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Bad Brains

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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 Cum," 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
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Albums by
Bad Brains

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    13 songs

    On Air

    Into the Future

    14 songs

    On Air

    Live at the Fillmore 1982

    10 songs

    On Air

    I Against I

    16 songs

    On Air

    Bad Brains

    12 songs

    On Air

    God of Love

    12 songs

    On Air

    Rise

    20 songs

    On Air

    Rock for Light

    12 songs

    On Air

    Quickness

    16 songs

    On Air

    Banned in DC: Bad Brains' Greatest Riffs [Astralwerks]

    2 songs

    On Air

    Pay to Cum

    16 songs

    On Air

    Black Dots

    14 songs

    On Air

    Live

    17 songs

    On Air

    The Youth Are Getting Restless: Live in Amsterdam

    6 songs

    On Air

    Spirit Electricity

    19 songs

    On Air

    Live at CBGB 1982

    14 songs

    On Air

    Build a Nation

    12 songs

    On Air

    Quickness

    5 songs

    On Air

    Omega Sessions

    12 songs

    On Air

    I & I Survived (Dub)

    40 songs

    On Air

    I & I Survived

    13 songs

    On Air

    Bad Brains in Dub: Conducted by Kein Hass Da

    15 songs

    On Air

    Live in San Francisco

    13 songs

    On Air

    Live


Top Songs by
Bad Brains

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Big Takeover
  3.   Banned in D.C.
  4.   I Against I
  5.   Sailin' On
  6.   At the Movies
  7.   Pay to Cum
  8.   House of Suffering
  9.   F.V.K. (Fearless Vampire Killers)
  10.   The Regulator
  11.   I
  12.   Destroy Babylon
  13.   How Low Can a Punk Get?
  14.   We Will Not
  15.   Let Me Help
  16.   Attitude
  17.   Rock for Light
  18.   Sacred Love
  19.   Re-Ignition
  20.   Shitfit
  21.   Gene Machine/Don't Bother Me
  22.   Don't Need It
  23.   I and I Survive
  24.   Soul Craft
  25.   I Luv I Jah
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
Bad Brains

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    Punk Rock Love Songs

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    AWOLNATION: I Am The DJ

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    Red Hot Chili Peppers: DNA

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    Nirvana: DNA

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    Punk

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    Pearl Jam: DNA

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    The Ramones: DNA


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