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Tuesday, 4 January 2011

I am Governor Jerry Brown

Seems amazing to me that Jerry Brown can come back as governor of California after a mere 28 years since he last did the job. Now that's what I call a political blast from the past.

A young Jerry Brown on the cover of the DK's classic single

Jerry Brown is of course already immortalised even before replacing Arnie thanks to the Dead Kennedys' excellent California Uber Alles. I always used to wonder at the extremity of Jello Biafra's attack on Brown. It was lumpy and heavyhanded - "Zen fascists will control you ... You will jog for the master race ... You'd look nice as a drawstring lamp" - but could hear that it was undeniably powerful. Yep, c.1979, musical references to Orwellian nightmares were all the rage. But you gotta admit, it works even though it's cartoonish. Plenty of conviction in Jello's weirdo-warbling singing, great martial drumming, sinister bass and guitar, and ... well, an all-round interesting arrangement.

Looking back it seems that Brown's 1975-83 governorships were pretty progressive (opposition to the death penalty, green policies, appointment of openly gay judges) so Biafra's hostility looks a bit baffling. OK, Biafra was a lot closer to it all than me, but I get the feeling he was maybe just enjoying whipping up a bit of anger amongst the Californian punks.

Meanwhile I see that, bizarrely enough, Brown had a high-profile relationship with Linda Ronstadt at the time of California Uber Alles, so one can only assume that the DK's real target was this sell-out politician who was going out with a MOR country singer. It all makes sense now.

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