Fun Fun Fun Fest 2014 Friday Interviews
Jello BiafraFri., 2:55pm, Black stage
Sat., 3pm, Yellow stage
"I haven't planned it yet."
So says Jello Biafra, the man forever identified as the arch, sarcastic voice of seminal San Francisco punk activists the Dead Kennedys (1978-1986). He pulls double duty at Fun Fun Fun Fest, rocking the Black stage Friday with the band that brought him back to active music-making, Guantanamo School of Medicine, then returns Saturday with trademark (out)spoken word, his staple since the DK's dissolution. Biafra, 56, says resuming the mantle of American punk's most humorous political conscience has eaten time he usually devotes to crafting one of his monologues.
"Some of it will probably be just off-the-cuff comments about whatever's going on that particular day that I might want to say something about," admits Biafra. "Then I'll probably read some of the pieces people who know the spoken word albums will be somewhat familiar with. As Penny Rimbaud of Crass put it, if there's something you feel strongly about, you need to keep hammering that point home – again and again and again."
If there's a point to the music Biafra's made recently, it's equally the potent themes tackled on 2013's White People and the Damage Done LP – celebrity news ("Hollywood Goof Disease"), criminals-turned-pop stars ("John Dillinger"), corruption ("The Brown Lipstick Parade") – and reclamation of the Dead Kennedys' sound.
"It's what pours out of me when I write songs," he demurs, before conceding the point. "Even Buzz [Osborne] and Dale [Crover] from the Melvins told me that when I worked with them [on 2004/2005 hard-rock gems Never Breathe What You Can't See and Sieg Howdy]. As soon as they heard what I brought in, they said, 'This is the well from which most of that music springs.'"