It's a few days until the release of Bad Brains' new album, Into The Future, and I spoke to Darryll Jenifer to talk about the album, the band's history and how thing's have changed over the years.
Firstly, how’s things in the Bad Brains camp? What are you up to at the moment?
We are all cool and giving thanks and praise as usual, and I am up to finishing production on White Mandingos, a new band that I have with MURS and Sacha Jenkins, due out next year.
What can we expect from Into The Future? How was the recording and writing process for the band?
Expect futuristic funk punk mayhem with a lil Ohio Players swag straight outta D.C.,recording and writing with Bad Brains is a Rubba Dub Love Groove On, like a Family Affair, Buffy, Jody, Mr.French, Uncle Bill, all of that. It's amazing being a part of JAH JAH's musical menagerie for the people, fa real.
Has creating a record changed drastically from when the band first started out? Has it got easier? Harder?
The only changes have been the technology, back in the day the recording process was scarier and there was no Pro-Tools to save your sorry ass, we still lay our tracks down old school, easier...easier to execute due to years of kicking it, harder..harder to continue to mine new and innovative approaches and riffs that we know are still on me and Dr.Know’s fret boards.
Does the fact that you’ve released a somewhat smaller back catalogue than most bands of your stature have any effect on writing material?
Huh, the spiritual battle of good over evil is the only thing that has an effect on me/ Doc and me/ HR/ Earl. When writing material, we gotta keep our fires burning,rubba dub and ruckus rock riffs churning so Babylon can't gain not even a inch on Knatty Dread, JAH children, youth of today.
How does Into The Future differ from Build A Nation?
‘Into the Future’ is now, ‘Build a Nation’ was then, my lil brother Yauch produced ‘Nation’, I and my brethren produced ‘Future’, same mission,same soldiers.
Are you looking forward to the upcoming dates? How has playing shows for you changed over the years?
I always look forward to rocking my bass, to sharing JAH positive vibes with JAH people, this is what I do, it is my life source, really. No changes except I don't have to set up my gear. Sid McCray is my assistant and bass tech, like I'm a real rock star in my OG'ness, handing me my bass, like I'm Jimmy Page. Hehe.
I noticed that H2O are playing some supports slots with you at the moment. What’s it like playing alongside bands that are basically the spawn of a scene, or a genre that you were part of creating?
I don't notice or think about spawning scenes and shit like that, I think about cats making music and caring about creativity, jumping off their sets, having a good time, sharing in some JAH love ,PMA. It's the Great Spirits I-tinual scene and party .
When Bad Brains started off and made the transition to playing punk music, was the intention to create a new sound? For the music to be so abrasive and for the band to be so explosive?
The intention was to be a good progressive punk rock band that folks would like to see open for the Slickee Boys aka Black Dots.
How does the title of ‘legends’ sit upon your shoulders? Is it something that you’re comfortable with?
Legends? Legends? I feel like Allen Iverson... practice, practice. JAH is the Legend , Bad Brains are the tool.
Do you remember your first ever show?
My first show was with The Young Explorers at St. Elizabeth Hospital for the criminally insane, and Bad Brains was in our house on Bay Way in MD, with Alverez Tolson’s band Brail, where Sid sang Regulator and me and Doc played thru [sic] one amp, How's that for working my super sensei memory?
Why did you make the decision to return to your original line-up? How did that come about?
We are family like Sister Sledge, we never return to anything, we have always and will always be together, we apologize for leading people to think we were the type of family to ‘break up to make up,’ like the Stylistics. Don't believe the hype.
Have you seen much change in the kids coming to see you play? Do you think there’s been any shift in the audience that enjoys punk music?
Nowadays I just see youth when I play, I see humanity, I see youth-kind looking for realness, for pure expression and passion. We come to bring them JAH music in all flavors and patterns, and always have.
What’s your opinion on the state of punk, or even music in general, at the moment?
I feel that the digital age has changed things a bit for the world of electricity, but electricity cannot be stopped for it is electricity that is the creator, the guitar, drum, bass, mic (without auto tune) is on its way back, with the hearts and minds to man the situation that the Great Spirit has in store. If you know what I mean. Saying, trying to say.
What are your plans for the future?
Fry me a red snapper with some rice and peas, steamed vege, blend up some Irish Moss, sip my cup and say yes JAH lead the way, wiith my trusty green bass in hand.
Go get the album, put it on, turn it up, and give thanks for longevity and perseverance, then wait for the release of the White Mandigos, the new rock hip hop opera for 2013 featuring MURS and D.Jenifer . Thanks for your love and interest in Bad Brains . This interview is dedicated to the memory of the God Father Chuck Brown. One love D.Jenifer.