punk as f*ck(?)

DANIEL.DAVIES at flemings.com DANIEL.DAVIES at flemings.com
Wed Apr 19 02:26:08 PDT 2000

SAN FRANCISCO, April 18 (Reuters) - Three survivors of the Dead Kennedys will face Jello Biafra, the pioneer punk group's former lead singer, in court next week over the legacy of the band that made "Kill the Poor," "Religious Vomit" and "California Uber Alles."

The plaintiffs -- guitarist East Bay Ray, bassist Klaus Fluoride and drummer D.H. Peligro -- claim that Biafra has been using the profits from the Dead Kennedys' records to support his new career as a sometime politician and spoken-word artist.

Biafra, for his part, has charged his former bandmates with trying to hijack his Alternative Tentacles record label after he refused to sell the rights to the song "Holiday in Cambodia" to Levi's for a television commercial.

"It's been emotionally devastating," the San Francisco Examiner quoted Biafra as saying in its Tuesday edition. "The whole thing has pretty much wasted two years of my life."

Jury selection for the trial is taking place this week, and Alternative Tentacles spokeswoman Michelle Steinberg said arguments were scheduled to start on Monday in San Francisco Superior Court.

The trial marks the culmination of several years of acrimony among members of the San Francisco-based Dead Kennedys, who broke up in 1986 after making headlines for several years with their grisly, humorous lyrics and hard-driving music.

The three musicians first sued in 1998, claiming that Biafra had short-changed them on royalties and mismanaged the record label. Biafra sued back, charging them with seeking retaliation.

"Their mean-spirited attack traces back to my refusal to allow 'Holiday in Cambodia' to be used in a Levi's TV commercial (Dockers Khakis, no less!)," Biafra said in a 1998 statement on his suit.

"I respect how much Dead Kennedys music and message means to people. ... I can think of no worse way to stab our fans in the back than to sell out to Levi's," he said.

Ray, Fluoride and Peligro say the advertisement idea was never pursued and that the singer is using it as a smokescreen for retaining Dead Kennedy profits, hundreds of thousands of dollars of which have gone into an interest-bearing account pending the outcome of the trial.

"We think Biafra's acting like a capitalist in the worst sense of the word," Ray told the Examiner in an interview. "He may not be a corporation, but he certainly knows how to act like one."




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