In 1981 (it may have been 1980, different uploads of the video sport different dates), many among suburban Washington, D.C.‘s population of normals were introduced to Bad Brains—arguably the inventors of hardcore, definitely a crucial musical incendiary device—via the agency of that aggressively bland franchised newsmagazine program PM Magazine. History and the internet do not yield for me the name of the announcer for that segment, but man oh man, was he ever a DICK.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, lower the volume and meet the Bad Brains. Not what you’d call the crowning achievement of modern culture, but definitely a part of it. A loud part of it.
For starters, chump, we do not lower the volume when Bad Brains are playing “Attitude.” Second, they are absolutely goddamn contenders for crowning achievement of modern culture. And lastly… well, OK, I certainly can’t argue with “loud.” The clueless announcer—who puts me in the mind of the guy Patton Oswalt made notorious in his bit about local news movie reviewers (and this would be roughly the same part of the country)—goes on to disparage the band’s dancing fans and to amusingly refer to their music as “a genuine social phenomenon called ‘Punk New Wave Rock and Roll.’”
Despite the awkward frisson of the segment being voiced by the whitest man ever to live, there’s great interview footage with the band, and stellar performance clips with some jaw-dropping acrobatics from singer H.R. Here’s the best looking and sounding upload of the segment I could find. That weird glitch around 02:12 is in all of them, so I couldn’t tell you what you missed, but it doesn’t seem like any significant meaning was lost.
Previously on Dangerous Minds
‘Knockin’ ‘Em Down in the City’: Iggy Pop on Cleveland local news, 1979
Before Bad Brains, there was Pure Hell, the first African-American punk band
A totally trippy interview with H.R. of Bad Brains