Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables

Tomorrow I’m going to the Jello Biafra & the Guantanamo School of Medicine gig at the Melkweg in Amsterdam. I’ve never seen him live before, so I’m looking forward to it and I’m very curious. As you probably all know Jello Biafra was the singer of American punkband The Dead Kennedys and therefore the album of the week is ‘Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables’ by that band.

The album was released in late 1980, which means I was 2 years old at the time of release. Difficult to believe really, as I do think that the album still sounds great today. Some of the (mainly political) lyrics might be a bit outdated, others could’ve been written nowadays, considering the state the world is in at the moment. Anyway, so I was too young to catch the album around the time it was released, but I do still remember how I became aware of ‘Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables’.

As my parents lived quite close to the German border when I was growing up, we used to go shopping in Cologne, as it was much cheaper. The great thing about Cologne was that there was a Saturn, a massive electronics shop with a record department that looked like a library. So me and my older sister would save up ahead of one of those trips, so we could buy cd’s/vinyl at great prices.

During one of these trips my sister picked up a vinyl copy of ‘Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables’ and we both loved that record! The venom in the lyrics, the meaning of the lyrics (as far as I could understand them at 15 years old or so) and obviously Biafra’s voice and the aggressive riffs, it was the perfect record for a 15-year-old.

The record has too many great songs to really pick any one of them, so just have a listen for yourself (if you haven’t already).

Album of the week

Every week I want to write about an album of the week. A record that I love and that means something to me. Could be a well known album, but can also be a more underground artist. We’ll see.

The first album I want to discuss is an album that’s been out of a while, but I’ve only recently purchased on vinyl. I’ve got it on cd for nearly 20 years now, but this is one of those records that I just needed to have on vinyl. I’m talking about ‘Sweet Oblivian’ by Screaming Trees.

It’s one of the few albums that I’ve played on a regular basis for such a long period of time. It’s dark, it’s gloomy and it’s brilliant. I’ve always loved singer Mark Lanegan’s voice, even in the other projects he has been involved in since Screaming Trees (Queens of the Stone Age, The Gutter Twins, Soulsavers, to name but a few), but to me nothing has ever come close to this album.

Screaming Trees first formed in 1985, but became well known to the public during the ‘grunge’ era of 1991/1992. I think that in the whole wave of bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice in Chains etc, Screaming Trees were slightly underrated. And so was (is?) this album. It was their sixth album already, but by far the best if you ask me. From hit single ‘Nearly Lost You’ to songs like ‘Dollar Bill’ and ‘Troubled Times’, to me there isn’t a bad song on the album.

I was fourteen years old when ‘Sweet Oblivion’ was released. A gloomy teenager in a small village, this album suited my mood perfectly. I remember that one of the venues I used to go to for gigs, Noorderligt in Tilburg, had booked Alice in Chains with Screaming Trees as support. I wanted to go. So did half of the country I guess, because the gig was sold out in minutes (as far as I can remember). Unfortunately I never got to see Screaming Trees live. I did see Mark Lanegan on several occasions, but how I would love to hear him sing a song like ‘Shadow of the Season’ live…