Dead Kennedys

Hardcore Punk

Years active: 1978–1986, 2001–present

Website: http://www.deadkennedys.com/

 

After Peligro joined the band, the extended play 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, and songs such as “Moral Majority”, “Nazi Punks Fuck Off!” and “We’ve Got a Bigger Problem Now” placed Dead Kennedys as the spokesmen of social protest, while “Dog Bite”, a cover version of Rawhide and various joke introductions showed a much more whimsical side. 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, a picture that had won the World Press Photo award in 1980, taken in Karamoja district in Uganda by Mike Wells.

The band’s music had evolved considerably in a short time, moving away from hardcore formulae 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, they took a break from releasing new records to concentrate on the Alternative Tentacles record label, which would become synonymous with DIY alternative culture. The band continued to write and perform new material during this time, which would appear on their next album (some of these early performances can be seen in the DMPO’s on Broadway video, originally released by Dirk Dirksen and later reissued on Rhino).

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Dead Kennedys – Kill the Poor

   

Dead Kennedys – Halloween

   

Dead Kennedys – Jock-O-Rama (Invasion of the Beef Patrol)

   

Dead Kennedys – Take This Job and Shove It

   
 

Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables

 

Plastic Surgery Disasters

 

Frankenchrist

 

Bedtime For Democracy

 


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