I was looking for something else when I stumbled across this story from June about the Dead Kennedys suing each other – this is what happens to idealistic punks 25 years down the road. It depressed the hell out of me, so in order to counteract this, I put on “Holiday in Cambodia, already 23 years old and one of the greatest songs of the entire punk/postpunk era.
East Bay Ray’s great surf-meets-Ramones guitar slinging (echoing to atmospheric effect in the intro and breaks), riding on top of a quick, efficient rhythm from drummer D.H. Peligro and bassist Klaus Flouride, are the perfect foils for Jello Biafra’s jittery, almost-cartoonish vocals (laced equally with menace and glee) in a song about the smugness of American liberals. Biafra would like to ship the non-radical American left off to Cambodia for a taste of terror that would jolt it out of its complacency. As the percussive chant “Pol Pot” rises to an incantatory pitch, the chorus make a final return with the power and inevitability of monsoon season, before ending as abruptly as a decapitation. A classic.
Sometimes it’s better to stick to the music – real life can get you down.