Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I and I survive

It's HR's birthday today so I played a bunch of Bad Brains and realized there's a whole lot of overlap between the first tape and the Ric Ocasek-produced Rock for Light and that later output just isn't quite the same lightning-in-a-bottle swank. Anyways, the station library had quite a bit in the way of live bootlegs to flesh out two hours of the jazz-fusionists-turned-Rasta-hardcore-punkers, and I pretty much played every song on the iconic albums, skirting the solo records since I hadn't had the chance to see if they were good.

I saw him play at the punk bar up the street a few years ago but only stayed for three songs when it was clear that it was an off night for him. His struggles with mental illness have been well-documented and I knew this going in, and fended off drunk aging punks with claims that I was only here for the reggae, knowing that the last time he was this charismatic, I was probably a newborn.

Part of my love of this band stems from driving around Parmastan with hardcore kids, pogoing around someone's living room to these albums at 2am when everyone else was passed out except for formerly-straightedge-me and someone's drunk girlfriend, playing softball on summer afternoons with the Clevelandian punkers, wearing their t-shirt in DC and random people on the street wanting to be my friend in a land of J. Crew and politricksians, and how these records have gotten me through every hard time in my life. That combination of righteous fury, apocalyptic screeds, the frustration with the wrong and the focus on the right, the skepticism about human nature and the thirst for the divine. Not much music does that for me, but they do.

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