“The songs are short, catchy, loud, fast and intense from start to finish. The album has stood the test of time and has influenced not just the majority of the modern punk and hardcore punk bands but also bands such as Slayer and System of a Down! Cutting musicianship and politically charged, social satire, tongue-in-cheek, and sometimes hilarious lyrics fuel classic songs like ‘Chemical Warfare’, ‘Kill the Poor’, ‘Let’s Lynch the Landlord’, ‘California Über Alles’ and ‘Holiday in Cambodia’.” ~Mr. Metalised
Released in 1980 by Cherry Red Records/Alternative Tentacles
Best Songs: Chemical Warfare, California Über Alles
Interesting Facts: The photo on the front cover, showing several police cars on fire, was taken during the White Night riots of 21 May 1979, that resulted from the light sentence given to former San Francisco City Supervisor Dan White for the murder of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk.
On March 25, 1980, Dead Kennedys were invited to perform at the Bay Area Music Awards in San Francisco to major record label artists to give the event some “new wave credibility”, in the words of the organizers. The day of the performance was spent practicing the song they were asked to play, the underground hit, ‘California Über Alles’. In typically subversive, perverse style, the band became the talking point of the ceremony when after about 15 seconds into the song, Biafra said, “Hold it! We’ve gotta prove that we’re adults now. We’re not a punk rock band, we’re a new wave band.” The band, who all wore white shirts with a big, black S painted on the front, pulled black ties from around the backs of their necks to form a dollar sign, then started playing a new song titled ‘Pull My Strings’, a barbed, satirical attack on the ethics of the mainstream music industry!