Top stuff CPM!coffeepotman wrote: ↑08 Jun 2018, 1:57pmWell this turned out to be an excuse in futility dealing with crazy people pretending that they are journalists so her is my HR interview, as short as it is I didn't want to bother the great man. PONY was the joke "magazine" that I was contracted to do this interview.
So PONY is out here on the Bowery on a hot and sticky afternoon getting ready to interview the legendary front man for the Bad Brains that is HR. The Bad Brains were one of the first and finest bands of the hardcore punk rock genre. Their debut R.O.I.R cassette recorded at 171-A studios on Ave. A in 1981 is considered one of the greatest debuts ever. Besides working with the Bad Brains HR has an extensive solo career well worth checking out.
We go into the Bowery electric and as we are heading down the stairs we run right into HR, he greets us and graciously sends us back stage and to wait for him.
Now I’m not sure what to expect, I’ve heard he is a difficult interview and I just finished watching the excellent documentary about him called Finding Joseph which I highly recommend it to everybody, so I’m ready for anything.
Backstage is a small room with a couch and an easy chair, PONY is on the couch. In walks HR and he has such a presence, he is one of those guys that you know when he is in the room.
PONY – Yes I, welcome back to NY
HR – Smiles, Yes I
PONY – HR, Human Rights, it’s been over 40 years of PMA and that is a beautiful thing. Respect
HR – Thank you
PONY - This is PONY magazine and we are all about the people of NY and you have made a significant impact on NY culture so we’d love to ask you a few questions.
HR – Oh yes, go right ahead
PONY - Now we know you were banned in DC but what made you come to NY.
HR - Well we were never banned in DC, it’s a play on words, we were a band in DC. The clubs were limited in DC like the 9:30 club and the kids would break bottles and things. We had heard of Hilly Crystal and CBGB’s so we came up here to meet him. Our first show was Christmas eve in 1979.
PONY - How did you find the scene here in New York?
HR – it was like DC only more people and more clubs like Studio 9, CBGB and the Ritz.
PONY - Between you guys and maybe The Clash, you were most punks reggae education, how did the kids react to your reggae? Did they know what to do?
HR – We played lots of reggae shows but then decided to mash it up. When we opened for Peter Tosh at Stonybrook in 1981 the fans didn’t know what to do with our rock and roll, when we played rock and roll shows they didn’t what to do with reggae but it gave them a chance to slow down from dancing, so much energy. Eventually they knew what to do.
PONY - How is playing in New York any different from anywhere else?
HR – We’ve played festivals all around the world, they didn’t understand us but they felt it. In Czechoslovakia the kids loved it, we had 6 interviews lined up all in a row. We were big in Japan, once we came on at 5 o’clock in the morning but they waited for us and had a good time.
PONY - You are quite the front man, your backflips are legendary.
HR – Yes, no more backflips anymore.
PONY - This city has changed a lot since you first came here to play and then record your ROIR tape on Ave A, what do you think.
HR – Yes it has, gentrification, Ave A, B, and C no more burned out buildings and empty lots. What do you think of gentrification?
PONY - Well it’s made everything more expensive, very few clubs left in Manhattan, you have to go to the outer boroughs to see a show.
PONY - Are the youth still restless?
HR – That song, in South Africa they had apartheid and they were restless, they are still restless. We thought we would address that. They still have many problems there.
PONY - How about the youth here?
HR – We’ll now they are grown up now and they bring their children, so we have a wide age range in the crowd.
PONY - How was it getting nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? If you got in would you play?
HR – (With a smile) Yes we were nominated…pause, I think we would play.
PONY - Well we were all hoping for you, it would have really meant something to our generation to have you there to represent.
HR – Thank you
PONY - That would be a major thing, a punk/reggae band there, that would mean recognition for your groundbreaking work.
HR - Yes we would be the first.
PONY - Well thank you HR, it’s been a pleasure, we don’t want to take up any more of your time, but just one more thing, really how low can a punk get?....chuckle from HR’s wife
HR – We wrote that, that was written for Sid and Nancy
PONY, picking its jaw up from off the floor, well that’s something.
HR was then gracious enough to take some pictures with us and we were on our way but the feeling of Zen that surrounds him stayed with us the entire evening.
HR went on to play an almost 2 hour set of his solo reggae recordings with a couple of Bad Brains songs thrown in. It was a magical evening.
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