Local Wire

Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine

Old punks never die, they just reunite with their former bandmates and start touring again. Just like The Zeroes, the Subhumans, Agent Orange, and Flipper before them, Jello Biafra is back. And if you shut your eyes while listening to his new band, the Guantanamo School of Medicine, it sure as hell sounds like the outspoken punk icon has re-formed The Dead Kennedys. While, sadly, a DK reunion tour featuring all the original members is about as likely as Sheriff Joe Arpaio leading an immigrant rights march, the Guantanamo School of Medicine is very much the next best thing. The relentless, chainsaw-like riffs and experimental licks of axmen Kimo Ball and Ralph Spight (both of San Francisco punk outfit The Freak Accident) on such songs as "New Feudalism" and "Three Strikes" sound just like East Bay Ray and Klaus Fluoride when they used to blast it out in the DK's Reagan-era glory days. Jello himself still sounds like a man possessed, screeching hyperbolic polemic about social ills, the war in Iraq, and even the Obama administration. Unlike many of his tepid collaborations with the likes of Mojo Nixon and Nomeansno, this is the one project that DK fans have been waiting for. Well, aside from, you know . . .
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.