Blackout Billy’s Band of the Week – Bad Brains
May 12, 2011

Bad Brains are an American punk band that formed in Washington, D.C. in 1977. Mention the name “Bad Brains” to anyone today and you’ll likely get an overwhelmingly positive response.

As one of the single most important pillars of American hardcore, Bad Brains have a pure and definitive attitude that most artists only aspire to achieve. They’re simply one of the most important and influential American bands who garner the same respect as the Sex Pistols, Black Flag, The Clash and The Ramones.

Known for their high energy and over-the-top live performances, the band’s crucial evolution of melding punk and reggae into an innovative style has yet to be copied. Their impact can be felt in many musical circles and the Brains today have impacted virtually every working punk band that exists. Although the Bad Brains have released only a handful of albums during their lifetime, they’re classic rasta-punk hybridization is revolutionary, making them musical icons.

Formed by vocalist H.R, guitarist Dr. Know, bassist Darryl Jenifer & drummer (H.R.’s younger brother) Earl Hudson in the early 1980s, Bad Brains were influenced by both reggae and rage-fueled, hardcore punk. During the time the band originally formed these influences were surfacing in the U.K. punk band scene. Although there were shades of these influences appearing in the U.K. punk scene the Bad Brains took it a step further by pioneering the crossing of these two genres and bringing a legendary sound that nobody had ever heard before.

They managed to maintain an intensity and sense of anarchic, rage-fueled blitz while shifting gears from punk to reggae to punk. H.R. has dug deep into his bag of voices and pulled them all out. Whether it’s his soul-deep rastafari hymns or his bile-encrusted nasal falsetto of speed-rap chatter, his vocal virtuosity and compelling innovation continues to be unchallenged today. Darryl Jenifer and Dr. Know bring some of the most inimitable and timeless musical jousts while their interplay with the drummer, Hudson, has always driven the Brains’ energy and intensity.

By melding punk with reggae, Bad Brains has become one of the most quintessential American hardcore punk bands of all time.

About Billy: Job Title: Harp player to help soothe work environment for fellow employees. “I guarantee that I’ve pee’d in my wetsuit more times than you during one continuous surf session” – Billy (World Record holder for the longest surf session)