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Bad Brains

By melding punk with reggae, Bad Brains became one of the definitive American hardcore punk groups of the early '80s. Although the group released only a handful of records during its peak, including the legendary cassette-only debut, Bad Brains, they developed a dedicated following, many of whom would later form their own hardcore and alternative bands. As for Bad Brains themselves, they continued to record and tour in varying lineups led by guitarist Dr. Know into the late '90s yet never managed to break out of their cult status.

Dr. Know (born Gary Miller), a former jazz fusion guitarist, formed Bad Brains in 1979, inspired by both the amateurish rage of the Sex Pistols and the political reggae of Bob Marley. Realizing that the lines between punk and reggae were already blurred in the U.K., he set out to replicate that situation in the U.S., and he recruited several similarly minded musicians -- vocalist H.R. (born Paul D. Hudson), bassist Darryl Aaron Jenifer, and drummer Earl Hudson -- to prove his point. Bad Brains quickly became one of the most popular punk bands on the East Coast, particularly in their hometown of Washington, D.C. Their live performances were legendary, but their recordings were difficult to find. Their debut single, "Pay to C*m," was pressed in limited numbers, and their 1982 debut album was only issued in cassette form by ROIR. In addition to the Bad Brains tape, the group released a handful of other EPs in 1982, finally moving to PVC for 1983's full-length debut, Rock for Light, which was produced by Ric Ocasek.

The handful of indie recordings Bad Brains left behind, as well as their live shows, made the band legendary in American hardcore, yet few potential fans could actually hear the band due to poor distribution and erratic touring. The band took three years to deliver the follow-up to Rock for Light, finally releasing I Against I on SST in 1986. In those three years, the group developed more heavy metal leanings, and the resulting record received mixed reviews. More importantly, it divided the band, with Dr. Know and Jenifer wishing to continue to pursue heavy rock, and H.R. and Hudson wanting to devote themselves to reggae. Over the next three years, the latter pair frequently left the band to make reggae albums before finally departing in 1989. They were replaced by Israel Joseph-I (born Dexter Pinto) and Mackie Jayson, respectively.

In the wake of the alternative rock boom of the early '90s, Bad Brains were finally offered a major-label contract in 1993, releasing Rise on Epic later that year. The album bombed and the group was dropped. Maverick Records offered the group a contract in 1995, provided that the original lineup reunited. They did so and released God of Love that summer, to mixed reviews and poor sales. H.R. and Hudson left the band shortly after the album's release, and the band was dropped by Maverick. In 1998 the band again reunited and began touring under the name Soul Brains.

In 2002, Reggae Lounge compiled remixes of Bad Brains' '80s hits and released a full-length dub album titled I & I Survived. The following year Caroline released Banned in DC: Bad Brains' Greatest Riffs, a solid anthology compiling songs from their first album up to Quickness. For the next few years, the group members concentrated on solo endeavors, with a few scattered guest appearances on other bands' albums or live shows. In 2006, Bad Brains reunited for a few shows at CBGB's, which quickly sold out. With a resurging interest in the band, in early 2007, Megaforce announced that they had signed them to their roster. Under Beastie Boy Adam Yauch's studio supervision, the original band went back to the studio for the first time in over a decade and recorded Build a Nation, an inspired attempt at returning to the band's hardcore roots. In early 2011 the band began work on the next record. The record was initially titled "Let's Have Fun", but that title didn't stick and was changed to Into the Future, an album which saw release in November of 2012. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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Sounds to me like Moomoo is a kiddo. Perhaps his/her frame of reference is limited. For those of us who are a wee bit older, we are lucky enough to know better. Moomoo, go listen to some 80s punk, honey. Try some obscure s**t, like Ill Repute, Aggression, or even more well known Circle Jerks or TSOL. And toddstone. Agreed. I used to go see green day way before they hit with anything mainstream. They were a lot more old school punk then, but they'd be the first to say they are fathers of pop pun
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MooMoo...Gre e n Day would be the first people to disagree with your comment. They are the fathers of pop punk, not true punk. Huge difference.
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moomoo is a loser they suck they picturize punk so not only a select group listen to punk u emo freak
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Green Day has been around for a long time. They are the fathers of true punk!
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They are just amazing
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Awesome!
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DAVID how the hell did you even get here then if you have britiny spears as one of your stations?
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minor threat and bad brains define DC hardcore.
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Its because you're a filthy pleb, David
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DAVID its no wonder you could never get into them, for someone who has THE CURE, PLASMATICS and BRITINY SPEARS as stations, I would expect no less HAHAHAHAHA
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Just could never get into them..sounds too toy just a lot of noise ...his voice sucks too
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Got this one on 7th grade trip to D.C. Broke away from tour to charge the record store"!! N.C./H.C. Death Skate"!!!
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Hate your room mate , just play bad brains
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I used to have this annoying douche holier than thou friend that if you liked the same thing as him, he had to prove he knew more/liked them better. Even HE couldn't ruin this band for me.
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saw BB and Black Flag in Virginia in '86, trust me, it was stellar.
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I like it for the beat and the sound, I haven't listened to them enough to decipher the lyrics. Starting to like it though. I'll look em up later.
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Not even close To the first hardcore band and I don't kno if I would call this hardcore
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Follow for Follow {www.rodneyv a n c e t h e a r t i s t . c o m }
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Mcf1957mom wtf are you talking about.
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How stupid r youth today learn your roots of punk before you speak
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Without a doubt one of the first, if not the first Hardcore bands in history. Respect!!!
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PMA FUC%3R4..... n o w SHUT UP!
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Wow the amount of ignorance here is shocking!
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Moo Moo learn about music before you speak.
Everyone is dumber after seeing your comment
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Pretty amazing how Bad Brains could rip Green Day off five or so years before they even formed, eh?
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if you dont know what youre talking abut you should shut the f**k up
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at first green day seemed pop-punk now i just seem them as alternative.
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i seen em and they were very very very good. Green day suck possum anus.
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How could they be a Green Day rip off if the band started in the 80's dips**t
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Suk
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great band.
love their stuff.
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Just another Green Day rip off band.
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;)
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All throughout this so-called nation
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Jam
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Can't get enough
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punkin30331
I love this
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Bad Brains is the s**t!
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Love Bad Brains always have always will!!
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Really great, unique band. I Against I rocks my world.
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In my top , ten favorite bands of all time
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Love bad brains. Being African myself I always love to hear my bros jam this kind of music. F*ck rap music!
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MCF1957MOM your crazy Bad Brains blazed the trail for a lot of punk rock, they made more than tolerable music, it's amazing!
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big ups
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They fcken rule!
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JAH BLESS BAD BRAINS ARE THE BEST!
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BAD BRAINS FVCKING RULE, MOTHER FVCKER
=420 PUNX=
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Bad brains rocks
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Hey f**kers hows it hangin!!! Id like to invite you to my Soundcloud to hear 27 new songs I wrote and produced. It doesn't pay my bills and yet I treat it like a serious career now for 30 years. Check it out guys!!! (https://sou n d c l o u d . c o m / r e a l - d i a z )
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tallmadge78
Another show under my belt Bad brains.great show Dr.know.
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