Jello Biafra is best known for his antics and stage presence with the legendary San Francisco punk rock act The Dead Kennedys from 1978 to 1986. I’m fairly certain that band never set foot in Youngstown, but following the DK’s demise Jello did become a fairly popular spoken word artist in the same vein as his old band. On October 25, 1990, the 32-year-old Biafra did a spoken word performance at Youngstown State University’s Kilwawley Center for about 900 people. Known for talking for up to five hours (I sat through one of these marathon sessions once in the early 2000s), Biafra railed against government censorship of music for the majority of his speaking engagement at YSU according to published reports at the time. This was some four years after he went toe-to-toe with Tipper Gore’s PMRC on the Oprah Winfrey Show and three years after the Dead Kennedys avoided jail time with a hung jury verdict in the Frankenchrist obscenity trial. I’d venture to guess most of the material at the YSU performance was from the 1989 album High Priest of Harmful Matter: Tales From the Trial and what would be the 1991 release I Blow Minds for a Living.
Jello Biafra runs his mouth