After three years of appeals, virtually nothing changed in the Jello Biafra-Dead Kennedys legal dispute over (what the hell else is new?) royalties, songwriting credits, all the usual depressing crap you would hope a bunch of old idealistic punks could avoid. But no:
- Former Dead Kennedys lead singer Jello Biafra must pay $220,000 in back royalties and other damages to the other members of his band, an appeals court judge has ruled.
A three-judge panel of a state appeals court in an unpublished opinion Wednesday upheld an earlier ruling against Biafra for breach of contract and fraud.
....The panel also decided that the band's creative output, including songs "Holiday in Cambodia" and "Kill the Poor," belongs to a partnership formed among the four band members.
...."Biafra's fraudulent actions precipitated the rift in the partnership and made it impossible for the partnership to carry on its business as it had in the past," Justice Maria P. Rivera wrote for the court.
The San Francisco-based punk band performed together from 1978 to 1986. The band recently reformed without Biafra and is playing again as the Dead Kennedys, according to their publicist Josh Mills. [AP]
Note the first verdict from 2000:
- A Superior Court jury in San Francisco shocked former Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra by ruling on the side of his ex-bandmates and awarding them $200,000 on Friday (May 19).
Biafra (Eric Reed Boucher) was sued by former members, East Bay Ray (Ray Pepperell), Klaus Flouride (Geoffrey Lyall), and D.H. Peligro (Darren Henley), claiming that he failed to promote the group's back catalog and failed to pay back royalties, among other charges.
Biafra will appeal the decision. He told LAUNCH he's not going down without a fight. "They kind of want to throw the baby out with the bathwater and cut the heart out of the legacy of our band and sell the body parts down the river," he said. "I mean, recourse is fighting against their lawsuit instead of rolling over and playing dead and letting Bill Graham's lawyers decide what. . . to act as my boss. I mean, I wrote most of those songs, and it means more to me than it ever did to them. And I don't want it turned into something that I'm going to be ashamed of the rest of my life." [Launch]
Okay then. Biafra has a lot of energy and personality, but he's also a freaking idiot. His scabrous anti-everything line was already getting old in the Dead Kennedy days, but at least there were some great songs around it. A relaxation of ego tripping could have saved everyone a shitload in legal fees.