Archive for Jello Biafra

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Agnostic Front- Cause for Alarm

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2020 by 80smetalman

Even though I had been in England for a couple of months and was soaking up the NWOBHM bands who hadn’t made it across the Atlantic, it didn’t prevent great American thrash bands from making it across the ocean in the opposite direction. Although I like to think I was solely responsible for introducing the Stormtroopers of Death and Suicidal Tendencies to Great Britain, (at least to my new friends at Queen Mary College), I know that this wasn’t the case. Especially as the metalheads of Britain were getting into thrash all on their own and one of these albums which came their way was the 1986, “Cause for Alarm” album from Agnostic Front.

In the spirit of their New York counterparts, Stormtroopers of Death, “Cause for Alarm” is a short, sharp assault of thrash metal. Those with delicate ears should definitely not listen to this album. Ten songs in just over twenty-three minutes but they are all super explosive songs guaranteed to pack any mosh pit. The longest song is “Growing Concern” which is just over four minutes long. One point of note is the contribution of newly added guitarist Alex Kinon. He does produce some good guitar solos on the album and tracks like “Growing Concern” and the opener “The Eliminator” are definitely ones to note. Another point to note was that the track, “Your Mistake,” has been covered by both Fear Factory and Hatebreed. But for me the track of note is “Out for Blood,” which successfully combines the hardcore thrash and a cool more metal guitar solo so well.

One track, which brought some controversy in 1986 was “Public Assistance.” It was even criticized by Dead Kennedys lead singer, Jello Biafra, for its lyrics and if I had actually been able to decipher the lyrics above the music back in 1986, my left leaning self would not have been impressed with them. “Public Assistance” has racist implications, stating that racial minorities were living a life of luxury off the backs of hard working white people. A belief that was particularly common all throughout 1980s Reagan America.

Uncle Sam takes half my pay

So you can live for free

I got a family and bills to pay

No one hands money to me

Get money in advance

You can go to school for nothing

Got that government grant

When you’re sick from shooting up

Medicaid pays full portion

When little Maria gets knocked up

She gets a free abortion

If I had understood lyrics such as this back then, I might have been put off the rest of the album. Back then, I was left of centre in the realms of British politics which in the American realm, would have made me a pinko, Commie subversive. Now a days, I’m more open minded and won’t punish a band just because I don’t agree with the lyrics in one song. Besides, the band didn’t actually write the song. This is still a great thrash album.

Track Listing:

  1. The Eliminator
  2. Existence of Hate
  3. Time Will Come
  4. Growing Concern
  5. Your Mistake
  6. Out for Blood
  7. Toxic Shock
  8. Bomber Zee
  9. Public Assistance
  10. Shoot His Load

Roger Miret- vocals

Alex Kinon- lead guitar

Vinnie Stigma- rhythm guitar

Louie Beatto- drums

Rob Kabula- bass

In 1986, thrash metal was thriving on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond. Agnostic Front contributed to this with one hell of an album in “Cause for Alarm.”

Next post: Billy Squier- Enough is Enough

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Will Trump’s Presidency Usher in a New Wave of Heavy Metal?

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2017 by 80smetalman

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

I read a post on a blog, which my buddy 1537 reminded me of in his post last night, that the Presidency of the newly elected Donald Trump may usher in a new wave of heavy metal. With his ultra conservative politics, there will be a lot of angry musicians out there who will be inspired to write a lot of songs about Trump and the political/social climate that might generate from it. From that, a resurgence in heavy metal might just come about. Plus history can back it up.

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan

Let’s begin by going back to the 198os when the US President was another ultra conservative, Ronald Reagan. During the decade, for which he was in office for most of, there was a heavy metal explosion. First there was the new wave of British heavy metal, (NWOBHM), which filled the early part of that decade. Inspired by that, many American metal bands emerged, I don’t feel I have to name them all. Towards the end of Ronnie’s presidency, we had the onslaught of thrash, a custom blend of punk and heavy metal. Even the PMRC, who operated with Reagan’s behind the scenes positive nod, failed to stop the heavy metal onslaught. It could also be why the 80s was the golden age of heavy metal. It also gave me good amount of inspiration when I wrote “Rock and Roll Children.”

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton

Reagan’s successor, George HW Bush was a liberal Republican and that coincided with a downward trend in heavy metal. That continued well into the presidency of the more liberal Bill Clinton. We had the grunge period and a lot of great 80s metal acts kind of drifted into near obscurity during the 1990s. I say near but not total, I do remember some great metal from old and new acts but metal was definitely stuck in a rut during this decade. In fact, I heard former Dead Kennedys lead singer Jello Biafra once say that many members of hardcore punk bands in the 80s, in the 90s, went back to California, got computer jobs and started driving BMW’s. Maybe, there wasn’t anything to be angry about during Clinton’s presidency.

George W Bush

George W Bush

That all changed with the election of George W Bush in 2000. A new wave of ultra conservative politics brought on a new wave of heavy metal. The fragmented factions of metal, whether it by nu metal, Viking metal, black metal etc, established themselves back on the world music stage. They seemed to put aside their differences and come together for the common metal good. Furthermore, gaining inspiration from their 1980s elders, many of the bands from the golden decade also made a comeback. Again, we see right wing politics ushering in a new surge in heavy metal.

Barrack Obama

Barrack Obama

Obama’s presidency did bring the heavy metal surge to a more calming trickle. Fortunately, the lessons of the 1990s were learned and heavy metal didn’t go underground. While no new ground has been gained during the more liberal years of Obama, none has been lost either. What may have happened is that metal had become insular with metalheads finding sanctuary with each other. Metal now rests upon a springboard, ready to jump into any direction. If the person, I voted for, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, had been elected, metal would have gone in a more artsy direction. Not much chance of that happening.

Now we have Trump, who many believe to be extremely right wing, racist, sexist and a few other ists as well. So the question to be asked is “Will Trump’s presidency lead to a new resurgence in heavy metal? The answer will soon be made known to us. Things are promising to heat up in the heavy metal world and I am very excited to see what will become of it.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2015 by 80smetalman

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

 

 

 

Great Punk Albums of 1981: Dead Kennedys- In God We Trust Inc.

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2014 by 80smetalman

Dead_Kennedys_-_In_God_We_Trust,_Inc._cover

First a confession, while I say that I was and still am a big Dead Kennedys fan, back in the 80s, the only two DK albums I listened to in earnest was their first album “Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables,” (for those who have joined recently, I did visit said album when I was journeying through 1980) and their 1985 “Frankenchrist” album and you can bet I will be paying tribute to that one. The 1981 EP, “In God We Trust Inc.” slipped past me back in the day. My excuse is and it’s a piss poor one, that EP’s weren’t something very common back in 1981 and so I didn’t pay much attention to them. That is what this album is labelled as. When I stumbled across “In God We Trust Inc.,” I thought it couldn’t have been an EP because it had eight songs on it and the standard EP has three or four. Then I quickly discovered that the eight songs on this EP take a grand total of just over thirteen minutes and most artists who release ones with three songs can be longer than that. Saying that, I’m not here to generate a debate on the definitions of EP’s and albums but to celebrate a great offering of music from a great band.

It may be only thirteen minutes but in that brief time you get totally bombarded with some loud, fast and furious in your face punk rock. Unlike the Plasmatics, this is punk as punk was meant to be. It ticks all the boxes of punk for those who like to categorise things. I don’t but there are some who do. The funny thing is that I don’t care that I can’t understand what is being sung in the opening track, “Religious Vomit,” maybe that’s what it is, but I just want to have a good scream when I hear it and that is what punk was meant to do. The next few songs are slightly more intelligible, especially “Moral Majority” and “Hyperactive Child,” although I don’t know where the last one ends and the next songs begin and frankly, I don’t care. I just am carried away by the ferocious music. It is the last three tracks that get slightly more serious and they slow down just enough for Jello Biafra to get his political message across with “Nazi Punks Fuck Off.” The same goes with the next and longest track “We’ve Got a Bigger Problem Now,” a fitting song for back then and probably now. In the sense of political awareness in music, I think the Dead Kennedys were ahead of their time. Still the ferocity of the music is not lost in either track. The album ends with a very amusing punk cover of “Rawhide” showing a sense of humour in the band and it was a great way to end things.

Track Listing:

1. Religious Vomit

2. Moral Majority

3. Hyperactive Child

4. Kepone Factory

5. Dog Bite

6. Nazi Punks Fuck Off

7. We’ve Got a Bigger Problem Now

8. Rawhide

Dead Kennedys

Dead Kennedys

Jello Biafra- vocals

East Bay Ray- guitar, backing vocals

Klaus Flouride- bass, backing vocals

D.H. Peligro- drums

If you want a good ear bashing but don’t have much time, then I can recommend “In God We Trust Inc.” from the Dead Kennedys. You will certainly get an ear bashing for thirteen fast and furious minutes. This may have been a short EP, but when it’s over, you surely don’t forget it and like me, starting over to listen to it again.

Next post: Hanoi Rocks- Bangkok Bakes, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks

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

 

 

Great Punk Albums of 1980: Dead Kennedys- Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2013 by 80smetalman

Dead_Kennedys_-_Fresh_Fruit_for_Rotting_Vegetables_cover

As I have stipulated in many posts thus far, back in 1980 and before, the term punk was brandished around fairly liberally in regards to bands who brought a unique sound to the music world. However, there are very few of theses acts which I would actually call punk, Talking Heads being one of the exceptions. My idea of punk was always in the form of the Sex Pistols, The Jam, The Ramones¬†and the band whose album I’m visiting now, The Dead Kennedys. For me, Punk has always been the loud aggressive hardcore sound that the forementioned bands provided.

I have to confess, I didn’t listen to the Dead Kennedys much back in the day. I knew and loved their more notable songs, including two from this album “Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables,” “Let’s Lynch the Landlord” (something I wanted to do to two of mine) and “Holiday in Cambodia” but I never listened to their albums in real earnest. My interest in listening to the Dead Kennedys again came about 8 years ago when I listened to some political speeches by former lead singer Jello Biafra. Side note: His speech on school shootings gave me lots of inspiration for my new book “He Was Weird.” And of course, when I get to 1986and 87, I will be writing posts on the criminal charges brought against him on the Dead Kennedys’ “Frankenchrist” album. Still, that’s down the line so let’s look more closely at their debut album.

Like I said, I already knew¬†the songs “Holiday in Cambodia” and “Let’s Lynch the Landlord” and hearing them in recent times, I love them even more. However, two songs does not an album make. The rest of this album is just as hardcore and kickass. You can name any track on the album and I would give it my thumbs up but the standouts for me are: “Forward to Death,” “Kill The Poor,” “California Uber Allies” and “Chemical Warfare.” I also really love the cover of Elvis’s “Viva Las Vegas.” For me, this is what punk should be; loud, powerful and to the point. The combined total of the fourteen songs is just over thirty-three minutes.

Track Listing:

1. Kill the Poor

2. Forward to Death

3. When Ya Get Drafted

4. Let’s Lynch the Landlord

5. Drug Me

6. Your Emotions

7. Chemical Warfare

8. California Uber Allies

9. I Kill Children

10. Stealing People’s Mail

11. Funland At the Beach

12. Ill in the Head

13. Holiday in Cambodia

14. Viva Las Vegas

Dead Kennedys

Dead Kennedys

Jello Biafra- lead vocals

East Bay Ray- lead guitar

Klaus Flouride- bass, backing vocals

Ted- drums

6025- rhythm guitar on Ill in the Head

I slam danced my way for the entire thirty three minutes of this album. Thank God there wasn’t a stage for me to dive off of. But this is the effect “Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables” has on me as is the case with most hardcore punk. By 1980, punk was moving away from the UK and re-establishing itself on the West Coast of the US. This album is prove that it had done so successfully.

Next post: Aerosmith- Greatest Hits

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