Bad brains

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Bad brains
Bad Brains.png

Bad Brains live at the Virgin Festival 2007
Bad Brains live at the Virgin Festival 2007
General information
origin Washington, DC , United States
Genre (s) Hardcore punk , roots reggae
founding 1977 as Mind Power, 1986
resolution 1983
Founding members
Sid McCray (until 1979)
Gary Miller (Dr. Know)
Darryl Jenifer
Earl Hudson (until 1991, since 1994)
Current occupation
Paul Hudson (HR)
Gary Miller (Dr. Know)
Darryl Jenifer
Earl Hudson (until 1991, since 1994)
former members
Sid McCray (until 1979)
Chuck Mosely (1990-1991)
Israel Joseph I. (1990-1991)
Taj Michael Singleton (1985-1986)
Mackie Jayson (1991-1994)

Bad Brains is a hardcore / reggae band from Washington, DC


Bad Brains was founded in Washington DC in 1977 as a jazz radio band Mind Power by Gary Miller (Dr. Know / guitar), the brothers Earl and Paul Hudson (HR / vocals) and Darryl Jenifer (bass). The four musicians were African-Americans who, after a jazz radio phase, discovered English punk rock around Sex Pistols and The Clash . Already in the early days they combined their music with reggae . At the beginning they played opening gigs for The Damned and Stranglers and recorded their first demo Pay to Cum in 1978 .

In 1979 the band went to New York City after being banned from performing following riots at a concert in Lincoln Park , where they recorded their first single Pay to Cum in December . In 1981 the so-called ROIR session followed , which was released several times on record and mainly contained hard hardcore punk. The band also performed with pure reggae sets and opened in 1980 for Peter Tosh , among others . In 1983 the actual debut album Rock for Light was released. Inspired by a Bob Marley concert, the entire band converted to the Rastafarian belief, which occasionally led to problems with the punk / HC scene. In 1983 the band toured West Germany for the first time, accompanied by the punk band Toxoplasma from Neuwied .

The breakup in 1983 and reunion in 1986 was followed by a series of releases, both in reggae and punk, especially the 1986 classic I Against I on SST Records , which was largely influenced by the crossover of 1983 and 1984 and the instrumental track aimed at by the band Precision was owed. HR left the band at the end of 1989 and was initially replaced by changing singers such as Chuck Mosley ( Faith No More ) but also Henry Rollins , who contributed the vocals for a cover version of MC5's Kick Out the Jams for the soundtrack to Hart on air . In 1992, Israel Joseph I. was found a permanent singer with whom the album Rise was released. The 1995 album was the first for a major label and was released by Epic Records . In 1995 God of Love was released on Madonna's Maverick Records . In 1997, Earl Hudson worked with No Doubt , while Dr. Know produced an album for Warzone . In 1998 HR returned to the band. Due to a name dispute with a former manager, the band then operated as Soul Brains for two years before calling itself back.

In 2002 the dub reggae album I & I Survived was released, which contained partly remixes and partly new pieces, most of which were instrumental pieces. In 2005 and 2006 the band took on HR, Dr. Know, Darryl Jenifer and Earl Hudson on the first studio album since 1995 with Adam Yauch , known as a member of the Beastie Boys . It was released in 2007 under the title Build a Nation . During this time, some gigs were made.


Bad Brains 1983 at the 9:30 Club, Washington, DC

Bad Brains were style-forming role models for Minor Threat , Henry Rollins' SOA or the New York Beastie Boys (who opened the Christmas 1982 show, now released on DVD at CBGB's ) and, together with Black Flag , for the majority of those created in this time frame American punk / hardcore scene. By moving to New York, they opened the scene there for DC bands on the one hand, and on the other hand they had an equally formative influence there as before in DC. The bands of the musically very strongly diverging New York hardcore , such as Warzone, Cro-Mags and Agnostic Front , also count the band among their influences. A specialty in the musical style of the band is the change between very fast hardcore songs and reggae pieces. From the beginning of the 1980s the band was strongly influenced by the Rastafarian belief and began to evangelize for Jah , which also led to rejection in the hardcore punk scene.

The first album was at No. 4 in the Wire List The Wire's "100 Records That Set the World on Fire (While No One What Listening)" was added.



year title Label comment
1982 Bad brains ROIR Orig. On cassette
1983 Rock for Light PVC
1986 I Against I. SST records
1988 live Live album
1989 Quickness Caroline Records
1990 The Youth Are Getting Restless: Live in Amsterdam Live album
1991 Spirit Electricity SST records Live album
1993 Rise Epic Records
1995 God of Love Maverick Records
1996 Black Dots [1979 Session] Caroline Records
1997 Omega Sessions [1980 session] Victory Records
2002 Live in San Francisco 2b1 II Live album
2002 I and I survived DC Records
2003 Banned in DC: Bad Brains Greatest Riff Caroline Records Best of
2003 Live at CBGB's 1982 MVD audio Live album including DVD
2007 Build a nation Megaforce Records
2012 Into the future Megaforce Records


  • 1980: Pay to Cum / Stay Close to Me ( 7 "vinyl )
  • 1982: I Luv I Jah (12 "vinyl)
  • 1982: I and I Survive / Destroy Babylon (12 "vinyl)
  • 1987: House of Suffering (7 "vinyl)
  • 1989: Attitude - The Roir Sessions ( record , CD )


  • Matthias Mader: New York City Hardcore. The way it was…. Berlin: IP Verlag Jeske / Mader GbR. 1st edition, May 1999, ISBN 3-931624-10-2 , pp. 50-54.

Web links

Commons : Bad Brains  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Mark Anderson / Mark Jenkins: Punk, DC . Ventil Verlag, Mainz 2006, ISBN 978-3-931555-86-3 , p. 46 .
  2. ^ A b c d Matthias Mader: New York City Hardcore. The way it was…. Berlin: IP Verlag Jeske / Mader GbR. 1st edition, May 1999, ISBN 3-931624-10-2 , pp. 50-54.
  3. American Hardcore DVD, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2007.
  4. The Wire's “100 Records That Set The World On Fire (While No One Was Listening) + extra 30 Records”. Discogs , accessed November 30, 2012 .