Former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra has said that smoking weed as a younger man may have “delayed the rise of his career” by a year or more. And in a dig at former political rival Tipper Gore, who spearheaded the Parents Music Resource Center that sent him to court in 1987, he’s argued that music steered him away from drugs rather than leading him towards them.

“In my case, I had so much trouble … when I wanted to quit smoking weed and couldn’t stop,” Biafra told Punknews in a new interview. “I realized that I had to be careful with any drug, though I’ve tried them all … well, the only one I haven’t tried is crack and I think I’m a little too old for that now.”

He added that he wasn’t against the concept of drugs entirely. “I realized that you might want to do this a little bit and glean what you can from it and move on.” Observing that he “couldn’t keep up” with some of his friends who were experimenting with other substances, he continued, “All the depression and paranoia with smoking weed all the time may have delayed the rise of Jello Biafra by at least a year. I realized early on that it can get in your way.

“In some ways, it bummed me out. But, on the other side, I saw some of these people aging pretty dramatically before my eyes, and going borderline senile at 21. Plus, the important part – the rents weren’t so insane back then. People could chase a dream. People hardly had any f---ing money. Even, like, 50 cents had to be budgeted very carefully.”

He described his celebrated vinyl collection as his “one huge addiction,” remembering he used to think, “‘Oh, I have an extra five bucks. I could spend it on speed or spend it on records…’ and the choice was obvious. You can’t listen to speed again and again. Sorry Tipper, music didn’t lead me to drugs. Music kept me from drugs.”


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