Jello Biafra with D.O.A. - Last Scream of the Missing Neighbors (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Jello Biafra with D.O.A.

Last Scream of the Missing Neighbors (1989)

Alternative Tentacles

Last Scream of the Missing Neighbors, the 1989 Jello Biafra and DOA team-up album, ended with the entire crew chanting “Vote for Ollie! He’ll get things done! Vote for Ollie! He’ll get things done!” The culmination of the album’s massive Side B, the 15 minute epic “Full Metal Jackoff,” the slogan, while at the time was a bit of (at least semi) absurdist commentary, some 27 years later, it became all too real- the current commander in Chief was elected on a platform of… he’ll do something. But, what that something was and is, is still as clear as mud, unless you count that something as overt racism, incompetence, and perhaps, even treason.

Released during the Bush 1 era, Last Scream found Biafra targeting on concerns that were developing in the post-70s era and lighting them up for exposure. “That’s Progress” (which would be resurrected by Biafra several times throughout his career) lashed out at gentrification. “Attack of the peacekeepers” made the argument that the armed forces were really unit designed to protect private interests than to protect anyone or anything. All of that could have come off as rote lecturing, except that Biafra was sure to keep his trademark ghoulish humor in the forefront as much as his more serious statements. “Peacekeepers” featured Biafra and DOA’s Joe Keithley running through a distorted version of a Three Stooges sketch.

Meanwhile, Biafra also took a unique angle at making it to the top. “Power is Boring” found Biafra making the claim that being up at the tippy top is actually miserable because it’s such a precarious position. He then doubled down on the proclamation and suggested that his realization held for power in all its forms, including a military coup, politics, and even punk rock.

The entire release was backed by DOA in their 80s incarnation that blended three chord punk storming with some thrash metal propulsion. With Biafra turning in some of his fieriest vocal takes, the high energy attack gave the whole release a mega-bombast style, and was perhaps Biafra’s nosiest release to date.

That being said, the release wasn’t pure furor attack. Side A concluded with an unexpected cover of Biafra long time favorite The Animals with “We Gotta Get out of this Place.” Both Biafra and DOA recognized the deeper commentary in the tune and bring that to the forefront through focusing on the song’s base melody and lyrical turns. Instead of blowing the whole thing up, they played it about as straight as they could, resulting in one of the album’s most moving moments.

Massive closer “Full metal Jackoff” also found DOA venturing into new ground. A hard stomping 80s metal epic, the track was rooted in pure riffage and feedback, with a lot of ripping solos turned in. Meanwhile, Biafra argued that the 80s drug epidemic was the calculated result of industrial prison complex engineering. All of that might have seemed a little too conspiracy-minded for 1989, but now, considering how many billions both prisons and drug companies dump into elections alone(and that’s the stuff we know about!) it looks like the guy ranting in the corner was right all along. At the time of release, Last Scream may have seemed to be pushing real issues into the absurd and maybe it seemed like it was jumping at shadows. But, now it has become clear that these tales were all too real. In a certain light, it’s comforting to know that Biafra was right, as a way to validate many of the thoughts and feelings we all have about the current state of the world. But, still, it would have been nicer if he was wrong…