So you been to school
For a year or two
And you know you've seen it all . . .
Play ethnicky jazz
To parade your snazz
On your five grand stereo
Braggin' that you know
How the niggers feel cold
And the slums got so much soul . . .
Well you'll work harder
With a gun in your back
For a bowl of rice a day
Slave for soldiers
Till you starve
Then your head is skewered on a stake . . .
It's a holiday in Cambodia
Where you'll do what you're told
A holiday in Cambodia
Where the slums got so much soul
Someone once said that the Dead Kennedys had only the 2nd-most tasteless punk band name -- that Sharon Tate's Baby (an Austin, Texas band that appears to still be performing) had outdone them. I have to agree.
|Jerry Brown in 1979|
(with Linda Ronstadt)
I am Governor Jerry Brown
My aura smiles
And never frowns
Soon I will be president . . .
Zen fascists will control you
You will jog for the master race
And always wear the happy face . . .
Now it is 1984
Knock knock at your front door
It's the suede/denim secret police
They have come for your uncool niece
Die on organic poison gas
Serpent's egg's already hatched
You will croak, you little clown
When you mess with President Brown
|Jerry Brown in 2010|
Here's "California Über Alles":
The Dead Kennedys' original frontman called himself Jello Biafra. Biafra (born Eric Reed Boucher) ran for mayor of San Francisco in 1979. His campaign slogan: "There's always room for Jello," of course.
|Jello Biafra, circa 1980|
Biafra has remained active in politics. In 2000, he sought the Green Party's presidential nomination. Biafra and another candidate finished tied for 2nd in delegate votes at the party's nominating convention, well behind nominee Ralph Nader. Biafra actively supported Nader's 2000, 2004, and 2008 campaigns.
I lived in San Francisco from late 1980 to early 1982. During that time, Biafra co-hosted a punk-rock show on the Pacifica radio station in Berkeley. I used to record the show, and still have a few dozen cassettes of those shows that I really should get converted to computer files and listen to -- I imagine there are many obscure punk-rock gems on those tapes.
"Holiday In Cambodia," which is my favorite Dead Kennedys song, musically skewers naive and spoiled 1980's-era students and liberals. Although such people were probably responsible for most of the Dead Kennedys' record sales, it sounds like Jello Biafra would have liked nothing better than to ship them all off to Pol Pot's Cambodia for a holiday.
|A few of Pol Pot's two million-plus victims|
Here's "Holiday In Cambodia." (The music is preceded by a brief scene from Apocalypse Now.)
Here's a live version of "Holiday In Cambodia" performed by the Foo Fighters and Serj Tankian of System of a Down:
That's pretty good, but it doesn't beat Jello Biafra and the Dead Kennedys doing the song live:
Here's a link you can use to order "Holiday In Cambodia" from iTunes:
Here's a link you can use if you prefer Amazon: