08/17/05: Jello Biafra and Others Rock for West Memphis Three
August 04, 2005: San Francisco, Calif. On July 23, 2005 Jello Biafra and other artists came together at The Swedish American Music Hall in San Francisco for the local version of West Memphis Three World Awareness Day, organized by Anje/Vele Entertainment and musician Chuck Prophet. The event raised more than $6,000 for the defense fund of Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Jr., and Jason Baldwin. The three Arkansas men, dubbed the West Memphis Three, were convicted of the 1993 murders of three elementary school children. Since their trials were chronicled by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky in the HBO documentary "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills", a groundswell of support has formed around the Echols, Misskelley, and Baldwin support that includes a wide array of artists such as Metallica, Henry Rollins, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Tom Waits, Winona Ryder, South Park creator Trey Parker, and Art Alexakis of Everclear.
Jello Biafra, former lead singer of the Dead Kennedys, made a statement at the event condemning the evidence that convicted the West Memphis Three, as well as the system that allowed it to happen.
"Some people say to me, what are you doing defending these guys in Arkansas? They're a bunch of stoners who chopped up little kids for Satan and stuff! And I say, well, okay I wasn't there, I'm not 100 percent sure the West Memphis Three are innocent, but even so, isn't there something in the constitution about people have to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?" said Biafra. "If they're guilty, prove it this time. Prove it for real. No matter how law and order you are, wouldn't it be better to catch the right person before it happens to another kid?" A staunch opponent of the death penalty, Biafra added, "I have been militantly, vehemently against the death penalty for one simple reason: What if they've got the wrong person? This could happen to me; what if they've got the wrong person?"
Among the stellar line-up for the WM3 World Awareness Day at the Swedish American Hall to raise money for the West Memphis Three's defense fund were performances by: Dr. Frank, Paula Frazer, Knife and Fork, Kelley Stoltz, Stephanie Finch, Jonathan Richman, Mark Kozelek, and Jello Biafra. More info about the show here.
08/11/05: Jello and Operation Cease-Fire 9/24 in DC!
The irrepressible Jello Biafra will be emceeing an event for "Operation Ceasefire", a massive anti-war concert/rally will be held at the Washington Monument on September 24th and will be a showpiece of what is expected to be 4 days of enormous protests in nation's capital in support of a full withdrawal of U.S. forces from the quagmire in Iraq. The press conference will feature musical artists, military families who have loved ones in Iraq, returning soldiers opposed to the war and organizers from United for Peace & Justice (UFPJ), the largest U.S. based anti-war coalition which is co-sponsoring the event.
Jello has this to say about the quagmire in Iraq:
"Hijacking 9-11 to invade Irag is the worst mistake our government has made in my lifetime. The whole War on Terror has been turned into a scam. Our lives are at stake. Our soldiers lives are at stake. The best way to support the troops is to bring them home now. The most patriotic thing any of us can do is rise up and fight our government when they break the law. No more illegal wars. No more torture on foreign shores. If we let the White House get away with any of this, Abu Ghraib and Gitmo at home are right around the corner."
The concert will bring together several notable musical acts such as: International Recording Stars Thievery Corporation, Punk-rock bands LeTigre, Bouncing Souls, Country music recording artist Steve Earle, Socially conscious Hip-Hop groups like The Coup and Head-Roc, Indy rock stars Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, Wayne Kramer of the MC5 with AT's own the Bellrays!
For those in the DC area, this will be an event of epic proportions not to be missed!
08/09/05: Jello Biafra and the Melvins Europe dates off!
Bad news for a great reason!
Jello Biafra and the Melvins have been forced to cancel their August 18 Pukkelpop Festival appearance in Belgium and other dates that were in the works. Drummer Dale Crover's wife is expecting their first child, due September 4th. Late in the game it became obvious Dale needs to stay with her until the baby comes, especially if it's early. We wish them all the best!
Some US dates are in the works for later this fall and overseas in spring and / or summer. Meanwhile brace yourselves for more Biafra / Melvins recordings on the follow-up album, "Sieg Howdy" out late September!
06/15/05: Jello and Napalm Death duet for tsunami victims!
Jello Biafra has guest vocals on the Napalm Death song, "The Great And The Good" on their brand new record, "The Code is Red... Long Live the Code"!
The tune was also released as a limited-edition 3 band benefit single for Indian Ocean Tsunami relief . The other two tracks are from The Haunted ("Smut King") and Heaven Shall Burn ("Strassenkampf" [a Die Skeptikercover]). The bands and Jello Biafra wrote liner-notes for the single, which is limited to 1000 copies.
03/28/05: Jello on "This American Life" on "Frankenchrist"
Jello appears on the National Public Radio show "This American Life" this week on an episode about knowing one's enemies. Jello speaks with Michael Guarino, the prosecutor in the DKs "Frankenchrist" trial. You can catch it this week on your local NPR station or on-line here (it's the episode named "Know Your Enemy" aka Episode 285).
You can also check out more info about the Frankenchrist trial on the second Jello spoken word record, "High Priest of Harmful Matter". There's an excerpt from this release in the TAL episode too!