JELLO SAYS, "BUYER BEWARE!!" ON DKs' "FRESH FRUIT.." REMIX ALBUM
People are asking, so I guess I have to say something.
LISTEN BEFORE YOU BUY!!
This was done almost totally behind my back. Intentionally.
It was not â€œoverseen by the bandâ€, as their press release claims. I was deliberately locked out. Not one person from the band or the labels reached out to me at all. Nor did Chris Lord-Alge, who did the remix. I guess he didnâ€™t care, or value anything I brought to the band at all. Without me those songs wouldnâ€™t exist.
In fact, it took several letters from a lawyer for their â€œmanagerâ€, Kevin Raleigh, to cough up much detail of what they were up to.
So is it really, â€œadding depth without losing any of its original energyâ€??
Not to my ears!!
Sure, some people may like this version a little better, depending on taste. But, â€œincredible new clarityâ€? â€œTaking the music from 2D to 3D?â€
I donâ€™t think so! What does that even mean, anyway? I hate to say this, but to me itâ€™sâ€¦.wellâ€¦.kinda boring.
Sure, the sound is a little fuller, a little warmer, with a little more bottom end. But the top-end presence and power, so crucial to full-on in your face Punk, sounds rolled off and smoothed over, even muffly.
And East Bay Ray, whose ego knows no bounds, actually turned his guitars DOWN! Theyâ€™re lower and a little muddier than the real thing. It just sounds weak to me, Iâ€™m sorry.
And why was Chris Lord-Alge chosen in the first place?? Sure, heâ€™s bigtime Hollywood, as big as it gets. But thereâ€™s so many others with a better more heartfelt grasp of what Dead Kennedys really is, who I think could have done a better job.
Al Jourgensen and Geza X both told me theyâ€™d love to do it. Who did Turbo Negroâ€™s â€œApocalypse Dudesâ€? That would have been amazing. Matt Bayles? Andy Wallace, anyone?
Hell, I could have hooked up with one of my ace engineering partners, Matt Kelley, Kurt Schlegel, Toshi Kasai or Geza, and done a better job myself â€” for a fraction of the cost. They spent at least three times more money on Lord-Alge than it cost to make the original album!!
Did that make it three times better than the original?
Again - Listen before you buy.
Yes, Lord-Alge has mixed or remixed Springsteen, Madonna, Celine Dion, the Stones, Linkin Park, Donny Osmond, The Jonas Brothers, even Rascal Flatts. A closet full of Grammy awards, and patents on some serious studio gear.
Major label Pop Punk too - a Bad Religion, some Green Day, Good Charlotte, SUM 41; and our favorite OG pioneer, Avril Lavigne.
But Dead Kennedys?? Why??!? Because Raleigh and the Lord-Alge brothers go way back to Cleveland??
I admit Iâ€™d had thoughts about remixing â€œFresh Fruit..â€ too, way back when. Catch it up to â€œFrankenChristâ€ and â€œPlastic Surgery Disastersâ€.
Then Tim (Lint) from Operation Ivy asked me what I thought of their now-classic album he gave me, hot off the presses. I said I thought it came out a little tinny, â€œIt sounds like â€˜Fresh Fruit..â€™â€ He looked me right in the eye, and said, â€œWe like â€˜Fresh Fruit.â€™â€
Thank you, Tim Armstrong!! Lesson learned. Donâ€™t mess with the magic. Especially when it means that much to people.
Hell, if you really want a true RE-mix album, donâ€™t do a faithful, near-carbon copy of the original. Go all the way!!
Get Jourgensen, or get Charlie Clouser, or anyone from the Rob/White Zombie remix albums. Or better yet, get a top, interested Hip-Hop person, or even Electronic people, and really go to town!
Thatâ€™s the true art of the remix to me - slice, dice, add your own beats and make it into something fresh and different.
In October, 2019, Matti Ingham from Cherry Red, along with East Bay Rayâ€™s Facebook page, posted a remixed â€œChemical Warfareâ€, along with a press release bragging that I thought it was â€œterribleâ€; as though that was some kind of clever genius â€œpromotionâ€.
Shit-talk the heart and soul of the band, thatâ€™ll spark more interest and sales for sure!Â
If someone at Alternative Tentacles did something that petty and unprofessional, I would fire them on the spot.Â
Then a year ago, out of the blue, Cherry Red sent me a test pressing. No letter, no followup.Â
I listened. No, I donâ€™t think itâ€™s â€œterrible.â€œ But Iâ€™m not sure Iâ€™d fork over 30 bills for it either. Itâ€™s not, â€œLike hearing your favorite album for the first time all over againâ€, or anything like that.Â
The cool part for me is that I then went through every damn re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-Re-issue of â€œFresh Fruit..â€Â (Cherry Red again). And Boy, some of them sound WAY better than I remembered!! So full-on, sopowerful. Iâ€™m even more proud if it now than I think Iâ€™ve been in years.Â
It really was like, â€œhearing it again for the very first timeâ€. It sounds like it was made yesterday.Â
Thanx in no small part to the great Oliver DiCicco (yes, the sculptor) our engineer at Mobius Music who made it all happen - and heâ€™d never made a Punk record before. Good job, my friend!Â
Ray is now claiming he produced the whole thing himself, when is was actually the three of us, credited to Oliverâ€™s wonderful and inspirational cat, Norm. Heâ€™s also claiming he originally designed the DK logo! Yeh, and Trump won the election..
So if you really want to hear â€œFresh Fruitâ€ at its best, chances are you already have. For me, the best sounding â€œFresh Fruitâ€s are:Â
1) The UK remaster we made Cherry Red do when we arrived in London in 1980. From the purple-dot back cover onward, look for â€œA Porky Prime Cutâ€ scratched in the grooves. Thatâ€™s George Peckham, maybe the best mastering engineer Iâ€™ve ever heard.Â Â
2) The remaster George Horn and I did at Fantasy in Berkeley, when AT finally got the US license back from Cherry Red. It really holds up well. Iâ€™d thought Porky blew him away. Nope..
3) The short lived Japanese LP on Trio, way back in the early 80â€™s.Â Â
Iâ€™m not sure Lord-Alge and Rayâ€™s remix even cracks my Top 10. Maybeâ€¦
The Wikipedia bio describes the Lord-Alges as, â€œknown for molding mixes for small speakers and FM radioâ€. If thatâ€™s your bag, this is the â€œFresh Fruit..â€ for you.Â
But is it, â€œA revolutionary must hear experienceâ€? You decide.Â
Just LISTEN BEFORE YOU BUY.Â