David Byers hanging out at the Space House
The original line-up of HR - Kenny Dread (Bass) - David Byers (Guitar) - Earl Hudson (Drums) - HR (Vocals)
HR (Paul Hudson)
HR (Paul Hudson)
Drummer Earl Hudson
HR and the phenomenal David Byers and may he rest in peace.
These four photos were taken by Steve Hanner and copyrighted by him.
One of the first set lists handwritten by HR when he was beginning the band
These flyers were made by me and show the evolution of the HR logo that I designed from HR's original idea.
WDC PERIOD #9 - DATELINE MAY 23, 1985
SPACE HOUSE - 2001 17th St., NW - Washington, DC
Interview with JOSEPH I
Singer for THE BAD BRAINS and HR and ZIONTRAIN
On May 23, 1985, I interviewed Joseph I in an attempt to answer questions that I, and presumably many others, have been seeking answers to concerning him and his musical aspirations. It is a typical night at my house, OUTRAGE rehearsing downstairs, people running in and out, hectic as usual. Joseph I calmly rolled a spliff as I prepared to interview him.
Jimijam: "Greetings Joseph I. A lot has happened since The Bad Brains broke up; you have two new bands, HR and Ziontrain. How do you feel you have progressed musically?"
Joseph I: "My reason for playing has changed since I was playing music with The Bad Brains."
Jimijam: "You have a new album with HR coming out soon, when is it due?"
Joseph I: "Tomorrow"
This answer was delivered almost sarcastically; however, Juli Bird of Olive Tree Records informed me the record should be out by the end of June.
Jimijam: "What do you think of it?"
Joseph I: "It's a piece of shit."
This answer boggled me. He declined to elaborate. I like the album. I think "Happy Birthday My Son" is the most brilliant song he has written so far.
Jimijam: "When I was planning this interview, a tour was underway that would have taken you all the way to California. It got canceled. Why?"
Joseph I: "Because I was a fugitive prisoner."
A year ago Joseph I was arrested on marijuana distribution charges and was incarcerated for several months and released and placed on parole until October 1985. His parole officer said he could not leave the area to go on tour.
Jimijam: "Are any gigs planned otherwise?"
Joseph I: "I'm gonna concentrate on saving my soul and forget about everything else. If a gig comes up - it comes: if it doesn't - it doesn't."
Jimijam: "There always seems to be controversy surrounding you. How do you feel about this?"
Joseph I: "Fabulous"
Jimijam: "Many rumours have been circulated about you since your BAD BRAINS days; I would like to ask you about a few of them. One story I have heard a lot is about an incident with M.D.C. (Millions Of Dead Cops), stories ranging from egg-throwing to beating up the singer and trashing their equipment. What is the real story?"
Joseph I: "I wasn't there, I heard about it."
Jimijam: "A more recent story, I heard, involved grave openings by punks in Atlanta. Evidently, at a show you went off on the kids for this alleged behavior and then everybody left the club. What's your version?"
Joseph I: "I was under attack by the devil's advocates, but I abstained myself from their heresy."
While I am on the subject of rumors, a hot one has been The Bad Brains reunion; I forgot to ask Joseph I about this. After the interview took place I was informed that promoter Robert Singerman inked a contract with Joseph I for a new Bad Brains album and a tour to follow.
Jimijam: "Now I am going to ask you a few personal questions, delving into your personal life and how it reflects on your public persona. It has been said that you have a 'woman barefoot in the kitchen making babies' attitude."
Joseph I: "I say that every woman belongs to Jah and they are soldiers. They must take their place on the battlefield alongside the mon, so that doesn't involve the kitchen."
Jimijam: "It has been rumoured that you and your band members have exerted physical violence towards your women. Any comments?"
Joseph I: "When a woman is disobedient to her man, and is consistent in her disobedience, it is the mon's responsibility to administer justice to protect her from herself."
Jimijam: "You have been known to be quite virulently vocal in anti-homosexual rhetoric. What is your reasoning for this?"
Joseph I: "Faggots can't have babies."
Jimijam: "But doesn't say in the Bible "Judge not lest ye be judged", and the Golden Rule."
Joseph I: "But it also says, "Blessed are those who execute the judgment before his namesake"."
Jimijam: "Where is that?"
Joseph I: "Everywhere."
Jimijam: "I mean in the Bible."
Joseph I: "Psalms."
Joseph I: "If I tell you it would only take the fun out of it."
The supposed verse that Joseph I quoted is not actually in the Bible, it is based on a verse from a sacred book of the Hindus.
Jimijam: "Moving on...how have your Rastafarian beliefs affected you and your attitude towards 'punk rock' and the music scene?"
Joseph I: "Rasta has shown me that I am a dead punk. Rasta has shown me that I love punk and punk rockers. Rasta has taught me that to everything there is a time. If it wasn't for Rasta, I wouldn't play hardcore music. I would probably have sold out by now and started playing disco or funk or something like that."
Jimijam: "Tell us about Zion Train and what it represents."
Joseph I: "Zion Train is the mystery band. Zion Train is prophecy fulfilled. Zion Train is my mission. Zion Train is for everyone, but not everyone in the world, everyone in Jah Jah's plan."
Jimijam: "Any plans for an album?"
Joseph I: "Zion Train makes no plans. We take it one day at a time. We have a record, we hope will soon be out, Jah willing, sometime in the future."
Jimijam: "What are your future plans?"
Joseph I: "My future plans are to make no future plans, but to never ever be disloyal to the underprivileged or God."
Jimijam: "What is in store for us?"
Joseph I: "All I can tell you is that there are no boundaries in music, it is limitless and we cannot expect anything. We can only continue to work and pray for the ultimate objective of the unification of all people within the fantastic structure of Rastafari."
Jimijam: "Last words?"
Joseph I: "At this moment I would like to express my appreciation to Kenny Dread, David Byers, Juli Bird, and you."
Jimijam: "Do you want anything else known to the readers of this fanzine?"
Joseph I: "Yeah! I would like them to be receptive. All those who know - just know. All those who don't..."
Once this interview was published in WDC Period #10 in July of 1985, I could not believe what a shit storm it caused on the local and national music scene; the magazine was deluged with angry letters from both sides. I received death threats from Rastas who accused me of mocking them and Rastafari, and I received letters praising me for exposing HR and his hypocrisy. I was trying to clear up how I felt about HR and his music and his philosophies and how they related to me as a gay person and a human being in general. After the brouhaha quieted down, HR and our friendship were pretty much kaput, and I think I have spoken to him twice since then and it is May 2011 right now. Supposedly there is a movie about HR's rather complicated life coming out soon, and The Bad Brains are still together and touring in Europe this summer, on June 18th they are playing HELLFEST in Clisson, France, headlining the Terrorizer Stage, which I find utterly and completely ironic as hell. LOL! Rock on HR!
DATELINE FEBRUARY 1985
OLIVE TREE RECORDS - WASHINGTON, DC
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHANT DOWN BABYLON! HR comes out screaming, guitars blazing! A year after ROCK FOR LIGHT, the BAD BRAINS' classic hardcore/reggae album, the former lead singer JOSEPH I, aka HR, comes forward with a new band and an independently produced MINI LP. The HR band features an all-star line-up: JOSEPH I's brother EARL HUDSON, also ex-BAD BRAINS, on drums, JUDAH II, formerly of NYC's THE MOB, on bass, DAVID JORDAN, dreadlock guitarist extraordinaire, and DC's own DAVID BYERS, hot guitarist of go-go/funk sensation OUTRAGE. The HR seven-song MINI LP also features OUTRAGE members DOC NIGHT on sax and KENNY DREAD on synthesizer, as well as ZIONTRAIN saxophonist HOWARD GAD. Let's have a revolution! The record opens with a slow apocalyptic-blues intro - haunting jungle sounds set the mood of the album. Suddenly with furious speed the guitars attack, the rhythm section pounds, and crying out for PEACE, LOVE, and UNITY, HR commands your attention. He wants a CHANGE, he wants it now, and he wants it for you, me, and EVERYONE. The velocity and fury of the BAD BRAINS remains intact, but with this record JOSEPH I shows a new MATURITY and DIRECTION in his MESSAGE and SOUND. There is a polished merging of musical influences - from the delicate soulful vocal and Spanish-tinged guitar stylings of "WHO LOVES YOU" to the razor sharp THRASH of "IT'LL BE ALRIGHT" to the gentle muted reggae of "HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY SON". The lyrics are a kaleidoscope of emotions that reflect the pain and anguish JOSEPH I feel in his struggle to reach MT. ZION - the record bears witness to the trials and tribulations of a RASTAMAN in MODERN-DAY BABYLON. But HR also offers HOPE, a chance to FREE OUR MINDS, and shows us that music is the KEY to unlocking the doors of FREEDOM. Open your eyes and ears! Open your soul! JOSEPH I has a beautiful vision - CHECK IT while you can!
These are two press releases I wrote way back in February of 1985 when I was working with HR, Kenny Dread, and Juli Bird, as we tried to get Olive Tree Records, which was originally called Jah Youth Records, off the ground with the first release - HR's "It's About Love". I did a lot of the graphic art for them, I created the HR logo from a design idea HR drew on a napkin for me. I used the same typeface style I created for the "Keep Out Of Reach"/"Power Of The Trinity" 12" single which was used without my permission and uncredited when SST Records released them on compact disc. I love the over-the-top hyper-hyperbolized language that I used back then, reading all those CREEM magazines in the seventies really paid off. Too bad my genuine devotion and respect was for naught when he found out I was gay.
RETURN TO MR. JIMIJAM