The Dead Milkmen were a satirical punk rock band that formed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The band consisted of Joe Jack Talcum (Joe Genaro; guitar, vocals), Dave Blood (Dave Schulthise; bass), Dean Clean (Dean Sabatino; drums), and Rodney Anonymous (Rodney Linderman; vocals, synth). The original version of the band formed in 1980 around Genaro's songwriting (a predominantly acoustic and often satirical take on New Wave Punk Rock) when he was seventeen; Genaro produced several home tapes as The Dead Milkmen, sometimes with other members credited (occasionally bootlegs or mp3's of these tapes surface). In 1983, the band was re-formed with Sultchise and Sabatino, and lastly vocals were handed over to their friend Rodney Linderman, forming the classic line-up.
The Dead Milkmen's songs found moderate success on alternative and college radio stations. Videos, notably Punk Rock Girl, even found their way onto MTV in the late 1980s. Topics for their music include satire on the 1980s music scene, toxic waste, jellyfish afterlifes, UFOs, conspiracy theories, and cover bands.
Irreverent absurdity fueled their initial popularity, particularly among college DJs. However, this genre was somewhat abandoned with the 1992 release of Soul Rotation, a much more subtle album.
After the Dead Milkmen went on indefinite hiatus in 1994, Genaro and Sabatino formed a new band, Butterfly Joe. Sabatino was also in the punk rock bands Narthex, Big Mess Orchestra, and Hunger Artists. Genaro was in a band called Touch Me Zoo. Linderman was in a band called Burn Witch Burn. Schulthise left music in the early 1990s after developing tendonitis, preventing him from playing bass, and committed suicide in 2004.
The Dead Milkmen took the stage again for two consecutive nights in November 2004 at the Trocadero Theatre in Philadelphia to play a show in memory of Dave Schulthise. Proceeds were donated to a variety of mental health organizations and to a Serbian monastery that Schulthise supported.