Klaus Flouride - 2003

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UPDATE: Please let me explain something here that I should have explained a long time ago -- I also put this in my Easy Bay Ray interview intro, so if you read it there, save yourself some time! At some point between 2003 and today, Jello Biafra read this interview, and I am so deeply ashamed of myself that I feel like burying my head in the ground. No other public figure has had a more powerful and positive influence on my character (from age 16 on) than Jello has. He helped me to develop my own identity away from the "crowd." He opened my eyes to political realities and musical possibilities. So what did I do? Grow up, get smug and tear him down. Like an ASSHOLE. I've never even met the guy. Sure, it's "hip" to bring down the punk rock star, but he's still a human being and it was insensitive of me to believe all the negative things I've heard about him while discounting all the positive. So while reading this interview, even if you get a kick out of my Jello bashing, please know that I shouldn't have done it and I'm not proud of it at all. It was childish and churlish - two things I never wanted to grow up to be. :7(

In addition to creating three terrific avant-garde pop records called Cha Cha Cha With Mr. Flouride, Because I Say So and The Light Is Flickering, Klaus Flouride is the bass player for Dead Kennedys, one of the greatest-ever hardcore bands EVER! GReATEST!!! He brought more than a bottom end to the band; he brought a loose, thwopping, extremely intelligent and melodic counter-force to East Bay Ray's surfy guitar licking. Although the band broke up in 1986 after releasing Bedtime For Democracy (or did they actually break up EARLIER!?!??! READ ON TO FIND OUT!!!), Klaus, Ray and drummer D.H. Peligro reunited because it feels so good about a year and a half ago and have been playing concerts aplenty all over creation. One element is missing from these reunion shows, though: punk rock/spoken word legend icon Jello Biafra, with whom the three other members have had numerous legal run-ins over the past few years. For his side of the story, read www.alternativetentacles.com; for the DK's side, check www.deadkennedys.com.

And for my side, read my handy tract pamphlet "No Clue! Not Even Sure Why I Wrote This," available from Smell My Gack Tract Pamphlets.

One day in mid-September 1st, through a prearranged hostage bargain with L.A. Citizine editor Thom White, I was given the opportunity to interview Klaus Flouride via telephone. Although I paid close attention and Linda Tripped our conversation, Klaus was talking more quietly than any mammal in recorded history, so I was forced to jettison some of his comments due to tape static inaudibility (which is a shame because he totally told me who killed Kennedy and now I can't remember). The general gist of his answers are here though, and that's more than you've managed. AT LEAST I FUCKIN' TRY!!! WHAT THE FUCK HAVE YOU DONE???

I feel it's important to quote Minor Threat when introducing an interview with a member of Dead Kennedys. My questions are so bold, you'll shit yourself. Klaus's answers are so plain text, you'll suck the shit back up into your large intestine.

And now.. Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Johnny! (Klaus Flouride Johnny, that is!) (But without the "Johnny")


Okay, just to tell you where I stand on this - I've been a huge Dead Kennedys fan since I was about 15, which was about 15 years ago. And when you're that age, you tend to be influenced by the squeakiest wheel, I guess. So at that age, I was of course really into Jello Biafra and everything he said. I thought he was the best. But as the years went by, I don't know, you kinda start to see what people are really like. So at this point, I'm definitely for you guys basically. Did he purposely not give you the money, or did it just sort of slip his mind, or what the heck?

You know what? He had a lot to do with the running of the company. I am not sure whether he set up - we never established a record deal. He set it up or one of his managers set it up. So he may have just taken some bad advice basically. But the thing he did that made it wrong was that he was informed by one of the managers at Alternative Tentacles who noticed that it was going on, and he said, "Cover it up. Don't tell Ray or he'll throw a fit." And at that point, it became a cover-up situation and he wouldn't come out and admit that he was wrong, so he just got himself dug in deeper and deeper. And I think a lot of it may have been bad advice, but I'm not sure. But we tried for a year and a half to negotiate, and the negotiations - I can't talk specifically about the negotiations because I'm barred from doing so - but they offered something that we'd kinda have to have been chumps to take. Their offer didn't come close to making things right. So it became kind of a reality check for us, a reality check for him, and a reality check for some other people who were involved in stuff outside of the Dead Kennedys. Well, it's a drag. It's cost us the friendship and it's made our lives no fun. The situation you were talking about before with the squeaky wheel - that's also been a problem all along.(mumble mumble fade)

What's that? Sorry, you're fading a little on the phone.

Oh I'm sorry. Are you taping this, by the way?

Yeah, is that okay?

That's actually better.

Yeah, okay. If you could keep your voice up, so my recorder can get it.

Yeah, sorry about that.

Oh, that's fine!

It was a matter of what we thought was shoddy journalism, where people would take his side of the story because they didn't want to lose his soundbites. He's a professional soundbite artist.

But what is his reality at this point? Is he so stuck in this image that he created for himself that he's not even a real person anymore? What is he thinking?

I'm not inside his skin; I can't say what he's feeling. I know he has a hard time accepting situations that he may have caused to go awry. But I'm not gonna try to be his psychologist.

Why did the band originally break up? All I've ever heard is that the Frankenchrist trial was so stressful that -

Yeah, that is a myth that has been perpetuated by Alternative Tentacles from the beginning, no matter how many times we've told the true story. The group broke up - the Frankenchrist thing was, say, a final straw as far as his going in a different direction than what we wanted to do. I felt that the poster itself was shock for the sake of shock value. We'd shocked people before, but we'd always tried to have a point behind it. I didn't see the point he was making. But we didn't quit after the lawsuit happened. We quit when he decided that that poster was gonna be in there one way or the other, and we could take a hike if we wanted to. So we said, "Well, why don't we call it `Jello Biafra and Dead Kennedys?,'" since that's what it was becoming anyway at that point. We'd been together for eight years at that point, and we thought it was time to take a break. Things were getting - the recording process more and more came to lose the feeling of spontaneity, and I wanted to do some different types of music and Ray did too. So we dissolved it before Frankenchrist was released. We didn't dissolve the partnership, just the band. We decided to finish out what commitments we already had to each other and to other people - to record another album we'd written (Bedtime for Democracy) and tour. We did that. And then the lawsuit came down. But that's not what broke the group up.

Did he sort of develop an ego over the years? Or he just went a different direction about wanting to be more and more political?

I think anybody in this business gets an ego - I have an ego! I mean, anybody when they get on stage and have people cheering for them, they kinda have to develop an ego to function! Any performer. He certainly wasn't the same person leaving the group that he was going into it, but then I can't say that I was either. It was a learning experience for all of us. He definitely got much more dug into it.

Did your friendship remain? Because I have your three solo records, and they were all on Alternative Tentacles, right?

Yeah, yeah. We were still - the funny thing was that my solo stuff, Ray's solo stuff, DH's solo stuff - there were no problems with the royalties from those records. It was only on the Dead Kennedys material that royalties were being withheld from us. Because that's where the money was.

What made you decide to go ahead and you three get back together and play some?

It was originally DH's idea. He decided that if we were going to go through this long lawsuit process, we should at least get together and play music together, especially since we were seeing each other every day in court. It was at first meant to just be a one-off show, but it was so much fun, and the crowd enjoyed it so much, that we decided to take some time off from our "regular lives" and book a tour. We played a lot of shows, for about a year and a half.

Yeah, I saw all those tour dates on your web site. You kept busy!

Yeah! It sort of interrupted the lives we had going on at the time, but so did the trial. Right now we're taking a break.

Are you back at work doing what you were before?

I've always been recording and playing bass with other people. Right now, I'm trying to move, which is a bit difficult.

Where you going?

Oh, just a new place. I'm staying in the Bay Area.

Is there any chance you guys would consider doing a new studio album? Or at least a live album with the current line-up?

There's stuff coming up. There's another live project from when the Dead Kennedys had five people in the band.

Oh wow!

That should be out around probably January. And the idea has occurred to us to record some new material together. But the main problem with that is that, even when Jello was in the band, it would take us a year or a year and a half to come up with new material for an album. And we've been touring nonstop since we got back together. We haven't had time to sit down and develop the new material. I've got some rough sketches and Ray's got some sketches, so it's not out of the question. But I know DH would like to get back with his band Peligro, and I've had a lot of people asking me to put my solo records back in print. I'm thinking of putting out a sort of retrospective CD of released and unreleased material. I never toured for any of those albums when they were released, but that was partly because a lot of the material was so sort of studio-specific.

Exactly. Especially "Because I Say So." It'd be really hard to play that stuff live!

Yeah, I never wanted to change those songs so that they'd be playable in a concert setting. I didn't want to lose the flavor of what I was going for on the records.

Have you recorded any music - I mean, I know I saw that there's something called Jumbo Shrimp, but I can't seem to find that CD anywhere.

That had a very limited run. I let that ball drop. That was, unfortunately the people involved are scattered now. We had three guitarists, and it was kind of a take-off on surf music. We'd do surf versions of popular rock songs - an REM song (which REM actually saw us perform once). We'd do "Buddy Holly" by Weezer and stuff like that. It was fun! Then we pressed up some CDs and sold them around town. But it never had any sort of real distribution. Aside from that, I've played with people like the Legendary Stardust Cowboy -

Oh, you played with him?

Yeah, I've played bass with him for a few years now.

Wow! Are you on that new live CD I keep seeing everywhere?

Yep, I played on Live In Chicago. That was actually recorded under the worst possible conditions. So instead of trying to make it sound normal, we took a different direction which was to make it sonically weird. But he would say, "Okay, here's a song!" and start singing and we'd have to start playing immediately - and with luck, we'd get through one verse.

Is the CD worth getting? I didn't know you played on it!

Yeah! It's fun, it's fun. I mean, if you like the Ledge, you'd like it. And I've worked with several other people over the years. Like Joe Pop-O-Pies.

Oh yeah? A friend of mine actually said he spoke with you recently. Gregg Turkington?

Oh yeah, Gregg. It's funny; Gregg - One of the guitarists from Jumbo Shrimp played with Gregg in the Zip Code Rapists. John Singer. Jumbo Shrimp also had a rotating sort of membership. I think that Ray and I were the only ones to be in the band the whole time. Yeah, Gregg - just recently, we were at a show together. It was Neil Hamburger, the Legendary Stardust Cowboy and Extreme Elvis.

Oh, Extreme - yeah, he told me about Extreme Elvis. A grotesque experience, I hear?

Well, actually Extreme Elvis was pretty well-behaved that night. I've heard that his other shows can include a lot of bodily fluids and things.

After The Light Is Flickering, have you recorded any more stuff of just your own like that?

Yeah, I've got tons of it. It's just that it's not gonna come out on Alternative Tentacles. What I'm probably gonna do is include a lot of it on the retrospective CD I do. I got a little tired of putting stuff out on Alternative Tentacles and getting no promotion at all.

I guess when you decided to reform the Dead Kennedys, I guess you kinda knew there'd be the Biafra camp being really vocal and bitter about it. Does that kind of thing affect you emotionally? I mean, did it upset you, or did you just kinda let it roll off and say, "Look, we were the original members"?

We talked to as many as we could. Basically, there would be like people outside the club picketing, and we'd go outside and talk to them. And they'd say, "Well, you did this and this and this!" And we'd say, "Where'd you hear that?" "Alternative Tentacles' web site!" "Well. did you read about it on any other web site?" "No, where would we go?" "Well, you could try the Dead Kennedys' site; then you'll see two sides to the story." "Well, what's the other side?" "Well, the way we see it, blah blah blah." "Well, that's bullshit!" "Why's it bullshit? Because Biafra told you so? I mean, come on. We're not telling you what to think. We just want you to go out there and find all the stuff written about it so you can make up your own mind." And if they start to see our point of view, maybe we'll throw `em on the guest list. Let `em see the show and make up their own mind about whether or not we're the Dead Kennedys. We knew that there gonna be people - a lot of people siding with Jello, and a lot of people are really passionate about the group, which is fine.

Biafra always made it seem like the band all had the same exact beliefs about everything, just the way he was so vocal about it.

We had certainly pretty much all aligned against certain political ideas that aren't too terribly brave to go up against. Let's see. government corruption. Corporate running of the world is not right. It's not too tough to come up and say that - a lot of people don't want to hear it that are people in power - but basically, if we made a ripple, it was as a result of people picking up on our ideas when they heard the records or came to the shows. One of the ways that I think Biafra has changed over the years as far as his presentation is that he used to tell people to think for themselves and now he kinda tells them what to think.

Have you followed his, umm -

Spoken word stuff?

Yeah, or even the music stuff he's done since.

I follow the music stuff and I follow the spoken word stuff. The music stuff doesn't impress me as much as the spoken word stuff. Basically, music isn't his strong point. That's one of the things that shows that the Dead Kennedys all contributed to our sound. I think the music he's put out by himself is the same as the music I've put out by myself - it's totally different from the Dead Kennedys. It was only when we all worked together that there was definitely a Dead Kennedys sound.

The people who are arguing against you guys playing without him - are they mostly kids that are so passionate?

That depends on what you mean by "kids." I'm not sure where the cut-off is.

Oh! Ha! Ummm. 16, 18.. I just wonder if people who are in the working world and realize the problem of economics and realize that he was keeping money from you guys - if they would be as adamant about you guys playing as the Dead Kennedys as kids who are living with their parents still or who kinda just believe whatever they read on his site.

Yeah. As you live longer and see that corruption isn't limited to just major corporations, basically - one of Ray's favorite things to point out is that you shouldn't judge a company by its size as much as by its content or its actions. Corporations aren't necessarily more corrupt than small companies in every situation.

But even if that were the case, it's not like you, Ray and D.H. are a big corporation against Alternative Tentacles! I mean, you're just three guys who were kinda being ripped off.

Yeah, that's true. And we had to go through an awful lot of fighting to get what was due us. Basically, it was a reality check. Not only for us, but for Biafra, who continues to insist that he's innocent of any wrongdoing.

And he keeps losing! If he's constantly losing, obviously you guys are in the right. It's not like the court is anti-Biafra for some reason.

You would think that he'd garner that logic after a while.

And their web site begs for money! Have you seen that? "Oh, the Dead Kennedys keep suing me!" You know?

And that's the other thing - he's suing us! He's still got two suits pending against us. We haven't sued him since the initial suit. We've done countersuits against what he's filed against us, because you have to or you gotta take it. But we have not initiated anything since the first one.

Do you think he thinks what he's doing is right?

I'm sure he does.

Oh okay.

I'm sure that, you know - and again I can't get inside his head - but I'm imagining that people that go to such extremes have basically convinced themselves that they're up against evil, and everybody's against them. But some day somebody will realize the truth and exonerate them.

What in his view is right about the situation? Did he make an offer?

You'd have to talk to him about it!

Oh okay. Alright. But the whole deal about he keeps claiming that "Oh! Yeah, I offered to give them the money and instead they sued me!"

Well, he didn't offer to give us the money. That was part of the thing. I can't talk about what went on in the negotiations, because I'm legally bound not to talk about it. Whether or not those negotiations were agreed to, I'm not allowed to talk about it. But I can say that they never offered to make it -

Even close to the right -

Yeah, yeah. The thing that we're really trying to get is just his admission - Biafra just saying, "I'm sorry. I don't know what made me think of this. I don't know what made me do this. I don't know why I dragged you guys through court. I don't know what I was thinking. I'm sorry, and can we be friends?" And we'd say, "Yeah." That's what we'd like this thing to come around to. We were friends until this all happened. That's why it was my idea to invite him to our 25th anniversary show. It wasn't an attempt to take advantage of him or trick him in any way. I just hoped he would be willing to bury the hatchet and stop this cycle that we've locked ourselves into. We're not out to break Biafra. We're not out to get Alternative Tentacles. We're just out to have him realize that if you're gonna talk the talk, you gotta walk the walk. And if indeed it had come out all against us, and we were imagining it, I would hope that we would have had the presence of mind to say, "Gee, I guess we WERE wrong." But basically the facts got presented to judge after judge, and then a jury and a whole bunch of different judges, and they all agreed that we were right. I wish it had never happened, but it did and I think the legacy of the Dead Kennedys has been affected. I know that people want to think that the world is perfect, but eventually we all find out that nothing is perfect. We try as hard as we can to do things and when we play, we try to give everyone as good a show as possible. I mean, it bothers me that there's still people who think we got together and said, "Oh I'm gonna get in there and make as much money -" THAT'S NOT THE POINT! We're doing this so that all the people who never got a chance to see us can see us, and for the joy of playing the songs. Because it's fun! We have a blast! The first time we did it, we were scared shitless going up there, but it felt good and all the people there seemed to really enoyed it. So we were like, "Alright!"

And the crowd everywhere you go, the crowds are really excited about it, really into it?

Yeah, there hasn't been a show yet that people didn't really like it. And the thing too, the thing that we didn't do much after the shows back then - it was a really different world back then, but what we do now is we go out and - people didn't ask for autographs back then, you know? But after shows now, people always come up to us asking for autographs. I sign more autographs after one show - a new show - than I did the entire time before, and it was not that I refused autographs; people just didn't care about autographs. "Sure, I'll give you an autograph!" I imagine it's the same for Biafra too. It's just a different world now. Maybe people back then thought it was uncool to ask for an autograph; I don't know. There you go!

Cool! I guess you've got another guy calling you in a minute, right?

Yeah, I guess so.

Okay. Okay, I'll get this thing written up and make sure you get a few copies of the magazine. It'll also be online.


Okay, thank you so much for your time!

Sure, Mark. Thanks for, you know, keeping an open mind.

Yeah. It's tough when you're a kid, but when you get older, you understand things a little more.

And you don't like to hear that as a kid. "When you grow up, you'll understand."

Yeah, I know!

"No no, I know everything now!" And you're looking at yourself at 30. Wait until you're 40. And it doesn't have to be growing towards cynicism. You can grow towards more ideological thinking. But you also learn that putting your ideologies into action is a lot harder, in the big picture.

Yeah, and that there are two sides.

Yeah. And one side may be 10% right and have some truth. There's no black and white.


Well, I guess there is black and white as long as George Bush's friends are running the country.

It's, it's awf - yeah. It is; that's a whole other conversation there.

The Republican recall election of Gray Davis with Schwarzenegger is just another attempt to detract attention away from the fact that they're not finding anything in Iraq.

Um-hm. And more and more of us are getting killed in Iraq.

What's that?

And more and more soldiers are getting killed in Iraq.

Yep. Meanwhile, the big issue in the recall election is the California energy crisis, which was created by Bush and Cheney's friends at Enron. But let's not talk about that! Let's just blame it on Gray Davis. It's a big lie.

The media's, well you know -

There is some stuff getting through, but the media unfortunately is under the control of just a few corporations. And that goes straight on down to NPR and PBS. And then the alternative press has problems sometimes with people that want something to be true so much that they'll change the facts of the story to support their "truth."

Yeah, that's the problem with a lot of underground press is that you don't know -

Oh, here's the other guy. Hold on just a sec.



It was a telemarketer. It's like you have to back stuff up with facts and documents if you're telling a story, an argument that goes against major media. Because if you don't have solid facts and stuff like that, it plays right into their hands, you know? They look at it like, "Oh, look what they're saying now" and they have all the facts to back up that what you're saying is wrong. You can't do that. You have to report stuff only when you have real solid backup, because the people you're going up against will be looking to debunk you. Is journalism your main interest?

(silence - I hadn't heard his question because he was speaking so quietly)

Are you there?

Yeah, so do you trust -

I was saying is journalism your main thing? Is that what you want to do with your life?

Umm, no. I just - the more you follow the national news, what's surprising is that every once in a while, they DO criticize Bush, which seems really unexpected, and I'm not sure how certain stories get through when others don't.

Well, they gotta make it look like they're not being one-sided, so they'll get a little thing out there that won't be terribly damaging, like "Oh, he made a problem with syntax," and unfortunately the majority of Americans are easily led and just want to basically be told what to do and told what to think, and not have to do a whole lot of work thinking for themselves.

I got really paranoid shortly after September 11th. I'm here in New York, so it was pretty emotional around here, of course, and it was to the point where the FBI would say, "You know what? We admit it. We blew it. We made a mistake." And I would see that in the news and go, "Well, if they're admitting it, then it wasn't a mistake. They knew about this and they let it happen and they're trying to cover it up." You know, it's hard to -

Ha! Yeah, you tend to fall into the trap of "No matter what they say, it's the opposite."

Yeah, exactly.

You can't fall into that trap either, you know? Because sometimes they do tell the truth - they'll throw a truth in every once in a while just to throw you! And you get the feeling of us or them, as opposed to people vs. you know. I don't know, as opposed to, you know. Yeah, the FBI are not gonna give the truths that are unflattering to the FBI unless they know it's something they can't cover up. So let's admit it and make it look like, "Okay, we're great guys. We admit it. You can trust the FBI because we're admitting this."

And the whole idea of Bush being able to -

It's PR!

You know, the idea of them not having to say who was in the energy policy meetings and not having to release the presidential papers and all this because of national security - it's just such bullshit! It's really hard to deal with! I guess you've been dealing with it - you've been following this stuff since Reagan, I guess.

Oh, I've been following this stuff since - you know, I'm 54, man! I've been following it since - I've been seriously following it since, I think the thing that slapped my face into thinking about the world as being affected by larger forces, and attracted me to the name "Dead Kennedys" was, you know, the Kennedy assassination. That event brought about a big change in the way people thought about how government worked. I mean, it's still being covered up. I definitely don't believe the uhh. what do you call it -

Oh, you mean the. the Commission report?

The Commission, yeah. It was ridiculous, you know?

Yeah. It was one person! Nobody else was involved!

Ignore the man on the grassy knoll!

So you've been following it that long. So where does George W. fit in? Reagan and Nixon and -

George W. is a puppet for people much more powerful than him. Cheney doesn't want to be president. He wants to be running the show from the background. Rockefeller ran for President only when he knew that he wouldn't get elected. The closest he got to being President was vice-president under Ford. He'd much rather not have the scrutiny put on him. The people that are actually running the show are not the President. It's pretty dicey to say this, but you gotta give Clinton a certain degree of credit, although he Gray Davised himself by trying to please too many people when he got in. He fucked up. I think "The American President" was Hollywood screaming at him, "Lookit, we put you in - do the fuckin' right thing! This is how you should behave, okay?" But no, he was bought off. Carter still seems to have some sort of sense of integrity as far as presidents go. And Carter lost because he wouldn't be a puppet. You gotta understand that the people who are really in charge are the corporations. They just want to buy up Boardwalk and Park Place and build hotels and crush everybody. And then they've won. And it doesn't affect them if they lose because it's just a game and they still have four billion more dollars to play with. It's crazy! Ted Kennedy has more power in Congress than he would as President. He can get people to vote the way he wants them to vote. I'm sure he has dirt on everybody. "Oh jeez, it would be terrible if your wife found out that you were sleeping with blah blah blah." That gives him more control and power, because if he was president, people would be taking potshots at him. I mean, they didn't go after John for his affairs, but they'd go after Ted.

Yeah. Do you think any of the Democratic guys right now are looking good?

I think that the Green Party is the most rational and logical party. I think Nader - this isn't a popular thing, but I don't think he would have not lost face and helped things a lot if he had, a week before the election, thrown his support to Gore. It would have been that much harder for George Bush to win the election. That's the other thing too. Think about that whole Bush thing. Why did they run George Bush instead of Jeb Bush? It makes you wonder what the fuck did Jeb Bush do, because he's the smarter of the two and he's the one that was more electable. What the fuck did he do that they didn't want to run him for President? Was he snorting coke off of babies' bellies or something? I have no idea, but it must have been horrendous for them to have run George for president!

So these automated voting machines - are they really..

You're asking me if the automated voting machines are tamperable? Oh, everything's tamperable. Everything's manipulable by the powers that be.

So what do you think is the overall goal of this shadow government or whatever behind Bush? Is their overall goal just to keep -

It's not a government. That's the whole thing. It's just corporations. See, that's the whole thing. People get sidetracked into thinking that boundaries of countries actually have a reality. If we really had a world government, what would happen is that the people who would be up for election would be heads and CEOs of the largest corporations. That is what's controlling our government such as it is - our administration. Basically they're protecting their fortunes and making sure that things just keep going smoothly for them around the world.

For their own pers -

That's their goal.

Their goal is their own pers -

They have a goal to be re-elected. That's their only goal - they don't give three shits about anything in America except that they get re-elected so they can propagate more projects for their corporations.

But is that an attempt to keep - I mean, I'm just trying to think, "Is there any way this could be - they could think this is the right thing to do?" Are they trying to keep the U.S. economy up?

There was a great Simpsons episode back in '92, I think. They had the Republican convention and the Democratic convention. At the Democratic convention, they had a big banner that said, "We have no leaders." And the GOP convention had a banner saying "Just plain evil."


And they nailed it! "We have no leaders" vs. "Just plain evil." And I think when you're talking about black and white, that's why I said, "Well, maybe there is black and white." I don't buy into evil in the way of, you know, vampires - I don't buy into that shit any more than anybody with a decent grip on reality should. But I do buy into the evil of using weaponry to starve people for the sake of money.

Do you think that they're trying to help AMERICA at the expense of everyone? Or THEM PERSONALLY at the expense of everyone? Are they going after the oil because they can make profit off of it or because they're afraid the U.S. is -

They don't care what happens to anybody after they die except their own ancestors, I think. James Watt, way back when they were stripping the forests, was asked, "What about protecting the environment for future generations?" And his response was, "Well, we don't have to worry about that because Armageddon is on the way."



Oh boy.


Yeeeeah, I gotta go.

Ha! Thank you for this call.

But it's been nice talking to you.

Yeah, you too.

None of it's solvable without a major change in the way people perceive what's going on around them. And I don't know what it's gonna take to make people get smarter. If you give people their TV and keep beer prices low, most Americans are happy. I mean, gas prices have gone up to what - $2.50 per gallon or something like that?


And people are still, "I'm hopping in my SUV and I don't care if it costs me 75 dollars. Fill `er up! It's Labor Day and I'm going to Yosemite! Because it's beautiful there!"

And how many people are gonna lose their jobs before they realize he's not maybe taking care -

We're gonna have to get pretty close to living in - a good portion of people experiencing poverty before anybody takes action. And hopefully they'll be literate enough to express their anger at poverty in constructive ways to the powers that be that control the poverty. It's been a long time coming. We used to talk a lot about anarchy. Anarchy isn't nihilism. Anarchy means that, if you take care of yourself and take care of the people around you and are aware of the people around you and what's going on around you, then you don't need a government to tell you what to do. It requires responsibility. And the only place we saw that actually in action working very efficiently was in Rome. And the cars in Rome followed no traffic laws, but you hardly ever heard about any accidents. People are in their cars banging on their horns making sure people know they're coming. They're all darting all over the place. If you come to a light and there's nobody coming, you slow down, but if there's no car coming, you blow off the light. If there's something coming, you slam on your brakes, hit the horn and speed up just for the heck of it.


But they know you're there, so they have to hang a left or something. But I mean, you know, if that red light doesn't make any sense being red and making you sit there for thirty seconds while you're not getting anything accomplished by it, then that rule doesn't make any sense so fuck the rule! But you have to be aware that it's there to protect you and the people around you, and you have to pay attention to it.

That's odd.

And now I've droned on for an hour and a half.

Nah, that's fine! It's up to me to type this thing up - you don't -

Yeah, now you get to do all the work.

Nah, I do really appreciate it though. It's interesting. I had no idea what you were saying about Rome. That's nuts. They're not out murdering each other?

No, not really. It's not an anarchist society - it's just driving, you know. That one specific act of driving a car through Rome is pure anarchy working effectively. Through Rome and the outskirts of Italy through - And it's kinda funny, because people everywhere have the same attitudes towards waiting at red lights and not wanting to follow speed limits, but nobody has worked out what the Romans have worked out! All the people are driving around and not having road rage basically. I don't know what else to say about Italy.

It's certainly romantic. Alright, well you have a -

I believe that's where the word comes from, as a matter of fact! Okay.

Alright, thank you so much again.

Take care.

You too!



Reader Comments

mataquaz@sbcglobal.net (James Hippie)
There's no question that Klaus Fluoride, et al., have a legitimate (legitimate meaning legal, I guess) right to carry on under the Dead Kennedys moniker if they so wish, but I think the real question is why the hell should they and why should I or anyone else care? One thing I admired about the Dead Kennedys was that they seemed to know when it was time to call it a day rather than milk the same distinctive sound for a few more years or add a big-haired keyboard player and record their own version of Into the Unknown or flirt with the Hollywood spandex-and-chaps glam metal scene or any of the other sad and embarrassing career moves punk bands felt compelled to experiment with in the late-80s, which was a pretty good bullet to dodge legacy-wise, so why fuck that up by getting back together 15 or so years down the road and try to pass it off to a new demographic of gullible teenage miscreants as the same band when it obviously isn't? No individual member is ever going to be 100% responsible for a band's success or failure, but I think it's pretty clear that Jello Biafra brought the Dead Kennedys to a wider level of infamy than they ever would have attained without him, and without a new album peddle or any new material to play or ANYTHING new at all to offer it looks like Klaus, DH, Ray, and whoever the fuck is singing for them this year are just coasting on the band's name recognition and are no better than that geriatric drummer that looks like my dad and tours the county fair circut with a bunch of studio hacks under the name Iron Butterfly. Actually I was surprised to read that not only had a new generation heard of the Dead Kennedys, but that they had also figured out they were getting ripped off by this new line up. Maybe I haven't been giving those little cocksuckers enough credit. Me, I actually don't give a fuck; I'm waiting for that John and George-less Beatles reunion I've been hearing about.

gbrewer@suredial.net (Greg Brewer)
I have been a fan of the Kennedys for about 3 years (I'm 16 years old) and have been playing the bass just as long. Klaus Flouride is one of my biggest influences (as well as Lemmy from Motorhead) because his style is so unique in the world of hardcore. They have also helped me become more politically aware, as well as many of my friends. It is good to know that all the political messages weren't just from Jello Biafra. As to them reforming, more power to them. Kids who were too young at the time deserve to see the Kennedys live.

P.S. Live At the Deaf Club ROCKS!!!

Mark, I've talked to you before about Biafra, but I've calmed down a bit now and thought about it a little more.

For me, let's face it, a hell of a lot of records in my collection happened because of the Jello/Dead Kennedys/Alternative Tentacles fixation I had in my early teens:

(skip this if you don't give a shit - some are so ridiculous)

Alkaline Trio - saw a thank you in the notes for Jello's 'In The Grip of Official Treason'.
Anthrax - got into them because I'd read that Scott Ian was going to feature on the new Lard album that was supposedly coming out in 2003.
Black Kali Ma - saw some free mp3s on the Alternative Tentacles website.
Buzzkill - saw em on Alternative Tentacles and Biafra mentioned them briefly. Sure, they aren't fantastic but there's still a handfull of good songs.
The Clash - bought some of their stuff partly for some punk rock history and because I'd seen pictures of Jello with Joe Strummer.
The Crucifucks - Saw em on Alternative Tentacles, liked the name.
D.O.A. - Bought some of their stuff after getting the Jello collaboration.
Deadweight - Saw em on Alternative Tentacles, and there was a sale on.
The Evaporators - Through Alternative Tentacles, I'd seen Nardwuar interviews (with Jello Biafra) so I bought the album.
Faith No More - Through the Melvins collaboration with Jello, I got into the Melvins, then found Fantomas, then these guys. I also read that Billy Gould would be bassist for Jello's new band, which renewed interest in them.
Fear Factory - Through the Lard collaboration, I got into Ministry - The Last Sucker featured Fear Factory's vocalist B C Bell, so I gave FF a shot.
Flotsam and Jetsam - I'd heard the cover of 'Forkboy' (originally by Lard).
Ice-T - I'd seen Jello talk about him.
Lard - Found em whilst basically buying ever Jello related thing out there.
Leftover Crack - downloaded a song from Alternative Tentacles, saw Jello talking about Fuck World Trade and bought it.
Mojo Nixon - Love the guy, but surprisingly I found out about him before I knew he'd collaborated with Jello. Of course, I only really took an interest once I'd found that out however...
Melvins - I'd heard a song on Tony Hawks Underground 2 and downloaded a few songs (Sweet Willy Rollbar, Magic Pig Detective), about a year before I even knew about Jello... but as soon as I found out Jello and the Melvins had albums out, I bought a handful of Melvins albums...
Ministry - My favourite band in the world, thanks to Jello and Lard.
Mr Bungle - from Faith No More (which came from Melvins/Fantomas), inevitably, came these guys.
Nine Inch Nails - Through my Ministry love and being told they sound 'similar'.
Nirvana - I read that Jello thought Kirt Cobain was great or something (around the time he heavily blasted Grunge), also I saw that Novaselic was in No WTO Combo
No WTO Combo - I'd briefly listened to Soundgarden and well... obviously... it was yet another Jello album.
NoFX - like Alkaline Trio, Jello gives them a 'thankyou'.
The Offspring - Jello speaks on Ixnay On The Hombre, and Dex stood up for him in court.
Pansy Division - Saw em on Alternative Tentacles.
Prong - Came from the Ministry fixation.
Public Enemy - Chuck D is thanked on Virus 100.
Revolting Cocks - Another one from listening to Ministry.
Sepultura - Jello wrote Biotech is Godzilla and appeared on an album.
Slim Cessna's Auto Club - Saw em on Alternative Tentacles.
Snfu - Again, Alternative Tentacles.
Soulfly - Came from Sepultura.
Stayte - Came from RevCo.
Tool - Adam Jones features on Never Breathe What You Can't See
Tumor Circus - Jello band.
Wesley Willis - Saw Jello bumming him, calling him 'legendary', 'the greatest' etc
Woodbox Gang - Alternative Tentacles.
Yuppie Pricks - Alternative Tentacles.

Obviously I've got more music by other people, but when you consider there's atleast an album by each (or in some cases the whole discography), then there's no denying the influence Dead Kennedys/Jello had on me.

Mind you, there's no escaping the fact that, if it weren't for the other members of the band allowing their songs to be put in the Tony Hawks games, I'd never have heard of the Dead Kennedys, and all those bands wouldn't have happened. So you know... I spent so much of my time hating the 'Faux Kennedys' (posting that crappy 'Those Dumb Punk Kids' song on my YouTube channel for instance) that I kinda forgot, that, if it weren't for those guys 'selling out', I'd never even have known about them in the first place.

And it pisses me off now, everytime I hear Jello say...
'Don't buy this, don't buy that!!'
...and I used to just lap this up, posting 1/5 star reviews on re-releases of Dead Kennedys albums... but now it's like... 'I've spent more than $100 on Alternative Tentacles stuff, and I'm likely to spend more. I love the Dead Kennedys, and at the end of the day, it's still your voice on the record, and you are (despite what you say) getting paid for them too. So, I'll spend my own money on them, ya know?'

You've just got to question everything you hear, like Jello loves to repeat. You'll hear the famous line:
'If the rest of the Dead Kennedys wrote the music, why haven't they released anything since?'
A classic case of ignorance. All three members were releasing their own things all the time in Biafra's own back yard for Christ's sake!
'But what about in the years after the lawsuit? I haven't heard anything new!'
What do you think the band has been doing since then? Sitting on their asses? They wanted to claw their fans back, and make new ones - they released the live albums and a compilation and the DVDs... all the stuff Jello kept from the fans. And they toured their asses off too!
And then Jello starts all that 'They keep using that picture of ME to promote their shows! ME! Those slimballs!' shit, expecting everybody to believe that the Dead Kennedys are plotting some conspiracy - like if they keep promoting themselves with pictures of Jello, perhaps the lead singer will some day turn into Mr Biafra himself! (don't tell Biafra about that, he might write a song about it or something).

Sure, it was fishy when Brandon left and then Jeff, who had been replaced before he even knew they'd kicked him out... but people jumped on that as if its proof that Jello was right all along! Sure, I was one of the first to go 'HAHA JEFF AND JELLO FTW!' (after being one of the first to say Jeff was shitty and didn't deserve to be in the Dead Kennedys), but hell... it doesn't prove anything. It only proves how troubled the band was thanks to the shitstorm of controversy the Biafra idolizing bumseekers whipped up.

And where was Ted in all of it? He could've just come out and said it either way whether Jello wrote the songs or not. He probably didn't want to get involved, which is fair enough.

So, in conclusion, Ted and 6025 are the only members of the DKs who haven't fucked up royal. They should sue all the other members, claim to have written all the songs, make up some shit about the rest of the members putting 'Anarchy For Sale' in a Dunkin' Donuts commercial and put the band on MTV at long last.

(I heard Jello in an interview recently, and he sounded quite intelligent and chilled... a whole lot cooler than I'd heard him be for a long time.

If only he was big enough to just say sorry.)

This was long, and I had flu when I wrote, so I'm sorry if you actually read this Mark.

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