Tag Archives: Call the Office

Ep. #109: Jello Biafra

Jello Biafra was the lead singer of the influential punk band Dead Kennedys and has since gone on to do significant work as an actor, spoken word artist, and vocalist, as well as being the head honcho at the still busy and prolific record label, Alternative Tentacles. His first band since he left Dead Kennedys is called Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine and their new album is called White People and the Damage Done, which they’re touring behind now, including stops at Call the Office in London, Ontario on June 16 and the Opera House in Toronto on June 17. Here Biafra and I discuss things like why Nardwuar the Human Serviette and I can’t pronounce Biafra, why Jello’s name came up in discussions about the Web Fast-Lane Vote spearheaded by the FCC, Guantanamo Bay and Chelsea Manning, the concept of the new album and how it delves into kleptocracy and retroactive feudalism, greed addicts, maximum wage, why “Shock-U-Py!” shows up at the end of the new album, how Jello engages with Canadian politics and our celebrity crackhead goofs, why people should stop talking about Hillary Clinton two years ahead of the election, thinking locally, why we should stop distracting ourselves, communication, reactivating our bullshit detectors, Jello has never felt alone in his thoughts and pursuits, what first turned him onto music as a kid, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, and Azuma Kabuki music, garage bands, the Music Machine, the Animals and Eric Burdon, Jello used to be able to sing like Robert Plant, East Bay Ray has the Dead Kennedys master tapes, Jello has nothing to do with Dead Kennedys reissues and they seem to be muting his involvement in the band, Jello is proud of Dead Kennedys and doesn’t think the rest of the band cares about the music, Jello’s theatre background in middle school, Jello can play a mean Scrooge, acting in The Hipster Games and being typecast on Portlandia, how Dead Kennedys came together in San Francisco and the emergence of hardcore, how method acting influenced Jello’s vivid lyricism, his roles in Highway 61 and Terminal City Ricochet, Jello’s very first songs were written for Dead Kennedys, why he never played in some early cover band or something, the early D.O.A. cover band Stone Crazy, how and why the GSM is his first proper band since DKs, the Melvins wanted to avenge Jello, why he quoted the DKs song “Soup is Good Food” in the GSM song “Burgers of Wrath,” where he’s at now with the other Dead Kennedys and what it would take for him to agree to play with them again, playing DKs songs with the GSM, Jello’s getting back into spoken word performance, honouring Ralph Nader, the crippling losses he’s suffered lately, how much the Stooges meant to him, the plight of independent musicians and labels like Alternative Tentacles in the age of file-sharing, AT is doing cool stuff with reissues of records by the Dicks, Voivod, and new releases by young bands like Death Hymn Number 9 and Itchy-O, making stuff is important, why the GSM is not playing Amnesia Rockfest in Quebec this month, scams, the song “Burgers of Wrath,” and then it’s bedtime for bonzo.

Related links: alternativetentacles.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #87: Bry Webb

Bry Webb is one of Canada’s most distinctive singers, songwriters, and musicians. Based in Guelph, Webb emerged from London, Ontario’s post-hardcore punk scene, fronting an excellent band called Shoulder. In the late 1990s, he co-founded a Guelph-based band called Constantines who had a profound impact on rock music during their 10-year run. In 2011, Webb released Provider, his first solo album and did his best to tour the world behind it as a new father with a day job. On May 20, the Toronto label Idée Fixe will release Webb’s new album. It’s called Free Will, and he’ll be touring behind it a lot this spring and summer, including a hometown show, opening for Destroyer at Kazoo! Fest on Friday April 11. Here, Bry and I discuss what CFRU is all about, what the music community in London Ontario was like when Bry lived there, shy Bry and how punk and skating brought him out of his shell, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet’s Dim the Lights, Chill the Ham, the practicality of parents, how having kids can alter how one values their own life, what drew him to guitar, AC/DC and the Cure, when MuchMusic was awesome for kids, Skeletons of Society (S.O.S.), getting to play guitar at recess, the post-hardcore band Shoulder and their album Touch, my band Captain Co-Pilot and its connection to Shoulder and the early days of Constantines, 519 hardcore, Call the Office, and the Button Factory, Guelph’s music scene and The Goods CD compilation, Aaron Riches and a key Minnow show featuring Blake, Chili, and Shoulder that foreshadowed Three Gut Records, the Cons’ early reverence for legendary rock figures and how it might have pigeonholed them, that time Constantines broke up on the radio, the lead-up and motivation that brought Bry back to make Provider, how Free Will follows a thread from Provider but also explores more complex emotions, the naming of the record and its connection to the Cons’ Will Kidman, why Constantines are playing shows together again and details about the Shine a Light reissue and shows they’re playing this summer, some of Bry’s solo shows, the brand new song “Positive People” and then it’s over.

Related links: brywebb.com ideefixerecords.com kazookazoo.ca vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #15: Jon Spencer Blues Explosion + catl.

A chat with Judah Bauer, Jon Spencer, and Russell Simins at Call the Office in London, ON about the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion‘s adventures in the high water of Calgary and how the media can manipulate their message. Also, Toronto’s catl. talk about opening for the JSBX and someone takes my bag while I’m interviewing someone, which I just can’t handle. For more info about this episode, sign up for the Kreative Kontrol newsletter.

Russell Simins, roller derby hot dog BBQ chef, outside of This Ain't Hollywood, Hamilton, ON, July 12, 2013

Russell Simins, roller derby BBQ chef, This Ain’t Hollywood, Hamilton, ON, July 12, 2013

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