Saturday, October 21, 2006

Always Room For Jello

Jello Biafra ranks as the first musician ever to be put on trial because of the content of a record album. The Frankenchrist album he released with his old group the Dead Kennedys contained in its original release a reproduction of a painting by Swiss artist H.R. Giger (known best for winning the Academy Award for the 1979 film Alien.) It was because of this painting that the L.A. City Attorney filed a charge of "Distribution of Harmful Matter" against Biafra and several others. During the trial however, the DA spent a great deal of time analyzing the career and lyrics of Biafra in an attempt to incriminate him on subjects other than the painting in attempts to set legal precedence. Fortunately, the jury was deadlocked 7:5 in favor of acquittal and the judge dismissed the case in lieu of granting a re-trial. The fact remains, however, that this trial took over a year out of Biafra's life and ended up costing over $100K in legal bills despite the fact that the penalty was a $2000 fine and no more than a year served. The full story of this trial and the tactics used by the legal forces behind it may be heard on Biafra's High Priest of Harmful Matter album. (J Dorsey Thrush)

Tales From The Trial, High Priest Of Harmful Manner.


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