You *know* that some day something like that will be out there hunting your fellow human beings on some battlefield. Or, worse still, patrolling the streets of your city. Our robotic achievements really are beginning to reach the 'stunning' level - Wildcat (for one example) is amazing - I just have a feeling that humans being what they are, those in power will use them against the 99% without any second thoughts. But who knows hackers might be able to make it turn sides. Real robot wars...
Time for another Aetix episode and here a band that merged revolutionary politics with hardcore punk music and, in the process, became one of the defining hardcore bands. Often, they were more notable for their politics than their music, but that was part of their impact. They were more inspired by British punk and the fiery, revolutionary-implied politics of the Sex Pistols than the artier tendencies of New York punk rockers. Under the direction of lead vocalist Jello Biafra, they became the most political and -- to the eyes of many observers, including Christians and right-wing politicians -- the most dangerous band in hardcore. . . ....N'Joy
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Dead Kennedys formed in June 1978 in San Francisco, California, when East Bay Ray (Raymond Pepperell) advertised for bandmates in the newspaper The Recycler, after seeing a ska-punk show at Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco. The original band lineup consisted of Jello Biafra (Eric Reed Boucher) on vocals, East Bay Ray on guitar, Klaus Flouride (Geoffrey Lyall) on bass, and Ted (Bruce Slesinger) on drums and percussion. This lineup recorded their first demos. In early to mid July, the band recruited 6025 (Carlos Cadona) as a secondary guitarist. Their first show was on July 19, 1978, at the Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco, California.
Dead Kennedys played numerous shows at local venues afterwards. Due to the provocative name of the band, they sometimes played under pseudonyms, including "The DK's", "The Sharks", "The Creamsicles" and "The Pink Twinkies". The band's real name generated controversy. San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen wrote in November 1978, "Just when you think tastelessness has reached its nadir, along comes a punk rock group called The Dead Kennedys, which will play at Mabuhay Gardens on Nov. 22, the 15th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination. Despite mounting protests, the owner of Mabuhay says, "I can't cancel them NOW — there's a contract. Not, apparently, the kind of contract some people have in mind." However, despite popular belief, the name was not meant to insult the Kennedy family, but according to Biafra, "to bring attention to the end of the American Dream".
6025 left the band in March 1979 under somewhat unclear circumstances, generally considered to be musical differences. In June, the band released their first single, "California Über Alles", an attack on the then-current governor, Jerry Brown, on the independent label Alternative Tentacles. The band followed with a well received East Coast tour. Shortly afterward they released by their second single, "Holiday in Cambodia." In 1979, Biafra ran for mayor of San Francisco; he finished fourth. By this time, the band had become quite popular in both the American and British underground. Finally, in 1980, the band released their debut album, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, on IRS Records. After its release, Ted left the band; he was replaced by drummer Darren H. Peligro.
Around the same time, East Bay Ray had tried to pressure the rest of the band to sign to the major record label Polydor Records; Biafra stated that he was prepared to leave the group if the rest of the band wanted to sign to the label, though East Bay Ray asserts that he recommended against signing with Polydor. Polydor decided not to sign the band after they learned that the Dead Kennedys' next single was to be entitled "Too Drunk to Fuck". When it came out in May 1981, the song caused much controversy in the UK as the BBC feared the single would reach the Top 30; this would require a mention of the song on Top of the Pops.
Following the release of Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, The Dead Kennedys formed their own independent record label, Alternative Tentacles, in 1981. First release the EP In God We Trust, Inc. (1981) saw them move toward a more aggressive hardcore/thrash sound. In addition to the EP's controversial artwork depicting a gold Christ figure on a cross of dollar bills, the lyrics contained Biafra's most biting social and political commentary yet. In 1982, they released their second studio album, Plastic Surgery Disasters. The album's cover features a withered starving African child's hand being held and dwarfed by a white man's hand. This picture won the World Press Photo award in 1980, and was taken in Karamoja district in Uganda by Mike Wells.
The band's music had evolved much in a short time, moving away from hardcore formulas toward a more innovative jazz-informed style, featuring musicianship and dynamics far beyond other bands in the genre (thus effectively removing the music from that genre). By now the group had become a de facto political force, pitting itself against rising elements of American social and political life such as the religious right, Ronald Reagan and the idle rich. The band continued touring all over the United States, as well as Europe and Australia, and gained a large underground following. While they continued to play live shows during 1983 and 1984, the band took a hiatus, during which bandmembers -- most notably Klaus Flouride -- performed with various side projects. During that time, Alternative Tentacles began to establish itself as a major force in the American underground, hence they concentrated on the Alternative Tentacles record label, which would become synonymous with DIY alternative culture.
The release of the album Frankenchrist in 1985 showed the band had grown in terms of musical proficiency and lyrical maturity. While there were still a number of loud/fast songs, much of the music featured an eclectic mix of instruments including trumpets and synthesizers. Around this time Klaus Flouride released the similarly experimental solo EP Cha Cha Cha With Mr. Flouride. Lyrically, the band continued their trademark social commentary, with songs such as "MTV Get Off The Air" and "Jock-o-rama" poking fun at mainstream America. In some ways the album represented an artistic peak.
However, the album also heralded in an era of prolonged legal trouble for the band. The artwork caused a furor with the newly formed Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC). In December 1985 a teenage girl purchased the album at the Wherehouse Records store in Los Angeles County. The girl's mother wrote letters of complaint to the California Attorney General and to Los Angeles prosecutors.
The Dead Kennedys returned in 1985 with Frankenchrist, which was the record that earned the band its greatest notoriety. Included with the album was a poster of the Swiss artist H.R. Giger's Landscape #XX, it depicts nine copulating penises. A year after the release of the album, The Kennedys and Alternative Tentacles were prosecuted under revised Californian anti-obscenity laws for distributing pornography to minors because of the poster. For the next two years, the band was embroiled in a bitter legal battle, during which Biafra emerged as one of the most articulate advocates for free speech and vocal opponents of the PMRC. In the summer of 1987, the case ended with a hung jury and was dismissed.
In addition to the obscenity lawsuit and being ignored by the mainstream media (MTV and most radio stations gave such groups scant notice, not to mention airplay), the band became increasingly disillusioned with the underground scene as well. The hardcore scene, which had been a haven for free-thinking intellectuals and downtrodden nonconformists, was increasingly attracting hooligans who came to punk concerts looking only to slam dance and fight to violent music. In earlier years the band had criticized neo-Nazi skinheads for trying to ruin the punk scene, but just as big a problem was the increasing popularity of thrash metal and stereotypical macho "post-1982 hardcore" which brought the group (and their genre) an audience that had little to do with the ideas/ideals they stood for. In January 1986, frustrated and alienated from their own scene, the DKs decided to break up to pursue other interests and played their last concert on February 21.
The band continued to work on songs, with Biafra penning songs such as "Chickenshit Conformist" and "Anarchy for Sale", which articulated their feelings about the "dumbing down" of punk rock. During the summer they recorded these songs for their final album, Bedtime for Democracy, which was released in November. The artwork, depicting a defaced Statue of Liberty overrun with Nazis, media, opportunists, Klan members, corrupt government officials, and religious zombies, echoed the idea that the punk scene was no longer a safe haven for "your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free".
The album contains a number of fast/short songs interspersed with jazz ("D.M.S.O."), spoken word ("A Commercial") and psychedelia ("Cesspools In Eden"). The lyrical focus is more introspective and earnest ("Where Do Ya Draw The Line?"), with an anti-war, anti-violence ("Rambozo The Clown") bent, moving away from the violent imagery of their early records, while remaining as subversive as ever ("I Spy", "D.M.S.O."). In December, the band announced their split. Biafra went on to speak about his political beliefs on numerous television shows and he released a number of spoken-word albums. Ray, Flouride, and Peligro also went on to solo careers.
Although The Dead Kennedys emerged victorious from the court battle, they didn't remain a band for much longer. After the case was settled, The Kennedys split, releasing the posthumous compilation Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death in 1987. Biafra embarked on a solo career, releasing musical and spoken-word recordings sporadically over the next couple decades. Flouride returned to his fledgling solo career, releasing two albums in the late '80s and early '90s. The DVD format of Dmpo's On Broadway, The Dead Kennedys' June 1984 performance marking the closing of San Francisco's avant-garde theater and nightclub, was released in May 2000.
In the late 1990s, former band members discovered problems with the amount of payments which each band member had received from their record label Alternative Tentacles. Former band members claimed that Jello Biafra had conspired to pay lower royalty rates to the band members. Although both sides agreed that the failure to pay these royalties was an accounting mistake, they were upset that Biafra failed to inform the band of the mistake after he and his co-workers discovered it. Both sides claim they attempted to resolve the matter without legal action, but the ultimately complicated legal dispute (involving royalties, publishing rights, and a number of other issues) soon led to the courts, where Biafra was found liable for the royalties after the jury determined that he had committed fraud and malice, and was ordered to pay damages of nearly $200,000, including $20,000 in punitive damages, to the band members.
Biafra had received sole songwriting credit for most Dead Kennedys songs on all released albums for the last 20 years or so without complaints from the band, though a minority of songs had given credit to certain group members or the entire band as a whole, indicating a system designed to reflect the primary composers. Biafra's former bandmates maintain that they sued because of Jello Biafra's deliberate withholding of money, though when pressed they have acknowledged that the payment was an accounting mistake, but insist that Biafra was wrong in failing to inform the band directly. Details about this issue remain scarce. The band also maintains that the Levi's story was completely fictitious and invented by Biafra to discredit them. Ultimately, these issues have led to a souring of relationships with the erstwhile bandmates, who still have not resolved their personal differences as of today.
Several DVDs, re-issues, and live albums have been released since the departure of Biafra most recently on Manifesto Records. According to Biafra, the live albums are "cash-ins" on Dead Kennedys' name and his music. Biafra also accused the releases of the new live material of having poor sound quality. Furthermore he has stated he is not receiving any royalties from the sale of any Manifesto Records releases. Consequently, he has discouraged fans from buying any Dead Kennedy reissues. The other band members denied Biafra's accusations regarding the live releases, and have defended the mixes as an effort of hard work. Biafra dismissed the new group as "the world's greediest karaoke band." well they did go through a handful of singers in the noughties. Officially they still exist but no new material has been released which kinda proves the point Biafra was right he was entiteld to the writing credits...
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A hyper-speed blast of ultra-polemical, left-wing hardcore punk, and bitingly funny sarcasm, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables stands as the Dead Kennedys' signature statement. As one of the first hardcore albums, it was a galvanizing influence on the musical and attitudinal development of the genre, also helping to kickstart the fertile California scene. The record's tactics are not subtle in the least; Jello Biafra's odd warble and spat-out lyrics leave no doubt as to what he thinks, baiting his targets of conservatism, violence, overbearing authority, and capitalist greed with a viciously satirical sarcasm that keeps his unflinchingly political outlook from becoming too didactic. The thin production dilutes some of the music's power, but the ragged speed-blur still packs a wallop, and the hooks cribbed from surf and rockabilly give it a gonzo edge. The songwriting isn't consistent all the way through the album, but classics like "Kill the Poor," "Let's Lynch the Landlord," "Chemical Warfare," "California Über Alles," and "Holiday In Cambodia" helped define the hardcore genre and, thus, must be heard.
The band didn't hold back at all when it came to the follow-up for Fresh Fruit -- if anything, they exploded to a degree never matched by them in later years. Arguably the sheer speed and lack of any subtlety throughout most of this eight-song EP means there's less to talk about in terms of deathless songs and more in the way of sheer breathless anger and rage. The titles say it all: "Nazi Punks Fuck Off," "Religious Vomit," "Hyperactive Child." The sheer hilarity of the band isn't lost, thankfully; "Moral Majority" may rip along as per always, but Biafra's parody of a typical TV preacher at the start is a scream. The real winners come at the end, starting with "We've Got a Bigger Problem Now." A reworking of "California Über Alles," specifically targeted at California governor turned president Ronald Reagan, benefits from an amusing jazz/lounge start and even more righteous, slow-burn bile than before. The group tops it off with a romp through Frankie Laine's "Rawhide," ending everything on a fun, kicking note.
Dead Kennedys - Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables + In God We Trust, Inc. EP (flac 317mb)
01 Kill The Poor 3:03
02 Forward To Death 1:22
03 When Ya Get Drafted 1:22
04 Let's Lynch The Landlord 2:11
05 Drug Me 1:55
06 Your Emotions 1:19
07 Chemical Warfare 2:54
08 California Über Alles 3:00
09 I Kill Children 2:02
10 Stealing Peoples' Mail 1:33
11 Funland At The Beach 1:48
12 Ill In The Head 2:44
13 Holiday In Cambodia 4:33
14 Viva Las Vegas 2:37
In God We Trust, Inc. EP
15 Religious Vomit 1:03
16 Moral Majority 1:55
17 Hyperactive Child 0:37
18 Kepone Factory 1:17
19 Dog Bite 1:13
20 Nazi Punks Fuck Off 1:03
21 We've Got A Bigger Problem Now 4:24
22 Rawhide 2:07
Dead Kennedys - Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables + In God We Trust, Inc. EP (ogg 104mb)
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Having proved themselves masters of the quick, vicious smash and bash, on their second full-length album the Kennedys continued in that vein while finding other effective ways to express their all-encompassing message of resistance and satire. Absolutely nobody is safe, whether it's the more expected targets of conservative society, or those who claim to follow what the Kennedys and punk promised but only ended up acting like idiots. For the most part, though, it's a well-deserved smackdown of all the jerks the early '80s produced, set to some fantastic music. Bookended by random noise jams -- the first one with a wonderfully dismissive spoken-word analysis on societal programming for The Good Life -- Plastic Surgery Disasters shows East Bay Ray, Klaus Fluoride and D.H. Peligro turning into an even more awesome unit than before. Ray's sheet-metal intense guitar may once or twice get slammed into too much treble for its own good, but his spaghetti-western-cranked-to-ten playing is fantastic stuff at its best. The others have their moments, like Peligro's rolling drum breaks on "Trust Your Mechanic." When the band aims for subtlety, the results are grand -- the sudden silences on "Trust Your Mechanic," the goofy hipswing start to "Forest Fire." Unsurprisingly, Biafra is still at the center of it all; once again, the song titles make it clear what's at play. "Terminal Preppie," rips into an example of the type with gusto, and the wonderfully sneering "Winnebago Warrior" is just the tip of the iceberg. The real highlight can be found at the end -- "Moon Over Marin," with a soaring, anthemic surf-rock line from Ray offsetting Biafra's semi-apocalyptic vision of the Bay Area's snooty region.
Dead Kennedys - Plastic Surgery Disasters (flac 312mb)
01 Advice From Christmas Past 0:55
02 Government Flu 2:04
03 Terminal Preppie 1:30
04 Trust Your Mechanic 2:55
05 Well Paid Scientist 2:22
06 Buzzbomb 2:22
07 Forest Fire 2:23
08 Halloween 3:35
09 Winnebago Warrior 2:08
10 Riot 5:58
11 Bleed For Me 3:25
12 I Am The Owl 4:52
13 Dead End 3:56
14 Moon Over Marin 3:42
Dead Kennedys - Plastic Surgery Disasters (ogg 101mb)
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Released after a three-year studio hiatus, this album picks up right where Plastic Surgery Disasters left off. As always, the lyrics are among the most literate and angry in all of rock & roll. "Goons of Hazard" scores the culture of guns and the rednecks who love them, utilizing full-textured hard rock to set the verses. "Soup Is Good Food" lacerates the concept of disposable people in disposable jobs, pairing this idea with repeated guitar riff-based music that suggests a nightmare version of 1960s songs. "Jock-O-Rama" excoriates organized sports and macho attitudes; musically, the outer sections wed rockabilly and hardcore influences, sandwiching a slow middle section that spoofs martial numbers like Barry Sadler's "Ballad of the Green Berets." "This Could Be Anywhere" has critical lyrics about racism and classicism set to music highly reminiscent of the Sex Pistols. "Hellnation" has garbled, wide-range, muckracking verses set to stun-speed punk that recalls numbers from In God We Trust Inc. The excellent "MTV -- Get Off the Air" lambastes the corporate influences on rock & roll; musically, the song exhibits a tripartite structure, using a vacuously poppy opening, a speed hardcore central section, and a mid-tempo rocking finale that prominently features trumpet (a very brief coda reprise of hardcore ends the number). The finest selection on this album (and perhaps in the whole Dead Kennedys' canon) is the anthemic "Stars and Stripes of Corruption." This number also utilizes a three-part construct, consisting here of a hard-rocking midsection flanked by faster, punk-oriented material. The verses here are stunningly detailed, describing what the band believes is wrong with the United States and what the solutions should be. Wonderful and challenging.
Dead Kennedys - Frankenchrist ( flac 338mb)
01 Soup Is Good Food 4:17
02 Hellnation 2:20
03 This Could Be Anywhere (This Could Be Everywhere) 5:24
04 A Growing Boy Needs His Lunch 5:46
05 Chicken Farm 5:08
06 Macho-Rama 4:05
07 Goons Of Hazzard 4:24
08 M.T.V. - Get Off The Air 3:36
09 At My Job 3:40
10 Stars And Stripes Of Corruption 6:22
Dead Kennedys - Frankenchrist (ogg 107mb)
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