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|Single by Dead Kennedys|
|A-side||"Holiday in Cambodia"|
|Label||Cherry Red/Alternative Tentacles|
|Songwriter(s)||Jello Biafra/East Bay Ray|
|Dead Kennedys singles chronology|
"Police Truck" is a song by the Dead Kennedys. The song was originally released in May, 1980, as the B-side of the "Holiday in Cambodia" single and later released in June 1987 on the DKs' compilation album, Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death. The song is a satirical attack on the actions of two police officers, and takes a first person view from the authorities themselves. The song was inspired by an incident that occurred in Los Angeles in the late 1970s in which two police officers performed illegal activities such as drinking on the job, beating up drunks, and raping prostitutes. It also functions more generally as an attack on police corruption and brutality and the police's support for a capitalist system.
The song was one of the Kennedys' early popular songs. "Police Truck" is built around a surf rock beat (similar to ones heard in the early instrumental surf singles such as The Chantays' "Pipeline"), and highlighted by East Bay Ray's echoed guitar leads and the descending chorus "ride, ride, how we ride." "Police Truck", like many of the band's songs, serves as an example of the Dead Kennedys' ability to portray a disturbing scenario through humorous lyrics.
The song later appeared in the soundtrack of the popular skateboarding video game Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, after being licensed by the former Dead Kennedys. This licensing caused criticism from many Dead Kennedys fans, who used it to assert that East Bay Ray, Klaus Flouride, and D.H. Peligro are no longer committed to the band's anti-corporate beliefs, unlike vocalist Jello Biafra; however, Alternative Tentacles gave approval for the song to appear in the game. Biafra denies that this happened. The song appears as a cover in the game Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s with altered lyrics (The word "drunks" at the beginning of the song is replaced by "punks", while "ass" is replaced by "butt", "shit" is replaced by "stool" and "suck my dick" is replaced by "take your pick"). This song is also available along with "California Über Alles" and "Holiday in Cambodia" for the Rock Band series as downloadable content.
- AV Club (2009). Inventory: 16 Films Featuring Manic Pixie Dream Girls, 10 Great Songs Nearly Ruined by Saxophone, and 100 More Obsessively Specific Pop-Culture Lists. Simon and Schuster. p. 198.
- Ruggles, Brock (2008). Not So Quiet on the Western Front: Punk Politics During the Conservative Ascendancy in the United States, 1980--2000. ProQuest. p164