Jello Biafra

Biography

Early years and the Dead Kennedys Eric Boucher was born in Boulder, Colorado, USA to parents Stanley Boucher, a psychiatric social worker and poet, and Virginia Boucher, a librarian. As a child, Boucher developed an interest in international politics that was encouraged by his parents. He was an avid watcher of news and one of his earliest memories is of the John F. Kennedy assassination.[3] Biafra claims he has been a fan of rock music since first hearing it in 1965, when his parents accidentally tuned in to a rock radio station. During the 1970s, he became involved in activism in reaction to several events of the era including the Vietnam War, the Chicago 7 trial, and the Kent State shootings.[2] He began his career in music in January of 1977 as a roadie for the punk rock band The Ravers (who would later change their name to The Nails). In the fall of that year, he began attending the University of California, Santa Cruz. He spent one quarter of the year studying acting and the history of Paraguay before leaving to become involved in San Francisco, California's punk scene. In June of 1978 he responded to an ad put out by guitarist East Bay Ray and together they formed the Dead Kennedys. He began performing with the band under the stage name Occupant, but shortly after began using his current stage name. Biafra wrote the band's lyrics, most of which were political in nature and displayed a sardonic, sometimes absurdist, sense of humor despite their serious subject matter. In June of 1979, Biafra co-founded the record label Alternative Tentacles with which the Dead Kennedys released their first single, "California Über Alles".[3] The label was created to allow the band to release albums without having to deal with pressure from major labels to change their music (although the major labels were not willing to sign the band due to their songs being deemed too controversial).[4] After dealing with Cherry Red in the UK and IRS Records in the US for their first album Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables, the band released all later albums (and later pressings of Fresh Fruit) on Alternative Tentacles (with the exception of live albums released after the band's break-up, which the other band members compiled from recordings in the band partnership's vaults without Biafra's input or endorsement). Biafra has been the owner of the company ever since its founding, though he does not receive a salary for his position (Biafra refers to his position in the company as the "absentee thoughtlord").[5] In the fall of 1979, Biafra ran for mayor of San Francisco as a prank, using the Jello ad campaign catchphrase, "There's always room for Jello", as his campaign slogan. Having entered the race before creating a campaign platform, Biafra later wrote his platform on a napkin while attending a Pere Ubu concert. As he campaigned, Biafra wore campaign t-shirts from his opponent Quentin Kopp's previous campaign and at one point vacuumed leaves off the front lawn of another opponent, current U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, to mock her publicity stunt of sweeping streets in downtown San Francisco for a few hours. Supporters committed equally odd actions; two well known signs held by supporters said "If he doesn't win I'll kill myself" and "What if he does win?" His platform included unconventional points such as forcing businessmen to wear clown suits within city limits and a citywide ban on cars (although the latter point was not considered abnormal by many voters at the time, as the city was suffering from serious pollution problems).[4] Biafra has expressed irritation that these parts of his platform attained such notoriety, preferring instead to be remembered for serious proposals such as legalizing squatting in vacant, tax-delinquent buildings and requiring police officers to keep their jobs by running for election voted on by the people of the neighborhoods they patrol.[6] During a TV interview (reproduced on The Early Years home video and DVD), he had this to say to those who thought less of him running for mayor: “For those of them who have seen my candidacy as a publicity stunt or a joke, they should keep in mind that it is no more of a joke, and no less of a joke than anyone else they care to name.”[7] He finished fourth out of a field of ten, receiving 3.5% of the vote (6,591 votes); the election ended in a runoff that did not involve him (Feinstein was declared the winner). In reaction to his campaign (and that of Sister Boom-Boom, a drag queen who also ran for mayor and handily won the third place spot above Biafra), San Francisco passed a resolution stating that no candidate could run under any name other than their given name.[8] The Dead Kennedys toured widely during their career, starting in the late 1970s. They began playing mostly at southern Californian clubs (most notably the Whisky a Go Go), but eventually they moved on to major clubs across the country, including the CBGB in New York. Later, they played to larger audiences such as at the 1980 Bay Area Music Awards (where they played the notorious "Pull My Strings" for the first and only time), and headlined the 1983 Rock Against Reagan festival.[9] Biafra married Therese Soder, aka Ninotchka, lead singer of San Francisco-area punk band The Situations on October 31, 1981.[10] Flipper vocalist/bassist Bruce Loose conducted the wedding, having paid to join the Universal Life Church as a minister just to conduct the ceremony, which took place in a graveyard. The wedding reception, which members of Flipper, Black Flag, and D.O.A. attended, was held at director Joe Reis' Target Video studios. The marriage ended in 1986. Biafra became a spoken word artist in January 1986, starting with a performance at University of California, Los Angeles. In his performance he combined his sense of humor with his political beliefs, much in the same way that he did with the lyrics to his songs. Biafra has held this career since, but did not begin recording spoken word records until after the disbandment of the Dead Kennedys. From Wikipedia

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Known For
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Punk: Attitude

Himself

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The Bikini Bandits Experience

Porn Director

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Dead Kennedys - The Early Years Live

Himself

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Ministry - Tapes of Wrath

Himself

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William S. Burroughs: A Man Within

Himself

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Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records

Self

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Rage: 20 Years of Punk Rock West Coast Style

Self

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Clockwork Orange County

Self

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Boiled Angels: The Trial of Mike Diana

Narrator (voice)

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Highway 61

Customs Agent #1

Starring In
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The Last Black Man in San Francisco (Prime)

Tour Guide

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Boiled Angels: The Trial of Mike Diana

Narrator (voice)

Movie Poster

Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records

Self

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Bathtubs Over Broadway

Himself

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Turn It Around: The Story of East Bay Punk

Self - Dead Kennedys

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An American in Texas

Mayor

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Riot on the Dance Floor

Himself

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A Band Called Death

Himself / Interviewee

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Clockwork Orange County

Self

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Fix: The Ministry Movie

Self

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William S. Burroughs: A Man Within

Himself

Movie Poster

Punk's Not Dead

Himself - Dead Kennedys

Movie Poster

American Drug War: The Last White Hope

Activist

Movie Poster

Punk: Attitude

Himself

Movie Poster

The Bikini Bandits Experience

Porn Director

Movie Poster

Mayor of the Sunset Strip

Himself (archive footage)

Movie Poster

Rage: 20 Years of Punk Rock West Coast Style

Self

Movie Poster

Dead Kennedys - The Early Years Live

Himself

Movie Poster

Ministry - Tapes of Wrath

Himself

Movie Poster

Highway 61

Customs Agent #1

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