Great Punk Albums of 1982: Dead Kennedys- Plastic Surgery Disasters

220px-Dead_Kennedys_-_Plastic_Surgery_Disasters_cover

Since I have said that in the early 1980s, punk had relocated from Great Britain to the West Coast of the USA, I thought it best to put forward evidence of this fact. I first learned this fact in 1982 when I read an article about it in Playboy Magazine. Hey, I was 20, in the marines and I was on a ship and it had been a couple of weeks since the last port call. With the boredom of ship life, you can start doing anything to keep your mind active like actually reading the articles in such magazines. One particular issue ran an article on how punk had done the above and was alive and well on the West Coast.

If I can point to anyone band that convinced me of that fact, it would have to be the Dead Kennedys. For me, this band was the essence of punk in the 1980s although it would be a couple more years until I heard their 1982 offering, “Plastic Surgery Disasters.” This album simply screams punk and what is even better, it is nearly thirty minutes longer than their EP from 1981, “In God We Trust Inc.” “Plastic Surgery Disasters” is loud, brash and in your face, just what I want from a punk album. While, I didn’t fully appreciate it back then, many of the songs have strong social and political commentary. Even the ones that don’t ring of reality. I think most of us can identify with the lyrics in “Trust Your Mechanic,” especially if you have ever been ripped off by one. The chorus in “Bleed For Me” is still ringing in my ears and I found “Winnebago Warrior” amusing. Political commentary really hits home with a dash of common sense in “Riot,” with the lyrics:

“Tomorrow we’ll be homeless but we’re having fun tonight.”

One thing this album highlights for me is the guitar talents of East Bay Ray. True, he doesn’t do any Van Halen solos, not even close. Buy he has a playing style that does sound unique or at the very least, ahead of its time. The songs where this is most present are “Government Flu,” “Buzzbomb” and “Dead End” but he shines throughout the rest of the album as well. If you never experienced early 80s American punk, then this album or the Dead Kennedys’ debut album, “Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables” is definitely the best place to start.

Track Listing:

1. Government Flu

2. Terminal Preppie

3. Trust Your Mechanic

4. Well Paid Scientist

5. Buzzbomb

6. Forest Fire

7. Halloween

8. Winnebago Warrior

9. Riot

10. Bleed For Me

11. I Am the Owl

12. Dead End

13. Moon Over Marin

Dead Kennedys

Dead Kennedys

Jello Biafra- vocals

East Bay Ray- guitars

Klaus Floride- bass, clarinet, backing vocals

D.H. Peligro- drums

In 1983, there would be some bands who would become more political with their lyrics. Some of those would even try to call themselves punk. However, they wouldn’t come close to doing it the way that the Dead Kennedys did it with albums like “Plastic Surgery Disasters.”

Next post: Cheap Trick- One on One

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Great Punk Albums of 1982: Dead Kennedys- Plastic Surgery Disasters”

  1. Ahh, so you one of those guys who bought it for the articles …

    Nice review of a great LP. I always loved how political DK were.

    Like

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