Punk was always considered, for those who have never studied about it, a movement that emerged in England, thanks to groups from the United Kingdom, but the truth is that it was not only there that such a thunderous, violent and direct sound was forged.
Actually, the first “waves” of Punk came out of the United States, Great Britain itself, and even Australia, back in 1969 and 1977, space to which it can be attributed to the birth of the first groups.
The history of punk could start with a long “series” of circumstances, antecedents, and different locations, which would take a minimum of a whole week of related articles to explain it well, but that is not our intention. You all know Punk groups like the Ramones, Blondie, The Clash, Sex Pistols …, but there is one not so well known: Bad Brains.
Bad Brains is considered one of the first Punk groups, and even the pioneers of “Hardcore Punk”, a term which is rejected by the band. In its repertoire, we can also find songs from “Progressive Metal” and “Reggae”. One of the peculiarities of this band is that its members are practitioners of the Rastafari religion… Yes, the “tranquility” of this community does not marry very well, with the natural violence of Punk, and especially of Bad Brains.
“You got to be true to yourself. We purposefully went out of our way to be different. And we just let the spirit lead us,” guitarist Dr Know once explained. “We weren’t like, ‘Well, we gotta write a part like this, because this is what’s playing on the radio now.’ We tried to grab from all of our influences and just put it in the pie.”
Doc later elaborated on this statement, telling LouderSound: “We kind of musically open up and just break down the barriers: a bunch of black dudes playing crazy rock’n’roll that you rock’n’roll white people can’t even play [laughs], playing some funk and this and that, and then playing reggae too.”
The founders of the group were guitarist Gary Miller, (Dr. Know), and bassist Darryl Jennifer. These two were joined by the brothers’ Earl Hudson on drums and Paul HR. Hudson on vocals.
They started as a jazz band, until after a few months, through a friend, they heard Dead Boys. After that, there was an almost total transformation of all of them, getting fully into Punk, even changing the name to Bad Brains, for the title of the Ramones song “Bad Brain.
Listening to Bad Brains today doesn’t mean listening to the fathers of hardcore; It is rather an alphabet of musical phonemes that today we can hear spread out in an endless number of bands from the last 30 years; Beastie Boys, Deftones, Nirvana, Fugazi all the punk and metal scene of the 80s to name a few. And that surely we are falling very short because if something has to be thanked to this band, it was to show that genres are trivial and must be taken to their limits through virtuosity to create new things.
Of course, the work of the band was not only musical, Bad Brains had several key characters in its lineup who had the strength of attitude and personality to break paradigms on stage. Like the case of vocalist Paul D. Hudson better known as H.R (Human Rights) who moved away from the standards of a rock vocalist to add elements that would give more savagery to his music. With the microphone in hand, he danced uncontrollably as screams and growls came out of his mouth, something that undoubtedly caused his music to be labeled as hardcore, although the band does not like the typecasting.