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Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine

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In the twenty or so years since his brainchild Dead Kennedys officially disbanded, Jello Biafra has made a career of spoken word gigs interspersed with musical collaborations with some of the most compelling figures in underground music. Recording projects and touring with the likes of Melvins, NoMeansNo, Doa, Mojo Nixon and Lard (with Ministry’s Al Jorgensen) among others have kept his “hardcore as political weapon” message sharp, but the lack of his own band made these collaborations usually short-lived and left Biafra with a ton of songs that had never seen the light of day.

Inspired by Iggy Pop’s 60th birthday gig at the Warfield in San Francisco, Biafra laid plans for his own 50th birthday party and finally decided it was time to start a band of his own. Ten years before he had been attempting the same thing with the likes of guitarist Ralph Spight (Victims Family, Freak Accident, Hellworms) and drummer Jon Weiss (Sharkbait, Horsey). They had also previously worked with bassist Billy Gould (Faith No More) who was tapped for the new group. After cramming rehearsal for a month the four piece band known as Jello Biafra and the Axis Of Merry Evildoers took the stage in a sold-out two night stand at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall and subsequently spent the next 9 months in rehearsal for an album project. Before entering the studio guitarist Kimo Ball (Freak Accident, Carneyball Johnson, Mol Triffid, Griddle) was recuited and the resulting twin guitar attack took the groups sound to new, noisier heights.

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