Music News

Beating a Dead Kennedy

In a second coming that rivals only Christ himself, the cantankerous punk band Dead Kennedys have rereleased Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables -- Special 25th Anniversary Edition (Manifesto Records), and are touring, albeit minus former mouthpiece Jello Biafra. But are the resurrected Kennedys just a bunch of anachronistic sellouts, or are they the genuine article? New Times caught up with bassist Klaus Flouride to touch his hands and sides and see for ourselves if the rapture's for real.

New Times: So why are you doing this now? Is the music still relevant today?

Klaus Flouride: It's different the second time around, but it's still relevant. I mean, look around at the world. It's symbolic to a lot of people, but you gotta keep in mind it's a rock 'n' roll band. You can't go to us or any other band to get your politics. Using us as an end-all for where you get your politics, or any band -- U2 -- it's lazy and stupid.

NT: Most fans are either ecstatic that DK is touring or they think it's sacrilege to do so without Jello Biafra, and DK is just cashing in on the past. What's it like playing live without Biafra, and what can fans expect from new singer Jeff Penalty?

Flouride: First, Jeff doesn't do a Biafra impression. And it feels great to play live again. If fans have their doubts, we just want them to come see us play and make up their own minds.

NT: You recently pulled out of a performance due to the last-minute addition of Coors as a sponsor. So what's wrong with Coors? Not a domestic man?

Flouride: Well, we were excited about doing the show, but when we heard Coors had been brought on as sponsors, we said no way. The Coors family has a history of anti-labor practices and ties to the contras, so we felt it would be wrong to put money in their pockets.

NT: Is there a chance for a reunion including Biafra in the future?

Flouride: I stopped making predictions a long time ago. I would've said Jeb Bush would be the next president, so I try to avoid predictions, but as of right now, no. Biafra withheld royalties from the band and got caught and refused to admit it. We attempted to solve things outside of court, but you have to say to yourself at some point, "Why am I letting myself be screwed?"

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Casey Lynch