Inspired by Iggy Pop’s 60th birthday gig at the Warfield in San Francisco, Biafra laid plans for his own 50th birthday party and finally decided it was time to start a band of his own. Ten years before he had been attempting the same thing with the likes of guitarist Ralph Spight (Victims Family, Freak Accident, Hellworms) and drummer Jon Weiss (Sharkbait, Horsey). They had also previously worked with bassist Billy Gould (Faith No More) who was tapped for the new group. After cramming rehearsal for a month the four piece band known as Jello Biafra and the Axis Of Merry Evildoers took the stage in a sold-out two night stand at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall and subsequently spent the next 9 months in rehearsal for an album project. Before entering the studio, guitarist Kimo Ball (Freak Accident, Carneyball Johnson, Mol Triffid, Griddle) was recruited and the resulting twin guitar attack took the groups sound to new, noisier heights.
The quintet now known as Jello Biafra and The Guantanamo School of Medicine began recording tracks for the upcoming LP/CD entitled “The Audacity Of Hype”(Alternative Tentacles Records) slated for release in October 2009, produced by Biafra and engineered by Hip Hop legend and long time Jello co-conspirator Matt Kelley (Hieroglyphics, Tupac, Digital Underground, ictims Family) at Prairie Sun Recording in Cotati, CA and San Francisco’s Hyde Street Studios.
For the past seven years, Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine have been ripping the faces off audiences throughout the Americas and Europe with a live show that gives a nod to the Dead Kennedy’s frontman’s past and updates his vision into the 21st century with a truckload of new material that leaves no question that this is not nostalgia.
Now, in 2013, Ralph Spight, Kimo Ball, Bass God Larry Boothroyd (Victims Family) and drummer Paul Della Pelle (Helios Creed, Nik Turner’s Space Ritual, and Philly HC legends Ruin) provide a hellacious backing track to Biafra’s more relevant than ever take on corruption, corporate McMedia making pop stars out of small-time crooks to shield the big ones, tabloid pop stars to lobotomize everyone else, our never-ending foreign-policy disasters, those lovely “End Times” believers, and much, much more.
Their fourth release and second full length, “White People and the Damage Done,” to be released in April 2013 on Alternative Tentacles, finally brings the road tested line-up to the studio with Biafra penning the ultimate treatise on the “Age of Austerity” and who’s really responsible for it.
In the twenty years that followed the demise of the Dead Kennedy’s, Biafra has devoted himself to activism, spoken word tours, collaborations with musicians as diverse as Mojo Nixon, No Means No, DOA, Reverend Horton Heat, Melvins, formed Lard with Ministry’s Al Jorgenson and many other musical projects, released more than 400 records (and counting!) on his Alternative Tentacles Records label, amassed the Library of Congress of Punk Rock and Exotica record collections, performed as a DJ, acted in several movies and ran for the Green Party nomination for President of the United States. Twice.
Truly an original, no matter your opinion of him and his work, no one can doubt his punk rock bona fides. If you’re at a punk show (or any kind of show for that matter) in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, he is there. In the front row. He’s a huge fan and supporter of all things punk.
Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine is his first real band since the DK’s and his new vision is as uncompromising as ever. 2013 will see JB&GSM at Coachella, their first Australian tour, in Europe and throughout North America. This ain’t nostalgia. This is the real deal,kids. See you in the pit.