The excellent 70 Day Weekend blog features well-considered posts on musics past and present. A regular feature, ‘Throwback Thursday’, last week was about Dead Kennedys. My joy at that article prompted me to my ’25 albums that changed your life’ list. At number 7 is ‘Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables’.

Dead Kennedys tapes were passed around excitedly when I was in second year at High School, about age 13, 1988 maybe? 8th grade for Americans, Year 8 in the UK – 3rd Year in old money.

The albums were not only on tape, but taped copies of taped copies of vinyl, sort of bootleg bootlegs.

I remember ‘Fresh Fruit…’ and ‘Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death’ in particular being on side A and B of a cassette I wore out.

PAH! to iPods, 800 folders with one track in each, never to be heard again, solitary confinement for music. We used to listen to EVERYTHING til it WORE OUT. This is why we could hiss the words of b-sides like ‘In-sight’ at each other in class, sat in the back of the room.

The PMRC/Frankenchrist court case, and the later ramifications for Biafra, 2 Live Crew and other artists, had a big impact on my thinking. I was baffled that people could take music (art) so personally that they would want to warn other people about it, by putting stickers on albums. I wrote one of my first proper essays, about censorship and expression, under the influence.

“…small groups of opinionated reactionaries…” Go, 15-year old self, go!

DKs! We used to scribble that all over our books. Growing up in a fairly conservative town in North Yorkshire, UK, they were important context. A crucial bit of political/musical education. Sarcastic anti-fascist hardcore surf punk from America? Yes please.

Once you heard this song, that was it.

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