by Kris Needs
Classic Rock Magazine
Five years in the making, this first major work on America’s massively influential punk band will be pounced on and devoured by the huge Dead Kennedys global fan-base.
After forming to instant controvesy in San Francisco in 1978, Dead Kennedys were the first hardcore punk band to gain a major following in Europe after their 1980 debut album Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables was released by the UK’s Cherry Red Records. It eventually gained a US outlet on frontman Jello Biafra’s Alternative Tentacles imprint. Since then the band’s legend and influence has ballooned, while Biafra has become one of America’s most high-profile activists.
With Jello’s approval and input, noted punk author Alex Ogg captures vividly the group’s formation and story, focusing mainly on the debut album. The book’s authenticity is further enhanced by interviews with main players, photos from the archives of Search & Destroy’s Ruby Ray, and rare memorabilia diligently sourced from the global underground punk network by designer Russ Bestley. The band’s original artist Winston Smith supplies his ininmitable cover designs and flyers, crucially allowing the famous DK logo to adorn what will stand as the ultimate document on this seminal band. 8 out of 10.