"I think John Kerry missed his calling," Jello Biafra says by phone from San Francisco. "Now that Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing aren't making those low-budget Dracula knockoffs, they need a new one. And FrankenKerry would've been perfect! I can't get it out of my mind that he voted for the Iraq war, and he voted for the Patriot Act."
Even more difficult for Biafra to ignore is any opportunity to mobilize the punk faithful and pound some serious podium -- all in the name of free speech and a few yuks -- as he will at the Ogden Theatre this Friday as part of his spoken-word tour.
Born Eric Boucher in Boulder, the Dead Kennedy and founder of the Alternative Tentacles label is certainly no stranger to ruffling feathers. He's recorded seven spoken-word CD sets, including 2002's Machine Gun in the Clown's Hand, and, after running for mayor of San Francisco on a bet in 1979 (and placing fourth), Biafra became the first musician ever put on trial because of the content of an album, 1986's Frankenchrist. (The year-long trial ended in acquittal as the result of a hung jury.) Eight years later, he was hospitalized with two broken legs after skinheads attacked him in a Bay Area nightclub. Still standing tall at age 45, Biafra makes no apologies for a lifetime of abrasive music and scathing political commentary -- or for backing Ralph Nader during the infamous hanging-chad fiasco.
"I don't think Nader cost Gore the 2000 election," Biafra insists. "Gore cost himself the election -- mainly because of his platform. And he didn't really fight for Florida, either. He didn't stand with the African-Americans who were deprived of the vote by the tens of thousands. I'm not sure he even wanted the presidency in the first place.
"My hunch -- hoping that Nader's not running this time to gratify his ego or to sabotage Kerry -- is that he's running for a seat at the table," Biafra continues. "He'd be a lot better attorney general than any other I could think of in my lifetime -- especially John Ashcrack, who doesn't belong in jail half as much as he belongs in the circus. They could put Ashcrack in a glass case in the front of the visitors' center at Focus on the Family, and people could put money in, and he could jump around and say wild things and roll on the floor."
But what about voter fraud, Jello?
"They're gonna be watching Florida pretty close this time," Biafra says. "But now Bush has a new state to cheat in, namely California. That's one of the main reasons they arranged that little coup to make the Gropenführer governor. The other big one being that Schwarzenegger had been hanging out at secret meetings with Kenneth Lay, among others -- before, during and after the Enron-managed energy crisis.
"But local elections are really important," Biafra continues. "The local officials are who decides to spend taxes on a Bronco stadium or proper low-income housing."
So what's it gonna take to end this mess in the Middle East?
"It's gonna take the same kind of people power that showed its face in Seattle and has already made some of the anti-Iraq-war demonstrations bigger than any against Vietnam," Biafra says. "We're up against the same incredible odds. The 'anybody but Bush' sentiment is huge. In the meantime, people can fight the ongoing corporate coup by being smarter on where they spend their money. Insurrection in the street. Insurrection in the voting booth. Insurrection at the cash register. No more money to chain stores. No more money to chain restaurants. Keep the money in the local stores and in the community."
Since we're talkin' local, Jello, who do you think should replace Gary Barnett?
"It's a shame Wesley Willis passed away. He would've been great."
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