Pull My Strings (lost footage from Dead Kennedys live performance; existence unconfirmed; 1980)

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A photograph of the band taken on that night.

Status: Existence Unconfirmed

The Bay Area Music Awards, also known as the Bammies, was a yearly awards show held in San Francisco where well known bands from the city would perform, the winner would then be selected through viewer polls. For the 1980 Bay Area Music Awards, the event was to open with the punk rock band Dead Kennedys where they were scheduled to play their increasingly popular song, "California Über Alles".

The band came on stage wearing white shirts with a black "S" spray painted onto them and started to play the first few seconds of the song, where then lead singer, Jello Biafra, stopped them and said:

"Hold it! We gotta prove we're adults now, we're not a punk rock band we're a new wave band"

After this, the members each pulled a black necktie from behind their necks and brought it to the front to turn the "S" on their shirts into dollar symbols. They then begun to play a new song called "Pull My Strings", the only time they would play this live.[1]

The songs lyrics insult the music industry in a satirical but lighthearted way, with the opening lines being: "I'm tired of self-respect, I can't afford a car, I wanna be a prefab superstar". Other notable sections of the song include short portions of the song being a parody of the song "My Sharona" by The Knack, a huge hit song at the time, where they played the chorus of this song and replaced the words with "Drool, drool, drool, drool, drool, drool, my payola", 'payola' being the illegal practice of record companies paying radio hosts to play specific songs and have them act like it is just a normal part of their broadcast.

The show was broadcasted live to radio stations such as KMEL and there is video footage of Huey Lewis and the News performing that night, proving there were cameras there but still no recordings of the Dead Kennedys performance from the night have ever surfaced. An audio recording of the event, however, was released on the band's compilation album Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death (1987). In an interview with the bands bassist, Klaus Flouride, he said "Nobody's gotten in touch with us about the existence of the video, so I don't think it exists I don't think they did any video of it, it'd be something worth trying to look into". This footage is considered one of the most sought after items in the world of punk rock.


Interview with bassist Klaus Flouride; 35:09 is where the event is discussed and 44:47 is where the existence of the video is brought up.

Huey Lewis and the News, 1980 Bay Area Music Awards.

Audio from the live performance.

External Links


  1. A blogpost on the event. Retrieved 23 May '20