Thursday, October 20, 2011


"Spoken Word" artists, Dick Gregory and Mort Sahl

Although he is best known as a Punk Rock icon, Jello Biafra's "spoken word" career is best understood as part of a direct lineage from Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl and Dick Gregory. All three were stand up night club comedians in the 1950s who, as they moved into the tumult of the 1960s, stopped telling jokes and started, in Sahl's case, coming on stage with that day's newspaper and reading the news. If you want an introduction to Biafra's spoken word catalog I recommend the 2001 release, Become the Media, a 3-CD set offered at a single disc price.

While Biafra doesn't own a computer and doesn't use email (except through his record label, Alternative Tentacles), he has taken to the internet in the form of a video journal called "WWJD" which is posted to Youtube. His recent monologue on then Occupy Wall Street movement is alternately scatter shot and insightful.

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