BPREVIEW: Dead Kennedys @ O2 Academy – 23/06/15

Dead Kennedys (Circa 2008)

Pioneering American Hardcore Punk band Dead Kennedys are bringing their distinctive sound to Birmingham’s O2 Academy on Tuesday 23rd June. Doors open at 7pm and tickets are priced at £20 advance – for direct gig info, click hereMain-with-web-colour-bcg---lr

Formed in 1978 in San Francisco, Dead Kennedys quickly became one of the West Coast’s most prominent Punk bands – becoming part of the American Hardcore movement of the early 1980s.

Originally formed after founding member, Raymond Pepperell, posted an ad for band members in a local newspaper, Dead Kennedys’ early work remained closer to Ska and more traditional Punk sounds – until the 1981 release of In God We Trust, Inc. EP, which saw a marked shift into Hardcore.

deadkennedys-logoStarting out by playing at numerous local venues, Dead Kennedys often had to use alias’ due to the controversial nature of the band’s name. Playing undercover with monikers such as The Sharks and The Pink Twinkies, the band became increasingly popular in the US after a well-attended East Coast tour.

In 1980, Dead Kennedys’ single ‘Holiday in Cambodia’ was recorded and released on both sides of the pond; this saw the band gain success, popularity, and the inevitable controversy, in the UK for the first time since their formation.

Their subsequent album, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, was released the same year on Cherry Red Records reaching number 33 in UK charts. Fear from the BBC that Dead Kennedys’ next single, ‘Too Drunk To Fuck’, would reach the top 30 in UK singles charts, Top of The Pops executives pulled the song from air and only referred to the single as ‘Too Drunk’ – thus affirming Dead Kennedys place amongst the counter-culture of Britain.Dead Kennedys at CBGBs

Their 1985 album, Frankenchrist, was released on former lead singer Jello Biafra’s label, Alternative Tentacles, and met with further controversy.

A poster of H.R Giger’s Work 219: Landscape XX (or, Penis Landscape) was inserted into the original record sleeve; when a teenage girl purchased the album and discovered the graphic illustration, Dead Kennedys were charged with violating the California Penal Code with each band member facing up to a year in county jail.

o2-academy-logoUnfortunately this controversy overshadowed the actual content of Frankenchrist as an album, adding to the band’s growing disillusionment in the increasingly violent Hardcore scene. In January 1986 the original Dead Kennedys split up, playing their final concert in February and releasing their final album, Bedtime for Democracy, in November the same year.

In February 2015, the current lineup of Dead Kennedys announced a follow up to their 2014 European tour – including an extended six dates across the UK.

Dead Kennedys come to Birmingham’s O2 Academy on Tuesday 23rd June. Doors open at 7pm and tickets are priced at £20 advance. For further gig info, including venue details & online tickets, visit http://www.o2academybirmingham.co.uk/event/74603/dead-kennedys-tickets

For more from Dead Kennedys, visit http://www.deadkennedys.com/

For further listing from the O2 Academy Birmingham, visit http://www.o2academybirmingham.co.uk/

Share this story on social media