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The Alternative Tentacles Legal Defense Fund has been closed. It was begun in the mid-1980s to help defend The Dead Kennedys and Alternative Tentacles from out-of-control censorious authorities who objected to the H.R. Giger poster included with the final Dead Kennedys studio album, Frankenchrist. You can hear Jello's take on that infamous trial on his 2nd spoken word release High Priest Of Harmful Matter. Funds later supported Jello Biafra and Alternative Tentacles against the Faux Kennedys in 2000-2004.
Thank you to everyone who has supported the Fund over the years!
(We'll have more sizes of this great shirt back in stock momentarily, so stay tuned!)
The U.S. flag's blue field of stars has been amBUSHed by oil derricks and dollar signs on this incredibly timely shirt from independent shirt vendor Truth On Tees.
The Alternative Tentacles benefit is definitely happening. It will be on Saturday, May 19 at the Balcony, which is above the Trocadaro at 10th and Arch Streets in Philadelphia.
Performers will be Sik Kids, Total Fuckin' Destruction, and FOD.
The proceeds shall benefit the Alternative Tentacles Legal Defense Fund. Why do this benefit? Becuase Alternative Tentacles was one of the first and most dedicated independent recording labels that not only issued releases from underground cultures, especially punk, but also numerous political, spoken word and benefit recordings.
Founded by Jello Biafra when he was a vocalist for Dead Kennedys, Alternative Tentacles has been through countless trials and legal hassles. The famous obscenity trial for the DK's Frankenchrist album resulted in a precedent setting victory for free speech, but nearly bankrupted the label. Amazingly, despite the numerous famous artists under attack at that time, only Frank Zappa and a couple of others tried to help.
Now Alternative Tentacles is at risk of total financial collapse once again, due to the latest court drama. This time, it isn't Jesse or Tipper or Falwell..it is the other three former members of Dead Kennedys. While Jello has stayed true to the ideals and vision of the early days of the band and label, the other three have been considerably less honorable. They have sought to seize control of the DK masters to cash in and use the songs for jeans commercials and other acts that total contadict what the band once stood for. Any Dead Kennedys release on a new label is unworthy of purchase.
Alternative Tentacles continues to issue recordings by numerous artists who would have much less of a chance being released on another label. Further, they have released countless spoken word releases by Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and other voices that challenge abuses of power and the lies of the corporate media. Who Bombed Judi Bari (of Earth First) and All Things Censored (the censored recordings of Mumia Abu-Jamal) were also released on Alternative Tentacles.
It is time to support this vital label and assist valuable allies in the struggles for justice. Please consider coming to this benefit and/or helping to get the word out. Also please check out the AT website and offering support (and maybe getting some items from them).
Especially recommended: Jello Biafra's 6th spoken word release Become The Media.
Hope to see you at the show.
- AT Philly Support
12/22/00: JELLO STARTS AT LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
Jello Biafra & Alternative Tentacles Records' Legal Defense Fund
As many of you know, Alternative Tentacles and myself are now caught up in our worst legal harassment ever. Main details have been widely circulated in the press, and are on my new album "Become The Media". The trial verdict has awarded the other ex-Dead Kennedys full control over much the DK catalog, plus enormous damages against Alternative Tentacles, and me personally, for failure to promote Dead Kennedys, among other things, if you can believe that.
In a sense, I am being punished for sticking to the vision and principles of the band and saying no to corporate branding and co-opting of our culture. We are at risk of being wiped out if the verdict stands. If so they can and most likely will pimp our music to corporate labels, TV commercials, etc.; regardless of how people who believe in Dead Kennedys' message feel about it.
Their intention is that I have no say in how Dead Kennedys is handled. Yet because I am the most visible and active ex-member, I will be hit with most of the blame. Obviously this verdict must be appealed. Appeals are very expensive and our legal fees have already gone through the roof. So far I have been paying out of my own pocket through live gigs, selling personal belongings, etc. I have been reluctant to set up a No More Censorship-type defense fund, a la the "Frankenchrist" trial, since this could be construed as a personal or business dispute, although I see it as political. I also thought my ex-bandmates would not be so hellbent against compromising and settling the case in a reasonable manner. Meanwhile more and more people outraged by corporate branding and this whole sad affair have been coming up to me asking to help. Frankly, we need it. I do not want to see over 20 years of hard work ruined, and my old band's legacy dumbed down into a cash-in retro cartoon. If you feel like helping us out even a little bit, please send contributions to:
Alternative Tentacles Legal Defense Fund
None of this money will be used to run Alternative Tentacles or pay my personal bills, only to help cover spiraling legal expenses. If you have further questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org or fax (415) 282 9786.
If you feel this request isn't cool, feel free to tell us.
Jello Biafra and Alternative Tentacles Records
P.S.- Contributions are not tax-deductible.