I find it inconceivable that with arguments for ending the drug war so obviously holding the higher moral ground, anyone could simply shrug his shoulders and go on to the next article. But then, that’s precisely why the drug war escalates. We are very good at shrugging it off, letting it go. It’s a good thing to let your senators know what you think now and then.
Re: Jonny Whiteside’s review of Buck Owens’ December 14 date at the Crystal Palace [Live in L.A., December 20–26]. As an American treasure, Buck Owens deserves any positive press he receives, and it’s indeed worth the $5 cover and hour drive to Bakersfield just to hear him perform “I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail.” However, Buck’s mumbling and “lengthy mushmouthed discourses” have nothing to do with him being “drunk” or a “stroke” victim. He lost part of his tongue to cancer in 1993; amazingly, it’s never evident when the man sings.
In the Scoring the Clubs spotlight on the Dead Kennedys show at the Palace [December 13–19], Jonny Whiteside wrote: “Jello [Biafra]’s outta the band now, and once six-string demolitionist East Bay Ray starts firing off volleys of his fabulous shrapnel-style guitar, all the self-righteous Biafra cant and rant fades to happy insignificance.” But the disc in ostensible support of which the “new and improved” D.K.s are touring in support is nothing but old live stuff — largely written by Jello Biafra — with Biafra on the cover and on every track, and in the pictures of the band being used in advertising for the band’s shows as recently as last month. So much for Ray and his cronies finally “emancipating” themselves. The old ad slogan is true: There really is always room for Jello, if he can help sell discs and tickets. Clearly, the D.K.s still need his face, voice and songwriting for the audience to care about the band. As technically adept as the other guys are at re-creating the old sound and hitting all the old notes, the old musical flame doesn’t burn without the fuel of nostalgia. Without Biafra, those guys are the Dead Kennedys as much as Tito, Jackie, Marlon, Jermaine and Randy without Michael are the Jackson 5.