Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Raising the Dead

One of the most appalling omissions of my earlier life was not to have caught Dead Kennedys live.

An associate had seen them performing one time in London, supported by Bad Brains!
Man, I hated him for that!
Lucky bastard!

Of course the only time Dead Kennedys get together nowadays - not that I think they should reunite, or do a tour or something; shit, that would be awful - no, the only time they come together now is due to litigation; choosing American court rooms to perform in.
Rock stars, eh?
Despite my connection and alliance in the 1980s with the British Anarcho-Punk scene; occasionally, ideologically, we did fall out.
And despite a distance of near five and a half thousand miles between my place in the world and San Francisco, I far more readily connected with where Biafra was coming from.
His attitude, politics, cynicism, wit and frankness I immediately empathised with.
Provocative rather than preachy; and essentially that was what I really liked; I wasn't being told how to think by Biafra: I was being encouraged to think.

And as a consequence, I think Dead Kennedys were one of the greatest bands to ever have come out of North America.

I played Plastic Surgery Disasters just a couple of days ago (the inspiration for this post); boy, it didn't half make my Sunday morning go with a bang.
The perfect way to start the day.

So, just felt I had to post some.

Most of the Kennedys' official catalogue is available in one form or another; but this recording is a little obscure.

Originally ripped from a VHS release from 1985 (not by me, although I do still have my own precious copy of the video), the sound quality is pretty good (considerably better - in performance terms as well - than the Decay Records release Mutiny on the Bay from 2001), and it's a set to die for; capturing them at a time before the release of Frankenchrist or Bedtime For Democracy, but a few of the tracks are already there: 'MTV Get Off the Air', 'Macho Rama' and 'Goons of Hazzard' from Frankenchrist, and 'Hop With the Jet Set' and 'Do the Slag' from Bedtime; these snuggle up perfectly with the older DK classics.

The sound does drop out somewhat during the end of 'Bleed For Me' and unfortunately throughout 'Nazi Punks', but does make a recovery for the excellent finale 'We've Got a Bigger Problem Now', their lounge/hardcore version of 'California Uber Alles'.

But despite that two minutes of poor sound quality, this is still a great recording; capturing a band who had just been waiting for 1984 to come along; a band created ultimately for that time; that paranoia; that fear; and they really made the most of it.

Dead Kennedys - Never Been on MTV. Live in San Francisco 1984.

Police Truck
Hop With the Jet Set
A Child and His Lawnmower
Religious Vomit
Do the Slag
Moral Majority
MTV Get Off the Air
Live Sentence
Macho Rama
Goons of Hazzard
Bleed For Me
Nazi Punks Fuck Off
We've Got a Bigger Problem Now

CD rip to mp3s
Get down with the Dead here


martin41smith said...

Hey thanx for this jello best punk front man since rotten!

roy rocket said...

I'd be inclined to agree with that opinion.
Youbetcha, roy