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Jello Biafra Bags DKs Reunion

New anniversary, same old anger for veteran punks

August 22, 2003 12:00 AM ET

The Dead Kennedys celebrated twenty-five years as a band this week with more of the mud-slinging that has typified relations between the split factions of the group. Singer Jello Biafra responded to an invite from guitarist East Bay Ray, drummer D.H. Peligro and bassist Klaus Flouride to play a reunion show at Los Angeles' Key Club on Tuesday with a blistering refusal.

"What's the matter, not enough Hot Topic bozo teens flocking to stuff cash in their bikinis?" Biafra wrote on his label Alternative Tentacles' Web site. "Are they having that much trouble selling tickets to a bar that holds less than 600 people? . . . 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."

"Not true," says East Bay Ray. "When we play, the audience is about sixty percent people who have never seen us. And I believe the band's message of questioning authority and thinking for yourself is more important now than it's ever been before, given the current state of the world."

The Dead Kennedys have been snarled in legal disputes over royalties since 1998. In June of this year, the California Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that Biafra owes his ex-band mates more than $200,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. Biafra's attempts to gain sole custody over the Kennedy's music was also denied.

The Biafra-less Dead Kennedys, now featuring Jeff Penalty on vocals, will play their next show September 6th at the Hezarfen Airport in Istanbul, Turkey.

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