Jello Biafra

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Jello Biafra (born June 17, 1958) is an American punk singer, best known as the frontman of the controversial and politically motivated punk group Dead Kennedys.

In 1985, the album "Frankenchrist" became a target for censorship by the PMRC, because of its cover: a painting by H.R. Giger, featuring self-sodomizing penises. Frank Zappa supported Dead Kennedys in their legal battle against this censorship[1].

"At the time, he [Zappa] was very involved with the Dead Kennedys thing because they had gotten censored. So he wanted to make a tape [Blood On The Canvas] that basically had to be censored. In fact, no one ever played it on the radio. It was censored in every radio station except for Boston. We had a deal with the Museum of Modern Art in LA that they could only make 10,000 copies. So these 10,000 copies were made and that was it. It was very extreme. It has these little bits of music in it, and these funny characters that talk about all these innuendo sexual experiences."
Eric Bogosian, Say Anything: Eric Bogosian Comes Clean by Richard Linklater, The Austin Chronicle, November 1995.

Biafra later declared that the only good thing about this trial was that he met Zappa:

"Meeting Frank Zappa was one of the few silver linings to come out of the trial. He got a hold of me and the helpers of the No More Censorship Defense Fund rather than us having to find him. He gave me some very valuable advice very early on; something that anybody subjected to that kind of harassment should remember: You are the victim. You have to constantly frame yourself that way in the mass media so you don't get branded some kind of outlaw simply because of your beliefs and the way you express your art. The outlaws are the police. I got to visit Frank two or three more times at his house in Los Angeles and those were very special times. He showed me a hilarious Christian aerobics video. The women were in their skintight leotards doing jumping jacks. 'One-two, two-two, three-two, praise the Lord!' And of course the bustiest one was in a striped spandex suit dead ront center of the screen!"
— Jello Biafra, Punk Politics, Alternative Tentacles, 2004.

Biafra about Zappa in interviews:

"I don't think my generation has produced anybody the caliber of a Frank Zappa or Jim Morrison and part of the reason for that, per capita there weren’t as many young people, it's post baby boom, also, it was the Reagan era. The best and the brightest of the young minds, instead of going into music or resistance leadership, go into making money. Nobody seems to ask themselves 'Will this wealth, this distribution, suddenly seeing my name in crappy mall record stores, make me happy?' If the Dead Kennedys had gotten one tenth the size of Nirvana, I would've jumped off the Golden Gate bridge from pressure alone. Any creative, hard working person can't be bled of their talents forever and not be given any love in return — or they turn into either suicides or monsters."
— Jello Biafra, Positive Cultural Terrorism, interview by Joshua Berger, Plazm #8, 1995.
"Humor can be very effective both to inspire, and as a weapon. Just ask Frank Zappa and Charlie Chaplin."
— Jello Biafra, Jello Biafra Interview by Jodi Vander Molen, The Progressive, February 2002.


See also