Play the second side of Last Scream of the Missing Neighbors by Jello Biafra with D.O.A first is my advice, you’ll know within the first 45 seconds (of the 13:29 minutes) of ‘Full Metal Jackoff’ whether you’re going to love this record, or not.  I do.  A friend at university turned me onto this LP as we were doing our best to work our way through ‘all good music, ever’ by giving me a taped copy and telling me it was ‘more your thing than mine’ – how right he was!  Canadian punk titans D.O.A lay down a fantastic metallic opening, the opening notes really do sound like scrap metal being torn apart and then the music just swells and builds before Biafra intones the lines,

Around our nation’s capital
There’s a freeway 8 lanes wide
White concrete ringed around the city
For those who want inside

Now I’m a big fan of Dead Kennedys but I think this track has Biafra’s best vocals on it by far as he slowly builds himself into a frenzy over the top of the solid, metallic music, railing against, well you name it! Oliver North, the politics of the war on drugs, koalas, erosion of dignity at work, police corruption, the media frenzy over Willie Horton, the US industrial complex and narco-militarism in general; actually I threw in an extra one there just for kicks.  There’s enough wit and chugging metal here to stop it all sounding too much like being cornered by a hectoring, paranoid, conspiracy-nut street crazy.  The way Biafra spits out the line ‘Neo-nazi bootboys, that the cops never seem to arrest’ is worth the purchase price all by itself, treat yourself – it’s on iTunes, go on!  Should you want to make yourself feel angry, instantly, you really could do a lot worse than listening to ‘Full Metal Jackoff’ over and over again.

Funnily enough, as a kid who grew up on the fringes of various left-wing marches and the anti-nuclear movement in general, I do find a comforting nostalgia in the absolute certainties of the politics displayed here, probably because it’s a young person’s self-righteous view of right/wrong and conspiracy.  My views and understandings are more complex and nuanced now, but essentially my default setting is still Thatcher-bad / Reagan-bad and Biafra’s ranting about the Iran-Contra affair and El Salvador tie in with that nicely for me.  Whether you can like the music, whilst objecting to the politics espoused I don’t know, but I suspect not, in the same way that I can’t really listen to Ted Nugent anymore.

Godzilla

The first side is a slightly mixed bag, ‘That’s progress’ (‘Give me a M, give me an A, give me a U, give me a L, now give me all your money, what’s that spell? maul, what’s that spell? shopping maul’) rocks out like a punkier Motörhead, I’ve never heard D.O.A on anything else but I really love this, Joey Shithead (I’m guessing this is not his given name) really plays hard throughout but the whole band are excellent on this LP.  D.O.A anchor the sound and give it a solidity and an earthy quality that the higher-pitched, more adventurous Kennedys didn’t.  The Nato-bashing ‘Attack of the Peacekeepers’ is another really strong track before two weaker tunes and the slower-paced, straight cover of The Animal’s ‘We Gotta get out of this Place’ which I didn’t used to like, but really enjoyed listening to again today.

Overall this is a great, two-fisted, bruising, metallic punk LP with one truly great track on it.  As the man says,

If someone came for you one night
And dragged you away
Do you really think your neighbors
Would even care…

1537 says – sleep soundly tonight folks!

98 Down.

3 thoughts on “Full Metal Jackoff

  1. Absolutely, there’s no point marching on city hall if, by the time you get there, you’re too tired to smash the system and halt the advance of narco-militarism.

    Like

  2. Spectacular! I love Jello Biafra but only in smaller doses. This is probably the longest dose I can handle.

    Now excuse me as I go march on the nearest manifestation of our government. Do you think the folks at the fire house will let me play with the fire truck? City Hall is too far away!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s