When Punk Rock raised its mischievous head in 1976, the Rock ‘n’ Roll landscape was forever changed. Just as important as the birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll in the ‘50s (Elvis, Buddy, Chuck, Jerry, etc.) and the rise of The Beatles, the Punk Rock movement deconstructed the myth of Rock music and built something new and raw from its foundation. While the movement had a definite ‘look,’ it was really a movement driven by emotion. It was rebellion with feeling. Fueled by frustration and anger, the music came with a message. From overtly political to painfully personal, the Punk Rock classes of 1976 and ’77 – Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Ramones, etc. – inspired a new generation of musicians to form bands and make their passions and presence known. One of those bands was San Francisco’s Dead Kennedys.

Formed in 1978 through an ad placed by guitarist East Bay Ray, the first line-up of Dead Kennedys featured Ray, Jello Biafra on vocals, Klaus Flouride on bass, 6025 on rhythm guitar and Ted on drums. From the very beginning, Dead Kennedys created their own unique sound by taking the energy and emotion of Punk and creating a sound that was wholly their own. Biafra’s intelligent lyrics were equally matched by the wall of primal Rock provided by the rest of the band. Unsurprisingly, Dead Kennedys became of one America’s most critically-acclaimed – and feared – Punk Rock bands. For the next eight years, the band released a handful of albums and classic singles, lost a few members (6025 and Ted), gained a new drummer (D.H. Peligro), courted controversy and finally split in 1986. Since then, Biafra has pursued his own musical path while Ray, Klaus, and D.H. eventually reunited the DKs and have worked with various vocalists over the years.

IGUANA STUDIOS REHEARSAL TAPE – SAN FRANCISCO 1978 takes us all the way back to the beginning of the DKs’ amazing career. Not originally meant for public consumption, these early demos show that the band’s sound was already a force to be reckoned with during the first year of their existence. Sonically, you can hear the tape flutter and the audio isn’t perfect… yet that adds to the intensity of the performance. Even then, the DKs were a mixture of melody and mayhem. This was not Pop Punk, though.  Anyone hoping to catch a glimpse of what inspired bands like Green Day needs to realize that this was a band that inspired the souls of their followers. Dead Kennedys expressed thoughts and emotions – this wasn’t cold and calculated for the masses. Thankfully, the band side-stepped pretentiousness and incorporated humor, biting sarcasm, and playfulness into their special brand of racket.  On this rough and raw collection of recordings, you’ll hear embryonic versions of bonafide classics like “Holiday In Cambodia,” “Kill The Poor,” and “California Uber Alles” as well as lesser known tracks like “I Kill Children,” “Mutations Of Today,” “Rawhide,” “Man With The Dogs” and more. While this may be considered a lo-fi release, it packs more punch than anything ‘Punk’ released on a major label in the last few decades! This is the real deal.

(Manifesto Records)