Last year I watched a BBC documentary called Imagine – The Seven Killings of Marlon James. Marlon James had won the Man Booker Prize in 2015 with his violent fictional version of the assassination attempt on Bob Marley. In this documentary, Alan Yentob talked to him about experiences as a writer. It is a great documentary and worth watching if it ever comes to a screen near you. In some shots, Marlon was wearing a band t-shirt. A tweet from a writer I follow, who had been watching the programme at the same time as me, revealed the band to be Bad Brains. Of course I immediately sought them out. The album above is their first and eponymous record released in 1982. It is a furious hardcore punk reggae fusion – I like it for certain occasions although admit to preferring a later album called I Against I, mainly because it’s slightly more accessible and appropriate to play around children, but Bad Brains is an awesome racket. I love the dub and reggae tracks interspersed between the noise as a bit of relief.
So last week, I was minding my own business, reading an article that referred to Bad Brains and in the same breath name-checked this other band I’d never heard of as being better than Bad Brains and making this kind of music much earlier. What? Much earlier than 1982? The band is called Death. I know very little about them other than they were a band made up of 3 brothers from Detroit, they made this album called For The Whole World To See in 1975. When the record company wanted them to change their name, they refused, so the album never got released; until it was rediscovered in 2009.
Yet again I come to you, ‘Spillers to fill in my gaps and educate me. What do you know about all this? Are there any other bands like these two I should check out?