What Iâ€™ve Been Reading: Dead Kennedyâ€™s Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, by Michael Stewart Foley
The Dead Kennedys make a huge amount more sense to me after reading this installment of the always-fascinating 33 1/3 series of monographs on important or interesting albums.
Here, Foley takes a historical approach to the bandâ€™s debut album, detailing the politics of the country, California, and San Francisco in the lateÂ ’70s that gave rise to the band and album. With that knowledge, an album I already liked a lot is transformed into a fascinating, angry, accessible, and funny work (and to think, Jello Biafra was barely 20 years old when it came out).
The book felt a bit odd, though, in that it ended somewhat abruptly. In all of the discussion of the historical and political millieu, there was less focus on the music than Iâ€™d expected. Itâ€™s in there, but the history really takes center stage here. I would have liked some more focus on the album, but treating this as straight cultural history instead of a music book is the kind of approach that makes the 33 1/3 series so varied and vital.