If you didn’t live through the original Punk movement of the late 1970s, you might not realize the seismic impact that the movement had on music lovers and the industry itself. From the Ramones and Sex Pistols to the Clash and Black Flag, Punk Rock became a genre to be reckoned with. Initially considered a ‘novelty,’ Punk was embraced by the fans and poked by music press, whose skepticism turned to elation when they realized it wasn’t a passing fad. The movement grabbed hold and infiltrated most cities around the world, but the major cities – including Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago in the US – got the most attention. For example, San Francisco’s thriving Punk scene gave birth to many bands but none more notorious than Dead Kennedys.
Although played on ‘alternative’ / college radio at the time, Dead Kennedys was never meant to be a radio friendly band. But this quartet – Jello Biafra (vocals), East Bay Ray (guitar), Klaus Flouride (bass), and Ted (drums, who was soon replaced by D. H. Peligro) – created a debut album that is now considered one of the defining musical moments of Punk. FRESH FRUIT FOR ROTTING VEGETABLES (1980) was a gut-punch of pure adrenaline. While it was catchy – song titles like “California über alles” and “Holiday in Cambodia” will have fans immediately ‘singing’ the songs in their heads – the album was far from a Pop Punk platter. The songs were filled with intelligent lyrics that touched on many political subjects… and Jello Biafra did not hold back. And the band sounded like they were careening out of control while still keeping it cool and together. Inspiring.
While FRESH FRUIT FOR ROTTING VEGETABLES wasn’t the group’s only album, it remains their most popular. And now, 42 years after the album’s original release, the remaining band members (Ray, Flouride, and Peligro) have overseen a new remix of the album by iconic engineer Chris Lorde-Alge. The old-school punks are going to wonder why this legendary album is being remixed but rest assured that the original version will still be readily available (sold separately). But for those who want to experience a new and exciting dive into the album are going to be amazed at the power of this new mix. It still retains the DIY feel of the original, but it adds even more sonic power to the recordings. While Jello is still right out in front, there’s a clean separation in Ray and Flouride’s instrumentation and the drums now sound like they are being played in the same room as the rest of the band. From “Kill the Poor” to “Viva Las Vegas,” this is an album that is now sonically in tune with today while never once giving up its 1980 roots. FRESH FRUIT FOR ROTTING VEGETABLES is a timeless album. It still matters.
FRESH FRUIT FOR ROTTING VEGETABLES (2022 Mix)