Tag Archives: D.O.A.

Ep. #237: Geoff Berner

Geoff Berner is a tremendously gifted songwriter and musician known for his outspoken work and 100% belief in the klezmer tradition. Based in Vancouver, he received a scholarship for being the top student in the University of British Columbia’s Creative Writing program and has gone on to pen scripts for Sesame Street, make several acclaimed recordings, write a book about How to Be an Accordion Player, as well as the acclaimed novel, Festival Man. His latest album is called We Are Going to Bremen to Be Musicians, it’s out now via Oriente Musik and Coax Records, and so Geoff is touring the world. We recently caught up with each other in Guelph at CFRU’s studios where he performed three songs live and discussed things like his performance of the song “We Are On Our Way to Bremen,” finding hope in darkness, the Brothers Grimm, don’t be a chicken turn musician, making a living as a musician and whether or not that’s possible, motherhood and sexism in the cultural industry, taking some joy in the deaths of people like Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and other demented old people who seemed to relish destroying poor and disadvantaged people, recalling his politically charged song, “Probably NDP,” which sort of encouraged people to vote for the NDP in the last federal election, Tom Lehrer and Jon Stewart, when satirists burn out, affecting change and laughing ideas out of the room, Joey Shithead and the origin of the Vancouver-inspired song “Condos,” which he performs live on the show, the real estate fiasco and housing crisis in Vancouver, how displaced people are ending up in Surrey, the 2010 Vancouver Olympic games and their impact on the city, the cycle of nonsense that is the housing market, the media collapse and how songs are the new newspapers, the rise of fascism, his Vancouver background and its impact on his artistic perspectives, getting into punk, Billy Bragg, acoustic D.O.A., the Vancouver Folk Festival and its leftist leanings, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and the Justin Trudeau smokescreen, his romantic side, a live performance of “I Don’t Feel So Mad At God When I See You in Your Summer Dress,” mixed messages, his novel Festival Man and his next novel, which is a continuation of the aforementioned story of sorts, upcoming shows, the time Geoff and I ran into each other in Oslo, the long talk, Coax and not Kochs, Socalled is a genius, a Yiddish rendition of David Bowie’s “Always Crashing in the Same Car,” the song “Ich Krakh Tomid Arayn In Der Zelber Mashin,” and then it was thank you, no thank you.

Related links: geoffberner.com vishkhanna.com

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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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