Dead Kennedys is a punk band from San Francisco, California. During the 1980s, the band gained a large underground following in the international punk music scene. Their music mixed the more experimental elements of English 1970s punk with the raw energy of the 1980s American hardcore punk scene. Dead Kennedys' songs mix the deliberately shocking lyrics of punk with a humorous, acerbic, satirical, and sarcastic left-wing commentary on current social and political issues. Many of the band's songs criticize the right-wing ideologies of the religious right and the Ronald Reagan administration.
In the late 1980s, the band was embroiled in an obscenity trial in the US over the 1985 Frankenchrist album, which included a poster with art that depicted penises (Penis Landscape by H. R. Giger). The band was charged criminally with distribution of harmful matter to minors, but the trial ended with a hung jury. The band officially disbanded in 1986. From 1998-2004, the band was embroiled in an acrimonious lawsuit over royalties and rights to the band's music. In 2001, the band re-formed and began touring with a new vocalist over the objections of former lead singer Jello Biafra, who, after losing the lawsuit and being found liable for fraud, filed two appeals that he later lost. In 2008, the band picked up their first ever UK gold sales awards in 15 years.
Members Current lineup
Ron "Skip" Greer – lead vocals (2008 - present) East Bay Ray – guitar (1978 - 1986, 2001 - present) Klaus Flouride – bass (1978 - 1986, 2001 - present) Dave Scheff – drums, percussion (2008 - present) Former members
Jello Biafra – lead vocals (1978 - 1986) 6025 – drums, percussion (1978), guitar (1978 - 1979) Ted – drums, percussion (1978 - 1981) D. H. Peligro – drums, percussion (1981 - 1986, 2001 - 2008) Brandon Cruz – lead vocals (2001 - 2003) Jeff Penalty – lead vocals (2003 - 2008)