To me Bad Brains is the most important hardcore band of all time, one that has directly influenced all my favorite bands growing up. You know something is special when even 20 years after the inception of the band they still continue to influence through their collaborations most notably with Supreme and Vans. I would hope that with this interview and the photos from their amazing show in San Francisco, younger kids will be more encouraged to get into their music or understand why they are so vital. If anything, to keep their P.M.A.
Photography: Chris Lovos
SLAMXHYPE: So do you think with hardcore and punk being such a youthful and angry form of music, do you think that as you got older, you got less angry and less rebellious or do you think you’re just still the same?
HR: Greetings in the name of his imperial majesty and great (inaudible). The Father, the Son, and The Holy Trinity. (Inaudible) We here now at Slim’s coming in from the beautiful state of New York, in preparations for our graduation party tonight. It is a great honor and a privilege to perform our music here for you today. And I’m exceptionally grateful for your pleasant and positive mental attitude. Hardcore music has existed since the beginning of the universal peace and love genre. Our universal music is for the masses and they have our blessings.
SLAMXHYPE: So, Bad Brains is probably the most important hardcore band of all time, was it always your intention to, pretty much, influence a generation?
HR: (pauses) The God of the wind, the God of the air, the God of fire, the God of love, the god of wisdom, the god of truth and mercy is also the god of grace, and we come to you in the hour of need of the brothers and sisters who need good music. Thank you.
SLAMXHYPE: Do you feel like music nowadays, or youth culture, has been kind of diluted?
HR: No, not at all! I think they’re in the midst of the spirit there of. It’s just the image.
SLAMXHYPE: No, not at all?
HR: No, not at all. It’s just beginning to prove that Human Rights and Bad Brains were years ahead of their time when they started out in the early 50’s playing their music. The disco, and jamrock, and loving sounds of the skylights had been blossomed and heard amongst your mother and father, and we’re now just catching up with them. What’s old is new and what’s new is old.
SLAMXHYPE: So would you consider yourself old or new?
HR: It’s not for me to judge. I’m sort of a mediator of sorts. I give you my blessings, I give you my love, and I thank you for your blessings.
SLAMXHYPE: Oh, you’re welcome.
SLAMXHYPE: What have you learned, since you’re an elder now?
HR: What I have learned is, the pen is mightier than the sword. And it’s not quite what you do, it’s the way you do it.
SLAMXHYPE: So when you say that the pen is mightier than the sword, in a way, you are saying that you are, maybe less aggressive now, less like “me against the world”?
HR: Well, I extend my apologizes to those who might have heard my words through walls. Those walls were built, now they’re crumbling and new walls will be built and new ways will be built; we’ll be created and live on for a new creation. Music is that way too. New music will come and will teach us to love I and I. That’s my responsibility, to teach kids what I didn’t know as a youngster. When I was batting around, screaming and hollering, for this and for that, I was misinterpreted, and again I extend my apologizes, I don’t want you to take it personal or your fans or other fans of human rights and Bad Brains groups. Also, I accept your peace offering and your apology. And we’re look forward to the communication and education and triumphant victory of good, wholesome, jam music.
SLAMXHYPE: What do you think the biggest misconception was?
HR: Ohh, the misconception was lost in sauce.
SLAMXHYPE: Lost in sauce? (Laughs) If you could have done anything different now, what would you have done differently?
HR: Oh, I have no regrets. None, whatsoever.
SLAMXHYPE: So, moving forward, what would you like to do?
HR: Well, what I would like to do is stay classically and start a theological university. Improve and work on my penmanship, and take care of my responsibilities to my students before they have to get their diplomas. And see my father and my mother in their time of need. And to let the spirit know, spirit of love, know that I haven’t forgotten the name of universal love, and it’s not my objective to be a non-believer.
SLAMXHYPE; But you’ve always been a believer, haven’t you?
HR: Yes, yes, yes. The whole group has been believers. We believed in good music from the very beginning.
SLAMXHYPE: Do you ever wish you were young again, or do you like where you are now?
HR: Oh, I’m not complaining, because it wouldn’t help anyway. The voice of interaction is not a voice that beckons on to the call of its children. The Youth of today is the man of tomorrow.
HR: To not get overwhelmed by the popularity. Once I was cruising thru to Darryl, earl, and Gary. Darryl looked at me and he said, “Man, you know you’re a very interesting brotha, but don’t let this go to ya head”. I said, “what do you mean by that, Darryl?”. He said, “Man, you know what? It’s not about the popularity, it’s about that journey.” And I’ve always remembered that, since that day forward. And he’s right; he’s my brotha, just like the others.
SLAMXHYPE: Are you still enjoying the journey?
HR: Oh yeah, I miss my misses, though. But them girls be like drama still, you know. She want this, she want that. Pretty face; want a pretty man…(at this point, HR breaks out into his rendition of “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story)
SLAMXHYPE: What would your advice be to the new generation?
HR: My advice to this new generation is to be careful about water. Don’t drink the water. That water is deadly, be careful! Do research, do yourself a favor and educate your mind. Remember your roots and to remember the word of God, the fermentation of the earth is ever so sweet, but the destruction of the soul wages us in death. But where there is light, there is a new beginning, so we’ll try to transform those hits into kisses, turn those defeats into triumphs, victories. You learn to play your instrument. At first it may seem a little difficult and your hands can’t really extend over the whole guitar, but eventually, you’ll get older and your little fingers will improve and you’ll see this is E, this is A, this is D, this is G, this is B, and this is E! Then you’ll stroke it like that and you keep on stroking, and you just…(he suddenly breaks out into a song). Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Click through the gallery below to see plenty more photos from the night!