Dead Kennedys & MDC

When I ripped these songs from the vinyl earlier today, my intent was to post them separate. But I realized that, not only were the Dead Kennedys and MDC closely associated (MDC even thanked the DKs on their debut disk), but their politics were so closely related I felt like they needed to be together.

The Dead Kennedys are no doubt the more well-known of the two bands. They formed in San Francisco in 1978, performing live for the first time on July 19, 1978, at the Mabuhay Gardens club in San Francisco.

The band has had a long and controversial history, which is probably best learned by going to their Web site, rather then me trying to recount it here. One interesting note on the band: Their name was not meant to insult the assassinated Kennedy brothers, but according to singer Jello Biafra, "To bring attention to the end of the American Dream.”

I pulled a couple of songs from the DKs' last official album, Bedtime for Democracy. The disk came out in November, 1986, on the DKs’ Alternative Tentacles label. The title of the album is a reference to the 1951 film, “Bedtime for Bonzo,” starring Ronald Reagan. Many of the lyrics attack not just Reagan, but conformity, corporations and the military. The album wasn’t too well received, with critics calling it cliché and repetitive. “The album's formulaic mediocrity reflects a band at the point of creative inertia,” Greg Beets wrote in a review for the Austin Chronicle.

MDC were one of the pioneering Austin, TX, hardcore bands. They got together in 1979, originally calling themselves The Stains. In 1982, they relocated to San Francisco and renamed themselves MDC after witnessing a “police riot” at a show they played in California with Black Flag. The MDC acronym changed with each album release, variously standing for, among other things, Millions of Dead Cops, More Dead Cops, Millions of Deformed Children, Multi Death Corporations, Millions of Damn Christians, and Magnus Dominus Corpus.

R Radical Records released MDC’s debut album, Millions of Dead Cops, in 1982. MDC, like the DKs, openly took assault on the Reagan administration, capitalism, and American culture. Unlike the Dead Kennedy’s though, MDC’s songs seemed to lack irony. Some of the hardcore community thought the band was a little too “preachy” with their extreme left-wing songs.

MDC’s main songwriter, Dave Dictor, disagreed with that criticism, telling radio station KFTH that he wasn’t asking for a discussion when he wrote songs like “Corporate Deathburger,” he was just stating his opinion. “I'm not asking everyone to raise their hands, ‘Who are the vegetarians?’ I'm just sharing my emotion about eating meat and about corporate manipulation of food,” he said. (Read the entire interview here.)

An interesting point to me about these bands is their relevance in today’s political climate. For instance, from “Church and State, "Your life’s lost / Nailed to a cross / Dead on foreign soil / For your God (And their oil).”

It’s almost like this album was released in 2002 instead of 1982.

Rambozo the Clown.mp3 Dead Kennedys
Chickenshit Conformist.mp3 Dead Kennedys
Dick for Brains.mp3 MDC
Corporate Deathburger.mp3 MDC
Church and State.mp3 MDC


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home