Headquarters: Emeryville, CA via San Francisco

Founded: June of 1979

Founded by: Jello Biafra


Genre(s): Punk, Indie-Rock, Hardcore, Spoken Word and a wide variety of other, some much stranger, genres

Active RosterEdit

Inactive RosterEdit

Key ReleasesEdit

(3 or 4 albums that put the label on the map/define the sound of the label, should be links)


Alternative Tentacles may be one of the most overlooked and under appreciated independent record labels that exists today for two reasons, originiality and longevity. When asked about long lasting indie labels, most people are going to respond with answers that include the words sub, dischord and pop in one combination or another, but rarely does the average up-and-coming music buff realize the importantce and relevance of AT. Originally started in 1979... (I'm going to pause and let that find its way through your neural network first), yes, they were that far ahead of the curve; by way of small letters on the bottom corner of the Dead Kennedys self-produced debut single. The label did not become an actual label until after a succesful European tour by the Dead Kennedys, an attention-grabbing San Francisco mayoral campaign stint by front man and now label-head, Jello Biafra, and a realized interest by the European youth for the American underground scene. Originally conceived as solely a European outlet for unknown and unappreciated American bands (the American youth were too busy listening to The Village People and watching Three's Company to pay attention), AT put out a successful compilation called, Let Them Eat Jellybeans, before making an alliance with newly-started Mordam Records (where Faith No More got their start) and setting up fort in San Francisco.

Over the last 25 years, Alternative Tentacles complete staff of no more than 4 employees at any given time has managed to put out an inconceivable 320 recordings in various formats. But the cogs aren't rusted yet, and the album-pumping machine is still releasing steadily through 2005. Though they were originally slated as a "punk" label, AT has released, along with a good amount of punk, everything from hip-hop to the twisted keyboard pop of the late Wesley Willis. I guess the key to longevity is not of-the-moment bands, but diversity and of course, the gnads to put out records that may not produce the most recognizable sounds.