Synonymous with the name, Dead Kennedys have always been controversy – beginning with their moniker and continuing with their vigorous punk activism that was an authority in the early San Francisco punk scene.
However this time around, the controversy concerns not strife with the government, but a battle between the former bandmates themselves.
An upcoming release of live Dead Kennedys’ recordings called Mutiny on the Bay has exacerbated the punk pioneers’ state of mutiny from outspoken ex-frontman Jello Biafra. While Kennedys’ guitarist East Bay Ray, bassist Klaus Fluoride and drummer J.H. Peligro are endorsing the latest goods, Biafra is in ardent opposition to what he feels is “the release of a subpar live album and rest of the DK back catalog behind his back and without his permission,” as stated in his official response issued by Alternative Tentacles Records. Though Biafra attempted to stop the production of Mutiny on the Bay in trial, the court ruled that all members would share control of the Dead Kennedys’ music.
While the rest of the band defends the upcoming live album as well as reissues of Plastic Surgery Disasters, Frankenchrist, Bedtime for Democracy and Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death as being fully remastered and in premium quality, Biafra has disassociated himself with their Sep 11 release. “I have now had to ask them to please remove my name and likeness from all their releases and promotional material. Don’t get me wrong. I’m as proud as ever of Dead Kennedys and grateful for how much we mean to people. But I’m totally embarrassed by what they’re trying to do,” he states.
“They are now operating their so-called ‘democracy’ so that I have no say in how they dispose of Dead Kennedys at all,” Biafra continues of his ex-cohorts. “I found out about their new attempt to hijack the Dead Kennedys’ back catalog not from them, but from the press.”