Up the Downstair

Being a weeklie podcaste from Madison, Wisconsin featuring several remarkable curiosities therein occurring being a compendium of live music from divers artistes

Show #264: Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine

May 12th, 2014

jello2010 10 09 Show #264: Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine

A couple months ago I was listening to some Dead Kennedys and began to poke around the interwebs to see what Jello Biafra was up to these days. The last I could recall was that he’d been spending his time tending to his record label, Alternative Tentacles, and doing spoken word. (I believe that his spoken word album The Big Ka-Boom, Pt. 1 was recorded here in Madison.)

Truth be known, I knew nothing about his musical activities after The Dead Kennedys. And so I was surprised to find that he’d been in Lard with Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker of Ministry and had also worked with The Melvins and Mojo Nixon, amongst others. For his 50th birthday Biafra resolved to start his own band and the result was The Guantanamo School of Medicine which, by time I heard of them, had two albums and an EP to its credit. The ever-helpful YouTube had 2009’s The Audacity of Hype in full and I thought it was a great album on first listen. The music was heavier than The Dead Kennedys and, arguably, the lyrics were missing some of the humor of DK but the political/social commentary remained very much front and center. Biafra’s voice had aged along with the rest of his body but he could still belt it out. “Three Strikes” is a favorite with its wall of guitar at breakneck speed as is “Strength Thru Shopping” which sounds like Dick Dale on steroids. Indeed, Biafra refers to Dick “Spight” Dale on guitar here.

Since I’ve been listening to Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine a lot lately, I figured I’d post one of their shows. This one is from 9 October 2010 at Small’s Bar in Hamtramck, Michigan. As near as I can tell the Guantanamo School of Medicine was at this time:

Ralph Spight – Guitars
Jon Weiss – Drums
Billy Gould – Bass guitar
Kimo Ball – Guitars


The Terror of Tinytown
Clean as a Thistle
New Feudalism
Electronic Plantation
California Über Alles
Panic Land
Let’s Lynch the Landlord
Three Strikes
Strength Thru Shopping
Dot-Com Monte Carlo
Pets Eat Their Master (feat. Karen “Queen Bee” Neal)
The Cells That Will Not Die (feat. Karen “Queen Bee” Neal)
Holiday in Cambodia
Rock and Roll McDonalds
Bleed for Me
I Won’t Give Up

Download show
Jello Biafra

YouTube has a few videos from this show and here’s “The Terror of Tinytown”.

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