Ex-DEAD KENNEDYS Frontman Dishes Out On Punk, Death Metal

February 15, 2002

Former DEAD KENNEDYS frontman Jello Biafra on the punk community and the death metal scene (as reported by Bad Subjects):

So you think there is no cohesive social group that can be referred to as "The Punk Community"?
Jello Biafra: There are threads of it, but punk has gotten so popular that the name gets attached to all sorts of things - everything from JAWBREAKER to BRUTAL TRUTH. There are all kinds of communities there, all networking with each other. None of them are as tight culturally as the death metal community where you have people in Norway swapping tapes with people in Malaysia, and all the bands sound more than a little bit alike. And isn't it ironic that death metal is the first form of rock music that has caught on with poor people over the world. When I was in Brazil, I was told that all rock music and punk was scorned by the people of the slums. It didn't speak to them. They thought of it as a bourgeois [art] form they didn't want to have anything to do with. They would rather listen to samba or death metal. Death metal is popular from Moldavia to Cuba.

JB: Partly because in the grindcore form, it's easy to play and have a lot of attitude and fun with it. Also the violent and anti-Christian imagery has a worldwide appeal.

A radical response to a Catholic education...
JB: You would have no BRUJERIA without a pope to beat up on. I've been told that a lot of the illegal youth in L.A. have been blowing off Mexican music and hip hop to listen to death metal. A lot of them have their own bands and have been attempting to play on the street and the cops drove their cars right through it. Anything the gangster rappers say about the LA cops is true. Everything! I've seen DEAD KENNEDYS fans treated just like Rodney King in front of the Whiskey and at Wilmington which wasn't even in the L.A.P.D.'s jurisdiction.

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