Dead Kennedys Drummer D. H. Peligro Dead at 63

    Dead Kennedys drummer D. H. Peligro passed away in his Los Angeles home yesterday, October 28. According to a statement posted on the punk band’s social media pages, Peligro died “from trauma to the head caused by an accidental fall.” He was 63.

    “Arrangements are pending and will be announced in the coming days,” the statement read. “We ask that you respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time. Thank you for your thoughts and words of comfort.”

    Born Darren Henley in 1959, Peligro joined the Dead Kennedys in February 1981, replacing the group’s original drummer, Ted (Bruce Slesinger). He made his debut with the band on the 1981 EP In God We Trust, Inc. and played on the studio albums Plastic Surgery Disasters, Frankenchrist, and Bedtime for Democracy, as well as the rarities collection Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death. He continued performing with the band until they broke up in 1986, but joined them when they reunited in 2001 without former frontman Jello Biafra. He took a brief hiatus from the Dead Kennedys in early 2008 before coming back a year later.

    Peligo had brief stint as the drummer for Red Hot Chili Peppers, replacing drummer Jack Irons in 1988. He helped write some songs on the band’s fourth LP, Mother’s Milk, although he did not perform on the album. Peligro was ultimately fired from the band due to his struggles with drugs and alcohol. In addition to fronting the bands Reverend Jones and the Cool Aid Choir as well as Al Sharpton’s Hair and the Hellions, he performed with The Hellations, Jungle Studs, Nailbomb, The Feederz, Lock-Up, The Two Free Stooges, and SSI.

    With his own project Peligro, the drummer released three albums – Peligro, Welcome to America, and Sum of Our Surroundings – between 1995 and 2001. Sum of Our Surroundings won “Rock Album Of The Year” at the 2004 American Independent Music Awards, while a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Purple Haze’, released as a single from their fourth album, was nominated for a Grammy Award.

    “My dear friend, my brother I miss you so much,” Flea wrote in tribute to Peligro. “I’m devastated today, a river of tears, but all my life I will treasure every second. The first time I saw you play with the DK’s in ‘81 you blew my mind. The power, the soul, the recklessness.”

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    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis is a writer, journalist, and music editor at Our Culture. His work has also appeared in Pitchfork, GIGsoup, and other publications. He currently lives in Athens, Greece.

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