Punk and Politics

Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine perform in lieu of the 2017 Presidental Inauguration



Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine in Club Astra, Berlin (Photo vis Wikipedia under the Creative Commons License).

   Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine performed at the OC Observatory on January seventh in support for Reverend Horton Heat. The mix of rockabillies and punks fed off the eccentric nature and anti-corruption beliefs of the former Dead Kennedys’ frontman, Jello Biafra.

  Biafra’s fascination with politics sparked while growing up in the 1960s, in which his, “parents didn’t hide reality. I watched cartoons and the news with equal fascination.” He proceeded to begin the band the Dead Kennedys in June of 1978. The band grew extensively in the San Francisco and international punk scene for singing about political corruption.

  As a further solution to end corruption, Biafra ran for mayor of San Francisco in 1979. His campaign tagline, “There’s Always Room for Jello,” originated from the brand Jell-O where he also received his stage name. The juxtaposition behind his stage name, Jello Biafra, is a sugary and fattening American snack food and a starving third-world country. Though the campaign proved little success as it was viewed by the occupants of San Francisco as a joke, earning him 3% or 6, 591 votes.

  Thirteen albums later, the band separated in the early 2000s. The other founding members of the band still tour under the name the Dead Kennedys. Roaming the halls of El Modena, its is very common to find students interested in punk music with the band’s logo on t-shirts, patches, and pins.

   Jello Biafra then proceeded to perform his spoken word and form his band the Guantanamo School of Medicine. The band has since released two full-length albums and two EPs.

  In his 2017 performance, Jello graced the stage with rants about the recent election and diving into the pit as if a day had not passed since the late 1970s. In addition to music from the Guantanamo School of Medicine, the band played classic Dead Kennedy songs such as, “California Über Allies,” before sadly leaving the stage early due to issues with the curfew. Though not very punk rock, it was respectful for Biafra to give Reverend Horton Heat its rightful time.

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