Jello Biafra was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, and is best known as leader and vocalist of the seminal punk rock band Dead Kennedys and as founder of Alternative Tentacles Records (AT). Established in 1979, AT is the longest, still-active underground record label in existence. The label published the entire Dead Kennedys’ catalog and continues as a powerful influence in underground culture and resource for out-of-the-mainstream artists to record and distribute their work.
Biafra was the first musician to be put on trial because of the content of a record album. The Dead Kennedys’ Frankenchrist (1985) included an insert of a “penis landscape” by master surrealist H. R. Geiger. At the urging of the Parent's Music Resource Center, obscenity charges were filed. After a police raid on his home and a highly publicized court trial, Biafra was exonerated of the charge of “distribution of harmful matter to minors.” Prosecutor Michael Guarino later stated, "About midway through the trial we realized that the lyrics of the album were in many ways socially responsible, very anti-drug, and pro-individual."
In 1979, Biafra ran for mayor of San Francisco, forcing opponent Diane Feinstein into a run-off. He came in fourth out of ten candidates. He was again a magnet for voters dissatisfied with leading candidates when tapped by the Green Party to enter the 2000 presidential race. He came in second to Ralph Nader at the GP’s national convention that year.
Biafra’s recent recordings include his eighth spoken word disc In the Grip of Official Treason and musical collaboration with the Melvins on Never Breathe What You Can’t See and Sieg Howdy! Alternative Tentacles’ new releases include recordings by Akimbo, Zolar X, Ludicra, and Triclops!, to name a few.