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Dead Kennedys

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San Francisco, United States (1978 – 1986)

Dead Kennedys are a hardcore punk/punk rock band from San Francisco, California. During the 1980s the band gained a large underground following in the international punk music scene. Their music mixed the more experimental elements of English 1970s punk with the raw energy of the 1980s American scene. Dead Kennedys’ songs mix the deliberately shocking lyrics of punk with a satirical and sarcastic left-wing commentary on social and political issues. Many of the band’s songs criticize the religious right and the Ronald Reagan administration, along with many other personalities and ideas.

Dead Kennedys formed in San Francisco in 1978 when vocalist Jello Biafra (Eric Reed Boucher) and bassist Klaus Flouride (Geoffrey Lyall) responded to a magazine ad placed by guitarist ‘East Bay Ray’ (Raymond Pepperell). The three joined with drummer ‘6025’ (Carlos Cadona) as a drummer, but he was quickly replaced by ‘Ted’ (Bruce Slesinger) and formed one of the most successful bands of the 80s. Later the same year, ‘6025’ was invited back as a second guitarist, but he quit the band again in 1979.

The band played hard and fast punk that matched the raw energy of the West-coast scene with twists such as Ray’s surf-guitar influences and Jello’s nasal machine-gun vocals and political fervor conveyed through furious left-wing rants. Their first show was on July 19, 1978, at the Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco, California.

After this The Dead Kennedys played numerous shows at local venues afterwards.

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