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Call him mellow Jello?
Call him mellow Jello?

It's not every day a legendary thinker and pioneer of punk rock comes to Perth, but next Tuesday that's exactly what will happen when former Dead Kennedys front man Jello Biafra arrives as part of his first Australian tour fronting a band since 1983.

I was just six then and can only imagine how amazing those Dead Kennedys shows were. But despite a seemingly never-ending cycle of reunions and reformation tours by other bands, Dead Kennedys is one that will probably never happen.

What's important is that for all intents and purposes, these days Guantanamo School of Medicine is the Dead Kennedys. They perform DK's best songs, alongside a slew of new Biafra recordings, including those from his excellent new album White People and the Damage Done.

Given he wrote most of DK's classic material anyway, the Guantanamo albums are likely the closest we'll come to a follow up to DK's last album, Bedtime for Democracy. But the real question is, what took him so long to get back to making punk rock?

"I never stopped making albums," comes Biafra's quickfire San Franciscan brogue. "I just didn't have my own band due to good adventures and bad adventures derailing and postponing everything. And then I saw the Stooges on Iggy's 60th birthday and it dawned on me 'Oh s… I turn 50 next year, I better get something going before I run out of time'. And GSM was born.

"It's a new band, we're not a retro act. You know, I said before the Dead Kennedys broke up that I would never fall into that and I don't think I really ever have."

A fervent left-winger who lost out to Ralph Nader on leading the US Green Party's presidential ticket in 2000, Biafra's never kept his politics close to his chest and favours shock value and pranks to promote causes.

"My song to salute the Occupied movement was called Shockupy," Biafra says of the epic closing track on Guantanamo's new album. "It has street theatre, prank, creative crime and it annoys the people who most need annoying. The resistance is not all fun and games but there should be something fulfilling about it, too.

"Obama owes his ass to Occupy. Occupy totally shifted the goal posts as to what that election was about."

As for a proper Dead Kennedys reunion ever taking place, don't hold your breath. There's no love lost between Biafra and his former bandmates, who won a court battle ordering Biafra to pay them $200,000 in unpaid royalties in 2000.

"After they sued me because I wouldn't put Holiday in Cambodia on a Levi's commercial . . . and used the court system to steal the whole catalogue, if I was to rejoin them, my boss would be the corporate lawyer who wrecked my life," Biafra rants. "I don't work for people like that. I don't work for their right-wing Christian manager who keeps trying to bully me into rejoining the band for the sole purpose of making themselves and the other guys more money."

Along with a couple of side projects with members of Ministry and the Melvins, most of the albums Biafra has made since the premature break up of DK have been spoken word, in the style that another old punk rocker, Henry Rollins, perpetuates.

For those unlucky enough never to have seen a Biafra stand-up show, you can at least expect some solid banter between songs at the Rosemount next Tuesday.

"I've always been talkative between songs, I get bored by people who just play one song after another and never even so much as tell the audience the title. I've always had a big mouth anyway," he jokes.

Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine play the Rosemount next Tuesday. Tickets from Oztix.