Interview: A Year’s Supply of Jello Biafra

Are you going on WFMU when you come through the area?

I don’t think I’m going to have time. It’s a sad thing that a lot of places that many people have been that not everybody who is on the road can go to because as some people know, some people don’t, touring and traveling are two different things. You travel, you go out, check the sites, see things, get to know people a little better along the way. When you’re touring, a lot of times it’s freeway, soundcheck, gig, crash. Freeway, soundcheck, gig, crash. You might even find food along the way and hopefully it isn’t Denny’s.

If I’m not wrong you’re scheduled to do a Fox News late night rockstar program thing. Whatever the hell it is they do.

I think I got booted already. Last I heard from George (at Alternative Tentacles), they cancelled me.


I have no idea. Maybe they got a bigger name. Maybe they’re going to re-run some old episode with Corey Haim, who knows?

You figure they’ve got enough air time, even if you’re not on that night, they can tape it and air it later, what the fuck?

They didn’t want to do it that way. I dunno. So you’ve seen that show?

No. I’ve just heard about it. I hear about it every time Oderus Urungus is on it.

That idea I like. I’ve seen the footage of GWAR, when he and Beefcake were on Joan Rivers years ago and she had such a hard time keeping a straight face. ‘We’re into sex, gore, blood, violence. We’re just giving the public what it wants.’

They’re perfect for that. They are apolitical, but you’re not.

GWAR sneaks those things in, although they’re kind of like the guys who created South Park. They go after everybody.

I have a feeling that Fox News might have backed off for—I dunno.

They find GWAR far less dangerous than me I suppose, although my guess would be the hosts would just pull a Bill O’Reilly and just cut me off whenever I try to say anything. That’s why I don’t go on other Fox programs. What’s the point?

I was punching up the YouTube of your interchange on Oprah with Tipper Gore when you pulled out the newspaper article.

And caught her lying live on national television?

I guess you could never do that on Fox, they would just cut away from you.

Oh absolutely not. Oprah had an off-camera hand gesture she used to point to who got the floor. She used that very effectively the first time I was on with Tipper, but the second time, I knew what was going to go down, so I knew I would have one chance to talk, so I just made my point, Tipper began to talk, the audience began to boo her, and Oprah cut to commercial.

And that was the last word I was every allowed to utter on the Oprah Winfrey show. At this point, the only way I would ever get back on Oprah would be if I had some horrible drugs, molestation and redemption story to go on and say, ‘And now that I’m bearing all that, you need to buy my book.’ Then maybe I’d get back on. The trouble is that I thankfully have not really suffered from the addiction gene. My only vice is vinyl. But at least it’s helped inspire me to write some cool stuff on my own.

The other musicians have instruments, I have my brain and everything that goes into it.

And your voice.


I think there might have been an assumption by those with short memories that you would either be pleased with or be easy on Barack Obama compared to his predecessor for this record.

I don’t deliberately go easy on anything like that. That’s why it starts off with a song called ‘Terror Of Tinytown,’ which, as you may know, is based on a 1930s all-midget cowboy movie. I watched it, and the parallels to the Bush administration’s handling of Iraq are just too close. So there’s a ‘Terror Of Tinytown’ on one of my spoken word albums and then the musical ‘Tinytown’ opens the new album. But the end of the song, to me, explains why that song is on the album and why the band is called the Guantanamo School Of Medicine. ‘So what now? Bush ain’t gone / till they’re all brought to justice for war crimes / So act fast or this lasts / cause before you know it, guess who will be back?

And that’s what scares me most of all of Obama’s blunders is the failure to go after the Bush regime for war crimes. Maybe people in this country are more interested in Corey Haim or Tiger Woods’ penis, but as soon as we go to other countries to play, we hear about that a lot. They’re really scared shitless of what the world’s one bumbling superpower will turn into if torture and kidnapping and unjustified wars continue with nobody being brought to justice like that. I can’t emphasize strongly enough that if these clowns and neo-nazis are not brought to trial now they’re going to much nastier the next time there’s a Republican regime because they’ll know ‘Hey, now we really can get away with anything. Let’s go kill more people.’

That’s what broke my heart about Contragate. There we had William Casey at the CIA running a cowboy terrorist group of Contras that killed 30,000 people in Nicaragua and financed the operation through government dope dealing that spawned the crack epidemic. And there are people who are responsible for those kinds of crimes who should be in jail to this day but instead some of them turned back up in George W Bush’s regime. Oliver North we know about, but number two in the operation, working right under Casey as Deputy Director of the CIA was Robert Gates, and instead of occupying a jail cell somewhere in a supermax prison, he’s not just Clown Price W’s Defense Secretary, he’s Obama’s Defense Secretary. What does that tell you?

Not to mention our whole economy collapses and he goes running to the same Clintonoids who monkeyed with the laws before W. even became president and puts them in charge again. What does that say?

I knew something was up when the whole banking industry who backed W. in the last two presidential elections were putting their money into Obama instead of Hillary or McCain. What really breaks my heart about that is here is a chance to bail out the banks and the homeowners at the same time. Just give the homeowners the damn mortgage money, they turn it over to the banks, the banks get their money back, and people get to stay in their homes, and renters don’t come home from work one day and find all their belongings in the street because the landlord got foreclosed upon. That’s been going on all over the place and nobody’s even talking about that. Relief for the middle class is great, but what about relief for the people who aren’t even middle class?

This is why we need to raise taxes people, I’m sorry. There’s another one. Not to mention I remember an Obama quote during the primaries where he came out against a proper single-payer health care system because it might lead to too many unemployed health insurance industry workers. And my eyes nearly popped out of my head, I was like, ‘Holy shit.’ Not even Ron Paul would say something like that. It’s like saying we can’t indict John Gotti or Al Capone because it might lead to unemployed gangsters and hitmen.

That was part of Lieberman’s crush of the health care vote in the Senate, Connecticut’s full of insurance companies and insurance company workers.

Even before Lieberman was in the Senate he had one hell of a corrupt reputation. And who does Al Gore pick for vice president? Lieberman. Right as he was on a moral crusade as bad or worse than Tipper Gore’s when he actually held Senate committee hearings blaming Marilyn Manson for the high school shootings. People like me don’t forget shit like that. Also, people ask me, ‘Well, Al Gore’s done such wonderful things for the environment—except maybe in his own house—so are you ready to forgive Tipper?’ And my answer is ‘Fuck no.’ She never apologized for her anti-music witchhunt.

He brought up Frank Zappa and Dee Snider and all the rest of it. He was sat as something of a ringleader of that circus his wife put together.

He didn’t call them to testify, they elbowed their way in to testify. The plan of Al Gore and his wife and her religious right friends was to have nothing but fundamentalist preachers testify claiming they were music experts and scholars when they were nothing of the kind. And luckily Frank and Dee Snider and even John Denver showed up to testify against them. Right after that, Denver was dropped by RCA even though he sold hundreds of millions of albums for them. More to the point, my feeling to Al Gore today is if he sticks to environmental issues, great, but please don’t ever enter politics again.

Well, his environmental issues are his business issues. He’s got a vested interest in pushing his climate change debate.

On the other hand, we live in a worldwide capitalist system, although some of it is closer to feudalism in this day and age. Thus the ‘New Feudalism’ song that’s on the album that I first did at the Seattle protest. But there are such things as market based solutions to encourage people to treat the planet better. Even the Chinese dictators are starting to figure this out, but not quick enough. And even if they clear up their air, what are we gonna do about them marauding all over Southeast Asia wiping out not just endangered species, but species that didn’t use to be endangered, because they want them for primate hearts for tradition medicine or pangolin purses, you name it. I just read something about that in one of the British papers that just horrified.

Climate credits don’t seem to make any sense.

Those were first floated by George Bush Sr. Remember that? That was when I first heard about it, and I thought ‘God, how cynical are these people?’

(laughs) That we could just buy back clean air.

Corporations ultimately would like to treat a human being’s right to be able to drink water as a commodity that they act as a gatekeeper for too. Not just in the third world, but there was a town in Michigan where I think it was Perrier just walked into town, put in a well, and began sucking their aquifer dry and said ‘Fine, stop us. Buy it back.’ You don’t see the Obamatons standing up about that do you?

But let’s fast-forward to the last song on the album, ‘I Won’t Give Up.’ That is the only song on the album specifically aimed at the dawn of the Obama era. The point being, look, we’re getting our hearts broken again already, does that mean we should just throw up our hands and quit? Or should we be fighting harder?

And this is where the Obamatons are letting their beloved rockstar down. There aren’t people out in the streets trying to push his administration to do the right thing. Would the Tea Party bozos get all the airtime if there was a Million Uninsured March on Washington? Followed by a Million Homeless March on Washington?

We just don’t see people organizing along those lines. I mean, people are trying, but I didn’t think it would happen this bad, but it’s the same thing as when Bill Clinton got in. ‘Oh, ding-dong, the Bush is dead. We can sleep easy now.’ And people just went to sleep.

And some of the most evil ideas of the earlier part of the Reagan-Bush regime such as the NAFTA treaty and de-regulation of the airwaves, that all happened under Clinton. Not to mention repealing the Glass-Steagall act so banks could treat our money as a great big casino and lose it all just like they did in the Great Depression. That law was passed back then to prevent another Great Depression, and it wasn’t the second Bush who yanked it, it was Clinton who yanked it. And a guy named Lawrence Summers and another one named Geithner. Who also should probably be in prison.

Not very good at their jobs.

(laughs) It’s hard to find much sympathy for a walking penis like Eliot Spitzer, but I have a feeling he would have chewed on Geithner a lot harder than anybody is now for what he was up to when he was at the Fed in New York. He may still go down for that, and then where does that leave the Barackstar?

‘He knows how to fix it; he was right there.’ He was involved in it the whole time. I don’t understand how that excuse got through.

It’s kind of like putting al-Qaeda in charge of rebuilding Iraq or Afghanistan. And even that comment is too subtle as far as I’m concerned (laughs).