The Punk Vault

Jello Biafra owes some money

Biafra Must Pay Back Royalties, Damages
Fri Jun 20,10:10 AM ET

By The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO – Former Dead Kennedys lead singer Jello Biafra must pay $220,000 in back royalties and other damages to the other members of his band, an appeals court judge has ruled.

A three-judge panel of a state appeals court in an unpublished opinion Wednesday upheld an earlier ruling against Biafra for breach of contract and fraud.

Telephone calls to Biafra’s manager and lawyer Thursday were not immediately returned.

The panel also decided that the band’s creative output, including songs “Holiday in Cambodia” and “Kill the Poor,” belongs to a partnership formed among the four band members.

But the panel reversed the lower court’s decision to break up the partnership, sending the case back to the trial court to determine whether a partnership among the punks should be dissolved and its assets sold.

“Biafra’s fraudulent actions precipitated the rift in the partnership and made it impossible for the partnership to carry on its business as it had in the past,” Justice Maria P. Rivera wrote for the court.

The San Francisco-based punk band performed together from 1978 to 1986. The band recently reformed without Biafra and is playing again as the Dead Kennedys, according to their publicist Josh Mills.


  • I’ve been following this story since it started and the way the rest of the band has behaved towards Biafra is just one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen.

  • Money does that to people. Hell, look at how people treated each other at our former employer (though I think the video side was much worse than it was in pinball). I have been following it too, and while he was wrong if he was short changing them on royalties, they have been even shittier back with their actions.

  • Jello has a big mouth and he tried to screw over his old band members. He points his finger a lot, and he had it coming to him.


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