|Skip McSkipster (left) & East Bay Ray|
In 1978, guitarist Raymond "East Bay Ray" Pepperell was inspired by a ska punk show he enjoyed in San Francisco, California. He decided to form a band and placed a classified advertisement for musicians in a local newspaper. Dead Kennedys were born, although the provocative moniker forced the band to perform occasionally as the DK's, the Sharks, the Creamsicles and the Pink Twinkies. Always more controversial than financially successful, Dead Kennedys released four studio albums and one EP before disbanding in 1986. In 2001, Dead Kennedys reformed without vocalist Jello Biafra (Eric Reed Boucher), who has remained in acrimonious disputes with the remaining members. The band presently consists of East Bay Ray, original bassist Geoffrey "Klaus Flouride" Lyall, drummer Darren "D.H. Peligro" Henley and vocalist Ron "Skip McSkipster" Greer.
Headlining at the Marlin Room at Webster Hall tonight, Dead Kennedys brought much of the fury and volatility of the band's early concerts. While the performance was tightly constructed, there did seem to be savage anarchy on stage. Between songs, Greer rambled aimlessly, much like Biafra did decades ago, yet the social politics was not nearly as present as it was during the President Reagan years. The Dead Kennedys concert was still fun after all these years, but it came with a caveat, in that there were no new songs or ideas to mark the passage of 30 years time since the band last recorded. Concert goers witnessed a very evident drought.
Visit Dead Kennedys at www.deadkennedys.com.