Culture & Criticism Since 2003
Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine have a new album out, just in time for irony to drown in the morasses of Texas sexual politics and the American government howling about how terrible spying is.
Punk fans will remember Jello as the lead singer of the Dead Kennedys (“Too Drunk to Fuck”). The music was the usual mix of grunge-band scream and adolescent rage, but Biafra added an element usually missing from what’s often a fairly dreary genre – humor.
Yes, the DKs were many years ago, and these days Jello is crowding 60. And yes, the music sounds a fair bit like the DKs of old. But if you think this is just some pathetic has-been trying to recapture the glory days of his long-past youth, think again.
The anger is an adult anger, a rage against a world and a country gone mad. It’s something that has informed Biafra for the past few years and is evident in the album title (“White People and the Damage Done”). Syd Vicious meets Michael Moore. The titles tell of the topics–”Werewolves of Wall Street”, “Mid-East Peace Process”, “Shock-U-Py!”
Ultimately, this is not for musical sophisticates. It is, however, for people who are looking at the state of the world and wondering if anger is justified. Jello Biafra has an answer for that.
Zepp Jamieson was born in Ottawa, Ontario, and spent his formative years living in various parts of Canada, the UK, South Africa and Australia before finally moving to the United States, where he has lived for over 40 years. Aside from writing, his interests include hiking, raising dogs and cats, and making computers jump through hoops. His wife of 25 years edits his copy, and bravely attempts to make him sound coherent. Reach him through The Electric Review.