Jeff Penalty

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Jeff Penalty
Jeff Penalty performing with The Dead Kennedys in San Francisco in 2006. Photo by Neil Motteram.
Background information
Birth name Jeff Alulis
Origin Broomall, Pennsylvania, United States
Genres Punk rock, hardcore punk

'Jeff Alulis, better known by his stage name ’Jeff Penalty, is a writer, filmmaker, and musician, known mainly for his documentary work and his position as a former lead singer of Dead Kennedys.

Early life[edit]

Penalty was born and raised in Broomall, Pennsylvania. He attended college at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he was a member of the fencing team 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.[1]

Musical career[edit]

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.[1] Penalty had a fascination with Dead Kennedys ever since he listened to their debut album, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. He said 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, in March 2008 Penalty announced he was parting ways with the band.[2][3]

Penalty has since filled in on drums with pop-punk band The Dollyrots for tours of Canada and California, and on vocals for Reagan Youth for tours of California and Texas.[4]

Film and television career[edit]

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,[5][6] which won the Best Documentary Feature award at the 2003 D.I.Y. Film Festival in Los Angeles.[7] 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 that 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 was released as a double DVD set with two hours of bonus footage by Fat Wreck Chords on March 17, 2009.

Alulis and Harlin also directed/produced NOFX: Backstage Passport 2, a feature-length follow-up documentary filmed between 2009 and 2012 as NOFX returned to several South American countries where concerts had been canceled during the original "Backstage Passport" tour. It was released by Fat Wreck Chords on August 21, 2015 and won "Best Music Documentary" at both the Kingston Film Festival and the Oregon Independent Film Festival.[8][9]


Penalty, as Alulis, was the writer for NOFX's official autobiography, NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories, published by Da Capo Press on April 12, 2016.[10] The book reached number 9 on the New York Times bestseller list for paperback nonfiction two weeks after it was released.[11] He was a featured author at the first It's Not Dead Festival in 2015.[12]

Appearances in pop culture[edit]

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 act, and the growth in appreciation by an initially cynical crowd.


  1. ^ a b Miller, Kam (1 May 2012). "From Dead Kennedys to NOFX: The ridiculously hyphenated life of Jeff Penalty". Archived from the original on 22 March 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016. 
  2. ^ Rahman, Rema (March 24, 2008). "Dead Kennedys Replacement Singer Quits". Cinema Blend. 
  3. ^ Paul, Aubin (March 22, 2008). "Jeff Penalty leaves the Dead Kennedys". Punk News. 
  4. ^ Macomber, Shawn (March 16, 2015). "EXCLUSIVE: Punk Legends Reagan Youth Revamp Lineup, Announces Tour". Decibel Magazine. 
  5. ^ Biese, Alex (March 20, 2015). "Punk rock cinema storms Asbury Park Music in Film Fest". Asbury Park Press. 
  6. ^ Pfeiffer, John (April 8, 2015). "Shoreworld: Asbury Park Music In Film Festival; AJ Pero – 1959-2015". The Aquarian. 
  7. ^ Heisel, Scott (February 11, 2003). "Bouncing Souls DVD wins an award / screening info". Punk News. 
  8. ^ "Oregon Independent Film Festival: 2015 Award Winners". Program Guide. Oregon Independent Film Festival. Retrieved 2016-02-05. 
  9. ^ "NOFX Pre-Order is Live!". Fat Wreck Chords. August 18, 2015. 
  10. ^ Haskoor, Michael (January 29, 2016). "NOFX Details 'The Hepatitis Bathtub Stories and Other Stories' 352-Page Autobiography". Music Times. 
  11. ^ Schelzig, Erik (27 April 2016). "Punk mainstays NOFX add bestselling book to achievements". Associated Press. Retrieved 14 September 2016. 
  12. ^ Grow, Kory (June 18, 2015). "Bad Religion, Pennywise, Descendents Lead It's Not Dead Fest Lineup". Rolling Stone. 

External links[edit]