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PUNK: 1977-79 “Search & Destroy” THE COMPLETE SET #1-11 Excerpt: Dead Kennedys


Jello with HippyS&D: It seems like your most instantly memorable song is “California Uber Alles”–how did that come about?

Jello Biafra: It starts with the post WWII baby boom bringing a huge bubble in the population; a very large group of people of a certain age group moving up the scale who reached their teens and early twenties in the 60s when the Vietnam War was going on…

S&D: Right, the first post-atom bomb generation–

JB: And the first vid-kid generation. OK, the ’60s were very intense; we had Kennedy assassinations, the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, people were waking up to their poisoned ecosystem. There were a lot of people just Rebelling, a lot more than what is going on now, and saying, “I want to make my own rules, I want to run my own life,” etc. And gradually, about ’72 or ’73 (different time for different people), the bubble seems to have burst, both for the hippies and others from that era, who had just gotten to the point of “Where do I go from here?”

S&D: –Inward “self -realization” and all that bullshit–

JB: But part of the self-realization is that there was Nothing There! It was kind of hollow, and so a lot of people seemed to be wanting to be told what to do–that’s one more of the reasons why you see more and more people turning to totalitarian mindf***k organizations–

S&D: What is “Kill the Poor” about?

Dead KennedysJB: It’s about the neutron bomb in American cities. When you’re fighting a foreign country, the best way to win a war is to devastate them economically and you can’t do that if you leave all their buildings intact, so obviously, they’ve put this together to use it on us! So that’s what the song is about–it’s sung from the point of view of one who’s going to survive. Sometimes I like to slip inside the villains and speak that way rather than standard protest stuff: “Jobless millions whisked away, no more welfare tax to pay!”

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