Soul Brains Unite With A Beastie Boy
The Soul Brains (formerly the Bad Brains) have completed basic tracks for their first all-new studio album since 1995's "God of Love."The Soul Brains (formerly the Bad Brains) have completed basic tracks for their first all-new studio album since 1995's "God of Love." Produced by longtime admirer Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys, the as-yet-untitled set recalls the hardcore/reggae style of such classics as "Bad Brains" and "Rock for Light."
"This is one of the first times that we intended to do stuff," bassist Darryl Jenifer tells Billboard.com. "We never really intend to do anything. But I said, 'I want this record to sound like the old Bad Brains -- I want it to be straight-up hardcore. No tricks, no bells, no whistles. And I want the reggae to be straight rub-a-dub, no little riffs and stuff. The rock -- straight-up speedcore, the way we were known for doing it.' It doesn't have an 'I Against I' appeal to it; it's more like 'Rock For Light.' It's like the cousins of those riffs."
The Soul Brains/Beastie Boys union goes back to the early '80s, when both bands played the same New York hardcore hotspots. Their paths crossed throughout the years, including arena dates in 1995, but never in the studio. "About a year-and-a-half ago, I was trying to instigate a record. I called up Yauch and said, 'Yo, we're going to do a record on Lakeshore,'" he says, referring to a label deal that never materialized.
"I think they got scared -- there was no manager at one point and we were just trying to get this record done," he continues. "So I called up Yauch, he gave us a little bit of money, and we went up to his studio."
Once the group's instrumentalists -- Jenifer, guitarist Dr. Know and drummer Earl Hudson -- laid down their parts, enigmatic singer H.R. was brought into the mix. "We recorded all new rhythm tracks -- six or seven reggae, six or seven rock. We went out to L.A. and got H.R. to sing on them. He kind of did his 'new' H.R. stylings; it wasn't reminiscent of the 'old' H.R., which I can respect. So we've been waiting for Doc to do some solos, and then mix that."
Confirmed song titles for the record ("I just call it 'The Yauch Recordings,'" says Jenifer) include the rockers "Expand Your Soul" and "Universal Peace," as well as such reggae compositions as "Peace Be Unto Thee." Jenifer wouldn't disclose who will release the set, but confirms it may be a major label. "I don't want to mention their name, but they've got first refusal on it," he says.
As for the possibility of touring in support of the album, Jenifer says the group will proceed with caution.
"It's hard for us to do shows," he admits. "That's mainly on H.R., with his mental and emotional state. He's my man. He's a weird dude and I love it -- there's freedom right there. I've really come to that conclusion, that the dude is the [most free] person you'll ever meet."