A rift between singer Jello Biafra and the members of his former band, Dead Kennedys, is growing wider with more legal action. Biafra's attorney has filed suit in Alameda (Calif.) Superior Court, alle

A rift between singer Jello Biafra and the members of his former band, Dead Kennedys, is growing wider with more legal action. Biafra's attorney has filed suit in Alameda (Calif.) Superior Court, alleging his former bandmates are recording new music with a Biafra impersonator. The real Biafra, whose birth name is Eric Reed Boucher, also alleges his former bandmates used his name, picture, and identity to promote new live recordings and performances.

Biafra is asking for punitive and compensatory damages of more than $25,000 from the three remaining original Dead Kennedys, including Ray Pepperell ("East Bay Ray"), Geoffrey Lyall ("Klauss Flouride"), and Darren Henley ("D.H. Peligro").

The band started in San Francisco in 1978 and developed a worldwide following for its anti-establishment songs such as "Kill the Poor" and "California Uber Alles." The performers formed a partnership called Decay Music that supposedly ended when the group split in 1986.

Pepperell, Lyall, and Henley subsequently filed suit against Biafra, saying the singer didn't promote the band's music or pay back royalties as promised. In May 2000, a jury ruled in favor of Biafra's bandmates, ordering him to pay more than $200,000 in damages. Now, Biafra claims the band is also failing to dissolve Decay Music partnership assets as ordered by the court in that ruling.

Most of the band's back catalog, originally issued on Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label, was reissued last fall by Manifesto Records after remaining out of print during the protracted legal action.


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