Showing posts with label bad brains. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bad brains. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

resonators 2018 - episode #004 - 'bad brains' by bad brains (VIDEO)

And WOW, this was a fun listen. So glad this wound up on Resonators, it was a TON of fun.

Next up... okay, Billboard BREAKDOWN, so stay tuned!

Monday, April 30, 2018

resonators 2018 - episode #004 - 'bad brains' by bad brains

I think it's time we talk about race in punk music.

Now this is not a comfortable topic, and there are layers and nuance that I'll freely admit that I'm probably not the best guy to talk about beyond looking for the history. And with the history of punk... well, it gets even dicier, especially coming out of the late 70s and how genres were co-mingling and mutating. Of course punk has some of its deepest roots in black music - at its core much of punk utilized traditional rock and roll song structures invented by black musicians - but throughout the 1970s traditionally black musical genres were going in very different directions, from the growth of soul, funk and R&B to the mutation of disco to the very early days of hip-hop. And while black music was getting more opulent and smooth, punk seemed to be heading in the exact opposite direction - although one can make the argument that the sharp political subtext that underlined a lot of soul music and funk music would have had common cause with the punks of the time.

But that doesn't mean there weren't punks of all races within the scene who found common cause with the righteous fury and rough edges of the genre... and this is where we hit another major roadblock and it has to do with a subgenre I referenced a few months back: the Oi! scene. Originally grounded in working class rebellion in the U.K, it was a sound that sadly got co-opted by second wave skinhead culture and hard right, frequently racist groups in the late 70s and early 80s. And while you could definitely make an argument how much of this was fair to the scene or the artists within it, many who could credibly make the argument to being misrepresented, the messy public perception led to ugly assumptions and branding that Oi! bands and even hardcore punks have had to fight to escape for years since, not helped by the street punk and skinhead explosion in the U.S. where the hard-right branding was harder to escape or deny. And with that popular connotation, it's no surprise why black artists might have shied away from the scene, especially in the face of friendlier, no less conscious or political spaces like in early hip-hop.

Of course, there's another side to this, and it leads to another genre that was organic, raw, and often sharply political: reggae. It was a looser subgenre than punk, but throughout the 70s it had flourished and had often received billing and airplay in punk venues. And thus the cross-pollination of genres between the newborn hardcore scene and reggae was only a matter of time, with one group originally making music as a jazz fusion act before amping up the tempos and bringing an distinctly black flavor to hardcore punk, now widely held as one of the most legendary bands of the genre. That's right, we're talking about the 1982 self-titled debut from Bad Brains, and this is Resonators!