Friday, November 25, 2005

This Year's Selection for Hardcore's All-Time Turkey: Bad Brains "Rise" LP



In terms of entries, this has been the best contest yet. A lot of you wrote in with your nominations, and many interesting and compelling arguments were made. Thank you so much to everyone who took such an enthusiastic interest in the contest this time around.

Without a doubt, the self-titled Warzone LP and Token Entry's Weight of the World LP drew the most attention, but many of the arguments made weren't compelling enough for me to stick either of those birds on the table this year. Since I plan on making this contest an annual tradition here at BBHC, there's always next year to make your case.

The winner of the first annual "Hardcore's All-Time Turkey" goes to Bas Lochorn, who did an excellent job of carving up the Bad Brains "Rise" LP. Congrats Bas!

First off, when choosing a a record from a band that should be listed as the biggest atrocity of the hardcore scene, it better be a band that mattered. You could take Intensity, with their songs about bald eagles and screaming words like "Yummie" like a New Kid On The Block with an erection, but them writing a bad 7" like that had zero to no effect on the hardcore scene whatsoever. So who cares, right?

Secondly, from a band's point of view, it almost has to be a later era record, where the band totally destroyed a solid reputation and a legacy of music. If a band only released one record, and it sucks the life out of the room when spinning it, than the band never even deserved any credit anyway. But if you take Warzone, who released a lot of good releases ("Lower East Side Crew", "Don't Forget The Struggle..", "Open Your Eyes") and then proceeded to mix Van Halen with Tone Loc on their "S/T" album, they, and no one else, foiled, soiled and destroyed their own reputation. The Warzone after that album could never manage to become again the Warzone from before. Even recording their most famous 7" again was a big miss.

Thirdly, it should be possible to take a record from a hardcore band, that no longer can be considered "hardcore". If they wrote bad hardcore, that's one thing, but straying from the path of "Loud, fast rules" and then making a crap record, should doom their reputation for eternity.

So here's my pick for "Hardcore Music's All Time Turkey"

Bad Brains - "Rise" (Sony Music)

Let's face it, any record of the Bad Brains without the rock solid foundation of Hr, Dr. Know, Darryl and Earl is a disgrace. These four people have created hardcore from scratch, and in no way can they be replaced with "hired guns" (pun definitley intended!). First off, changing a frontman is a bit harder to do than, let's say, a drummer. Sure, each member provides their own style to the band, but a voice is recognizable, and in the Bad Brains' case provides them with a face of their own. No singer can swoon, croon, scream, whine, growl, howl and rip it like HR. After him, there is no one else... "Joseph Israel" tried and failed, for the simple fact that he is not HR. Who can really blame the guy, right?

Having Mackie of Cro-Mags fame on drums gives them still a little more "hardcore" cred, but like said before, you can't change this four-piece that started it all. Without them there is no Bad Brains. Plain and simple.

The music is a story in itself. It's just plain bad. And having the name Bad Brains attached brings along high expectations. And these were not met in a long way. In my humble opinion they were already losing "the Midas touch" when recording "Quickness". It was the first time it became clear that the were running out of ideas. If a band should "quit while you're ahead", the Bad Brains should have stopped after "Quickness". As read in an interview: "Where do you go after 50 songs? What could the next 50 bring differently?" And I guess it was true. "Rise" surely didn't come close in proving otherwise.

Maybe it isn't even JUST "Rise". The 95' Maverick Records disaster "God Of Love" is the same way all over again. And this time, losing their name and their spirit to go on. Soul Brains? Give me a break...

Fact of the matter is, "Rise" set in an era of one of the biggest, best and most innovative bands of the hardcore scene EVER, to turn into a joke. With a reputation that can never be mended again. All that is left, when admiring the Bad Brains, is a horrid sense of nostalgia... And nostalgia is the death for any good band. "Remember when the Bad Brains we're great?

Bas Lochorn

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