Jello Biafra proves he is still a ‘punk’
Punk is dead ?
Naw. Just older. Much older.
Amid the crowd of gray hairs and bald men, Jello Biafra emerged Saturday night decked in a tiger striped coat and matching hat, arms outstretched to greet his screaming fans who were amped to see the 55-year-old take to the mic.
Biafra, former frontman of the 1980s hard-core punk band Dead Kennedys, made the rousing entrance in front of a packed Alex’s Bar in Long Beach, kicking up the political fervor for about 200 punks — young and old.
Sure, Biafra had a beer belly and a gray beard, but his stage presence hadn’t changed much over the more than three decades when he hit the punk rock scene in 1978.
“His energy — at this age — is amazing,” said longtime fan Tony Whiting.
The 50-year-old West Hills man then paused to enjoy a guitar riff.
“I grew up listening to this,” Whiting said. “This is what it’s all about.”
Biafra, known as a political punk rocker, who even (unsuccessfully) ran for office several times, including the mayor of San Francisco and president in 2000, is also a spoken-word artist and certainly flexed those talents during the more than hourlong set. The band performed about a dozen songs from “New Feudalism,” “John Dillinger” to “Barackstar O’Bummer,” many of which were prefaced with a political rant where Biafra lamented about President Barack Obama and the media to the economy and the country’s struggle to fund education.
“I’m so god damn old I remember when there was money for all those things and you know what ? It ain’t gone it’s been stolen,” Biafra spouted off.“Stolen by rich people who don’t pay their taxes anymore and the puppets who let them get away with it.”
Animated with hand gestures and bulging eyes to emphasize his point, Biafra continued : “I’m so damn old I thought things were going to get better before when Richard (expletive) Nixon was run out of town,” Biafra told the crowd during one of his political rants. “Where we are now instead, on every level government you look at — both parties, is an army of Richard Nixons. Only it’s worse.”
True to his hatred of the corporate media, Biafra declined an interview with the Los Angeles News Group prior to the show if we didn’t adhere to some of his rules, which included no questions about Dead Kennedys. Biafra and Dead Kennedys split up in 1986 and has since had an embattled relationship, which have included lawsuits. Dead Kennedys later reformed without Biafra, who vehemently opposed a reunion. Biafra called the new incarnation of Dead Kennedys “the world’s greediest karaoke band.”
Still, Biafra didn’t have any hesitation when jumping into to old material like “California Über Alles” and “Holiday in Cambodia,” which were the Dead Kennedys first and second singles respectively released in 1979.
“This is fantastic. How many times are you going to see Jello Biafra perform ? The guy is getting older and he still kicks ass,” said Dustin Garcia, 24, of Downey. “I don’t care what anybody else says, this is the closest we’re ever going to get to Dead Kennedys because the new incarnation of the band sucks. They can’t be Dead Kennedys without Jello.”
Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine will continue its tour up California to San Francisco and Sacramento and finish up the month’s shows with one in Sparks, Nev.
“Jello speaking his mind, talking about politics and the reality of today’s corrupt society is awesome,” Garcia said. “He’s taking what made hard-core punk so influential in the ’80s back to the youth of today, and it’s still relevant.”
Source : Los Angeles Daily News du 11/10/13 par Mariecar Mendoza