Context – Morning Pages
I’ve started trying to take up the practice of morning pages again. If you don’t know, morning pages come from Julia Cameron’s self-help book, The Artist’s Way. I have never read the book and don’t really intend to, but I really like this concept; I believe I heard about it on a stray episode of Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast, where the guest described it as “blowing the foam off your beer,” where the beer is your writing output. The basic idea is the first thing you should do when you wake up, before breakfast or showers or anything else, is to write 750 words (roughly 3 pages in a notebook). It doesn’t have to be about anything or towards a project (in fact I think it’s better if you don’t). Preferably you are writing these by hand (but you don’t have to). I have ongoing wrist issues so I limit it to only 2 pages per day. I take great liberties with the exercise.
Which is a whole lot of shoe-leather to explain that I was working on a to-do list and reflecting on my strange morning when I decided to listen to Bad Brains, a DC hardcore band from the 80s. I’ve seen them on lots of T-Shirts at Riot Fest, but never really gave them the time of day.
This album has some real gems, particularly when their exploring/pioneering the DC hardcore movement. Luckily for me, this is most of the album. Unluckily for me, the non-hardcore songs are just reggae songs, and I hate reggae more than I hate trap music. Actually now that I have that in writing I’d say they’re about tied.
I love when the Clash and Rancid (and sometimes Sublime) fuse punk and reggae to bring the ultimate in counter-culture calling cards, but this is more just straight up reggae. I understand there’s a history of reggae’s influence on punk (see the aforementioned band The Clash), especially in England, but it’s not my favorite part of the genre. Bad Brains treats reggae like NOFX does (well NOFX does it like Bad Brains chronologically speaking but I came to NOFX first) in that these songs really stand out and bother me because they’re such a departure from the rest of the album.
Apparently there are some weird time signatures left-over from their jazz-fusion days, but I didn’t catch them on this listen. This just sounded straight up punk/hardcore to me. Which is great, I love straight up punk/hardcore. I’m looking forward to future listens and other albums where hopefully this extra level of play becomes more apparent.
Until then, if you’re into punk but have been sleeping under the same rock I have been for all these years, give Bad Brains a go. Because they’re awesome in a 6/10 sort of way.