By Kris Needs
Record Collector Magazine
After finding instant infamy in San Francisco in 1978, Dead Kennedys became the first US hardcore punk band to grab a major following in Europe after their 1980 debut album, Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables, was released by the UK’s Cherry Red label, tellingly, before having to wait for home release on frontman Jello Biafra’s own Alternative Tentacles imprint. Biafra swiftly became one of the US’s most outspoken and controversy-courting activists, eventually running for President in 2000.
Five years in the making, this first major work on one of the States’ most influential bands pulls out all the stops to recount the group’s formation, manifesto and music, focusing mainly around the debut album. Written by esteemed punk author Alex Ogg, the book’s authenticity is enhanced by interviews with Biafra and main players, photos from the archives of Search & Destroy fanzine’s Ruby Ray, and rare memorabilia intrepidly sourced from global underground punk networks.
The visual cherry comes in the form of the band’s original artist, Winston Smith, supplying his still-striking sleeve designs and flyers, while allowing the famous DK logo to adorn the project. Fans will lap up this beautifully realised document.