BANDS

Line Up

David Allan Coe

Born September 6th, 1939 in Akron, Ohio, USA. From the age of nine, Coe was in and out of reform schools, correction centers and prisons. According to his publicity handout, he spent time on Death Row after killing a fellow inmate who demanded oral sex. When Rolling Stone magazine questioned this, Coe responded with a song, ‘I’d Like To Kick The Shit Out Of You’. Whatever the truth of the matter, Coe was paroled in 1967 and took his songs about prison life to Shelby Singleton who released two albums on his SSS label. Coe wrote Tanya Tucker’s 1974 US country number 1, ‘Would You Lay With Me (In A Field Of Stone)?’. He took to calling himself Davey Coe – the Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy, performing in a mask, and driving a hearse. He satirized the themes of country music with hilarious additions to Steve Goodman’s ‘You Never Even Called Me By My Name’, but has often used the clichés himself. His defiant stance and love of motorbikes, multiple tattoos and ultra-long hair made him a natural ‘Nashville outlaw’, which he wrote about in the self-glorifying ‘Longhaired Redneck’ and ‘Willie, Waylon And Me’.

In 1978 Johnny Paycheck had a US country number 1 with Coe’s ‘Take This Job And Shove It’, which inspired a film of the same title in 1981, and Coe’s own successes included the witty ‘Divers Do It Deeper’ (1978), ‘Jack Daniels If You Please’ (1979), ‘Now I Lay Me Down To Cheat’ (1982), ‘The Ride’ (1983), which conjures up a meeting between Coe and Hank Williams, and ‘Mona Lisa’s Lost Her Smile’ (1984), which reached number 2 on the US country charts, his highest position as a performer. Recordings with other performers include ‘Don’t Cry Darlin” and ‘This Bottle (In My Hand)’ with George Jones, ‘I’ve Already Cheated On You’ with Willie Nelson, and ‘Get A Little Dirt On Your Hands’ with Bill Anderson.

Coe’s 1978 album Human Emotions was about his divorce – one side being ‘Happy Side’ and the other ‘Su-I-side’. The controversial cover of Texas Moon shows the bare backsides of his band and crew, and he has also released two mail-order albums of explicit songs, Nothing Sacred and Underground.

Coe appears incapable of separating the good from the ridiculous and his albums are erratic. At his best, he is a sensitive, intelligent writer. Similarly, his stage performances with his Tennessee Hat Band differ wildly in length and quality: sometimes it is non-stop music, sometimes it features conjuring tricks. Coe’s main trick, however, is to remain successful, as country music fans grow exasperated with his over-the-top publicity. He may still be an outlaw but as Waylon Jennings remarks in ‘Living Legends’, that only means double-parking on Music Row.

Lee Rocker

Lee Rocker made his mark singing, playing, standing on, spinning and rocking his giant upright bass in the legendary music group The Stray Cats. Grammy-nominated, The Stray Cats have sold nearly 10 million albums and garnered an astounding 23 gold and platinum certified records worldwide. Founded by Rocker, Brian Setzer, and Slim Jim Phantom, The Stray Cats remain a radio staple, were music video pioneers at the infancy of MTV, and repeatedly brought rockabilly music to the top of the charts.

2011 kicked off with Lee joining the cast of the Broadway’s hit musical “Million Dollar Quartet.” Rocker stepped in to guest star for 12 performances in January. “Million Dollar Quartet” is inspired by the legendary recording session that took place Tuesday December 4, 1956 in the Sun Record Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. The session was an impromptu jam session among Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and additional musicians. Rocker played the role of Carl Perkins’ brother and bass player Jay Perkins. “The story is especially close to my heart,” says Rocker, who was a close friend and musical collaborator of Carl Perkins up until his passing.

2011 also saw the release of “The Cover Sessions” EP. The Cover Sessions is a side project that Rocker has been worked on for 18 months, this record includes banjo’s, harmonica’s, dobro, mandolin, washboards and all types of folk american instruments. Lee put his americana twist on classic 1970’s radio hits such as the Lennon/Mc Cartney song “Come together”, Elton John’s, “Honkey Cat” and the Allman Brothers song “Ramblin Man”.

2012 kicks into high gear with the release of “Night Train to Memphis” a disc of classic rockabilly done like only Lee Rocker can. Here’s Lee’s thoughts about his newest recording in his own words

“Night Train to Memphis” is a record that i’ve wanted to make for a very long time, and like an album spinning on a turntable at 33 and a 3rd rpm’s, this is my 33rd year of playing music. “Night Train to Memphis” is the soundtrack of my life. These songs are tattoo’d on my soul. Rockabilly music grabbed this kid from New York, and shook me, spun me round and rattled my brains. I was never the same again.

So at 16 years old I got myself an upright bass fiddle and I started a band. We would practise in my Dad’s garage next to the Olds Delta 88. We would play until my fingers bled. I didn’t mind one bit. The music hasn’t released me yet and I know it never will. In the summer of 1980 the band moved to London and we called ourselves the “Stray Cats”. I got to say its been one a hell of a trip. Over the years I devored everything I could about Rockabilly and I’ve played or recorded with the musical architects and pioneers, including Carl Perkins, Scotty Moore, Wanda Jackson, Levon Helm, as well as George Harison, Ringo Starr and others. The Mount Rushmore of Rock and Roll. Hey dreams do come true.

The songs on “Night Train to Memphis” are classic’s from the early days of rock with the “Stray Cat, Lee Rocker” stamp on them. I recorded this disc in a similar way as they did back at Sun Studio, the birthplace of rockabilly, relying on spirit, energy and passion, not on studio tricks and gimmicks. “Night Train to Memphis” takes me right where I want to be, and where I’ve always been happiest. Get on board!

Jello Biafra

1958 – Biafra born and raised in Boulder, CO , six blocks from the JonBenet Ramsey murder site. So far, he has not been named as a suspect.

November 1963 – JFK assassinated on a day Biafra remembers well. Biafra sees Oswald get shot live on the living room TV. (See last track, Beyond the Valley of the Gift Police)

Fall 1965 – Biafra hears rock and roll for the first timewhen his parents tune in a rock station by mistake. He is immediately hooked, and knows what he wants to be when he grows up.

1966 – Biafra encounters his first rock star. Bob Demmon, leader of the surf-garage legends The Astronauts , shows the second grade class his Alaskan malamute dog.(Bob’s mother worked in the school office)

1966-68 – Biafra idolizes Batman villains while his classmates want to be baseball players, nurses and policemen.

1969-72 – The Vietnam war, Chicago 7 trial, Kent State massacre and the Denver smog problem convince Biafra that corrupt, violent governments and corporations should be fought, not trusted.

1970 – Fall of the Republic of Biafra – Ibo people’s war for independence is crushed by the Nigerian army. With British and some American help, all Biafran food supplies had been cut off for months. Horrific, jarring images of skeletal Biafran children dying from hunger make “Biafra” the universal symbol of starvation and genocide until the Ethiopian famine 15 years later.

January, 1977 – Biafra sees the Ramones horrify an audience of the pre-yuppies he loathes at Ebbets Field night club in Denver. He decides there must be more to life than listening to Judas Priest and committing suicide. He roadies for the first Colorado punk band, The Ravers, who would later move to New York and become The Nails (of “88 lines About 44 Women” fame).

Fall, 1977 – Biafra enrolls in University of California at Santa Cruz , where he studies acting and history of Paraguay. After seeing very early gigs of The Saints and Wire , among others in London that summer, Biafra discovers that the early San Francisco punk scene (Avengers, Dils, Zeros, etc. ) is far more raw and primal than anything he has seen so far. Its epicenter is Mabuhay Gardens , an all ages venue run by Dirk Dirksen . Biafra leaves school after one quarter.

February 28, 1978 – Biafra returns to San Francisco after saving money doing laundry in a nursing home in Boulder, Colorado.

July 19, 1978 – Dead Kennedys live debut performance after rehearsing for one week. After first calling himself Occupant , Jello Biafra picks his name at random out of a notebook . Years later, he says he chose it because he “likes the way the two images collide in people’s minds.”

June 1979 – Dead Kennedys release first single, California Uber Alles on their own label,Alternative Tentacles . An east coast tour follows, almost unheard of in those days for a west coast underground band.

Compared to the primal pogo frenzy of the west coast, the scene there is almost comatose, largely due to the lack of all ages venues. Audiences expecting to sit quietly and clap find themselves showered with their own beer as their tables and chairs are knocked away. Max’s Kansas City looks like a tornado went through it. At the Rat in Boston, MA, people line up as far away from the band as they can against the back wall but don’t leave. This may be Biafra’s favorite Dead Kennedys show of all time.

Fall 1979 – Biafra runs for mayor of San Francisco. He finishes fourth out of ten candidates with 6,591 votes, 3 1/2% of the total; helping force a run-off. Mayor Dianne Feinstein’s supporters are aghast. (For the full story, see Biafra’s third spoken word album,I Blow Minds for a Living.)Biafra also performs nude before 3000 Clash fans and an infuriated Bill Graham. DK never play for Bill Graham Presents again.

California Uber Alles is re-released in England on the hot label-of-the-moment Fast Product (Gang of Four, Mekons, Human League ). By sheer luck a band barely known in their own back yard is an overnight sensation in the U.K.

Fall 1980 – Riding the wave of follow-up smash single Holiday in Cambodia , Dead Kennedys release debut album Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables . They are the first non-major label U.S. punk band to successfully tour England and Europe. Many people Biafra meet are rabidly curious about what else lurks musically in the United States. The “punk is dead” media and the U.K. record labels don’t care. Biafra records The Witch Trials improvisational EP with Christian Lunch, Adrian Borland (late of The Sound and other friends in an apartment in London.

Spring 1981 – Alternative Tentacles re-launched with Let Them Eat Jellybeans compilation album, designed to introduce Europe and the world at large to D.O.A., Black Flag, Flipper, Bad Brains, Half Japanese and even Voice Farm, among many more. The European underground is never the same again. Hardcore punk breaks out and spreads throughout the industrialized world.

Also released is the Too Drunk to Fuck single, featuring new drummer D.H. Peligro. The British tabloid press goes ballistic, some store owners are arrested. Industry fears rise that the single will reach the top 30 of the national charts and thus mandate a performance of the song on BBC-TV’s “Top of the Pops”. It peaks at #31.

…Jellybeans helps create the same effect in the United States. Black Flag and D.O.A. stitch together national tours, while the biggest splash is the east coast return of Dead Kennedys. Jaded New York music press dismisses DK’s all ages matinee at Bond’s as a “cheap gimmick.” Several generations of artists later report that being at that show was the baptism that made them want to start a band. New York and the East Coast are never the same.

Fall 1981 – Dead Kennedys release In God We Trust, Inc. EP and Nazi Punks Fuck Off single. The music is faster and more extreme, reflecting the youthful hardcore energy coming out of California and Washington, D.C. Lyrics and packaging are gut-rage responses to the rise of the religious right, violence in the underground scene and the “election” of Ronald Reagan. Almost every “dire exaggeration” in the lyrics has since come true.

More touring in Britain and Europe follows, with particularly wild shows in Italy and Finland. D.I.Y. hardcore EPs mushroom in these countries a few months later.

Spring-Summer 1982 – U.S. hardcore explosion in full swing. Legwork by Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, D.O.A. and Minor Threat establishes solid nationwide touring network through D.I.Y. underground promoters who completely avoid the still hostile music establishment. Harassment by police was an increasing problem. Denver cops try to confiscate the band’s equipment, but give up when asked to carry the amps themselves.

Alternative Tentacles continues to grow and penetrate with classic releases by D.O.A., T.S.O.L., 7 Seconds; and in the U.K., Bad Brains and Husker Du.

Fall, 1982 – Dead Kennedys release second full- length, Plastic Surgery Disasters to decidedly mixed reviews. For the third time in a row fans are confronted with different sounds than they expected. Another Euro-visit follows, this time concentrating on Germany.

1983 – Places to go, people to annoy. U.S. touring for Plastic Surgery Disasters culminates in Rock Against Reagan on the capitol mall in D.C. one day before the infamous 4th of July James Watt concert (Beach Boys cancelled in favor of Wayne Newton). Under clear skies a U.S. government helicopter floodlights DK’s audience and photographs them when their faces look up. Torrential rains the next day delay Wayne Newton concert for several hours. Dead Kennedys also crack open Australia, finding a much more diverse scene than narrow-minded macho U.S. hardcore audiences will allow. Most bizarre of all is Adelaide’s Grong Grong, whose singer screams at the audience wearing a balaklava and a cowboy hat. Their album is later released on Alternative Tentacles. The Aussies take on Detroit/garage rock is at its peak, and Biafra absorbs their sounds accordingly, being possibly the first person to bring their records into the United States.

1984 – More live mayhem brings Dead Kennedys to guerrilla performances outside both the Democratic and Republican National conventions. Republicans in Dallas are greeted by Biafra-led crowd chanting “Fuck off and die!” as they flee the hall for their hotel rooms. A mass die-in at Nieman-Marcus and the notorious Joey Johnson flag burning case that wound up in the Supreme Court add to the festivities. At the Democratic convention Dead Kennedys take the stage in Klansman hoods, then remove them to reveal Ronald Reagan masks underneath. A thousand people break away from the crowd to march on San Francisco City Hall, where they are beaten senseless by out-of-control police officers.

1985 – Dead Kennedys reaffirm their place at the front of the underground musical vanguard with the release of the Frankenchrist album (possibly Biafra’s favorite). Again, not what people expected. A poster insert by Swiss surrealist master H.R. Giger will soon prove very controversial.

1985 – Infamous Senate anti-music hearings are staged by Senator Al Gore and his cohorts as a favor to his wife Tipper and her openly bigoted fundamentalist friends calling themselves the Parent’s Music Resource Center (PMRC). Among the PMRC’s demands were the censorship through a labeling system of warning stickers, the “Reassessment of contracts” of artists whose lyrics are, “sexually explicit”, “anti-Christian” or mention suicide or homosexuality. “Expert witnesses” called by the Washington Wives blame rock music for gang violence, suicide, murder, devil worship and sexual perversion. Frank Zappa was one of the first to oppose the PMRC and sense their significance, as was none other than John Denver(!) and Dee Snider (Twisted Sister). The music industry above and below ground keeps their head in the sand, preferring to sleep through the hearings.

Fall, 1985 – Frankenchrist helps propel Dead Kennedys to their most successful U.S. Tour ever. But it is not without problems. Some concerts suffer last-minute cancellations due to pressure from unnamed sources on city and university officials. Local religious right operatives of the PMRC may or may not be involved. The Boise show winds up at a biker bar.

Meanwhile, a new generation of Alternative Tentacles releases includes Butthole Surfers, The Crucifucks, The Dicks, and M.I.A

January, 1986 – At the urging of friend Harvey Kubernik, Biafra makes his first spoken word appearance at Kerckhoff Hall at UCLA in Los Angeles, with poet Michelle T. Clinton. Listeners respond most to Biafra’s humor and the suppressed information on current events. The L.A. music press, dismisses his warnings about the PMRC as the ravings of a paranoid lunatic. However….

April 15, 1986 – Two weeks after, Dead Kennedys are publicly targeted by Susan Baker of the PMRC, Biafra’s house in San Francisco is raided and torn apart by a squad of Los Angeles and San Francisco police officers. Cops even ransack the cat-box hoping to find…well, ask them. Frankenchrist albums and Giger posters are taken from the house and the Alternative Tentacles/Mordam offices.

June, 1986 – Biafra and four others are charged in Los Angeles with one count each of “Distribution of Harmful Matter to Minors”. They are the first people in American history to face criminal charges over a record; three years before the attack on 2 Live Crew. Biafra and other supporters form the No More Censorship Defense Fund to cover the money to fight the charges. Defendants face a possible one year in jail and a $2,000 fine. The law had never been used before.

The L.A. City Attorney’s office admits to L.A. Weekly reporter Don Bolles that they kept files on several other PMRC-targeted musicians, but chose Biafra because it was, “a cost effective way of sending a message”. The prosecuting attorney later says one of his goals was to destroy Alternative Tentacles. Fund-raising and the ensuing media circus delay the completion of the follow-up album to Frankenchrst, the appropriately titled Bedtime for Democracy.

Fall, 1986 – Dead Kennedys break up is announced around the time of the release of Bedtime for Democracy. Black Flag and Crass announce their demise in the same two week period. Interest in Biafra’s spoken word activities continues to grow.

1987 – Biafra releases first spoken word album, No More Cocoons. Tracks include “Names for Bands” and “Message From Our Sponsor”; which is sampled by Ice-T for the opening to his Freedom of Speech-Just Watch What You Say album.

Also released is Dead Kennedys Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death, a semi-“Greatest Hits” package of non-LP singles and rare compilation tracks.

August, 1987 – Charges against Biafra and the other defendants are dismissed after a three-week criminal trial in Los Angeles. Even though Frankenchrist was not found to be obscene; Biafra, Dead Kennedys and Alternative Tentacles records are subsequently banned from a multitude of chain stores nationwide. This is exactly the type of de-facto censorship Tipper Gore and the PMRC had in mind.

By this time, controversy has vaulted Biafra’s spoken word performances from coffee houses to the college lecture circuit, where he is brought in to “lecture” on censorship. For the first time the media is more interested in Biafra’s political views than music-industry shop talk on his latest music album. His documentation of Tipper Gore and the PMRC’s ties to fundamentalist Christian extremists is no longer dismissed as lunatic. He also appears as an FBI agent in the Tim Robbins-John Cusack film, “Tape Heads,” wearing the same blue pin-stripe suit he wore at the trial.

1988 – Being taken seriously has its ups and downs as hopes for a new band and music tours fall by the wayside in favor of more Spoken Word and anti-censorship work. Second Spoken Word album- High Priest of Harmful Matter is an 88-minute monologue detailing the “Frankenchrist trial” and the PMRC and censorship advocates’ corporate and religious right connections; with Biafra acting out the voices of the entire cast of characters. Biafra now realizes he is not a poet so much as an anti-pundit/commentator; breaking new ground in the increasingly important medium of info-tainment.

In his second Oprah Winfrey appearance Biafra catches Tipper Gore lying on live national television. Oprah quickly cuts to a commercial. During the next few years, Biafra appears on Donahue, Crossfire, the never-aired pilot of Jesse Jackson’s talk show and even at a Religious Right broadcaster’s convention. Jackson is the first and only person to object to Biafra’s name. These adventures are recounted on his fourth spoken-word album, Beyond the Valley of the Gift Police.

Meanwhile Alternative Tentacles is sprouting another generation of bands led by Nomeansno, Alice Donut, The Beatnigs (pre-Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy and Spearhead), Tragic Mulatto, Victims Family and Hungarian space-shamans Vagtazo Halottkemek (aka VHK or “Galloping Coroners”).

Summer 1988 – While mixing Christian Lunch’s Unreliable Sources EP for Alternative Tentacles, Biafra and Ministry’s Al Jourgenson hatch the idea for a project of their own. The first name that pops into Biafra’s head is Lard. Al falls on the floor laughing and Lard is born. The Power of Lard EP is released that fall.

1989 – Terminal City Ricochet brings Biafra to Vancouver for a substantial film role and more collaborative recording. He hooks up with D.O.A. and Nomeansno for one soundtrack song apiece; the soundtrack is subsequently released on Alternative Tentacles. Sessions go so well they each lay the ground work for an entire album. The Biafra/D.O.A. album Last Scream of the Missing Neighbors is finished first; complete with “Full Metal Jackoff”, a side-long power dirge that many consider the definitive expression of horror at the onset of Bush America. It is also the only high-profile track, besides Ice-T’s, to point out the Bush-CIA connection with America’s exploding crack epidemic. A new round of PMRC attacks on Ice-T, Public Enemy and, yes, Biafra, begins.

After its initial release, squabbling breaks out among Terminal City Ricochet’s backers and the film remains in limbo to this day. Though its take on tabloid media as an instrument of oppression and control should be shown before every American election, it has still not been released on video.

1990 – The Power of Lard EP is so well received that Biafra, Al, Paul Barker and Jeff Ward go back in the studio in Chicago for more. The result is the first Lard full-length album, The Last Temptation of Reid. Later Biafra returns to Vancouver to complete the album with Nomeansno, The Sky is Falling and I Want My Mommy. Lyrics are among Biafra’s strongest, with a second version of “Falling Space Junk” as a semi-sequel to the first version from the Terminal City Ricochet soundtrack.

1991 – One of the world’s most warped guitarists, Charlie Tolnay of Grong Grong, surfaces in America with his next band, King Snake Roost. Seizing the moment, Biafra and Charlie enter the studio with all three members of Steel Pole Bathtub. The result is the Tumor Circus album and two singles. No two Biafra music albums have ever sounded alike; and this one tries his listeners patience more than anything since The Witch Trials. Some punks find themselves mimicking their parents, “Turn that off. It’s just a bunch of noise…” Arguably an overlooked noise-guitar masterpiece, it remains one of Biafra’s favorite of his albums.

1991 –

America erupts as George Bush blows a billion taxpayer dollars a day on the Gulf War. Biafra¹s “Die for Oil, Sucker”, a spoken word track with no music, is the largest-selling Alternative Tentacles single since Dead Kennedys.

A third spoken word album, “I Blow Minds for a Living” is released that fall expanding on “Die for Oil…” and its aftermath. The censorship portion of the album also widens to include buried facts on the increasingly violent Bush-era police state under the guise of the Drug War, the attempted assassination of Earth First activists Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney, and more. Also included are hemp legalization pseudo-anthem “Grow More Pot” and a full recount of Biafra’s 1979 Mayor Campaign.

An ever more extreme generation of Alternative Tentacles bands begins to rise led by Neurosis, Grotus, Tribe 8, and Zeni Geva. Work also begins on a “Greatest Hits” album for yet another artist no one at the time would touch- the most incredibly strange savant-savant of all, Wesley Willis.

1993-94 –

As punk becomes increasingly retro, commercialized, and just plain boring, Biafra responds with the most punk gesture of all, shock. Biafra and Mojo Nixon(with his band, the Toadliquors) record an authentic roots and country album,”Prairie Home Invasion”. Those who get it, love it; those who don¹t are aghast. The album includes what may be the first anti-NAFTA song “Burgers of Wrath”, and a cover of Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney’s parody of “Will the Circle be Unbroken”, “Will the Fetus be Aborted”.

Self-proclaimed punk “bible”, Maximum Rock n’ Roll, bans Alternative Tentacles from being advertised or reviewed for “not being punk” . Biafra gives this mentality a name, “punk fundamentalism”, pointing out how similar the born-again hardliners are to their cousins, the religious right.

1994 –

Biafra releases a fourth spoken word album on Alternative Tentacles, “Beyond the Valley of the Gift Police”. As America kicks back and breathes a sigh of relief that Bush is out of office, Biafra points out how the Clinton gang is potentially worse; not because of molehills like Whitewater, but because of their hostility to civil liberties and environmental laws, and the NAFTA and GATT treaties. Biafra also includes an unusually personal track about how his angle on the world evolved (“Eric Meets the Moose Diarrhea Salesman”), and moves beyond the complaining stage with some serious and satirical solutions to the problems that he brings to light.

1996-97 –

Lard‘s second full-length album, “Pure Chewing Satisfaction” was released in May 1997 on Alternative Tentacles.

Yet another crop of AT artists marks a return to the extreme and esoteric sides of punk with Dead and Gone, Logical Nonsense, Buzzkill, Man is the Bastard, Facepuller, and the Fixtures. The full-on heavy noise side is bolstered with the addition of Thrall (ex-God Bullies), Ultra Bide, Pachinko, Zen Guerrilla, and the uniquely medieval folk-influenced Czech group, Life After Life (ex-Plastic People of the Universe). After a courtship dating back to “Let Them Eat Jellybeans” , Half Japanese is also on board with their album, Bone Head.

MAY 1997 –

Prosecutor Michael Guarino reflects on the Biafra “Frankenchrist trial” in the May, 1997 Washington Post : “The whole thing was a comedy of errors,” said Guarino, who is now assistant dean at John F. Kennedy University¹s law school in Walnut Creek, California. “About midway through the trial we realized that the lyrics of the album were in many ways socially responsible, very anti-drug and pro- individual. We were a couple of young prima-donna prosecutors.” To this day, Guarino gets a lot of guff about his leading role in the trial, from both his students and his family. “My son adores Jello and plays his music all the time, so my punishment is that I have to listen night after night to everyhting that Biafra has ever performed.” – Washington Post (excerpt)

1998 –

Biafra’s fifth spoken word album, “If Evolution Is Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Evolve” , is released just in time for the elections. With the demise of label-affiliates Allied Recordings looming on the horizon, Alternative Tentacles joins forces with AK Press Audio to release new spoken word recordings by Mumia Abu-Jamal, Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, and Angela Davis. Biafra also joins the Spitfire tour, featuring a rotating panel of speakers ranging form Woody Harrelson to Perry Farrell to t.v. comedian Andy Dick.

In October 1998, former members of Dead Kennedys sue Biafra with the express intent of seizing and selling off the DK catalog, as well as ruining Alternative Tentacles. Though they claim it is a dispute over royalties, hostilities began when Biafra opposed the use of “Holiday in Cambodia” in a Levi’s Dockers TV commercial.

1999 –

Worldwide frustration with the onset of corporate dictatorship erupts in the streets of Seattle, torpedoing the gathering of the despised World Trade Organization. Biafra is there, speaking to groups, large and small, including a United Steelworkers Union rally of over 7,000 people. By night Biafra, Krist Novoselic (Nirvana, Sweet 75), Kim Thayil (Soundgarden), and Gina Mainwal (Sweet 75) join together as The NO WTO Combo, performing live with Spearhead at the Showbox in Seattle, as tear gas and police riots rage outside.

2000

Biafra kicks off the millennium with two new music releases- The NO WTO Combo’s “Live from the Battle in Seattle” and a Lard EP, “70’s Rock Must Die”. AT¹s “Reissues of Necessity” series resurrects early classics by The Dicks, B.G.K., The Fartz, False Prophets, plus the ’82 Bay Area compilation, – “Not So Quiet On The Western Front”.

Biafra bends over backwards to settle the lawsuit, but the ex-DK’s refuse. A nasty show trial ensues, with Ray, Klaus, and D.H. all claiming they wrote Biafra’s songs, a mass conspiracy to hide money from them (that had actually been paid), and even damages for “lack of promotion”(!) To the visible shock of even the plaintiffs , the jury falls for their story. Obviously the verdict will be appealed.

On a brighter note, the movement against corporate rule and corruption continues to gather steam, with massive protests against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C. in April, followed by disruption of the Republican and Democratic conventions.

Biafra is drafted as a presidential candidate by the New York State Green Party. His address is well received at the Greens’ national convention, where Ralph Nader is voted the nominee.

A new alternative media movement continues to mushroom. Free Speech TV turns Biafra loose with a camera crew during the Republican and Democratic conventions to report for the Independent Media Center. The usual mayhem ensues. Biafra dubs the grassroots info insurrection: the Camcorder Truth Jihad. On-the-scene stories and reflections from the past year are collected in Biafra’s sixth spoken word album, aptly titled, “Become the Media”.

2001

Meanwhile Alternative Tentacles steams ahead, melting barriers and breaking rules in an increasingly genre shackled music world. Roster additions include: Phantom Limbs, Fleshies, The Causey Way, the Patern, Black Kali Ma (Ex-Dicks & Sister Double Happiness), Los Infernos, Ratos De Porao plus AT¹s first mutant country band, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club. “Reissues of Necessity” series continues with classic So-Cal hardcore from M.I.A. Other new releases by a re-formed Fartz as well as showing the return of Victim¹s Family. We licensed a compilation from the british band the Flaming Stars and released an album by Iowaska. Also new albums by Mumia Abu-Jamal as well as Half Japanese. “Become the Media” is released as the U.S. Supreme Court crowns “King” George the 2nd as the new president and resistance to globalization, corporate feudalism and Bu$h America grows starting with the largest anti-inaugural demonstration since the second term of Richard Nixon.

Biafra witnesses a march of 70,000 (20,000 more than Seattle) against the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas conference in Quebec in April, then returns home to find no mention it even took place in the corporate-controlled mass media. The blackout strategy is also used when at least 20,000 protest against Bush and the European Union at their POW. NOW in Gothenburg(goteborg), Sweden. Police pull pistols and fire real bullets at demonstrators, wounding three, one critically. Film proves he was shot several times in the back while fleeing from the cops. The on-and-off again unending Biafra speaking tour will likely continue into the Fall, including some Spitfire dates and at least one appearance with Ralph Nader. Meanwhile the ex-DK¹s continue to refuse to settle their lawsuit or compromise in any way. Doctored versions of all old CD ¹s except “Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables” are released on their Decay music label. Biafra does not endorse these re-releases and suggests anyone thinking of buying them to stop and consider where the money is going first. Their live CD is also embarrassingly weak to these ears and is not recommended.

By the end of the year, King George II has used the tragic events of September 11 as an excuse for a reckless War on Terrorism and war on civil rights at home.

2002 –

Biafra remains at the front line of dissent, releasing the emergency spoken word mini-album The Big Ka-Boom, Part 1. The bigger ka-boom comes in the Fall with spoken word album number seven: Machine Gun In The Clown’s Hand. Biafra continues causing trouble through touring, popping up at protests, and Ralph Nader’s Democracy Rising rallies. In a strange turn of events, he also appears onstage as an opening act for televangelist legend Tammy Faye Bakker!

2004 –

Unfortunately, another presidential election is stolen with widespread voter fraud and vicious, negative campaigning by the worst possible people. Even Biafra is heartbroken by the Democrats’ complete lack of spine when so much criminal conduct is right in front of everyone’s eyes. He votes for Nader a third time to protest corporate Democrats spending more effort to keep Ralph off state ballots than fighting Republicans and the Bush agenda. Biafra also releases his first collaborative record with the Melvins, Never Breathe What You Can’t See.

2005 –

Biafra’s musical mojo is indeed back with live dates with The Melvins and more trouble making at home. Second Biafra/Melvins album, Sieg Howdy! is no letdown from the first. His mug graces the cover of underground culture mag Arthur in January. Biafra is also added to the Revolting Cocks’ return album Cocked and Loaded, laying down vocals in Texas as Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans. Biafra also writes a section in the Yoko Ono-compiled book Memories of John Lennon, putting him in print alongside Elton John, Bono, and Alicia Keys. An episode of NPR show This American Life titled “Know Your Enemy” features Biafra and Michael Guarino, the prosecutor from the Frankenchrist trial, in a phone conversation talking about the trial and having reconciliation.

2006 –

Biafra appears as the voice of Osama Bin Laden on the audio version of Greg Palast’s book Armed Madhouse, gaining notoriety in the New York Times. A visit to the still-ravaged New Orleans inspires the section entitled “Faux FEMA Follies” on the spoken word disc In the Grip of Official Treason, the eighth spoken word record. He also produces a new record by French synth-punk pioneers Metal Urbain. Alternative Tentacles forges ahead with releases by the Heads, Knights of the New Crusade, Ludicra, Akimbo, the legendary dirty rap pioneer Blowfly, Pilot Scott Tracy, 16 Horsepower, BlöödHag, and Subhumans Canada, among others

Zeke

“Ride With Zeke” has quickly become the mantra for the people who have accepted the invitation brought by on Heckler Magazine when they said, “Welcome the new monsters of rock.” And believe me, they are monsters. Ever since their very first gig at the Rock City in Seattle in 1993, people have had no choice but to pay attention. Their records will assault you, and their live show will batter you.

“Dirty Sanchez” is Zeke’s second Epitaph release, and it rocks like a motherfucker. From the very beginning quote that says (and foreshadows) “Hey, he’s acting weird, it must be drugs!” to the last roar of the Fleetwood Mac cover “Rhiannon”, you’ll be bludgeoned with tireless energy. It’s an album of 16 songs that clocks in at 21 minutes that was produced by Kurt Bloch (Fastbacks).

Before becoming a member of the Epitaph family, Zeke put out many singles on various little punk labels. Their first two releases were the “West Seattle Acid Party” on Wrecking Ball Records, and the “Holley 750″ 7” on IFA Records. Several singles later, and two full-length records on Scooch Pooch (“Super Sound Racing” & “Flat Tracker”), the infamous Fletcher from Pennywise threatened to quit PW if they didn’t get signed to the big E. And that’s exactly what happened (yeah right), and so “Kicked In The Teeth” is now in the history books.

Throughout the time that Zeke have been on Epitaph (since April ’98) they have toured relentlessly. They have literally been on 10 different tours, including tours with Jerry Cantrell (from Alice In Chains), ALL, Voodoo Glow Skulls, DOA, Supersuckers, and a few dates with Pearl Jam…they even toured Europe, Japan and Australia. But it’s the good ‘ol US of A that the band calls home, and Marky Felchtone said, “Austin, TX is my favorite place to tour…cuz it kicks ass!”

When you’re a punk band that is eternally touring, strange things are bound to happen that will have as much of an influence on the band as the music that got them started. Kiss, Black Flag, The Ramones & Black Sabbath would all get a run for the money when it comes to Zeke antics. When asked about some specifics, Marky Felchtone rattled off a brief list that went like this: “Drum sticks in eyes, broken bones, incidents involving cake, drugs and under-aged females, Black Metal homicides, etc…you name it”…I hope he was joking. But why does Zeke love touring so much? “All the thousands and thousands of dollars, chicks & booze…and it’s the best reason to avoid real responsibility.”

I asked Marky where he saw himself in 1 year, and in 5 years, he said “In one year, at the liquor store, outside with no money. In five years, at the right hand side of my Master.” Now that, my friends, is ROCK!

Deke Dickerson

Deke Dickerson grew up on a farm in Missouri, where he soaked up the area’s rich heritage of bluegrass and country music. At the same time, his father was turning him on to rhythm and blues and early rock and roll. “The first two concerts I ever saw were Bill Monroe and Willie Dixon,” remembers Deke, “and that just about says it all. Formative experiences? You bet!”

Since he was 13 years old, Deke began leading bands. His first professional group was the Untamed Youth, a surf-garage band that released several albums and toured constantly in the late ’80s and early ’90s, breaking up right before the “Pulp Fiction” surf revival happened. His next big project was the Dave & Deke Combo, a rockabilly-hillbilly band he formed with partner Dave Stuckey that became huge among the legions of roots music fans in the U.S. and Europe. The Dave & Deke Combo released several highly-acclaimed singles and records before finally breaking up to allow both Dave and Deke to pursue their own musical visions.

That vision for Deke has concretized with his new group, Deke Dickerson and the Ecco-Fonics, formed in 1998 and signed to HighTone soon thereafter. Although Deke has often been tagged “rockabilly” or “hillbilly,” his musical focus runs the gamut from both of these styles to R&B, jump blues, honky-tonk country, hard-edged ’50s rock and roll, surf, garage rock and all points in between. His first album for HighTone, Number One Hit Record, was a highly-successful release, endearing the group to rockabillies, punk rockers, folkies and guitar geeks worldwide.

Deke and the Ecco-Fonics have been doing non-stop cross-country touring since that album’s release in October, 1998. This past summer, the group spent three months as the opening act for Mike Ness (of Social Distortion). This sojourn exposed them to thousands of new fans who embraced the boys like lost family members (and bought CDs like they were going out of style!).

Upon returning home from the Mike Ness tour, Deke and the boys hopped right into the studio to record their newest effort, More Million Sellers. Yes, the title is tongue-in-cheek, but the hitmaking potential of the group is not. Anybody who doubted the chart possibilities of acts like Chris Isaak, the Squirrel Nut Zippers or the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies would do well to lend a serious ear to the music of Deke Dickerson.

With an even more schizophrenic balance of musical genres, More Million Sellers finds Deke singing rockabilly numbers (“I’m a Wreck,” “Red-Headed Woman”), jump blues (“The Hatchet Man,” “Mean Son of a Gun”), flat-out rockers (“Nightmare of a Woman,” “Let the Good Times Roll”), country and honky-tonk (“Broken Down and Broken Hearted,” “So Long I’m Gone”), a ballad that would make Roy Orbison cry (“I Gave My Heart Before”), crazy guitar instrumentals (“The Rockin’ Gypsy” — a staple of their live set — and “Tropical Island Boogie Serenade”) and even a beatnik poetry rap set to a Link Wray-meets Bo Diddley backing (“My Name is Deke!”).

As was the case with the first album, Deke has brought several of his idols into the studio to round out his artistic vision. Introducing the album is “the world’s most famous little person,” Billy Barty, whose immediately recognizable voice comes from seeing him in countless movie and television roles from The Wizard of Oz to The Dukes of Hazzard. Rockabilly guitar legend Billy Zoom (of X fame) contributes flashy leads on “Nightmare of a Woman.” 82-year-old Hadda Brooks, “the queen of boogie,” joins Deke on a vocal duet entitled “You’re My Cadillac.” Hadda’s 60-year career includes playing boogie-woogie piano and acting alongside Humphrey Bogart. The closing theme of the album is sung by none other than Jerry Scoggins, the voice of the original Beverly Hillbillies theme song.

Returning from the last record are three musicians for whom Deke holds ultimate respect: sax maestro Joey D’Ambrosia from Bill Haley’s Comets (the man who played the solo on “Rock Around the Clock”), Carl Sonny Leyland (boogie-woogie piano player extraordinaire, who also sings a duet with Deke on “I Think You Gotta Pay For That”) and steel guitar wizard Jeremy Wakefield (moonlighting from Wayne Hancock’s band).

The Ecco-Fonics are:
Brent Harding
Acoustic Bass, backing Vocals
Johnny Noble2nd Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Maracas
Brian NevillDrums & Cymbals

Guana Batz

Legendary UK psychobilly icons the Guana Batz were formed in 1982 and are recognized as one of the first psychobilly bands. Fronted by the charismatic Pip Hancox, the Guana Batz are considered heavily influential to psychobilly as a genre and scene as they are most well known for frequent headlining appearances at the Klub Foot, an early club which birthed the Psychobilly genre. Although breaking up in 1990 and reforming in 1996, the band has numerous Top 10 hits on UK Indie Charts spanning from the early 80s through the early 2000s.

 

More bands being announced!

 

 

Comments are closed