Magic Terry & The Universe

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Interview: Klaus Flouride

Forty years ago, the Dead Kennedys released their first single “California Uber Alles”, which humorously warns of a New Age dystopia courtesy of then-Governor Jerry Brown.

“California Uber Alles” also appeared on the band’s classic 1980 debut album Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, along with such satirical and darkly humorous songs as “Let’s Lynch the Landlord” – which is kind of self explanatory, “Kill the Poor” – a Jonathan Swift worthy proposal to use neutron bombs to kill poor people without damaging property, “Chemical Warfare” – a fantasy about gassing country club members, and “Holiday In Cambodia” – which manages to be critical of both the brutality of Pol Pot’s regime and Americans who seem more absorbed with their own so-called problems that they ignore atrocities elsewhere in the world.

The rest of the band’s core discography is the In God We Trust, Inc. EP, the Plastic Surgery Disasters, Frankenchrist and Bedtime for Democracy albums, and the compilation Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death. Other notable songs include “MTV – Get Off The Air”, “Too Drunk To Fuck”, and “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”, the latter a not-so-subtle response to the punks who used Nazi symbolism as part of their style or, even worse, dabbled in neo-Nazi ideology.

The current line-up for The Dead Kennedys is original guitarist East Bay Ray, original bassist Klaus Flouride, drummer D.H. Peligro who joined in 1981, and vocalist Ron “Skip” Greer who joined in 2008. Original singer Jello Biafra is no longer performing with the band. Biafra was sued in 1998 by other band members in a dispute over songwriting credit and royalty payments, and the court ruled in favor of the other band members.

This interview was for a preview article for for the 10/4/19 Dead Kennedys show at the Majestic Ventura Theater. It was done by phone on 9/13/19.