Dead Kennedys

The Early Years Live [Video/DVD]

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Shortly after the Dead Kennedys called it quits in 1987, Target Video issued a compilation of early band performances (spanning 1978-1981). In 2001, the set was reissued on DVD (via Music Video Distributors), entitled The Early Years Live. The new version comes with a "singalong" option, as well as biographies on band members Jello Biafra, East Bay Ray, Klaus Flouride, and D.H. Peligro. Since videotape was the source for all of the collection's nine clips, the sound and picture quality vary but, for the most part, hold up surprisingly well. Besides, the group's explosive performances and great songs overshadow any shortcomings; just about all of the quartet's early classics are included -- "California Uber Allies," "Kill the Poor," "Drug Me," "Let's Lynch the Landlord," "Bleed for Me," and, of course, "Holiday in Cambodia" (inaugural members 6025 and Ted [Bruce Slesinger] can be spotted on a few of the clips). Also included is a humorous short on when Biafra was running for mayor of San Francisco in 1979. Despite being only 30 minutes in length, The Early Years Live shows why many consider the Dead Kennedys one of punk's best live bands of all time.