Jello Biafra Shaking Things Up
- hursday, August 31, 2000
Jello shaking things up
Former punk rocker remains true to
his anti-corporate roots
By DENIS ARMSTRONG Ottawa Sun
CONTROVERSY and anarchy are Jello
Biafra's mojo these days.
The former frontman of the seminal west coast
punk surfers The Dead Kennedys practically
revived the censorship issue in the United States
with his nasty sense of humour and provocative
For 15 years, Biafra insulted, provoked, amused,
and embarrassed authority and this Saturday at
the National Gallery Auditorium at 8 p.m., he
wants your $12 to experience his "An Evening of
Social and Political Spoken Word" at Alternafest.
One of alternative music's holy trinity of spoken
word artists -- along with Black Flag's Henry
Rollins and The Swan's Michael Gira -- Biafra
will be performing from his recordings including I
Blow Minds For A Living.
It should prove to be an eye-opening evening of
underground politics, conspiracy theories and
generous dollops of irreverent attitude from the
wannabe president with a squeegee-kid's attitude.
Especially now that his former bandmates are
suing him for rights to sell their hit Holiday in
Cambodia for a Levi's ad.
"Corporate media is designed to make people
stupid," says Biafra from his home in San
Francisco. "Corporate America wants us
preoccupied with meaningless news like who wins
Survivor rather than will we survive an ozone
layer that looks like Swiss cheese."
'Makes me sick'
Speaking in neat sound bites, the articulate
Biafra, 42, who has spent his performing career
crusading against capitalism, mass media and
corporate culture, hasn't lost any edge since The
Kennedys disbanded in 1986, six years after their
first release Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables.
"It makes me sick what those guys have turned
into," he laments. "They've hired a corporate
lawyer who handles bands like Boston, Journey
and the Doobie Brothers, who turned the
Kennedys into a big money whore. They're totally
obsessed with money now. I really regret being
mixed up with those guys."
Biafra has openly courted a political career,
running for mayor of San Francisco in the early
1980s and the presidential primary as the Green
Party candidate in 1999 before losing to
consumer advocate Ralph Nader. He has
indicated interest in running for the Green Party in
the 2004 primary.
"There's no difference between the Democrats
and the Republicans," said Biafra. "They aren't
separate parties anymore, they're one party -- the
-- With files from Ian Nathanson
The Website of Lord Weÿrdgliffe:
The Dan Clore Necronomicon Page:
"Tho-ag in Zhi-gyu slept seven Khorlo. Zodmanas
zhiba. All Nyug bosom. Konch-hog not; Thyan-Kam
not; Lha-Chohan not; Tenbrel Chugnyi not;
Dharmakaya ceased; Tgenchang not become; Barnang
and Ssa in Ngovonyidj; alone Tho-og Yinsin in
night of Sun-chan and Yong-grub (Parinishpanna),
-- The Book of Dzyan.