Jello Biafra, founder of seminal punk band Dead Kennedys and one of the most influential figures in the Bay Area music scene, burst into the spotlight in 1978 when he unleashed his quivering voice and biting social commentary on the masses with the release of “California Uber Alles,” followed by “Holiday in Cambodia,” on the band’s own label, Alternative Tentacles. His frantically dramatic and maniacal stage presence, coupled with the sardonic humor he used to convey the sheer truth of his words, solidified him as an instant punk rock legend. After four albums with Dead Kennedys, and subsequent collaborations on over a dozen more with bands like The Melvins and D.O.A., he is now three albums deep with his current band, Guantanamo School of Medicine. Known as much for his political perspectives as his outrageous stage antics, Jello is a sought-after speaker well-known for his spoken word art and revered for his notoriously tongue-in-cheek – but legitimate –1979 campaign for San Francisco mayor at age 21.
Just days away from his 60th birthday, Jello spoke with SF Sonic about the importance of voting in local elections, just how the 2016 presidential election was rigged, how the right could be on the verge of legally rewriting the Constitution, and how “staying mad” is the key to lasting idealism.
For his birthday, Jello put on a terrific show at the Great American Music Hall. The photos here are from that show. (Photos by Raymond Ahner)
Click HERE to read SF Sonic's interview!