Eric Reed Boucher, better known as Jello Biafra, turned 62 today.
Should I really have to explain who the punk-as-fuck he is? Ok, you lazy NKOTB-esque mofo: Biafra is the former lead singer and songwriter for the San Fransisco politico-punk band Dead Kennedys. Born in Boulder, Colorado, he was the son of a librarian and a poet. As a child, Biafra developed an interest in international politics that was encouraged by his parents. He began his career in music in January 1977 as a roadie for a local punk rock band. His first band was The Healers, well known for their mainly improvised lyrics and avant garde music.
In June 1978, together with guitarist East Bay Ray they formed Dead Kennedys. He began performing under the stage name Occupant but soon changed it to Jello Biafra: a combination of the brand name Jell-O and the short-lived African state Biafra.
Biafra’s first popular song was the debut single by the Dead Kennedys, “California Über Alles”. The song, which spoofed California governor Jerry Brown, was the first of many political songs by the group and Biafra.
When the band broke up in 1986, he took over the influential independent record label Alternative Tentacles (oh, I used to own the t-shirt!), which he had founded in 1979. In the same year he became a spoken word artist with a performance at University of California, Los Angeles.
Politically, Biafra is a member of the Green Party of the United States. He ran for the party’s presidential nomination in the 2000 presidential election, finishing a distant second to Ralph Nader.
In 2017 he joined Dead Cross to perform “Nazi Trumps Fuck Off”, a revised version of Dead Kennedys’ 1981 single, “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”.
Happy punk as fuck, Jello Biafra!
Featured image via Alison Braun.