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Trailer for Bad Brains Documentary Promises Inside Look at The Lions of DC Hardcore

For those of you who spent their teens or early adulthood enjoying the pleasures of Dr. Martens boots, moshing and pogoing, and blistering punk, the promise of a feature-length documentary on the Bad Brains, one of the pillars of the Washington D.C. hardcore is a welcome blast from the past. Formed in 1977, Bad Brains is that rare all-black band in a scene that, while diverse in some senses, was dominated by a clutch of white bands that became even more renowned for their intensity as for their music—Minor Threat, S.O.A., and Fugazi. More than that, the original members of the group all had a background in jazz fusion, giving them the musical chops to add a level of speed and precision never heard in punk before. It was the creation of a genre. While the Bad Brains went through many changes in personnel, sound, philosophy, and location (they were at one time unofficially “banned” from performing in D.C. and hate the word “hardcore”), they laid the groundwork for the Beltway scene that eventually spawned hundreds of sonically similar bands and hardcore scenes from New York to Tokyo.


Today, the wide distribution of “hardcore” bands and “hardcore” scenes has diluted the meaning of the word, making locations and artists hard to pin down or identify. For a good look back, though, there are some excellent hardcore documentaries that are available for home viewing as we wait for the unfinished Bad Brains doc to make it to screens. Still, D.C. is home to a number of the old venues the Bad Brains used to play, hardcore music stores, and, of course, wherever there’s a stage and a willing audience, there’s still probably a singer willing to strap on his combat boots and blow out his voicebox for their pleasure. To find emerging and underground music scenes from California to Mumbai, pick up a copy of “Music + Travel Worldwide”.
Visit in D.C.
The 9:30 Club
815 V Street Northwest
Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
(202) 265-0930
The Black Cat
1811 14th Street Northwest
Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
Smash Records
2314 18th Street, Northwest, 2nd Floor
Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
(202) 387-6274
Top: The Bad Brains in the early 1980s, courtesy of Glen E. Friedman and Badbrains.com.
Bottom (clockwise from left): The Bad Brains in 2007, courtesy of Badbrains.com, the 1980s courtesy of Glen E. Friedman and Badbrains.com.

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