Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Suede Denim Secret Police

Dead Kennedys : California Uber Alles

On July 19, 1978 America's most famous punk band, The Dead Kennedys,  made their stage debut at Mabuhay Gardens in their hometown of San Francisco. Located in the midst of North Bay's famous stripper joints, The "Mab" had already become a popular all ages place. Blondie had just played there.

The Dead Kennedys were opening for The Offs.

"The thing I remember is that we didn't have a complete set," says East Bay Ray. "We had a 20 minute set. But we were so excited we played that 20 minute set in 15 minutes!"

The DK's would become regulars at The Mab. 

But the band's real name generated controversy. San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen wrote in November 1978,

"Just when you think tastelessness has reached its nadir, along comes a punk rock group called 'The Dead Kennedys', which will play at Mabuhay Gardens on Nov. 22, the 15th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination." 

Despite mounting protests, the owner of Mabuhay declared, "I can't cancel them NOW—there's a contract. Not, apparently, the kind of contract some people have in mind." However, despite popular belief, the name was not meant to insult the Kennedy family, but according to singer Jello Biafra, "to bring attention to the end of the American Dream"

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