Dead Kennedys is an American hardcore punk music band from San Francisco, California. He is recognized as one of the pioneers and emblems of the genre. Their musical style incorporates the most experimental elements of 1970s British punk to the raw energy of the 1980s American hardcore punk scene.
The group is formed following a small advertisement written by East Bay Ray to which Jello Biafra (Eric Boucher of his real name) responds. They are quickly joined by bassist Klaus Flouride, drummer Ted and a second guitarist who becomes famous under the name of 6025. The latter leaves the group in March 1979 while Ted is replaced at the end of 1981 by Daren Henley Peligro.
In 1979, Jello Biafra declared himself candidate for the post of mayor of San Francisco. His candidacy, which initially looks like a joke, is finally taken seriously by a non-negligible number of voters, since Biafra finishes fourth out of ten candidates. The same year, Jello Biafra formed with Greg Ginn, Black Flag group, the Alternative Tentacles label that will release most of the group's records. The first singles follow: California Über Alles in 1979 which is a violent charge against Jerry Brown, then governor of California.
They published Holiday in Cambodia in June 1980, and finally Kill The Poor and Too Drunk to Fuck, the latter disc being immediately banned by the Californian authorities. Despite this censorship, the band managed to release their new album Plastic Surgery Disaster in 1982.