April 16, 2014


Jello Biafra on Why He Chose Records Over Cocaine

The long career of Jello Biafra knows no bounds. Along with fronting iconic punk band the Dead Kennedys, he's a celebrated spoken-word artist, ran for president in 2000 and generally sticks up his middle finger at anything crappy. He's also an avid record collector, and thus the star of this latest installment of Fuse's digital series Crate Diggers.

"I learned to stretch small amounts of money a long way," Biafra recalls of his humble origins into the world of vinyl as a kid. "In those days I was trying to keep up with all the punk releases that now only dot-com jerks can afford on eBay. But I grabbed as much as I could because I was trying to figure out how to make my own songs."

Biafra tells more than his fair share of entertaining tales, including why he chose to spend money on records instead of drugs. "You could spend it on speed, spend it on coke or spend it on records," he says. "The choice was obvious. You can play a record and bounce off the walls and get an adrenaline high over and over if it's good. You put a line of dope on a turntable and it's gone."

Another gem comes when he spills what his first albums were—and they're not what you'd expect from a guy who wrote songs like "Let's Lynch the Landlord" and "Terminal Preppie."

"My parents held off on letting me have a record player," he confesses. "[They] finally caved in eighth grade. My first album was Creedence Clearwater Revival's Pendulum and Steppenwolf's The Second. "I probably played those records over and over again." Watch Part 1 above and Part 2 below. 

Watch new episodes of Fuse's digital series Crate Diggers every other Wednesday at 1PM ET here on Fuse.tv. And catch up on all the previous episodes of Crate Diggers right here!