Great news! We’re happy to say that we’ve now widened our range of Dead Kennedys merchandise!
If you’re even only slightly aware of punk, Dead Kennedys is a name that should ring a bell with you. One of the prime bands of the early-1980’s hardcore punk movement in America – along with Bad Brains, Black Flag and Minor Threat – Dead Kennedys were a band that pushed punk further with speed and aggression. Unlike their contemporaries, they were far more political than social thanks to Jello Biafra’s lyrics; which were often playful and drenched with satire while criticising right-wingers and totalitarian governments, written in the point of view of those people more often than not. Check out songs like Police Truck and California Uber Alles and you’ll get the idea.
Unsurprisingly, this meant that the band stepped on a few toes during its existence, Jello often feeling the brunt of the backlash. Their 1985 album “Frankenchrist”, the band faced charges due to their use of H.R. Geiger’s ‘Work 219: Landscape XX’, for ‘distribution of harmful matter to minors’. For a while, Biafra ended up on several heated talk shows defending the band’s actions and creativity to angry audiences, unveiling in several of the police brutality he experienced during a raid of his home.
After all the trouble and controversy of that particular time, Dead Kennedys decided to call it a day in 1986 after releasing the suitably named “Bedtime For Democracy”.
While the band has reunited – guitarist East Bay Ray being the only original member now – they haven’t released anything new and seem to have lost their shine when communication with Biafra soured after the break-up. Granted this is a shame, but Jello has experienced continuing success with his own band Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine (often playing Dead Kennedys songs live), his spoken word albums and collaborations with the likes of Melvins and D.O.A.
Nevertheless, Dead Kennedys left a big impression in punk, rock and metal; influencing a whole generation of teens and a myriad of bands, most notably Slayer, as the late Jeff Hanneman was a huge fan.