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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

How could they be a Green Day rip off if the band started in the 80's dips**t
Suk
great band.
love their stuff.
Just another Green Day rip off band.
;)
amye45
yeefochingha w
All throughout this so-called nation
Jam
Can't get enough
punkin30331
I love this
Bad Brains is the s**t!
Love Bad Brains always have always will!!
Really great, unique band. I Against I rocks my world.
In my top , ten favorite bands of all time
Love bad brains. Being African myself I always love to hear my bros jam this kind of music. F*ck rap music!
MCF1957MOM your crazy Bad Brains blazed the trail for a lot of punk rock, they made more than tolerable music, it's amazing!
big ups
They fcken rule!
JAH BLESS BAD BRAINS ARE THE BEST!
BAD BRAINS FVCKING RULE, MOTHER FVCKER
=420 PUNX=
Bad brains rocks
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 )
tallmadge78
Another show under my belt Bad brains.great show Dr.know.
Along with Fishbone, these never got the recognition they deserved.
This band had at most a handful of tolerable songs yes they were black guys but that doesn't mean we should suck their a** and Pretend to love em so you can prove to your friends your not racist color has nothing to do with the fact that they sucked so come on lets be real
alohakghi
Just read some of the other comments. One should try to read the bio posts that come with Pandora, if so, you might realize that BB are from DC and did not make it to LA. Orange county had a crazy punk scene, very violent, but So Cal did not corner the market on punk, it was nationwide!
alohakghi
I just saw a Bad Brains t-shirt on My Name is Earl. Now there's a lame chain letter before my comment. What is this world coming to, where have all the African American punks gone? We need them back...
max.fullpric e
This freaked me out. Copy and paste this on ten comments and you will have the best day of your life tomorrow. You will either get kissed or get asked out. If you thus break this chain you will see a dead girl In you room tonight. In the next 53 someone will say I love you or I'm sorry
Bad brains is punk. Guitar riffs to the f**kin lyrics. Punx not dead
ssseansmr127 5
Man, misfits didn't copy bad brains, they are in a whole different class
ssseansmr127 5
Bad brains were gods
Punk gods, mad respect to bad brains.
Punk, but there own style
misfits>mill i o n s of dead cops>negativ e approach
They copied Baader Brains!
I don't ever remember Bad Brains playing any punk gigs, or any punk clubs in L.A. ever. Of course, none of the punks I knew ever considered the Clash punk either.
BAD BRAINS FOREVER!!!
Great song, I love Bad Brains.
Loving it, stay close to me!!!!!
Great song
I Against I. Top 10 albums eva.
Yeah the quickness and black dots are the best i think
abiba_bola
WEEELLLL WELLL WELL I NEED TO KNOW THIS DOCTOR U KNOW DOCTOR BUSH COS IGOTGUTFEELI N G F E E L I N G U P L A Y I N G S I N C E T I M E I N M E M O R I A L B E O F E R E T H E F U N D A T I O N S O F T H E W O R L D B E F O R E S I N E N T E R E D T H E W O R L D I K N O W U A S W E E E L L L A S U K N O W I N I N I N I N I N I I I I I I C O S J E S U S C R I S T O L I V E S I N S I D E U N M I
Bio sucks. Barely even mention Quickness - their most ripping album!
Murphycreede n c e , If I wanted to make strange noises for others too hear I could.
bad brains are a frickin' packet, yo!
I agree with person under meTO MANY HIPPIES!!ha trevorthomps o n 1 5 shut it l dont see you out there
We need to kickstart the punk movement again!!!!!! PUNK FOREVER
The Dub Cd is nice, the rest is a joke. Anyone can make noises with their mouths.
CBGB will be missed ! Now lost to time NYHC
@Edward. I agree. I love Bad Brains, DK, Minor Threat, Cro Mags, etc, but I happen to enjoy listening to Green Day too. And @neverending m o d s I happen to be a pretty large powerlifter not a little wanker.
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