In 1985, The Dead Kennedys
released their third album, Frankenchrist
, complete with a cool free poster of an H.R. Giger
painting. The painting in question is "Landscape #20"... also known as "Penis
Landscape". Someone decided that this constituted distribution of harmful matter to minors and filed charges.
The ensuing two-year legal battle left frontman Jello Biafra, the Dead Kennedys as a business entity, and Biafra's distribution label, Alternative Tentacles, just about bankrupt. Vitriolic criticism of American legal process and the pop music industry were always among Biafra's favorite tropes; the two-disc No More Cocoons release differs from a "typical" DK album in that it's spoken-word, and if it's more tightly focused on these bitter themes, it's also more deeply informed by Biafra's first-hand experience.
- Message from Our Sponsor - A monologue portraying a declaration of New World Order.
- Soundbite-Jaw One/The Prosecutor Speaks - A radio clip from a LA prosecutor's statement in the DK "distribution of harmful material to minors" case, highlighting the opinion that dragging an indie label through the courts was "cost-effective".
- Mild Kingdom - A parody of the "Wild Kingdom" television series, laced with suggestions that scenes of lions stalking prey and lemmings committing mass suicide were staged, to sell Mutual of Omaha life insurance and Hefty trash (bags. Biafra then draws the analogy of the Powers That Be stationing fresh-faced Marines in hostile Middle East regions, without so much as a concrete barrier to stop truck bomb after truck bomb, to convince watchers to invest in more Republican terrorist insurance and Hefty body bags.
- Soundbite-Jaw Two - Part of a radio interview, a listener calls in to debate parental advisory labeling with Biafra, suggesting a connection between animal abuse and heavy metal.
- Vietnam Never Happened - A commercial parody pitching the "Vietnam Never Happened Amusement Park".
- What Reagan Didn't Know - A litany of Ronald Reagan's disturbingly incorrect public statements, discussion of the book Dark Victory (q.v., an exposè of Reagan's scandal-ridden career), and conjecture as to the sincerity of Reagan's claims of ignorance in the Iran-Contra scandal.
- May All Your Dreams Be Wonderful - A discussion of private boarding "schools" "for" "troubled teens", where parents can have their runaway-prone youths effectively locked up, but without the downside of those annoying prison regulations and inspections. (Not that juvenile prison regulations are necessarily effective either, but it's easy to despise parents who could afford $30,000 a year in 1980s dollars to have strangers grind down their kids' spirits, rather than shoring up their own ineffective parenting.)
- Soundbite-Jaw Three - An unprepared radio listener calls in to question Biafra's mental health.
- Urinalysis Is Freedom - The politics of mandatory drug testing suggest a black market for "clean" pee-pee.
- Names for Bands - fairly self-explanatory, Jello makes fun of a few cheesy real band names and suggests a zillion (equally cheesy) names. Oh, but his entries all have a sexual, religious, and/or political slant, so I guess that makes them more courageous or something.
- Talk on Censorship/Letter to Tipper Gore - Tipper wrote a letter best described as PMRC apologetics published in Rolling Stone magazine - so Jello wrote a response!
- Why I'm Glad the Space Shuttle Blew Up - According to Jello, the next flight after Challenger's fatal January 28, 1986 launch was supposed to carry some 40 pounds of plutonium - a radioactive metal so toxic that could conceivably poison pretty much the whole world, had it been dispersed in a large body of water by, say, being exploded in a faulty space shuttle.
- Fuck Facts! - A selection of ironic and/or thought-provoking news headlines and bites.
- Stars and Stripes of Corruption - A spoken version of the Dead Kennedys song of the same name, from the Frankenchrist release.