Moon Over Marin

Album: Plastic Surgery Disasters (1982)
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Songfacts®:

  • Marin is the county in California where the Dead Kennedys are from - it's near San Francisco. In this song, lead singer Jello Biafra sings about taking in the moonlight from the beach, but with a gas mask to protect him from the toxic fumes.

    Biafra liked to set up idyllic scenes so he could knock them down with cold reminders that humans are destroying ourselves for the benefit of the rich and powerful. His warnings of beaches littered with dead fish seemed alarmist at the time, but not so much decades later when global warming took hold.

    In this case, the beach has been polluted by an oil spill, possibly a reference to the San Francisco Bay oil spill of 1971.
  • This is one of the more radio-friendly Dead Kennedys songs, which is like saying Attila was one of the friendliest Huns. According to the group's guitarist, East Bay Ray, it was chosen for a sampler album put out by another label, but Jello Biafra wouldn't allow it because it's a song he and Ray wrote together, not one of his solo compositions.

    "It's catchy," Ray told Songfacts. "Jello said it was too pop-y, but if you take The Clash as an example, one of their biggest songs is 'Should I Stay or Should I Go?.'"
  • East Bay Ray describes this as a modal song with a psychedelic feel.
  • This is the last track on Plastic Surgery Disasters, the second Dead Kennedys full-length album. Near the end, it fades out but then comes back in with some cacophonous music and a soothing female voice that says:

    There, wasn't that a nice visit?
    Don't forget, a psychiatrist is on duty 24 hours a day in the blue room
    Just up from the parking garage
    Drink plenty of water when you take these
    Now you can relax
    And return to your job!


    This implies that listening to the album is akin to visiting a psychiatric institution.

    In the CD era, this would section would probably be placed as a hidden track, but CDs hadn't been invented yet.

Comments: 1

  • Alejandro from Marin CountyMarin County does not include San Francisco, the city of San Francisco is also its own county (aka the city and county of San Francisco), which is a completely separate county from Marin. To pronounce Marin correctly, put the emphasis on the 2nd syllable, not the first (it's ma-RIN, not Mare-in).
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