Pull My Strings (11:42)

Cover of Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death

From Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death

Pull My Strings was a song by the Dead Kennedys, written by DK lead singer Jello Biafra and drummer Ted specifically for the 1980 Bay Area Music Awards. The song would not find its way onto a record until 1987’s Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death.

The song, recorded live at the awards show, begins with the band playing the opening chords to California Über Alles, one of their more famous songs. After the first few bars, Biafra yells out “Hold it!” and sarcastically tells the audience that they’re becoming a New Wave band because they “need to prove (they’re) adults now”. Klaus Fluoride begins to play another bass line, and a new song begins.

Biafra begins singing about his not being able to afford a car thanks to his self respect, and decides to sell out to the record companies to make some money. He decides to become one of the cookie cutter new wave acts breaking into pop music at the time. The chorus implies that the musicians in the new wave bands need to be dumb and have a large penis, and are able to be pulled by strings like a puppet because they’ve sold their souls to the record labels, who can now mold them into whatever they want.

One of the targets of the Dead Kennedys in the song appears to be The Knack, who hit big around that same time with My Sharona.


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