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D.H. Peligro, Dead Kennedys Drummer, Dies at 63

Musician suffered head trauma after an accidental fall in his Los Angeles home
D.H. Peligro
(Credit: Brill/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Dead Kennedys drummer D.H. Peligro died yesterday (Oct. 28) from head trauma suffered in an accidental fall at his Los Angeles home, according to a statement from the legendary punk group on social media. He was 63.

“Arrangements are pending and will be announced in the coming days,” the statement says. “We ask that you respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time. Thank you for your thoughts and words of comfort.

Peligro, whose real name was Darren Henley, was born in St. Louis and joined Dead Kennedys in 1981. He remained with them through their original 1986 split, playing on formative American punk releases such as Plastic Surgery Disasters, Frankenchrist, and Bedtime for Democracy. When Dead Kennedys reunited in 2001 without frontman Jello Biafra, Peligro returned to the group and performed with it through this year, save for a brief break between 2008-2009.

In addition to Dead Kenneys, he was also briefly a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, replacing Jack Irons on drums in 1988 and contributing to the songwriting for material that eventually appeared on the album Mother’s Milk the following year. However, Peligro’s stint in the band was cut short thanks to his issues with drugs and alcohol, and he was replaced by Chad Smith, who remains with the Chili Peppers to this day. Singer Anthony Kiedis was said to have been instrumental in later helping Peligro get sober.

Peligro’s credits also include stints with Nailbomb, The Feederz, Jungle Studs, and more. He appears in punk band OFF!’s movie Free LSD, which will be released at some point next year, including a scene where he has a drum battle with fellow California punk legend Don Bolles of the Germs.


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