|Help? Sitemap Contact
|Items in Cart: 0 View Cart|
|Subscribe to the AT newsletter:|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: WESLEY WILLIS 1963-2003
We lost Wesley Willis some time before 9PM Chicago time August 21, 2003. Word is he died peacefully. The likely cause may be heart failure. Wes had been battling leukemia for less than a year. No services are planned as of yet. There will probably be a memorial concert, or at least a gathering in his honor in Chicago in the near future. We will let you know.
Wesley will go down as one of the most unique songwriters and entertainment personalities in history. His music, lyrics, drawings, insight and the way he put them together are like no one else. Ever. There will never be another.
As I got to know Wes, what really struck me was his sheer will power, his unrelenting drive to succeed and over come his horrifically poor background, child abuse, racism, chronic schizophrenia and obesity among other things. He was the most courageous person I have ever known. Yet through it all he had such a deep, all-encompassing love of life. Little things, big things. He loved bus rides. He loved watching trains. He loved writing songs about how much he loved his friends. He loved travelling to new towns so he could headbutt new friends. Is there any band he saw that escaped being in their own song about how much he loved their show? He was so warm, so sweet, so giving. He could be a handful when he came to visit; but as soon as he left, we'd miss him immediately.
As his long time friend Dennis Cooper said, "No More Demons." The voices in Wesley's head can't yell at him and put him down any more.
Wes was deeply religious. He was afraid that if he died he would no longer get to go see bands play. If there is a hereafter I hope he's right up front as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, his beloved Otis Redding and his dear friend Bradley from Sublime "storm the stage" as the crowd "roars like a sea monster." All opening for Wesley, of course.
It will be hard now that he's gone, but I'm not going to let myself stop enjoying the funny stuff, or the look on people's faces when they first hear "Rock n Roll McDonalds," or the memories of the good times and Wesley's many adventures. He wouldn't want it any other way. There are many down times when all I have to do is think of one of Wes's songs, something he said or simply marvel at his Wesley-isms, and the clouds part and a smile comes to my face. I think he does that for a lot of people. He always will.
Rock over London Rock on Chicago
Sail on, Wes. I love you.
Jello Biafra 8-22-03
For more info and MP3's:
08/15/03: Jello Declines Latest DK "re-union" PR stunt "Offer"
Re: Their press release "inviting" me to join their cash-in nostalgia show in Hollywood on August 19th.
To put it mildly, this reeks of false advertising. They obviously aren't serious or they would have called me on the phone. Instead, their message came through their lawyers and their publicist.
What's the matter, not enough Hot Topic bozo teens flocking to stuff cash in their bikinis? Are they having that much trouble selling tickets to a bar that holds less than 600 people?
If they really want to, "bury the hatchet," why won't they stop suing me? They have been dragging me through court for almost six years now, and have refused attempts to compromise and settle.
I feel sorry for anyone duped into paying top dollar for a ticket because they heard, "I might be there". But I hardly think I'm "letting fans down" by refusing to be part of a nostalgia scam.
It makes even less sense than the California Recall election. Sorry I'm not running, folks, but I didn't want to take votes away from Gary Coleman.
No, seriously, I'm supporting the high-quality Green Party nominee with the vision and skills to govern - Peter Camejo! Please vote for him.
07/14/03: Ice-T & Jello on a hot afternoon
Jello Biafra introduced Ice-T /BodyCount at the Warped Tour on Saturday in San Francisco. Jello got to the Teal Stage and was putting down Bush and his politics and constant war, etc. irritating the crowd who then started throwing full bottles of pop at him (and one orange stink bomb). He loved it, stirring up controversy, making people think - ah, being "punk"! What a novel idea at the Warped Tour!
Jello also attended Ice-T /BodyCount 'sPalo Alto show Saturday night. Ice-T introduced Jello to the crowd and told everyone to give their support and respect to Jello, cause he's a real G. Then Jello sang Cop Killer alongside Ice-T on stage. At the end of the set Jello dove into the crowd, getting a ride.
07/03/03: Jello Jealous Again at Black Flag Show
Here is what happened during the Rollins Band show at the Fillmore on Tuesday night:
Henry Rollins enlisted Keith Morris to tour with him and the guys in Mother Superior that are also the musicians for the Rollins Band. They perform Black Flag songs. All proceeds go to raise money for DNA testing for the West Memphis Three (www.wm3.org).
They are also promoting the recording, Rise Above, that features various singers (Lemmy, Ice-T, Hank III, QOTSA, etc.) singing Black Flag songs. All proceeds of Rise Above benefit the West Memphis Three.
As they tour, they ask different singers to join them on stage for a song. The song Jello performed was Jealous Again. Jello also pulled the winning raffle ticket for a clear body Dan Armstrong Dan-electro guitar. All of the people that participated on the Rise Above record signed it, including Jello.
P.S. It was a blast, the crowd roared like a lion when Jello got to the stage. And yes, Jello dove into the crowd at the end of the song. Awesome! He wore his WM3 t-shirt too.
06/24/03: Jello Wants Your Help : Wesley Willis vol. 3
A note from Jello:
"Hello! I'd like to talk more about the latest ugly chapter in the increasingly Kafka-esque DKs,Inc. nightmare, but our attorney's have me under a strict gag order not to shoot my mouth off until the next round of court hearings.
Meanwhile, its full speed ahead on a mid-Fall release of the long-awaited Wesley Willis' "Greatest Hits, Volume 3" CD. We would like your input & help in putting this new album together.
We don't think studio recordings exist of some of his more recent
classics. Does anyone out there have good live recordings of any of
He also wrote an entire album abot his struggle with Leukemia. Did he perform any of that on the last tour?
We only want these if the sound quality is good, "the rock band is aw-some-" and Wesley is fired up.
Other hot performances and between-song monologues are welcome too. (I'd still like to hear those early cassette tapes he sold in subway stations in the early 90's.)
Other nominations are welcome but I'm already at a logjam of over 40 winners. Got any good photos? Wesley tattoos? (I saw 2 in one day (!) in Denver awhile back.)
To submit material:
With the world on a hellride and demons here at home his spirit is more
uplifting and refreshing than ever.
06/20/03: Jello Biafra Appeal Denied in Lawsuit Filed by Other ex-Dead Kennedys
We are shocked that the California State Court of Appeals has denied our appeal in an unpublished opinion, and sent the dispute back to San Francisco Superior Court for further hearings. Those hearings will give us an opportunity to prove facts different from those claimed by the other ex-Dead Kennedys. So, unfortunately, this dispute is far from over. We are far from giving up. Stay tuned.
Sadly this means we need your support now more than ever. If interested, please help us out through the Alternative Tentacles Legal Defense Fund, http://www.alternativetentacles.com/page.php?page=atlegalfund
06/18/03: Jello Celebrates 45th Birthday
Jello Biafra celebrated his 45th birthday yesterday at a BBQ party thrown in his honor. It was a small gathering of friends and Alternative Tentacles employees (current & former) at someone's house in Berkeley, CA. One surprise was the accordion player who was invited who played a bunch of Dead Kennedys' songs off of Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables as well as some Devo songs along with the obligatory Happy Birthday To You.
05/30/03: DK vs. Biafra Appeal
The case of Jello Biafra vs. Dead Kennedys was back in court again today. As you may recall, Biafra filed an appeal against the outcome of the trial, which gave their rogue corporation, Decay Music, total control of Dead Kennedys' catalog. This is the decision that stripped AT of any rights to sell DK's albums and shut Jello out of any say in DK matters. Today, in San Francisco Superior Court, after two years of stalling and delays by the other side, three appellate judges listened to oral arguments in the appeal. We are now awaiting their verdict, which we are told could take days, weeks, or possibly even months.
05/05/03: Jello Invited To Speak at Kent Sate Anniversary
Jello was honored to have been asked to speak at the annual May 4th commemorative event at Kent State. Other speakers included Dr. Ronald Manson (the president of Jackson State University, where other students where killed on May 4, 1970), as well as Kerry Kennedy-Cuomo, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy.
Here are excerpts from someone who was in attendance there :
I am walking towards the doors to let people know the show is about to start and I see them all running away. I run out the door shouting, "Come inside! They can't get you if you are in here! Protect your Freedom of Expression!" A few kids turned around and came in. The rest were gone. The small auditorium had a lot of empty seats.
Someone (I can't remember his name) got up on the stage and told of his experiences at Kent. He was a student when the shootings took place. He was reading his First Amendment Rights when he was arrested and taken to jail. As he was telling his story about a dozen police in riot gear came into the building. They stood along the back wall, behind all the seating. The guy kept talking, telling his story, trying to keep the audience calm. I took out my videocamera and filmed them.
Then Jello started his program with : "We interrupt this program....".... The audience went wild, really loving this, especially when he took off his robe and revealed the cop shirt. The show went on without incident. Jello spoke for his entire 4 1/2 hours (he gave them a short break). There was a collection taken for the people arrested. About $155 was collected for bail money. One of the people arrested (the drummer) came back to the auditorium and thanked everyone for gathering the money and let us know they were out and doing okay.
03/28/03: Jello Sampled On New Anti-War Single
For you Jello fans out there, there is a new anti-war single that was just released in the U.K. Jello is sampled on one track where he does his George W. Bush impressions. The ep is called SALT In The Wound and it will be coming out on Jungle Records. We have ordered some and hope to have them available for sale on our website the second they arrive.
Here is a bit more about it :
We have assembled an Alliance of Alternative Artists for a Triple AAA side single for the protest vote. There's CARPET BOMBERS FOR PEACE with special guests Jello Biafra (sampled) as The Cowboy President From Hell, & poet Lemn Sissay with a host of musicians singing Allah Save Queens.
Another track is from Australian anti-war campaigners CHANGE produced by CRASS, with their song We want a Ceasefire.They along with the majority of Aussies are not happy with John Howard and his support for Bush.
And long established activist punk band CONFLICT who contribute a suitable tirade in their new track A Gaping Hole.
All the artists are well-known for campaigning against establishment hypocrisy. All profits will go to the Stop The War coalition.
03/27/03: Jello's University of Puget Sound Show Cancelled
Jello unfortunately had to cancel his performance at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA on Thursday, March 27.
Jello had been scheduled to fly on an Alaskan Airlines flight which was cancelled. He then found another flight yet from a different airport in L.A. (where he had performed the night before at the Henry Fonda Theater) So, he had to take a taxi to the other airport and the taxi driver got lost, and hence Jello missed that flight.
03/26/03: LARD Performed in L.A.!
LARD performed two songs at the Ministry show at the House of Blues in Los Angeles on Monday, March 24th.
Jello Biafra joined Ministry on stage during the first encore to sing War Pimp Renaissance and I Wanna Be A Drug Sniffing Dog.
During the second encore he sang accompanying vocals on their infamous cover of Magazine's The Light Pours Out Of Me.
Jello Biafra was in town for his spoken word performance at the Henry Fonda Theater for March 26th. Ministry had three nights at the House of Blues, Monday night was the last night for the string of shows.
Since LARD is a studio band, they have only performed together one other time. They performed 4 songs live before recording The Last Temptation of Reid in 1990.
There are no plans at this time for further recordings or tour dates.
03/14/03: Jello Sells Out (AND saves trees!)
On Tuesday, March 11th, Jello Biafra performed at The Metropolitan Performing Arts Theatre, Spokane Washington, selling over 750 seats altogether! This was as much a surprise to us as it was to Jello. As we were waiting in the green room before showtime, word come down that the show sold out!! Jello's response was "what? In Spokane?" Wow!
The show went great with Jello talking for over four hours with a 20 minute or so intermission! Jello could have even gone on longer as he didn't even get through all of his materials. Everyone certainly got their money's worth indeed.
Thank you Jello. This was not only a success for Jello, but for Spokane as well, as the proceeds went to two very worthy non-profit organizations; The first being The Lands Council, a conservation group dedicated to protecting the woods, water and wildlife in Washington and parts of Idaho, Montana, and Oregon. We can thank The Lands Council for protecting our watershed, protecting habitat for the endangered Mountain Caribou, and keeping our National Forests out of the hands of greedy timber thieves--way to go Lands Council!
Thin Air Radio was the other recipient of the show's proceeds. Thin Air Radio is one of Spokane's first low FM community and public radio station that is trying hard to get on the air. FCC red tape and low cash flow have been hindering their efforts to get up and running. They are in the midst of buying much needed studio and transmission equipment,and the funds will help out tremendously!
All in all, it was a great night! Jello seemed to have fun, and the audience loved him! Thank you Jello for helping out our community!
12/13/02: Jello in Bikini Bandits on MTV 2 UK
Jello Biafra will be making his television acting debut on Christmas Day, as "The Bikini Bandits Experience" airs on MTV 2 UK. Jello supposedly has "starring" role along with : Maynard James Keenan, Dee Dee Ramone, Corey Feldman, Hank The Dwarf, and Gary The Retard.
10/21/02: Gilmore Girls' are pro-Jello
There is a TV show I'm told called the Gilmore Girls. The following dialog is from an episode from the show that aired recently. The title of the episode was : Application Anxiety.
Here is the dialog:
[a boy walks up to Lane]
DAVE: Excuse me, Lane?
LANE: That's me.
DAVE: Okay, great, I'm Dave Rygalski.
LANE: Right, hi. You're a guitarist.
LANE: But how'd you know I was me?
DAVE: The Dead Kennedys shirt was a tip off. (he's wearing a DK fresh fruit for rotting vegetables shirt.)
LANE: Good thinking. Hey, uh, isn't it a drag that Jello Biafra isn't singing for them anymore?
DAVE: Yeah, now their front-man's that kid from the Courtship of Eddie's Father.
LANE: Yeah, what's next - Urkel joining the Wu-Tang Clan?
DAVE: Or maybe Malcolm in the Middle fronting for the Butthole Surfers.
LANE: Some things are sacred.
DAVE: I'm with ya on that.
LANE: So, um, what's your band like?
DAVE: We do a lot of cool covers - uh, the Clash, the Kinks, et cetera. Statistically, it's like thirty-eight of the forty-three bands you listed.
LANE: Nice percentage.