They really did die: FUCK THE DEAD KENNEDYS

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by Tom Fiend

OK, so this band has really gotten my irish up in the past few months to the point where I think it deserves its own post.


I hope you fucking choke on the immensity of the hyperbole I’m about to direct at you.

As many of you are aware, the Dead Kennedys are playing in Brisbane this Thursday. Twenty-four-odd years after their original break up they’re re-uniting and touring, playing their old material. These are the reasons that this is just fucking dumb.

  • The DK’s material was highly topical. It was a social commentary of the era in which it was written. It discussed the Reagan years, the communist fear-mongering, the war on drugs and the cold war. What does this have to do with modern audiences? Not a goddamn thing. Almost two generations have come and gone since these have been current concerns. We have a whole new set of fucked-up shit to be writing music about. Speaking of which, as at October last year it was revealed they had written new material …
  • Or just reworded Jello Biafra’s old material anyway. I won’t go into how purely lame that is, but this is how they go about it. They took the DK classic ‘MTV Get Off The Air’ and changed it to ‘MP3 Get Off The Web’, and basically how people pirating music online suck (source). Again, I won’t dig down into the nitty gritty of how totalitarian it is to condemn a file format for its use as a pirating medium but it sort of conflicts with what I always liked about the band. Oh yeah. The  unbearable irony of the image above is taken from the cassette art of their second-ever album.
  • Jello Biafra isn’t involved. I know, bands lose and gain members. These things happen. However Jello was the driving force behind this band, the smarmy in-your-face, anarchic, preachy sumbitch that wrote the songs, invented and then perpetuated the image and then got screwed over by the rest of the band. Quick fact for you all, Jello never stopped writing DK’s music. He just did it under the different names. He has gone on to do albums with D.O.A, two AMAZING albums with the Melvins, a buttload of spoken word touring and most recently Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo Medical School.
  • Finally (and most heinously) the Dead Kennedys’ Brisbane show is on this Thursday at the Hi Fi. Just a few suburbs over, simultaneously, the bands AC4 and Star Fucking Hipsters are playing at the zoo. Call me a bitter old conspiracy theorist but that can’t be a coincidence. Two fantastic relevant punk bands that are actually playing songs about the current political and social climate and they chose that night. I can tell you right now where I’ll be, and it won’t be watching a tribute show to a band that never actually died.
  • In conclusion, please don’t support these aging relics, when you have the opportunity to be challenged and see two bands that are still forging their image rather than just being a parody of their former selves.

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