Dead Kennedys Blast Through The Rail Club!! – Fort Worth, TX 12/16/17

Punk was sort of taboo when I was in high school. The only bands I remember then were the SEX PISTOLS, THE CLASH, BLONDIE and RAMONES. Using the word “Sex” for a band was a sure way NOT to get played on the radio in 70’s El Paso, Texas. I didn’t think these bands were all that rebellious anyway but I grew up in musically conservative Texas and I was not going to be caught dead with stuff from a band whose name began with “Sex”. Besides, I was more into TED NUGENT, BOSTON, STYX, that sort of stuff.

The DEAD KENNEDYS showed up about that time but they were obscure and unless you lived around San Francisco, no one really knew anything about them. For one thing, they never got any radio airplay, which was unfortunate. They were way too controversial and back then the only way we knew anything about a band was either word of mouth or on the radio. The internet did not exist, so we were at the mercy of the radio stations. Albums would show up in the record stores, but if you didn’t know anything about a band, who wanted to spend the money to find out?

However, the San Francisco based DEAD KENNEDYS did have a rebellious reputation and were known to create much controversy and being complete in-your-face rebels. So it was quite an intriguing adventure for me to not only attend their show, but see the experience that a true punk band would draw. I’d seen a few local punk bands including THE CHEATS in Pittsburgh, PA and they were good. I once saw international band THE INTERRUPTERS because they had one song I liked. After the fourth song I walked out. They were awful live so my experience with  true punk bands was pretty limited.

Let me tell you that the DEAD KENNEDYS were nothing like that. They absolutely took over The Rail Club on December 16. While no spring chickens, East Bay Ray (guitar), Klaus Flouride (bass), D.H. Peligro (drums) and Skip McSkipster (vocals) must have drawn 200 people to the small club. People from every background, from overweight white beards to girls with shaved heads, nose rings and leather studded collars. Man, what a great crowd mix!   

The boys started with a traditional minute and a half song “Forward to Death” and the place became electric. Immediately following was classic “Winnebago Warrior” and the mosh pit was off and spinning. DK followed with historical tunes like “Police Truck”, “Buzzbomb”, “Let’s Lynch the Landlord”, “Too Drunk to Fuck” and “California Uber Alles”. Although I did not count how many, almost from the first minute the place exploded with fans diving from the stage, some even doing flips into the crowd. There must have been close to 30 stage dives. Many would start out crowd surfing and end up at the stage, climb on, dance around the band, hurl themselves on outstretched hands and surf their way until they sank into the crowd. It was awesome!  

After DK finished their 12 song set, they encored with famous tracks including their well known cover version of ELVIS PRESLEY’S “Viva Las Vegas” and probably their most famous tune “Holiday in Cambodia”. This band never have seemed to care what your political background was, they have chastised and poked fun at everything from anti pollution issues to California Democratic Governor Jerry Brown and Republican President Ronald Reagan. Their opinions appeal to the rebel in all of us: liberal, conservative, religious or atheist they are equally irreverent to all…Can hardly wait to see them again!  Salude’


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