How Low Can A Punk Get? – Bad Brains

What can I say about Bad Brains? You can’t fake a love of Bad Brains. Some bands are so cool you have to like them to be taken seriously. The Ramones. The Clash. The Beatles. They’re above criticism. Bad Brains are on the cusp of this.

And

Yet…

They’re a hard listen for some. I’d go so far to say they’re a hard listen for everyone on first listen. You know how everyone chokes on their first cigarette and winces at their first shot of whiskey? Well, I’m confident everyone struggles to enjoy their first listen to Bad Brains.

Some folks toke once on a joint, choke their guts up and say ‘never again’. Some kids sneak a bottle from their folks cabinet at that curious age and drink themselves sick. Then they never come back to it. ‘I tried it. It doesn’t agree with me’. And you know what? Fair enough.

My friend Claire tried to get me to listen to Bad Brains when I was still a student of 18. And I didn’t get it at all. It was badly produced, the singer’s voice was grating and all the songs were warped sounding bursts of noise. But man she loved them.

Claire and I were fast friends for years. We’d have platonic date nights when were both single and stay up late playing board games and plotting our futures. We’d put records on and drink beer and tea and talk all night. Then we’d plod off to work or lectures like zombies who needed poking just to stay awake throughout the day.

Time passed, we grew up and went our separate ways and I guess it’s been 18 years since we last spoke at this stage…

Anyhow, Bad Brains snuck back into my earshot some time between the last time I saw Claire and me writing this entry (sometime around 10-12 years ago all told) and the penny dropped.

This is fast exciting AND badly produced, the singer’s voice is unique, impassioned AND grating (and it’s cool that it is so). The songs are tight, varied energetic punk with Ska and Hardcore and real Funk grooves hidden behind the FACT they all *SORT OF* sound the same.

There’s no RATM without Bad Brains, No Faith No More nor Prophets Of Rage.

All these years later. She’s still taking me to school. Cheers Claire, Kerplunk!

One thought on “How Low Can A Punk Get? – Bad Brains

  1. My first Bad Brains experience, and I dig it. More so because I trust your musical insights, but I dig it more than my first hit on a cigarette. The write-up is good too. I always hope that these old friends of yours will somehow come across these and catch back up. I hope you’ll tell us if any of them ever do. Be cool, bruh, and keep that faith.

    Liked by 1 person

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