The Dead Kennedys began in 1978 and never set out to sell millions of records. They stuck to their punk ethos for most of the 1980s until they disbanded in 1986. They did reform, but they will never be the same without singer/lyricist Jello Biafra, though Biafra rejoining the band is likely never going to happen. More on that in a minute.
But while the Dead Kennedys did not mean to sell even 500,000 records - they were meant to change the climate politically and be aggressive and creative about it - the band did. In fact, they do not have just one album with more than 500,000 units sold, they now have two after the RIAA certified 1980s' Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables as Gold.
The band's first record to go Gold was Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death which was not even a proper studio album and instead of compilation released after the band initially disbanded. But now that the Dead Kennedys have a proper studio album that has been certified Gold, we might as well begin calling the group a pop band, right?
The Dead Kennedys debut album goes Gold!
OK, I am partially joking. If they were truly a pop band their criminally underpurchased Frankenchrist from 1985 should have sold 10 million copies or more. In fact, if you don't own the record that includes standouts such as...You know what. Forget it. Every song on the album is a banger.
Getting back to what happened between Jello Biafra and the rest of the band, the group sued Biafra for more than $200,000 for breach of contract, fraud, and malice in withholding many years' worth of royalties. The band won and the case was upheld by the California Supreme Court in 2003.
This is all really a shame, though. The world could use more fantastic pop bands such as ABC, ABBA, and the Dead Kennedys. There is always hope for the future.