Holiday in Cambodia (3:46)

Cover of Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables

From Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables and 61 other releases

“Holiday in Cambodia” was the second single by the American hardcore punk band Dead Kennedys. The record was released in May 1980 on Alternative Tentacles with “Police Truck” 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 cover picture of the single is taken from the 6 October 1976 Massacre in Thailand, and depicts a member of the rightist crowd beating the corpse of a student protester with a metal chair.

The song attacks both Eastern totalitarianism, Western complacency and the direct relation between the two through American military intervention. The song’s lyrics offer a satirical view of young, self-righteous Americans (So you been to school/For a year or two/And you know you’ve seen it all/In daddy’s car/Thinkin’ you’ll go far…) and contrast such a lifestyle with a brutal depiction of the Pol Pot regime of Cambodia (Well you’ll work harder/With a gun in your back/For a bowl of rice a day/Slave for soldiers/Till you starve/Then your head is skewered on a stake).

The version of this song that appears on Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables is slightly different from the single version, being fifty-five seconds longer and featuring an extended guitar noise intro as well as an extended psychedelic solo.

In October 1998, Jello Biafra was sued by former members of the Dead Kennedys. According to Biafra, the suit was a result of his refusal to allow “Holiday in Cambodia” to be used in a commercial for Levi’s Dockers; Biafra opposes Levi’s due to what he believes are their unfair business practices and sweatshop labor.


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  • Phoelich

    This song is truly awesome!! Powerful lyrics and great guitar play

    4 Oct 9:58pm Reply
  • postmortem2

    Ohhhh wie lang ist das jetzt schon her.... toll wieder zu hören! Klassiker

    15 Jul 12:24am Reply
  • YoQueSe666

    If attacking global politics is your aim, then punk music is one of the best mediums to do it through! The Dead Kennedys do not hold back on this track in which they condemn the infamous Pol Pot dictatorship in Cambodia, and trash the complacent westerner who’s oblivious to it all. The Kennedys know who’s to blame, and they live a lot closer to home than we’d care to admit! Just edging out the band’s “Too Drunk to Fuck”, this track’s too angry to overlook! -- watchmojo

    22 Jun 11:51am Reply
  • Mickyby

    one of the best bands! up the with The Scientists!!!!!

    26 Apr 2:26am Reply
  • buttereastwood

    hahahhaahh, perfeito!

    17 Apr 9:11pm Reply
  • Zanderich

    Where you'll kiss ass OR CRAaAaAaAaAck!

    8 Apr 10:45pm Reply
  • rOnieAirhead

    A true classic

    4 Apr 11:18am Reply
  • punkmorg

    You just have to love this song

    15 Mar 12:48pm Reply
  • ravenpryde

    That's Portuguese not Spanish Kikyo...

    14 Mar 9:18am Reply
  • cerealkiller_x


    26 Feb 1:04pm Reply
  • LostImeem

    Jello Biafra will appear on the popular, slightly underground sit com "Portlandia" this coming season.

    14 Jan 7:22pm Reply
  • johnfoxx

    while your boss gets richer off you!

    7 Dec 2013 Reply
  • viniciusturner

    música muito boa, Jello Biafra é realmente muito bom em fazer criticas em forma de musica

    11 Sep 2013 Reply
  • IndigoRead

    the intro is about the only thing I can play on base

    13 Jul 2013 Reply
  • artificialgimp


    14 Jun 2013 Reply
  • TommyRot2013

    Great song!

    9 Jun 2013 Reply
  • houndsoflove1


    3 Jun 2013 Reply
  • spudnikscousin

    Love the multi-layered comments on society

    1 Jun 2013 Reply
  • EricHart

    I forgot how amazing this song really was. It's been years...

    26 Apr 2013 Reply
  • cambricpulse


    11 Apr 2013 Reply
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