Dead Kennedys: Jello Biafra (vocals); East Bay Ray (guitar); Klaus Flouride (bass); Ted (drums).
Additional personnel: 6025 (guitar); Paul Roessler, Ninotchka (keyboards).
Recorded at Moibus Music, San Francisco, California.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
A hyper-speed blast of ultra-polemical, left-wing hardcore punk, and bitingly funny sarcasm, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables stands as the Dead Kennedys' signature statement. As one of the first hardcore albums, it was a galvanizing influence on the musical and attitudinal development of the genre, also helping to kickstart the fertile California scene. The record's tactics are not subtle in the least; Jello Biafra's odd warble and spat-out lyrics leave no doubt as to what he thinks, baiting his targets of conservatism, violence, overbearing authority, and capitalist greed with a viciously satirical sarcasm that keeps his unflinchingly political outlook from becoming too didactic. The thin production dilutes some of the music's power, but the ragged speed-blur still packs a wallop, and the hooks cribbed from surf and rockabilly give it a gonzo edge. The songwriting isn't consistent all the way through the album, but classics like "Kill the Poor," "Let's Lynch the Landlord," "Chemical Warfare," "California šber Alles," and "Holiday In Cambodia" helped define the hardcore genre and, thus, must be heard. ~ Steve Huey
Spin (5/01, p.112) - Ranked #46 in Spin's "50 Most Essential Punk Records" - "...FRESH FRUIT scans like an old anarchist newspaper. But 'Kill the Poor' sounds perfect for Dick Cheney's America."
Q (5/02 SE, p.136) - 4 stars out of 5 - Included in Q's "100 Best Punk Albums" - "One of the most fiery, politically explosive diatribes you are ever likely to hear..."
Uncut (p.120) - 4 stars out of 5 - "Dead Kennedys could echo both the weirdness of Beefheart and the sort of spectral pop that came off Spector's production line. Still fresh. No rot."
Uncut (2/03, p.91) - 5 stars out of 5 - "...Dead Kennedys were surely the most influential proponents of late-'70s US punk..."
Alternative Press (11/00, p.144) - Included in AP's "10 Essential Political-Revolution Albums" - "...Biafra takes on the monied classes and the government, and the songs become almost too intricate for punk. Massively influential."
Magnet (p.90) - "Dead Kennedys brought a horror-show vibe to punk that remains more unsettling than the Misfits' comic-book core and battier than My Chemical Romance's make-up."
Kerrang (Magazine) (p.52) - "[O]ne of the finest slabs of rant 'n' roll ever made."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.114) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he shrill, nervy majesty of FRUIT remains unblemished."
Mojo (Publisher) (3/03, p.76) - Ranked #9 in Mojo's "Top 50 Punk Albums" - "Singer Jello Biafra's vitriolic, merciless verbal lambasting set to a musical backdrop of fervid punk..."