Another chapter in the ongoing series related to California 80s punk bands:
I suppose replacing a very visible lead singers has been done successfully, but very very rarely. AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Journey, INXS, Echo and The Bunnymen, The Pogues, Van Halen, Motley Crue, Black Flag and Yes all come to mind as examples of bands who have tried replacing a front man at some point or another, all with wildly varying levels of success.
With that in mind, there are few lead singers more fundamental as masthead to a band than Jello Biafra of The Dead Kennedys. Even knowing that Ozzy was fairly successfully replaced I still can’t fathom any mortal being able to pull off a replacement for Biafra. In 2001 these guys decided to give it a go. The Jello-free DKs reformed in 2001 and toured with another singer. [Note: Jello Biafra lost out to the other members of The Dead Kennedys in a legal battle of rights and royalties that followed the demise of the California punk band in 1986.]
Jello, on the other hand went on to other non-DK related activities through the years like running Alternative Tentacles, recording and touring spoken word, and most notably collaborating with Al Jourgenson of Ministry as Lard for a few albums in the 90s.
Currently Jello is touring behind Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School of Medicine. As far as I am aware, this band is his first foray in music in the past decade or so. As anyone can guess, this sort of thing can go either way. Well, Jello and Co. were in great form and even nailed a few DK songs. Jello still has plenty to rail about with inter-song screeds and did so with aplomb hitting topical issues such as the private prison industry, the war on drugs, and even a new song appropriately called “The Cell that Will Not Die” based on the story of Henrietta Lacks the source of the “HeLa” cell.
TSOI thanks operative Mark in this recording.
I could not decide which track to post so I am giving you all at TSOI a bonus track. “Three Strikes” and “California Uber Alles”. You. Are. Welcome.[audio: http://www.thesoundofindie.com/archive/2010/20100331/JB-3strikes.mp3|titles=Three Strikes (Live)|artists=Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School of Medicine]