Former Dead Kennedy's leader Jello Biafra said he
thinks he has found the perfect partner: Offspring's
Brian "Dexter" Holland.
But it isn't music they're making together. Rather, the
two have teamed up to launch a social service benefit
foundation called F.S.U.
Modeled on a similar organization started by their Bay
Area musical brethren in the Grateful Dead, the Rex
Foundation, F.S.U., which stands for Fuck Shit Up,
if you ask Biafra, or Freedom Starts Underground,
if you ask Holland, aims to provide financial
assistance to a number of causes, including
homelessness, human rights, anti-censorship and
AIDS service organizations.
"I've thought about doing something like this for a
long time," Biafra told ATN Tuesday. "I've often
wondered what I would do if I, or some friends of
mine, blundered into a huge amount of money," he
What Biafra and Holland have founded is an organization
that will stage a series of benefit concerts beginning
June 29 atthe Ventura Theater in Ventura, Calif., whose
proceeds will be distributed to a wide array of organizations.
In the case of the first three shows (the other two are set for
June 30 at the Glass House
in Pomona, Calif. and July 2 in Santa Cruz, Calif.), the
recipients of F.S.U. money will range from AIDS Project Los
Angeles and Poor People's United Fund to the Trees Foundation
and Amnesty International.
F.S.U. is a
response to the continual budget cuts in social
service funds allocation aimed at balancing the budget, Biafra
said. "I've been socially active behind the scenes for years,
having given a good chunk of my money to a wide stripe of political
groups for 10 years now," he said. "But this is a way to do it on a
larger scale, and hopefully we can be more effective on this scale.
I get so sick of all this belt-tightening being ordered on everybody
from above. Poor people shouldn't be thrown in the street and have
their welfare cut off in order to balance the budget. Michael Jordan,
Bill Gates and Ross Perot should balance the budget," said Biafra,
breaking into one of his legendary rants. (Biafra also offered a
string of other possible translations for the foundations name,
including: Food Safety and Understanding; and Frogs, Sharks and Anteaters?).
Biafra said he contacted a number of other punk bands and performers
to try and gain support for his foundation, but it was Holland who
returned his call with the most enthusiasm. "Brian called me up
asking how my knee was doing after I got beat up by a bunch of
so-called punks at Gilman Street for supposedly being a sell-out,"
Biafra said, alluding to his brutal beating in May of 1994, outside
the legendary 924 Gilman Street club.
"We got to talking and I told him about the idea and he was really
into it," Biafra continued. "I think it's time for people who
describe themselves as punk to get a little more real about what
issues really matter in the world."
Biafra sees the connection with the Offspring as a natural, despite
his suspicion that they might be subject to the "blah, blah, blah"
charge of "sell-out." "It's great when people in the activist punk
underground are able to throw together benefit shows for a cause,
but it can be done above ground as well and raise a lot more money
for the same cause," he said. "A band like Offspring, who played a
bunch of teeny tiny shows across the country for years before they
got big, have very deep roots in the underground community, so there
was a little more inclination for them to be involved in a project
While the "Holiday In Cambodia" singer was reluctant to say whether
he'd be performing alongside the Offspring at the three benefit
shows, he did leave the door open to a possible on-stage collaboration.
"I don't know whether (folkie and social activist) Phil Ochs would
agree with this, but there are cases when there are people down at
the grass roots who are working on a good cause during all their
waking hours but they don't have any financial backing to do what
they want to do," Biafra said. "That's where people with tight
schedules can pitch in. The more people who are in a position
to raise a lot of money and not feel the pinch, who are able to
do this kind of thing, the better."
Hoping he might inspire other punks to pick up the torch
if F.S.U. takes off, Biafra
said, "Maybe it will spin off into some similar ideas for other
foundations and organizations."