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ENTERTAINMENT
September 28, 2001 | NATALIE NICHOLS, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Seeing the Dead Kennedys perform Wednesday at the Key Club without original singer and principal lyricist Jello Biafra was about as satisfying as watching Van Halen without David Lee Roth. But the Bay Area punk act's casual, 45-minute performance with guest vocalist Brandon Cruz (from the hard-core band Dr. Know) did underscore the formative influence and enduring appeal of the 23-year-old group's politically charged music. Last year, guitarist East Bay Ray, bassist Klaus Flouride and drummer D.
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ENTERTAINMENT
June 11, 2013 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
Black Flag's menacingly simple logo, designed by artist Raymond Pettibon in the late 1970s, has achieved a kind of ubiquity few others have. Born on the streets of Los Angeles, his design for his brother Greg Ginn's band Black Flag consisted solely of four vertical black bars, and has become a symbol known the world over. An entire art book has been devoted to tattoos of this logo, and graffiti spotters across the globe understand the unwritten meaning of the symbol: rebellion. (When I visited Yangon, Myanmar, in 2009, I saw the Black Flag bars spray-painted on a public wall.)
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 8, 1999 | NATALIE NICHOLS, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
"I'm not a guru," says Jello Biafra, rejecting a tag that's frequently applied to him as former leader of the pioneering punk band the Dead Kennedys and a persistent provocateur since the group disbanded. The disdain in his voice makes it clear that although he criticizes the status quo, there's no magical cure for what ails American culture. Still, the self-described "big mouth" has a lot of ideas about what went wrong.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 9, 2012 | By August Brown
The ugly subculture of neo-Nazi punk rock is back in the news after the shooting at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee. But within the punk community itself, many voices have loudly opposed this strain over the decades and worked to combat it with music. Jello Biafra , the founder of the pioneering Bay Area punk band Dead Kennedys, label owner and one of the most outspoken leftist activists in music, wrote perhaps the defining anti-Nazi punk anthem in 1981. We can't print its title, but we spoke with Biafra -- who now fronts Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine -- about the history of Nazi punk and his own legacy in opposing it. A condensed and lightly edited transcript of his remarks follows: I wrote that song in 1981, and at the time, it was aimed at people who were really violent on the dance floor; they didn't call it mosh pits yet. It began to attract people showing up just to see if they could get in fights in the pit or jump off stage and punch people in the back of the head and run away.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 9, 2012 | By August Brown
The ugly subculture of neo-Nazi punk rock is back in the news after the shooting at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee. But within the punk community itself, many voices have loudly opposed this strain over the decades and worked to combat it with music. Jello Biafra , the founder of the pioneering Bay Area punk band Dead Kennedys, label owner and one of the most outspoken leftist activists in music, wrote perhaps the defining anti-Nazi punk anthem in 1981. We can't print its title, but we spoke with Biafra -- who now fronts Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine -- about the history of Nazi punk and his own legacy in opposing it. A condensed and lightly edited transcript of his remarks follows: I wrote that song in 1981, and at the time, it was aimed at people who were really violent on the dance floor; they didn't call it mosh pits yet. It began to attract people showing up just to see if they could get in fights in the pit or jump off stage and punch people in the back of the head and run away.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 15, 1987 | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press
Jello Biafra, lead singer of the defunct punk-rock band Dead Kennedys, and four record company associates pleaded innocent Monday to charges that they illegally distributed an obscene poster to a minor who purchased the Dead Kennedys LP "Frankenchrist." Biafra, whose real name is Eric Boucher, and the others were charged last June after a teen-age girl bought the album as a gift for her 11-year-old brother. Inside was a reproduction of a painting by Swiss surrealist painter H.R.
NEWS
April 19, 2000 | From Associated Press
An escalating legal feud over musical rights between Jello Biafra and his former punk band, the Dead Kennedys, is scheduled to go to trial this week. Biafra, the group's singer-songwriter, claims his former bandmates took his record label, Alternative Tentacles, after he refused to sell the Dead Kennedys song "Holiday in Cambodia" to Levi's for a TV ad.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 4, 1987
The importance of the case against Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra should not be overshadowed by one's musical taste. The decision to drop the charges (Metro, Aug. 28) of pornography against Biafra and his record label confirms the First Amendment rights of the entire artistic community. Had the poster in question been a sophomoric rendering instead of a recognized work of art, or had there been no label on the album cover cautioning against explicit and potentially offensive material, then perhaps the group could be considered guilty of a lack of sensitivity to the needs of the community.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 11, 1987
Tipper Gore of the Parents Music Resource Center only wants consumer information on records, cassettes, etc. I think it is hilarious that Frank Zappa, the Dead Kennedys and others are saying just exactly what food companies, cosmetic companies, etc., said for years to fight having to put ingredient lists on their packages. The musicians are so upset just about "having" to print lyrics. They would really be upset if they had to disclose their "artificial ingredients" (recording tricks)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 20, 1988 | PAUL FELDMAN
Fifteen months after a Los Angeles judge dismissed pornography charges against Jello Biafra, the San Francisco-based punk rock artist is re-enacting his two-week trial in a cross-country tour of college campuses and concert halls. Last week,wed4 the former Dead Kennedys lead singer touched down in a packed Long Beach music club, where his spoken-word performance was taped for a record album he plans to release next year titled, "High Priest of Harmful Matter--Tales from the Trial."
ENTERTAINMENT
June 5, 2008 | Margaret Wappler
IN 1978, the Cramps, the sublimely spooky punk act, treated the patients of Napa State Mental Hospital to a free afternoon show. Joe Rees, the founder of Target Video, recorded it with only available light on a reel-to-reel. Bootleg copies circulated for years; it was released on DVD in 2004. "It was incredible," Rees says from his Reno home, where he releases DVDs from the archives. "The Cramps were at the height of their powers. You couldn't tell the patients from the band. . . . Many of the patients danced right next to the band, mimicking their movements perfectly."
NEWS
April 15, 2004 | Heidi Siegmund Cuda
Biafra pulls no punches on war Part verbal pugilist, part punk-rock radical, Jello Biafra twisted a few heads around Thursday at the UC Santa Barbara Events Center. As part of Punkvoter.com's "Rock Against Bush" festival, the former Dead Kennedys frontman unleashed a diatribe against the war in Iraq. The police presence was so thick you could smell the doughnuts, and the sold-out audience was riveted to his every condemning word.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 28, 2001 | NATALIE NICHOLS, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Seeing the Dead Kennedys perform Wednesday at the Key Club without original singer and principal lyricist Jello Biafra was about as satisfying as watching Van Halen without David Lee Roth. But the Bay Area punk act's casual, 45-minute performance with guest vocalist Brandon Cruz (from the hard-core band Dr. Know) did underscore the formative influence and enduring appeal of the 23-year-old group's politically charged music. Last year, guitarist East Bay Ray, bassist Klaus Flouride and drummer D.
NEWS
April 19, 2000 | From Associated Press
An escalating legal feud over musical rights between Jello Biafra and his former punk band, the Dead Kennedys, is scheduled to go to trial this week. Biafra, the group's singer-songwriter, claims his former bandmates took his record label, Alternative Tentacles, after he refused to sell the Dead Kennedys song "Holiday in Cambodia" to Levi's for a TV ad.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 8, 1999 | NATALIE NICHOLS, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
"I'm not a guru," says Jello Biafra, rejecting a tag that's frequently applied to him as former leader of the pioneering punk band the Dead Kennedys and a persistent provocateur since the group disbanded. The disdain in his voice makes it clear that although he criticizes the status quo, there's no magical cure for what ails American culture. Still, the self-described "big mouth" has a lot of ideas about what went wrong.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 8, 1991 | JOHN D'AGOSTINO
Around the turn of the century, there emerged a type of traveling public forum that seems quaintly innocent in this age of "sound bites" and political "spin doctors." Called "Chautauquas" after the New York town in which the mobile forum originated, these road shows combined lecture, drama, music, dance and demonstration, either to convey a specific message or to educate the public about general concerns or new developments.
NEWS
April 15, 2004 | Heidi Siegmund Cuda
Biafra pulls no punches on war Part verbal pugilist, part punk-rock radical, Jello Biafra twisted a few heads around Thursday at the UC Santa Barbara Events Center. As part of Punkvoter.com's "Rock Against Bush" festival, the former Dead Kennedys frontman unleashed a diatribe against the war in Iraq. The police presence was so thick you could smell the doughnuts, and the sold-out audience was riveted to his every condemning word.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 20, 1988 | PAUL FELDMAN
Fifteen months after a Los Angeles judge dismissed pornography charges against Jello Biafra, the San Francisco-based punk rock artist is re-enacting his two-week trial in a cross-country tour of college campuses and concert halls. Last week,wed4 the former Dead Kennedys lead singer touched down in a packed Long Beach music club, where his spoken-word performance was taped for a record album he plans to release next year titled, "High Priest of Harmful Matter--Tales from the Trial."
ENTERTAINMENT
September 20, 1987
It was entertaining to hear Robert Hilburn rebut Allan Bloom's critique of rock 'n' roll ("Rock Under Fire," Sept. 6). I must risk being perceived as unhip and agree with Bloom that rock music is a philosophical wasteland. Is Prof. Hilburn really telling us that Bruce Springsteen's yelps about the true meaning of street racing and manual labor compare to Tocqueville on American culture? Rock philosophy may have seemed profound to me in high school, but so did the latest line on who was taking whom to the prom.
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