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Nardwuar the Human Serviette, Jello Biafra, Ani Kyd

Ani Kyd and friends celebrate a milestone with the legend himself

By Allan MacInnis

Jello Biafra has somewhat of a reputation for being a “hard guy to work with.” At least that’s the phrase used by Mojo Nixon, who recorded two albums with Jello and then wrote an unreleased song called “Nailing Jello to a Tree,” which can be seen on YouTube. It’s either a revenge fantasy or a metaphor for the futility of life; the normally direct Nixon, author of songs like “Don Henley Must Die,” allows the listeners the option of picking their interpretation. Since Vancouver musician Ani Kyd is a bit of a Biafra insider — she’s acted, sung, toured and recorded with him, directed him in a short film, and counts the occasionally abrasive punk legend as one of her best friends — would she agree with that statement?

“He’s high maintenance. I’ll say that no problem. I’ll say that right to his face!” she giggles. “The thing about Jello is, he’s really, really particular and he’s really passionate about what he does. I think that’s the reason he’s so successful. He has a really definite idea of what he wants, and about what he likes and what he doesn’t like. And I think a lot of big personalities have a lot of stuff to deal with.”

Kyd first met Biafra on the set of the 1999 feature film The Widower, a surreal, locally-shot horror/comedy about a man who refuses to come to terms with the death of his wife.

“I was called in by Marcus Rogers, the director, to borrow this nurse’s outfit that I was wearing on Halloween. I said no problem. And so on Saturday he calls me at 10 a.m. to pick it up and says, ‘Can I borrow you, also?’ ‘Okay, what do I have to do?’ ‘You have to dress really hot and be this mortician’s assistant.’ He also said the mortician was going to grope me and be my boyfriend. I said, ‘Okay, who’s the mortician?’ I thought it was going to be somebody I knew,” since the film features a long cast of noted Vancouverites, including Joe Keithley, Rot N. Hell, Watermelon and Nardwuar the Human Serviette. When Rogers told her that her co-star was Jello Biafra she was a bit freaked out.

JELLO BIAFRA - Femke Van Delft photo
“I had never met Jello and I was a huge Dead Kennedys fan. But once I met him, all that stuff was gone and we just became really good friends. By the end of the shoot people were asking me ‘could you ask Jello if he wants some juice?’ or ‘Could you ask Jello…’ ‘Why don’t you ask him yourself? He’s right beside you!”

When Biafra discovered Kyd was a musician, he asked to hear some demos. “I was a little embarrassed. You know, it’s Jello. I was a huge Dead Kennedys fan when I was 18, and the last thing you want to do is…” she adopts a needy, whiny voice, “Oh, yeah, this is my stuff!” But he took it home with him. And never listened to it.” (Jello, for his part, explains that he thought such a “sweet girl” would obviously be singing girl-group bubblegum pop. He had no idea of Ani Kyd’s powerhouse vocal style or the intensity of her songs and was in no rush to hear it).

Some time later, Ani was touring down to San Francisco, where Biafra and his Alternative Tentacles label are based, “and he’d said, ‘Anytime you come to San Francisco, let’s hang out.’ And he thought, ‘well, I better listen to that girl’s CD.’ So he listened to it, and called me back right away and started reciting the names of my songs and going, ‘Oh, the third chorus in “Rejoyce!” and all this kind of stuff. I literally looked around to see if there were cameras on me to see my expression. Not only does Jello Biafra know the names of my songs, he loved them. He was like, "How come I never heard of you?”

Ani Kyd with Fuel Injected 45 - Tiina Liimu photo
The songs off those demos ended up the stuff of Ani Kyd’s solo album, Evil Needs Candy Too, the first and to-date the only project that Biafra produced that was not of his own music, released on Alternative Tentacles in 2005.  “He actually was really easy to work with as a co-producer on my CD,” Kyd remembers. “He had some great ideas, but he never pushed anything down my throat. When we were in the studio, he wrote this part - like, ‘bnyeeeeeeew,’ this crazy little guitar riff  - that was overtop of one of my songs - in his head, and he hummed it to (guitarist) Ian (White) repeatedly, and Ian got it, and it was just brilliant. It was very much a weirdly Dead Kennedys/Jello Biafra type of riff - I think he deserves so much credit for what he does,” Kyd says.

She’s speaking here to the controversy - one of the issues when Biafra’s former bandmates sued him for control of the Dead Kennedys back catalogue - about whether Biafra deserves credit for writing the music, when he cannot actually play an instrument. “His true musicianship is pretty incredible, actually,” Kyd opines - something anyone who hears his new album with the Guantanamo School of Medicine, White People and the Damage Done, should have no trouble believing, particularly since all tunes are written by Biafra. “He just hasn’t learned how to play the guitar - it’s not that he doesn’t have the ability in his mind to write these amazing riffs for songs. He has these CDs and tapes and everything of riffs that he’s written in his head, that he hums, and he hums them perfectly, and they’re like, ‘riff #13,’ or whatever; and he has a very, very distinct style of writing. Why people have said that he’s high maintenance or that he’s difficult is because he really knows what he wants.”

Ani Kyd will be turning out to celebrate Jello Biafra’s 55th birthday, June 17 at The Rickshaw, along with Nardwuar the Human Serviette, who is Kyd’s go-to guy to take Biafra record shopping when he comes to town. The event will feature a Jello Biafra spoken word performance, to be followed by sets by Nardwuar’s band Thee Goblins and a new lineup of Fuel Injected .45. Jello will join both bands onstage to sing encores.

Ani Kyd and Jello Biafra photo by Bev Davies

“Jello loves Vancouver, he’s thought of moving here a number of times, and there are a lot of bands from Vancouver that have gone on to Alternative Tentacles” - including the Subhumans, DOA, SNFU, Nomeansno, Facepuller, The Evaporators and Kyd herself. “We wanted to do something really fun and special. And Jello likes obscure records, so if you bring him presents…”

There will also be a screening of Ani Kyd’s short film I Love You… I Am The Porn Queen, starring Ani herself, with Jello in two roles; plus a Jello Biafra spoken word. Be sure to come early; Jello doesn’t like to do spoken word after bands play, so his performance will likely be near the start of the evening!

Come celebrate Jello Biafra’s 55th Birthday with Jello and his Vancouver pals on June 17 at the Rickshaw Theatre.


Nardwuar the Human Serviette and Jello Biafra

"Jello Biafra is my number one inspiration"

By Allan MacInnis

It makes perfect sense, when you think about it, that Nardwuar the Human Serviette - media personality, Evaporators and Thee Goblins frontman, and uber-fan, describes Jello Biafra as a “complete template” for himself. Nardwuar - Ani Kyd’s co-conspirator behind the Jello Biafra 55th birthday bash, June 17th at the Rickshaw - tells BeatRoute that, from the way Jello acts onstage (“he’s up there jumping around, and he’s always wearing something interesting”) to the cool inserts in his records “(just like we have the Bev Davies calendar in The Evaporators’ Busy Doing Nothing!”). everything about Jello Biafra is “sort of how I’ve modeled myself. He’s pretty much my number one inspiration, at least in an artist.”

Of course, the relationship between Nardwuar and Jello didn’t start off so well (their first meeting was captured on video).

“In 1989, the first time that I met him, he didn’t like me at all, and said ‘Farewell to you sir,’ and walked away.

Despite that early snub, Nardwuar assures readers that “Jello is not intense and abrasive compared to some of the other people I deal with. I mean, look at Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, destroying a tape of the interview that I did with him, or Kevin DuBrow of Quiet Riot destroying the interview tape. Jello’s done nothing like that - he’s never destroyed a tape. It’s true he’s written over my face with a black marker - that was in 1989 - but it helped inspire the song, ‘I Got A Rash,’ because my face was completely covered in black marker, so then I tried to wash it off with that - you know that soap they used to have in elementary schools, you know that powdered soap? Like, they didn’t want to put in real soap? I washed my face in it, because they had that at the university at the time, at UBC, and I got a complete rash!”

The now-legendary 1989 snub was sampled on Nardwuar’s first record, Oh God, My Mom’s On Channel Ten! “There was a little interview snippet there, and that’s included on the record,” as a way of turning people on, pre-internet, to Nardwuar’s radio work with CITR. “When I put out the record I mailed it to him and I wrote, ‘please don’t sue me,’ and then he wrote me back and said ‘No, I won’t sue you but send me more of your records! So the next time I met him,” Nardwuar continues, “he was like, ‘where’s the Smugglers 7 inch?’ - like, he knew about the record I’d put out by the Smugglers, on Nardwuar Records, which was inspired by Alternative Tentacles.” The “Cleo” catalogue numbers on Nardwuar’s releases may take their name from Nardwuar’s cat, Cleo 1, but they’re modeled on the “Virus” catalogue numbers on A/T releases. Of course, fifteen years after their first meeting, Alternative Tentacles would be distributing both Nardwuar's records and his DVDs, so everything definitely worked out all right - a testament to the virtue of persistence, Nardwuar-style.

Besides a shared fascination for politics and conspiracies, “Jello is a complete music historian” and music lover, Nardwuar says - something else the two have in common. “He loves the 1960’s and all the different types of bands that are out there and always informs me on information about these bands. I’ve tried to supply Jello with records, too - I remember once I gave him a Simply Saucer original pressing from the 1970’s and Jello’s like, ‘nope, I already have a couple copies of that!’ Jello always has a couple of copies of every record. But actually the last time I saw him, he did not have Xaviera Hollander’s record - you know, the Happy Hooker, with Ronnie Hawkins on it? He did not have the record, and he took it from me!” (The brazen theft was also documented on video, here on the set of Ani Kyd’s short film I Love You… I Am The Porn Queen.)

 I was like, ‘Jello, you cannot have the record’ and he was like, ‘look, Snoop takes from you and I’m going to take from you!’ So he did actually take a record from me. I was honoured, actually, in that respect, because I knew Jello would add it to his collection. And a few years later I did find another copy…”

In addition to hoping to do another interview with Jello - it will be his thirteenth - Nardwuar is very excited that his band, Thee Goblins, will be performing with Biafra on the 17th. “I wanted to have The Evaporators play, but it was too quick, and I couldn’t get a hold of everybody, and the guitar guys were away, so it was like - ‘well maybe Thee Goblins can play,’ and then it all just came together really quickly.” Extra Goblins were quickly recruited from The Evaporators’ pool to back up the band when Jello joins them onstage. “Hopefully Jello will enjoy some Acetone organ in Dead Kennedys’ numbers!”

Jello singing with Thee Goblins will be a first for Nardwuar. “It’s very rare when you’re able to do music onstage with somebody you've interviewed," Nard says. "Like, I’ve interviewed Thor, the metal god, and I was able to do music with Thor. I interviewed Franz Ferdinand - and I was able to do music with Franz Ferdinand. I’ve interviewed Andrew WK, and was able to do music with Andrew WK. And I’ve interviewed Jello, and now, finally, this is the moment where we’ll do music with him. Scott, the drummer of Thee Goblins, has called the gig ‘the biggest gig of our lives!’”

More Nardwuar vs. Jello Biafra interview footage can be viewed here:

Excerpt from Jello Biafra’s first letter to Nardwuar, as dictated to Beat Route by Nardwuar:

"Thanks a lot for sending me a copy of your album. No, don’t worry, I won’t sue you over your plagiarizing my voice after you accosted me for that interview. How could I pass up an opportunity to be on the same record as Gerald Ford? Did you send a copy to him? I have also heard a hilarious tale of you going into some rich, powerful businessman’s house with a video camera awhile back. I haven’t actually been able to see that yet, but would like to!” (“That’s me going into Jimmy Pattison’s house for Halloween and Jimmy showing me around,” Nardwuar explains. “I guess Nomeansno must have told Jello about it.”) In return for your stealing my voice, is there any chance you could send me a few more copies of the album, that I could pass on to my weird friends? Peace and sabotage - Jello Biafra."


DIRE WOLVES photo by tiina liimu

Dig deep

Emerging from the West Coast punk scene, Dire Wolves dive headfirst into 1920’s and 30’s era bluegrass, country and blues. “Music that has moved us in some way, we try to pass it on, and hope it grabs someone else like it has us,” explains Blake Bamford, the guitarist, vocalist, and banjo player. “Refreshing” is an appropriate term to describe this experience. “Playing two things that are completely different. The old music has a raw edge to it and I guess in that way, they are similar,” says Woody Forster, who plays mandolin, tenor banjo, guitar, dobro and sings. A like-minded theme amongst band mates prevails. “But the attitude behind the music… it's that genuine raw attitude I like,” adds Devora Laye, backup vocalist and washboard player.

A group of players passionate about learning from and preserving the styles of Piedmont guitarists like Rev. Gary Davis, Blind Blake, the Memphis blues of Sleepy John Estes and Yank Rachell, country artists like Jimmie Rodgers and hillbilly blues artists like Dick Justice. “After playing banjo in the Whiskey Jacks, I started focusing heavily on finger style blues and ragtime guitar,” says Bamford. Once learning new songs, former bandmates Forster and Josh Doherty joined him to work these out, bringing the three together again. “We had known Devora for years and she came on board with the washboard a couple months before the recording,” he says and “Joseph Lubinsky-Mast we met while we were all playing and recording some tracks with Dylan Thomas Rysstad.“ He holds down the low end on the bass fiddle. “My role in the band is just to round out the sound,” says Mast.

The Dire Wolves seem to have very specific instrumentation choices and a familiar trademark appears on the headstock of virtually every stringed instrument they play. “We have developed into a band that plays a lot of Nationals,” Bamford explains. The maker is known for the development of resonator guitars and historically formative distinctive sound. Also designed before amplification and the guitarists needed volume amongst louder instruments. Some of the great players of 20's and 30's: Blind Boy Fuller, Tampa Red, Son House, Bo Carter used them for that. Josh Doherty, back up vocalist, sports a large collection of harmonicas. I've got one for each of the twelve keys and then I have some doubles in different brands that have a different feel and sound to them. Right now I'm really enjoying Hohner Golden Melody's. [The] songs are pretty much in C, G, D, E, Bb and A. Most blues and country tends to hangout in those keys,” says Doherty. Laye modified her washboards attaching cowbells and a mini splash also using various objects to create percussive elements. “I saw a woman play with wire brushes and fell in love with the sound,” she says. This acts as a substitute for the snare for their country and darker blues numbers and uses sewing thimbles for the upbeat numbers. “They have more punch and give me a wider range to play around with,” she adds.

They played as the Alley Bourbon Bootleggers for over a year. “Alley bourbon” is a term for moonshine, notes Bamford and “we realized that our own mothers couldn't remember the name.” The hunt was on. Dire Wolves evolved, which is a prehistoric wolf that also lived in BC. “We figured as far as old timey, prehistoric pretty much trumps anything,” he explains, and so it settled. Their album cover sports a Dire Wolf stuck in a tar pit sketched from an old 'mammals' reference book. “Often the larger herbivores would get trapped in the tar. When the predators and scavengers went to feast on them they would also get stuck. They more they struggled, the deeper they'd sink,” says Bamford.

After recording with Jesse Gander as The Whisky Jacks, it made sense to work together again. “We didn't want something over produced, just wanted to try to capture the feeling of the music, recorded on analog tape all at the same time in the same room.” says Forster. The album was laid to tape over two years ago, but finally released May 2013. They wanted it out in vinyl, so it took time to raise funds for that format. Also, new material is in the works “This time we won't wait two and a half years to put it out.” Stay tuned for a July tour with BC dates booked east of Vancouver already!

Their performances spread word of mouth and promise to be an experience. Records can be found at Audiopile, Red Cat, Neptoon and Highlife or contact the band at

- tiina.l


Ron Reyes illustration by Dan Harbord

Look who's up on the deck this June? 

Several years ago in Vancouver, a few friends threw Ron Reyes a 50th birthday fete at the Rickshaw Theatre. Local punks and rockers: the Jolts, Little Guitar Army, Modernettes and Braineater played to a full house of fans! Plus a one-time group was assembled called the Ron Reyes Band and Greg Ginn of Black Flag flew in to support an old band mate onstage in the celebration of a milestone.

Fast forward to now, summer 2013. This experience had brought Reyes out of musical retirement. He picked up a guitar, and pulled together a few more Vancouver friends to form a rock n roll band called PIGGY. July 20th at the Chinese Cultural Centre, Ron Reyes reunites with Black Flag members and hits the stage with Piggy for an all ages show.

Artist and avid music scene supporter Dan Harbord sent in this illustration. We had no idea what was coming, a complete surprise! Oh, one more thing, happy birthday Ron, all over again!


Man or Astroman? photo by tiina liimu 2013

Biltmore Cabaret - Wednesday May 13, 2013

In 1993, four alien visitors with an insatiable hunger for the music of the Ventures, shockingly bad sci fi flicks and Spam touched down in Auburn, Alabama to begin their quest to conquer Earth with their space-surf sounds. In 2013, twenty years has taught them a lot: Tesla coils make for amazing “international incidents” at major metropolitan airports, sending clones to tour for you allows for more hang time with the relatives and the town of Visalia, California is undoubtedly in the minds of MOAM? the WORST possible place anyone can visit in the world and they spent THREE DAYS THERE.


Pierced Arrows photo by tiina liimu

Electric Owl – May 17, 2013

Anything but Main Street and the “one of a kind” garage punk marriage of Fred and Toody Cole is all about momentum and the enduring game of Rock n Roll. Pierced Arrows drew a full house at The Electric Owl. The beauty here is an unspoken code. Energy begets get energy. This vitality is translated through their DIY ethic and playing by their own deck. The devoted audience and local RNR favourites, the Jolts, understand this too. Without further ado, they charge up the stage for the Portland guests. Hats off to Slow Learners for planting the seed that evening.


Black Angels photo by Bev Davies
Black Angels - Bev Davies photo

Commodore Ballroom - May 14, 2013

Sometimes a show is like a direct electromagnetic shock, but in the best way possible and this was the kind that induced a blurred sense of time.

The summoning drone of the 2008, “Vikings” drew the crowd into the front, while the prismatic “I Hear Colors” expanded the experience. The tone was set with vibrant and chromatic projections filling the stage. A fitting introduction to their new album Indigo Meadow. Fresh from the Austin Pysch Fest, the Black Angels make their way through North America dispensing their hypnotic form of wisdom.


photo: detail from album artwork

April 19 - Rickshaw Theatre

With a billowing smoke machine working overtime, a retro styled RNR evening is on hand at the Rickshaw Theatre.

The hall is filling up for the arrival of La Chinga! Carl Spackler on throbbing bass, a booming Jason Solyom is at the kit and Ben Yardley is set to stun on guitar and theremin. These three gents proceed to lay waste to the seventies rock gods with definitely some funk thrown into the mix.


CANNIBAL CORPSE - Arnaud De Grave photo

The Commodore Ballroom - May 21 2013

Seeing three death metal bands that have been playing for about twenty-five years, all together, in one evening, was quite a treat. One would expect utter ear hole annihilation and one would be right about that!


VAPID photo by tiina liimu

blasting the rocking dance floor

An amalgamation of five kindred spirits ready to smash up any dance floor with the unrelenting promise of garage punk — pop punk fun! Arriving in the local underground of fun city in late 2006 quickly spreading their bouncing blast of both chaos and harmony onto the public.

Twelve songs were recently recorded at Black Rectangle and Afterlife Studios in Vancouver. Ten of these will appear on Lake of Tears, their second LP expected out this summer. "We've evolved both musically and lyrically over the last few years. Hopefully the new record reflects that. We've sought out inspiration in rock and pulled away a little from the simplicity of straight-up punk," says guitarist Stephen Moore. It will be both colour and black vinyl. "The new album is going to be a split release by Nominal Records and Deranged Records,” explains Moore and a 7-inch is also coming. Plus a video for an older song and band favourite “1983,” is also in the works.


The Golers

A Family Reunion

If you want to talk about the school of Vancouver heavy metal, the Golers would be one of the professors. Now entering their fifteenth year the Golers are a lesson in perseverance and friendship. Let us go back to the mid 1990s Vancouver metal scene. All four members of the Golers were part of the abrasive metal band called Subversion, which was gaining speed and garnering some well-deserved international attention. So much, in fact, Slayer’s Dave Lombardo poached their bass player for his new post Slayer band called, Grip Inc. Rather than feeling hung out to dry the remaining members picked up the pieces and started a new band.


Punk’s not dead…

By Jason Kolins and More Betty

All Out Panic is chaos and vitriol Vancouver  punk, driven by a lashing rhythm section. “It's not entirely cookie cutter and it's rippin' fast!” exclaims vocalist, Fishwater.

An affinity for UK 82 punk, launched by jamming Chaos UK, Discharge, the Exploited and UK Subs. Late 2012, Brady’s Problem guitarist Aaronoid and drummer Vagina Enthusiast united forces with Bone on bass and Fishwater. The strength of their demo prompted Spear to ask to join on second guitar. “I had never met him before, the guys vouched for him and I think he learned all the songs in like two jams. Needless to say he was in!” the front man exclaims.

Original songs were written quickly and Adam Payne recorded the debut seven-song demo titled Pig out of his DIY studio, House Of Payne. “We wrote that within four months of forming,” explains the vocalist and “I was skeptical of going in and recording so soon, but I'm really happy with the result.” In the studio, mixed within a week and released through the drummer’s No Just Cause Records. “We made screened CDs with a slipcase cover and lyrics (not CDRs),” explains Aaronoid and a demo uploaded to Bandcamp. “The majority of people have access to the internet and not a cassette player,” he says. More recording is up for the summer with a 7-inch vinyl release.


ALL OUT PANIC“Traitor” by SKEPTIX appears on the demo. “I felt it encapsulated the kind of the sound we were going for overall and not some generic copycat garbage,” says the vocalist. “Spear, his guitar work is somewhat of an amalgamation of hardcore and NWOBHM styles. My guitar style is more punk rock and Spear has more hardcore. I think they're more metallic than mine which are mostly derived from the blues pentatonic scale and The D-beats come from V.E!” explains Aaronoid. Over the years Spear has played with Decadence, Tumult, Burden, Dissent and Betrayed. Fishwater is with ATF and V.E. plays with crust punks Infect Propaganda and goat metal, Necroholocaust. Emphatically hollering across the crowd, Bone has been on bass for just under a year and is confident working with this level of players certainly raises the bar and “you can quote that!” he shouts. It’s agreed that Sean’s playing brings a “new element” V.E. has a great vision as well for riff structure and song compilation,” says Fishwater and “Bone writes a lot along the lines of old school Oi! Aaron's riffs are always punk as fuck”

Loaded with local vets, a frontman in his twenties and asked if age has any bearing? “We all get along well, and punk seems like one generation in itself,” answers Aaronoid. Punk’s not dead, just angrier! “Age is just a number. Although I'm sure part of the reason these old bastards keep me around is for organ donation!” laughs Fishwater. “Keep checking your local listings and most importantly, keep going to shows! Stay punk!”

AOP plays The Cambie in Nanaimo May 31, Logans in Victoria June 1st, August 17th in Kamloops and more coming!


SUBCULTURE by wendythirteen

So I recently saw a rant on Facebook about gigs running on time so that people can get home without missing the headliner because Vancouver Skytrain times are still archaically on day people schedules ... Now there are a few things that will always fuck up the smooth gig concept...

For the attendee complainers freaking that the gig runs late and even suggesting that we start earlier... Here are a couple of problems with that...