This is an mp3 blog attempting to document the gross amount of music I listen to. About once a day, I'll post something I like. If you're a copyright holder on anything I host, get in touch, and we'll settle things in a steel cage instead of a courtroom.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

"When you're innocent, it just don't pay" - Dead Kennedys, Pt. 3

So I think I smoked 'em today at my job interview. It's for a government contractor that helps train professional response to victims of crime, i.e. rape counsellors, desk-bound police officers, etc. After a string of jobs where I deal with half-wits, devil women, and rich assholes with more money than decency, it seems like I'd be able to go back to being able to look at myself in the mirror at 7 AM.

So, back again for the thrilling conclusion of the Dead Kennedys' epic tale? It's a tragic one, I'll tell you that much, campers.

The beginning of the end starts with the purchase of a Christmas gift. A teenage girl in Los Angeles (why do Californians have to fuck up everything for the rest of us?) bought her brother a copy of Frankenchrist for Christmas. Come the unwrapping frenzy on Dec. 25th, the parents objected to the poster included with the album, HR Giger's "Landscape XX" (check it: One police raid on his home later, Biafra (along with a few other co-defendents, although the owner of the store that actually sold the girl the record wasn't indicted, suspiciously - I'm guessing because the chain store actually had money to hire good lawyers) found himself as the first American facing obscenity charges in court.

There's wide speculation that Biafra and the Kennedys' label Alternative Tentacles were targeted because they were a small, independent operation that could hardly afford a protracted legal battle. They figured he'd pay the $2000 and it would send a message to the Motley Crues of the world. What they didn't count on was that Biafra, ever the mindful/paranoid leftist, feared that buckling would create precedent used to suppress the First Amendment rights of other artists. So, he founded the No More Censorship Defense Fund and plead not guilty.

In the run-up to the trial, Dead Kennedys recorded what would be their final album, the bitter Bedtime for Democracy, which was released in November of '86, months after the band had played their last show. It's a disappointing record in a lot of ways, but it's still got moments of greatness. It's a bit regressive, with the band reverting to their thrashier early days. Other than the metallic sludge of "Cesspools in Eden" and a catchy hook here and there, it's pretty clear that not a whole lot of thought went into the writing or arranging of the album. Hardly the way for a great band to bow out, but it's still better than a lot of the other hardcore being produced around the same time (*cough* the New York scene *cough*).

About a year later, the trial finally went to jury. I imagine it must have been hilarious for a jury made up of soccer moms to have to listen to a line-by-line dissection of Dead Kennedys lyrics as well as look at a huge poster of penises in asses. After a colorful trial (documented in Biafra's spoken word album The High Priest of Harmful Matter), the jury deadlocked 7 to 5 in favor of acquittal, and the judge ruled against charges being refiled.

There's been more courtroom drama, but it's been mostly post-breakup pissing matches that I don't want to get into here, 'cause everyone involved ends up looking like a dickhead. As I like to do, I think I should let the music do most of the talking. And that's that! Tomorrow, I'll go back to doing one-shot updates about bands Razorcake tells me I should like (dammit, even though they seem like pricks, I can't help but love Off With Their Heads!).

Hop With the Jetset:

I Spy:

Cesspools in Eden:

Where Do You Draw the Line?:

Lie Detector:


Blogger AmyMeacham said...

Good luck with the job, and welcome back, loverboy!

9:36 PM


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