Blending reggae and punk since the seventies, Bad Brains recently announced plans for a new EP. Filling in for the Brains’ iconic lead singer H.R. will be Jamaican jammer Jesse Royal. While details for the new release are limited, the collaboration between Brains and Royal will certainly cause fans of the band’s reggae side to rejoice.
Formed as a jazz-fusion band in 1975 called Mind Power, the band that became Bad Brains has been one of the longest tenured groups in the business. Releasing music that could be placed under a multitude of sub-genres, including hardcore punk, funk metal, and reggae, Bad Brains’ versatility has been the band’s hallmark.
Based out of Washington D.C., Bad Brains has not been without its trial and tribulations since their formation. As chronicled in the 2012 documentary A Band in DC, inconsistent live performances from on-again, off-again lead singer H.R. have tested the band’s cohesion.
Having H.R. for the last album, Into the Future (2012), definitely helped make it a critical success but fellow members Darryl Jenifer, Dr. Know, and Earl Hudson decided to go a different route with this EP. Bringing in the younger, dancehall-heavy Jesse Royal seems like a positive substitution that will add to the reggae repertoire of an already experienced group.
The process for this project was, like many things Brains related, unorthodox. On May 30th of this year the group recorded the EP with Royal in front of a live audience at Applehead Recording in Woodstock, New York. The ‘Woodstock Sessions’ were attended by 60-70 of the band’s most loyal followers as they spent the day hanging out with the Brains while they were recording.
A date for the release has not been set but rest assured Brains fans, it should be sometime in the near future. While hardcore, fast paced music is Bad Brains’ bread and butter, the mellowed-out music they have produced in later years are some of the best jams the band from D.C has to offer.
Keep checking the Internet and your local record store, the Bad Brains are back (minus HR) with new music.
Listen: Bad Brains – “I Luv I Jah”