'A natural showman': Ex-Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra pens heartfelt tribute to DH Peligro
'He was not just our powerful unforgettable drummer. He was a gifted singer, songwriter, guitarist and so much more,' Jello Biafra wrote
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA: Jello Biafra, former frontman of the Dead Kennedys, posted a heartfelt tribute for the band's drummer DH Peligro, who died at 63 on Friday, October 28. The musician, as per Alternative Tentacles, called his longtime bandmate "unforgettable" and "brilliant," in his tribute on Sunday, October 30,
According to NME, Biafra penned, "Even behind the drum kit, he had presence. He never played anything exactly the same way twice because he had animal instincts. He was a natural showman.” Biafra and Peligro played for Dead Kennedys together from 1981 to 1986, the most influential reign of the punk band. While Peligro handled the kit after Dead Kennedys' 2001 comeback and has been a member of the band for the past 21 years, Biafra, who shares a contentious relationship with other members of the band, left the group when it disbanded in 1986.
In 1981, Peligro replaced Bruce "Ted" Slesinger and became a member of the Dead Kennedys. Biafra said that Peligro was chosen for the band at his call-back audition because he was "the one who'd done his homework" on the group. Biafra continued by recalling how he first met Peligro while attending a performance by his band SSI at the now-defunct Deaf Club in San Francisco.
Peligro, in Biafra's opinion, "stole the show" that evening with his performance. In his memory, Biafra described the musician as "a free-spirited African American force of nature with this s**t-eating grin, a bandana on his head, and two kick drums, singing his a** off," per NME. Biafra further remarked, "We laughed at a lot of things the other guys in the band didn't. We shared a special bond."
“I feel like I’ve been hit by a train. Despite all he’d done to his mind and body, I never thought we would lose him first. He was not just our powerful unforgettable drummer. He was a gifted singer, songwriter, guitarist and so much more,” Biafra posted on Instagram.
During their brief time together in the band in 1988, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea referred to Peligro as his "brother." Dave Lombardo, the former drummer for Slayer, also said on Twitter that his drumming for the thrash metal band was “inspired” by Peligro’s playing. He wrote, “Sending my deepest sympathies to his family, bandmates and all those affected by this tragic, untimely loss”
Sad to hear of the passing of D.H. Peligro. His drumming on those early D.K. albums inspired my playing in Slayer. Sending my deepest sympathies to his family, bandmates and all those affected by this tragic, untimely loss. Rest peacefully. https://t.co/ZGXzHSo4mK— Dave Lombardo (@TheDaveLombardo) October 29, 2022