out incredible. It grew from there. One of the things the shows give people is the chance to hear the songs and hopefully be inspired again to think more critically about today's situation. Nothing wrong with that.
BB - At that point you never thought to ask Biafra to play or were things so bad?
R – When that happened his appeal was going on. After the trial he was the one who spent 3 or 4 more years in court. He filed a federal lawsuit against us, an appeal against us, and I think he filed one more Superior Court action against us (laughs).
BB - I read that he said you guys approached him numerous times to play, but he kept saying not while you are suing me.
R – His attorney approached us and we did approach him. Probably about a year, year and a half a go. We said sure but I guess he changed his mind. He toys with it.
BB - Do these guys find it tough trying to take Biafra's place?
R – Oh yeah, they get a lot of static, especially when we started. We were playing 200-300 capacity clubs and few gave us a chance. Of course back then most people didn't know much about the case so people were 99% against us. But there is D.H. drumming, Klaus on bass and myself on guitar so there is three quarters of the sound. Have you seen us play?
BB - Unfortunately no.
R – We started at small clubs, but it has grown, last year we played the Fillmore in San Francisco, where we headlined. We have headlined CBGB's and Irving Plaza New York, headlined in Los Angeles, and then last year we played a festival in France to 10,000 people. We are playing better than ever. Biafra first said let the audience judge for themselves and the audience liked it and now he's changed to saying nasty things about us.
BB - Do you think the European audience is more forgiving as they are not caught up in the petty politics of what has happened?
R – No, it depends on the people. We have had good shows here, like New York was really good.
BB - I have heard great things about you live as I have a ton of bootlegs, which I am sure you frown upon. I really enjoy the CDs and DVDs from the last tours.
R – Really, I don't have many.
BB - I will have to send you some. The problem I see is people have already made their mind up and don't want to give you a chance, but once they have seen you they are blown away.
R – Exactly, that is kind of what is happening. The fact is that at some shows someone comes up and says I was really skeptical but then I came and you guys rocked out. We respect the skeptics, at least that haven't pre-judged. But it is amazing the people that call themselves punk rock and aware will pre-judge us without seeing a show. Amazingly they think they are punker-than-though. Nazi Punks F#ck Off! I am not talking Nazis with swastikas and stuff I am talking about peoples minds that are closed. There is a line in the song that talks about punk rock not being a religion, but some people treat it that way.
BB - To these people you sacrificed their high priest! Some people see you three as the evil ones.
R – The evil ones (laughs). We didn't do anything. It was all his own doing. Aren't there maybe a few bigger problems in the world than this?
BB - You must feel a section of fans have moved on with you, while still embracing your past?
R – When we play the audience is about one third from back in the day and two thirds are new people, so we have two generations. For a band that is quite an honor. Here in California the MOODY BLUES might play up in Reno and the audience is the same age as the band.
For our band it isn't, we have both generations. For a musician that is quite something.
BB - Is there any chance you are going to release anything live with Brandon or Jeff, just to show people?
R – I don't know at this point?
BB - Do you have other things in the works?
R – If I had that would be telling.
BB - Any plans to tour?
R – We are on a little bit of a break but we may do some stuff next spring.
BB - Any last thoughts?
R - "Punk ain't no religious cult,
Punk means thinking for yourself"
09.10.07 - Foo Fighters Performed Dead Kennedys Song at MTV Video Music Awards
On Sunday, September 9, 2007, the Foo Fighters and Serj Tankian, vocalist from System of A Down, performed the Dead Kennedys tune "Holiday In Cambodia" live at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. You can check it out here in its entirety straight from the MTV website.
Foo Fighters also collaborated in their private suite with Cee Lo from Gnarls Barkly, Lemmy Kilmister from Motörhead and Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age.
07.31.07 - Dead Kennedys Voted in Top 25 Most Influential Punk Bands
ShoutMouth.com has recognized as one of the top 25 Most Influential Bands!
"They were one of the first bands to use deliberately shocking lyrics to draw attention to the real problems they were singing about. While fusing more experimental music styles with the traditional US punk sound, they took punk rock aggression to a new level. They also managed to be so wildly offensive -- despite not reaching a mainstream audience -- they faced criminal charges for "distribution of harmful matter to minors," and even went to trial over the matter."
CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL LIST
06.12.07 - Biafra Bans Klaus from Dirk Fest
Blog by Klaus Flouride
June 12, 2007
So Friday I was going to go to the DirkFest. I had purchased tickets from Virtuous online in May. No Alternative offered to Guest list me but I said thanks but it's a benefit and I'd like to respect the spirit of that. We were hoping to arrive early so as to get a table upstairs and out of the spotlight and enjoy the evening without making a point about being there for anything more than support, and as I said to enjoy some bands for which I had a lot of respect.
When my friends and I arrived first we saw Damon Malloy, gave him a hug and said great to see him etc. then we went to the box office and got our tickets. No problem. Keep in mind that we were going to the show to honor Dirks memory, help Damon with his expenses and see a good show. I had back in December and January taken a poster from the Fillmore Fab Mab Reunion Show and gotten everybody who played to sign it for auction being put together by Kathy Peck. This involved running all over town and fed-ex to NYC and back etc. Everybody in all the bands were very co-operative in helping with this effort. It was framed and given to Kathy for the auction.
After about 20 minutes Damon Malloy came over and said he had bad news, and I said "Don't tell me, Bridget's camera can't go in, right?" and he said no but that he was sorry to have to say that Biafra had instructed Scott (the stage manager?) that I was not to be allowed into the venue. That if I tried to enter I would be forcibly removed.
I want to point out again that I did not want the focus to be about me that night, but about Dirk's memory, so I made no fuss, got a refund for my tickets as did my friends Mike, Eric, Kate and Bridget. People expressed
shock to us that Biafra would do such a thing and all said that it was just plain wrong. I had paid for my tickets and was going to a show. Plain and simple.
A few people spoke to Biafra that night but no one has made any public mention of this and so I find the need to post this just to get it off my chest.
Mr. Biafra apparently can tell a club whomever is and isn't allowed in andthey will roll over. So be it.
Nobody wants to come forward to say perhaps that doesn't seem right, so be it.
I guess that's just the way things are.
Just a note as an addendum that when we did the Fab Mab Reunion show when Dirk was still alive, Biafra was invited to join, and for whatever reasons he chose not to, but he would never have been banned.
Just to clarify.
04.27.07 - East Bay Ray in Brazil
East Bay Ray will be playing guitar for the band PRIME SUSPECT at the 1200 FESTIVAL, on Saturday,May 19, 2007 at Fazenda Maeda, Itu, São Paulo, Brazil. It is an open air,day & night festival presented by ASTRO Productions.
http://www.1200festival.com • http://www.myspace.com/1200festival
American artist Ariel and German electronic music producer Jan Muller have joined forces to produce the criminal sounds of Prime Suspect. With a blend artpop-disco-industrial-techno-newwave-electro-go-go punk and live vocals this duo creates a distinctive, futuristic hybrid of dance. The compelling mix of electronic punk features both Jan & Ariel's emotive vocals, adding a taste of yesterday's anarchist sarcastic flavor, but never interferes with the music. Jan as progammer and composer uses as many analogue sounds as
ossible, bringing musicians into the studio, creating a virtual band. Featured on various tracks of the up and coming debut album, "BANG!" is the guitar mastership of the legendary East Bay Ray of the Dead Kennedys. Supporting members are Johann Bley on drums (ex-member of KMFDM & Juno Reactor) Jasper Scholtz, bass guitar and vocals . Next to Prime Suspect, Jan is the co-producer of internationally renowed project X-Dream. Starting out in Hip-Hop in 1989, evolving into X-Dream and various side projects, reflecting each time a new flavor of expression.
03.14.07 - East Bay Ray Master Class Saturday, March 31st, 7-8:30pm
On Saturday, March 31st at 7PM EAST BAY RAY will lead a discussion and demonstration on his inspiring and legendary guitar sound and songwriting in a Master Class. Topics will include thinking and playing "outside the box", the creative process, the math of music, and much more. The event takes place at the
Blue Bear School of Music.
02.08.07 - Dead Kennedys #3 on IGN's Top 25 Punk Albums
Dead Kennedy's Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables nails the number 3 spot on IGN's Top 25 Punk Albums list. CLICK HERE and view the entire list.