The EP, In God We Trust, Inc. was a callback to the D.C. hardcore that defined the genre of punk rock for packing as many tracks as you can into a seven-inch disc. With the new era of America beginning under President Reagan, the Dead Kennedys were a perfect catalyst for a sonic invasion of eight tracks in just barely over eight minutes.
Opening with “Religious Vomit,” the coy references that describe, “All religions make me wanna throw up, all religions make me sick. All religions make me wanna throw up, all religions suck.” Jello Biafra is the main spokesman to In God We Trust, Inc. that leaves Klaus Flouride on the bass and backing vocals, as well as East Bay Ray on the guitar. Peligro rampages on the percussion as this generation of the Dead Kennedys is a complete mess on wheels.
Coincidentally, the strings ramp up and Biafra is a shouting, maniacal minister, he continues on to illustrate, “They all claim that they have the truth, they’ll set you free. Just give ‘em the money and they’ll set you free. Free for a fee.” With the explosive instrumental on “Religious Vomit,” the band takes a dive into the more relaxed and choir-esque on “Moral Majority” that is much more sluggish until the “1-2-3-4” count-in that orchestrates the chaos to ensue.
On the chorus that attacks Jerry Falwell, Jesse Helms, and even the new leader of the free world, it is comedic and blends the punk rock undertones that continue to make In God We Trust, Inc. and the following Plastic Surgery Disasters such repeatable and memorable records.
As Biafra describes, “Blow it out your ass, Jerry Falwell. Blow it out your ass, Jesse Helms. Blow it out your ass, Ronald Reagan, what’s wrong with a mind of my own?” This stand-up approach to lyricism quickly brings the idea of “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” a smile through gritted teeth.
One of the greatest tracks ever pressed onto wax, “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” continues to be a staple in the music community even 30 years after the initial release. The chorus that describes, “Nazi punks, Nazi punks, Nazi punks, fuck off!” is an obvious outing. Diving deeper into the narrative content actually reveals some truth underneath the last verse.
Describing, “Ten guys jump one, what a man. You fight each other, the police state wins. Stab your back when you trash our halls, thrash a bank if you’ve got real balls.” As the intensity crescendos up, Biafra shouts, “You think swastikas look cool, the real Nazis run your schools. They’re coaches, businessmen, and cops, in a real Fourth Reich, you’ll be the first to go.”
And when the origami crosses of dollar bills that control the government, mass production, and even music, the Dead Kennedys message lives on longer than the recordings ever will. As a final call to the void, the ideology becomes easier to live by as time marches on into the stranglehold of the common man growing tighter.