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Bad Brains

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Biography

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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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  2.   Big Takeover
  3.   Banned in D.C.
  4.   I Against I
  5.   Sailin' On
  6.   Attitude
  7.   At the Movies
  8.   Pay to Cum
  9.   House of Suffering
  10.   Rock for Light
  11.   The Regulator
  12.   Let Me Help
  13.   I
  14.   Sacred Love
  15.   F.V.K. (Fearless Vampire Killers)
  16.   How Low Can a Punk Get?
  17.   We Will Not
  18.   Destroy Babylon
  19.   I and I Survive
  20.   The Meek
  21.   Peace Be Unto Thee
  22.   In the Beginning
  23.   Roll On
  24.   Universal Peace
  25.   Let There Be Angels (Just Like You)
  26.   I Luv I Jah
  27.   Peace Of Mind
  28.   Unidentified
  29.   How I Love Thee
  30.   Thank Jah
  31.   Rights of a Child
  32.   Silent Tears
  33.   She's Calling You
  34.   Intro
  35.   Coptic Times
  36.   Supertouch/Shitfit
  37.   [Untitled Track]
  38.   Re-Ignition
  39.   Don't Need It
  40.   Riot Squad
  41.   Right Brigade
  42.   What Remains
  43.   The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth
  44.   MCA Dub
  45.   Make a Joyful Noise
  46.   Fun
  47.   Come Down
  48.   Earnest Love
  49.   Suck Sess
  50.   Yes I
  51.   Rub a Dub Love
  52.   Youth of Today
  53.   We Belong Together
  54.   Popcorn
  55.   Into the Future
  56.   Transylvania Terror Train
  57.   Build a Nation
  58.   Natty Dreadlocks 'Pon the Mountain Top
  59.   Pure Love
  60.   Jah People Make the World Go Round
  61.   Give Thanks and Praises
  62.   Expand Your Soul
  63.   Until Kingdom Comes
  64.   Jah the Conqueror
  65.   Supertough/Shitfit
  66.   Rally Round Jah's Throne
  67.   Unity Dub
  68.   All Rise to Meet Jah
  69.   I and I Rasta
  70.   Ragga Dub
  71.   Rally
  72.   Jah Love
  73.   Leaving Babylon
  74.   Jah Calling
  75.   Stay Close to Me
  76.   Send You No Flowers
  77.   Just Another Damn Song
  78.   Black Dots
  79.   Redbone in the City
  80.   The Man Won't Annoy Ya
  81.   Don't Bother Me
  82.   You're a Migraine
  83.   At the Atlantis
  84.   Without You/Outro
  85.   Take Your Time
  86.   Yes Jah
  87.   Hair
  88.   Free
  89.   Miss Freedom
  90.   Rise
  91.   Jam
  92.   Joshua's Song
  93.   Big Fun
  94.   To the Heavens
  95.   Darling I Need You
  96.   Tongue Tee Tie
  97.   Over the Water
  98.   God of Love
  99.   Long Time
  100.   Cool Mountaineer
  101.   Entro
  102.   The Prophet's Eye
  103.   No Conditions
  104.   Yout' Juice
  105.   Sheba
  106.   Don't Blow Bubbles
  107.   Gene Machine/Don't Bother Me
  108.   With the Quickness
  109.   The Messengers
  110.   Voyage to Infinity
  111.   Soul Craft
  112.   Return to Heaven
  113.   Youth Are Getting Restless
  114.   Revolution
  115.   Secret 77
  116.   Justice Keepers
  117.   Coming In Numbers
  118.   Outro
  119.   Hired Gun
  120.   Love Is The Answer
  121.   Why'd You Have To Go?
  122.   Bring the Walls Down
  123.   Band Intro's
  124.   We Come to Unite
See Fewer Songs

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