Jeff Penalty performing with The Dead Kennedys in San Francisco in 2006. Photo by Neil Motteram.
|Birth name||Jeff Alulis|
|Origin||Broomall, Pennsylvania, USA|
Jeff Penalty (b. Jeff Alulis) is a writer, filmmaker, and musician, known mainly for his documentary work and his position as a former lead singer of Dead Kennedys.
Penalty was born and raised in Broomall, Pennsylvania. He attended college at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and attended graduate school at the University of Southern California, where he earned an MFA in Writing for Screen and Television and fenced on the Men's Épée team. He currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.
Penalty's musical background was mostly as a drummer, performing temporarily with the Pennsylvania band Ralphus and the glam metal parody band Vaz Hoil. He also played drums with Sidekick and The Eyeliners on one occasion each. He shared vocal duties in the Massachusetts pop punk act Just About Done and sang for a short-lived California band called Stupid Ferrets.
In 2003, Penalty became the vocalist for Dead Kennedys, replacing Dr. Know's Brandon Cruz, who was with the band for two years following their reformation without original vocalist Jello Biafra. Penalty had a fascination with Dead Kennedys ever since he listened to their debut album, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. He has been quoted as saying that singing for Dead Kennedys was "the realization of a dream I never even dared to have." Joining the band at twenty-five, he was considerably younger than his former bandmates. After performing over 50 shows with Dead Kennedys, Penalty announced he was parting ways with the band on March 18, 2008 describing the departure as "not amicable".
Film and television career
Penalty (under his given name, Jeff Alulis) directed and co-produced (along with Ryan Harlin of Techno Squirrels) "Do You Remember? Fifteen Years Of The Bouncing Souls", which won the Best Documentary Feature award at the 2003 D.I.Y. Film Festival in Los Angeles. Alulis and Harlin have since gone on to direct/produce the documentary feature "Let Them Know: The Story of Youth Brigade and BYO Records", which was an Official Selection at the 2009 San Francisco Independent Film Festival.
From 2006 through 2007, Alulis and Harlin traveled around the world with NOFX filming a tour documentary which later became the series "NOFX: Backstage Passport" on Fuse TV. Alulis and Harlin served as directors, camera operators, and executive producers on the show, which premiered at the 2008 SXSW Film Festival and aired on Fuse TV in the spring of that year. It will be released as a double DVD set with two hours of bonus footage by Fat Wreck Chords on March 17, 2009.
Appearances in pop culture
Franz Nicolay (most famed as former keyboard player of The Hold Steady) has recorded a song "Jeff Penalty" for his third solo-album "Major General", previously appearing on the demo "The Black Rose Paladins". The song refers to a Dead Kennedys performance at Irving Plaza in New York City, at which Nicolay performed with the World/Inferno Friendship Society, as an opening acts, and the growth in appreciation an initially cynical crowd experienced.