[Originally published: Issue #6, circa 1989]
LOOKING BACK: Gilman Street. As an avid reader of Maximum Rock N Roll (which was instrumental in funding/creating the club), it seemed like the most amazing place. So, to hook up with a band that was part of the local scene was kinda neat. (I ended up moving out to SF for a year, and seeing many a show at Gilman. It was kinda a neat place -- but I was pretty far removed from any scene/community from that point.) I genuinely enjoyed these guys' demo, and reached out with an interview request -- below are the results. Two DEAD JACKSONS songs were actually on the compilation tape we did. (All photos on this page used with permission by Trent Nelson. He's got GREAT stuff of lots of hold school stuff at his site here.) -- Mickey
THREATENING SOCIETY: What is your line-up?
DEAD JACKSONS: Tito Jackson (guitar, voice), Reggie Jackson (lead bass, lead vocals), Joe Jackson (fake beer, pretend sex, lead vocals), Jesse Jackson (lead drums, lead vocals), Mick Jackson (photographs naked TVs, lead vocals), Kate Jackson (guitar, drums, bass, vocals). Everyone is over 21 and our cousin Jackson Browne engineers our 3-D Soulcore sound.
TS: Did the DEAD JACKSONS start out as a joke?
DJ: The name comes from one of Mick's small-town guerilla art attacks. He and Andrew planned to turn DEAD JACKSONS into a band, but they just played around. The rest of us had a band but we lost our singer, so mom made us let Mick and Andy join two weeks before our next gig. So we wrote new material, recruited our littlest brother Joe and became the DEAD JACKSONS.
Copyright 2007 ThreateningSociety.com/PhillyPunkRock.com
TS: Is the name of your band a satire on Michael Jackson's beloved musical family?
DJ: The entire concept is a satirical tribute to the JACKSON 5. Some of the guys feel spiritually bonded with the Jacksons, and some of us hate them beyond belief.
TS: What bands influence the DEAD JACKSONS' sound?
DJ: Pop bands from the late 70s. We listen to such a wide variety of bands that it's impossible to pin-point specific influences.
TS: Has your material changed since your demo?
DJ: We still play all the material from the demo period, and recent rock anthems like, "All the Best Bands Are Poseurs," "E.S.M.D.," and "I'm the Boss (at AM/PM Mini-Market") - but we still have a "fuck social commentary" bent.
TS: Describe a live DEAD JACKSONS show.
DJ: A lot of the songs are choreographed, but the props have rotating usage. We have cardboard gravestones and several working TVs about the stage. We have three 22-inch boxes painted like Learn and Play building blocks (used for extending stages), two cardboard rat-skull air guitars, eight matching dinner jackets, and a variety of children's toys. Everyone trades instruments, changes clothes, and sings lead.
TS: Who have you played with?
DJ: We've played with CONDEMNED ATTITUDE, SCREAM, VERTICAL URGE, BOMB, SPASTIC CHILDREN, and TOUCH ME HOOKER.
TS: Did you play Gilman St. Warehouse?
DJ: We played Gilman St. on Halloween. But by the time the RAMONAS and the SPASTIC CHILDREN had finished and we began to play, it was November 1.
TS: Please explain the rationale behind your song, "All the Best Bands Are Poseurs."
DJ: There are a lot of "great" musicians out there, and if not for some additional creative output, they'd never get the recognition they deserve. Guys like Iggy stuck it out long enough to mature musically and get songwriting royalties. Guys like KISS supplemented
their mediocre musicianship with a stage show. Our musicianship can stand on its own, but with so many good and bad artists being overlooked in a sea of video-dominated confusion and with no new wave that the media can link us to, we need our stage show to draw attention to our strength as songwriters. Our songs are very illustrative, and our stage show allows our band to exercise some additional creativity. We hate bands that look like mannequins from a wax museum. When we act like Rock Gods, we can live out our rock star fantasies, while poking fun at the Rockstar Syndrome, just like SPINAL TAP. They're poseurs. Being a poseur means you can ignore peer pressure and social criticism and live a double life as a jewelry salesman and a flipped-out musician.
TS: Are any of you straight-edge?
DJ: Joe's totally straight-edge. Mick wants to be. And Andrew can't decide. Besides, who cares? We're poseurs, remember?
TS: Do any of you have criminal records?
DJ: We're bondable.
TS: What's the biggest problem being a DEAD JACKSON?
DJ: We suffer a lot of sibling rivalry, but we always work it out by showtime. Next to that, our biggest problem is making practical use of recording time.
TS: What basic message do you try to get across?
DJ: It's OK to be yourself and have a good time by your own standards. Be a poseur in the eyes of your peers. And support our Soulcore Brigade by buying DEAD JACKSONS "promofunalia."
TS: What future plans does the plan have?
DJ: In the near future, we'd like to finish our album "More Greatest Hits Vol. 2," and make some new songs available. Then, do some mini-tours.
TS: What merchandise do you have for sale?
DJ: 5-song demo are $4, DEAD JACKSONS funbooks (zone) are $1, stickers are $.50.