Get off your Facebook and go to a punk show

Ex-Dead Kennedy’s lead singer, Jello Biafra, hits Minneapolis with his Guantanamo School of Medicine.

by Conrad Schoenleber

WHO: Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, Mister Fister


WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 7, 8:30 p.m.


WHERE: 400 Bar, 400 Cedar Ave. S


COST: $15


WeâÄôre wasting our time. People should be outraged, but theyâÄôre not. TheyâÄôre glued to their screens living out a fantasy life that has nothing to do with reality. Jello Biafra wishes to change that.

The ex-Dead Kennedys front manâÄôs latest venture, Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine is all political snarling. The sounds are typical punk âÄî power chords, howling and fast tempos. Really, theyâÄôre not anything new. YouâÄôve heard it all before. But for Biafra thatâÄôs not the point.

âÄúIn my own small way I think what IâÄôve done with music has had an influence on history. From Fighting Tipper Gore and the LAPD, the music and the words have influenced the way that people live their lives,âÄù Biafra said. âÄúIf I can [get] people to get off their asses and vote or work to change the world, then IâÄôm doing something right.âÄù

Anyone who has listened to the Dead Kennedys will find it no surprise that the lyrics are politically charged. The song, âÄúNew FeudalismâÄù describes AmericaâÄôs conversion into a corporate state. There are repeated mockings of social media, âÄúTweet-tweet-tweet-tweedle-de-da!âÄù Biafra shrieks.

BiafraâÄôs angry tone is a reaction to the conservative religious right. He sees music without a message as unnecessary.

âÄúWhat do you want? More wallpaper? More whimpy-ass commercial pop music, someone singing âÄòI love you baby, buy my music?âÄô Or even a bull[expletive] nationalist country song? I donâÄôt mind being blunt, IâÄôm not interested in subtle anything.âÄù

Subtle he is not. Repeated railing against social media, Biafra sees it as a soul-draining medium, removing peopleâÄôs interactions with the real world.

âÄúI think people should be very careful of this digital peer pressure, everyone knows everyone elseâÄôs business. People feel this right to sell themselves. I donâÄôt think anyone of any age should have to worry about their image and feel pressured into being someone theyâÄôre not,âÄù Biafra said.

A man of strong opinions and principles, Biafra has been a part of influencing the public discourse for over 30 years. From a failed run for mayor of San Francisco to a run for president in 2000 and a possible attempt again in 2012, Biafra has no plans to slow down or stop pushing his agenda.

âÄúIt dawned on me, oh [expletive] IâÄôm turning 50 this year, I better get something going,âÄù he said.

ItâÄôs definitely not for everyone, but his brand of politicized punk irrevocably changed music and politics.