California Über Alles (3:04)

Cover of Mutiny on the Bay

From Mutiny on the Bay and 10 other releases

The first single by the Dead Kennedys. The record was released in June 1979 on Optional Music with “The Man with the Dogs” as the b-side. The title track was re-recorded for the band’s first album, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (1980), and the version that appeared on this single, as well as the single’s b-side, are available on the rarities album Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death (1987).

The lyrics were written by Jello Biafra and John Greenway, and Biafra composed the music in one of his rare attempts at composing on bass.The song focuses on Jerry Brown, the Governor of California 1975-1983 and 2011-present, and is sung from his perspective.
An imaginary Brown outlines a hippie-fascist vision for America, in which his “suede denim secret police” kill un-cool people with “organic poison gas” chambers. Lines such as “Serpent’s egg already hatched” (a reference to a line from William Shakespeare’s play ‘Julius Caesar’) comment on the corrosive nature of power. The line “now it is 1984” refers to the totalitarian regime of George Orwell’s novel ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’.


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Albums featuring this track (11)

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