Photo of the Day: The Dead Milkmen
Since its inception in 1981, MTV has maintained an annual yearbook of videos that make an impact and define the times—or, as the network characterizes them on its website, “the biggest, best, most memorable music videos.” For 1988, the 10 videos so honored include Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana,” Whitney Houston’s “So Emotional,” Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” and a gritty, low-budget video for “Punk Rock Girl” by Philadelphia’s Dead Milkmen, filmed at Eastern State Penitentiary. Debuting on the city’s hard-core scene in the early ’80s with simple, in-your-face music and smart, satirical lyrics, the group of four disheveled kids, who went by pseudonyms like “Rodney Anonymous” and “Joe Jack Talcum,” never again achieved the fame or success of “Punk Rock Girl” and broke up in 1995. Nine years later, bassist Dave Schulthise (“Dave Blood”) committed suicide, a passing noted in the New York Times and Rolling Stone. Though they all now have day jobs—“Joe Jack” is a Web developer, “Rodney” is a change manager at an investment firm—the surviving members and a new bass player still get together once in a while to make some noise, as they will tomorrow when they play Riot Fest at Penn’s Landing. We’ll see you there. —Victor Fiorillo
This piece originally appeared in the September issue of Philadelphia magazine.