Dead Kennedys drummer DH Peligro died after an accident at home, the Kennedys reported. He was 63 years old.
Peligro joined the band in 1981 and remained until their initial split five years later. He then became a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1988, but was soon fired for his substance abuse issues, and later joined the Dead Kennedys when they banded together without frontman Jello Biafra in 2001.
“DH Peligro (Darren Henley) passed away at his Los Angeles home yesterday, October 28th.” the Dead Kennedys said via social media. “Police at the scene say he died of head trauma caused by an accidental fall. Arrangements are underway and will be announced in the coming days. We ask that you respect the privacy of the family during this difficult time. Thank you for your thoughts and words of comfort.”
Among the first tributes was a comment from The Chilis’ bassist, Flea, who wrote, “My dear friend, my brother, I miss you so much. I am devastated today, a river of tears, but all my life I will cherish every second. The first time I saw you play with the DKs in ’81, you blew my mind. Power, soul, recklessness. You have become my beloved friend, so many times of all kinds. We had so much fun, so much joy, having our backs to each other.”
Describing Peligro as “the truest rocker and a crucial part of RHCP history”, adding: “you live forever in our hearts, you wild man, you bring joy, you man with the giant heart . I will always honor you. Rest in peace and freedom from all that held you back.”
In 2017, Peligro reflected on his difficult upbringing when he was bused to a predominantly white school, though it offered the opportunity to experience new influences. “[T]o mixing and actually changing music was about being open to new things – being curious, if you will,” he said Razor cake. “Really, it was about listening to my soul. I longed for something more…I always found peak energy points in so-called black/white music.”
He said he encountered prejudice when he became a punk musician, saying, “Most people have this image of the stereotype, and I just didn’t fit the mould.” This was reflected in the Dead Kennedys’ track “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”, of which he said: “I think that’s what most people thought, but they were too scared to say it. We don’t let not racists and fascists preying on our scene. Fuck it. Get the hell out. People are capable of making up their own minds. They see it’s wrong to judge people by their looks.
In Memoriam: Death of 2022
A look at those we have lost.