Punk rock, politics and gelatine
If I had any doubt the phone number I just dialed was punk legend Jello Biafra’s, it was completely removed when I began explaining where I was calling from.
“I know where Windsor is, I’ve been there before,” said Biafra halfway through explaining in his signature snarky tone that, as a long-time listener, I’ve become very familiar with.
“I think the longest, most exhaustive border crossing I’ve ever been a part of was when Dead Kennedys crossed back out of Canada to play a show in Detroit in 1982 … Yeah, that was a nasty one,” Biafra said. “They tore the van and everybody’s belongings to pieces.”
The former Dead Kennedys vocalist and current owner of Alternative Tentacles records is heading back to Detroit June 15, this time to the Magic Stick with his band the Guantanamo School of Medicine. Biafra clearly respects and admires the Motor City’s music history, referring to it as the “cradle from which almost all American punk, 1976 and beyond, sprang” and saying he felt like the only fan of The Stooges and MC5 when he was in school.
“It’d be ‘Oh, maybe I should move to Detroit and there’ll be more cool music there and people like me instead of all these clowns who are trying to become the next Chick Corea or the next Eagles,’” said Biafra, who grew up in Boulder, Colo. “Of course there’s also the whole Motown history too, which somebody like (MC5 guitarist) Wayne Kramer will tell you is intertwined and crucial with the rise and power of Detroit rock and roll.”
His thoughts regarding the events leading up to Detroit’s 2013 bankruptcy declaration, however, are not nearly as kind.
“Obviously this whole ‘financial manager appointed by the governor’ situation is a complete scam,” he said. “I mean, that law was overturned by popular referendum and then the corrupt criminals who are in the lame-duck legislature re-enacted the law right after the election, and even put in a poison pill so it could not be overturned by referendum.”
“But the whole purpose of appointing a financial manager to act as a virtual dictator, or whatever, you’re basically turning cities into banana republics. It’s a land grab, it’s a money grab.”
His latest album, White People and the Damage Done, addresses issues such as greed, corruption, white collar crime and the abundance of celebrity gossip in mainstream media.
“I think that the slant towards more and more tabloid crap on celebrities is not just there to serve advertisers, it’s there to make as many people possible as stupid and obedient as possible,” said Biafra. “Especially, if you can get half the population, women, so hung up on their looks and their weight and everything else that they don’t fight back against the people who are abusing them in that manner.”
The solution to being constantly bombarded with tabloid fare, according to Biafra, is to develop a “bullshit detector.”
“It’s especially important for not just adults but for kids. Especially when either sex, or especially young girls, hit adolescence and they just get attacked from all sides by the fashion police,” he said.
“If they’ve already got a strong bullshit detector and their peers or even mothers and teachers are saying, ‘It doesn’t matter how interesting or dynamic or intelligent you are. You’re too fat, you’re ugly, you’re not popular.’ If they’ve got the bullshit detector already there they can say, ‘Yo, I’d rather be myself, thank you very much. I don’t need that shit. See ya later.’”
Although he’s been a public critic of many aspects of U.S. society for nearly four decades, don’t confuse Biafra with being anti-American. Biafra says he loves his country in his own unique way.
“I mean, what a weird-ass, perverted country we have. But it’s also a beautiful place in many ways. It’s the birthplace of rock and roll and soul and all kinds of amazing music and culture. Film, writing, you name it,” said Biafra. “In spite of people of other countries asking me over the years, ‘If America’s as fucked up as you say it is, why haven’t you fled the country yet ?’”
“And I say ‘Hey, wait a minute, this is my home.’ Home is where the disease is.”
Source : Urbanitynews du 05/06/14 par Adam D’Andrea