Last year, the organizers of Riot Fest pulled off the impossible, getting former Misfits bandmates and longtime adversaries Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only to reunite, with those Original Mistfits headlining all three iterations of the festival. This year, they tried to pull off something similar, getting original frontman Jello Biafra to return to the stage with his old band, Bay Area hardcore pioneers Dead Kennedys. This time, it won’t happen.
As Consequence Of Sound points out, DKs guitarist East Bay Ray made the announcement in a Facebook statement: “Dead Kennedys had a sincere invitation to play a reunion show at Riot Fest in Chicago this fall. Jello Biafra turned it down. Klaus Flouride, DH Peligro and I were looking forward to doing it.”
This can’t come as much of a surprise to anyone. Biafra hasn’t performed with the Dead Kennedys since their 1986 breakup, and his relationship with the rest of the band has been sour and contentious for years. In the late ’90s, the rest of the band sued Biafra for unpaid royalties and won; he was forced to turn the rights of most of their music over to his former bandmates. He publicly disparaged the rest of them when they licensed old Dead Kennedys songs to commercials, video games, and movies. And when the other members of the band reunited to tour under the Dead Kennedys name, with singer Brandon Cruz filling in for Biafra, Biafra himself was not thrilled.
Honestly, it’s amazing that Riot Fest even made the offer. I bet they make offers to Minor Threat every year, too.