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Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables

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Album Review

A hyper-speed blast of ultra-polemical, left-wing hardcore punk, and bitingly funny sarcasm, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables stands as the Dead Kennedys' signature statement. As one of the first hardcore albums, it was a galvanizing influence on the musical and attitudinal development of the genre, also helping to kickstart the fertile California scene. The record's tactics are not subtle in the least; Jello Biafra's odd warble and spat-out lyrics leave no doubt as to what he thinks, baiting his targets of conservatism, violence, overbearing authority, and capitalist greed with a viciously satirical sarcasm that keeps his unflinchingly political outlook from becoming too didactic. The thin production dilutes some of the music's power, but the ragged speed-blur still packs a wallop, and the hooks cribbed from surf and rockabilly give it a gonzo edge. The songwriting isn't consistent all the way through the album, but classics like "Kill the Poor," "Let's Lynch the Landlord," "Chemical Warfare," "California Über Alles," and "Holiday In Cambodia" helped define the hardcore genre and, thus, must be heard. [A 25th Anniversary Edition of Fresh Fruit was released in 2014.]

Customer Reviews

Dude, it's DK!

I think I recall EVERY person I hung out with in school had this cd in their car right between The Descendents and The Subhumans. A punk rock staple. You may not dig it if you are into Mtv punk (good charlotte, sum41, New found Glory etc...). But, if you like Misfits, old school Religion and Crass, this is a MUST have.

DK's best effort - ignore legal junk

Great album, all the cuts are strong. Jello got some questionable legal advice but he still gets paid. Just not as much since band members are now all getting a more equal cut post lawsuit. It's tough to choose sides on that one, Jello had to pay the rest of the band some hefty damages that were a bit undeserved in my opinion. I blame Tipper Gore and the PMRC for distracting this great band at their peak. If you're really worried about Jello, surf the alternativetenticles website and buy some music or a t-shirt.

Oldie, But Goodie

This is punk as it should be performed and written. The manufactured crap they call "pop punk" (oxymoron?) that is being released today is an absolute travesty to the Kennedys and other artists like them.


Formed: 1978 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Punk

Years Active: '70s, '80s

The Dead Kennedys merged revolutionary politics with hardcore punk music and, in the process, became one of the defining hardcore bands. Often, they were more notable for their politics than their music, but that was part of their impact. The Kennedys were more inspired by British punk and the fiery, revolutionary-implied politics of the Sex Pistols than the artier tendencies of New York punk rockers. Under the direction of lead vocalist Jello Biafra, the Dead Kennedys became the most political and...
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