November 30, 2012 | 7:00am
This week ,we got the chance to snag an interview with Bad Brains
bassist Darryl Jenifer
to talk about the survival story of the legendary hardcore outfit who just put out a new album. Read the full story here
. Of course we got a change to branch into other topics including a pretty revealing rant about the band's 2012
documentary A Band in D.C.
, the new music he's been working on outside of the Brains and a his latest invention--a new genre of music he calls "Blackmo." Here are some juicy excerpts from our interview that didn't make the print story.
OC Weekly (Nate Jackson): As far as the documentary you guys did, A Band in D.C., do you agree with how you and your bandmates were portrayed in the film?
Darryl Jenifer: I would've liked for that movie to be made by people that knew us better. I think it was a mistake to allow plain Jane and Andy [co-directors Mandy Stein and Ben Logan] to make this movie because they didn't really know Bad Brains. It was sort of a Hollywood type of thing where out of all the footage that they got...they don't really know our history of PMA and they didn't really know how to make the positivity of what we represent stand in a movie. They're more like Hollywood types where people want the fussing and the fighting. Like me and H.R. only did that the whole 40 years we've known each other, fighting and stuff. But Hollywood likes that. I tried to positively talk to them about how I didn't appreciate how the movie seemed to be bookended with negativity, how it started with the things at the Riot Festival with me and H.R. doing the Big Brother, Little Brother kind of thing, then they went and had a little micro documentary about the incident that happened way back when we were kids with the Big Boys, try to play up this whole homophobe type thing that people won't just let go.
This was an opportunity to show Bad Brains bookended by this band fight. I tried to talk to them about it and tell them that I know we are the subject and it's not like we're looking to censor anything, of course we're a family and we're dysfunctional just like anyone, but one thing for sure you can know as that we are a family and that's what you're seeing there. And it wasn't supposed to be like a reality show for us. I trusted them to get across in film the real core of what Bad Brains for all of these 33 and a quarter years has been about, the apex of what we really stand for. Not just go out in Hollywood and then all of the sudden get swooped up by some Hollywood types and take the surface, negative crap, I'm not a big fan of that and I personally thought the band was jacked by Hollywood, we're from D.C. I don't how it got by me that it went down in that way.
You guys are constantly involved in each other's lives still at this point when you're not making music?
Like I said, we're a family. I've known these guys since we were teenagers, H.R. gave me a cake on my 16th birthday. We're a family. That's why I said I was sorry recently and apologizing to people for misleading them and making them think that we broke up and got back together and shit like that. We never do that. Because the Bad Brains is not like a band that got together, like where you see kids get together and become a band. We were together before Bad Brains.We're brothers from a hood in a period of time, in an advent of time, musicians from D.C. that came up in high school, you might even say we're a gang. We ain't no band. A band is something else. Bad Brains is three steps down from what we are. How's that? [Laughs]. We all know the struggles that we go through. It's still a family affair. We're also dedicated to a mission. That's what the people should've been focusing on, as opposed to seeing some tragic tale about something that could have been great. That's not the story they told, but I don't blame them, they just didn't know us. The movie to me is not like a bad movie, I think it could have been done a lot better chronologically how it lays out and it didn't need to be bookended with negativity and there are lot of things that would've been more informative to the fan.
You can see how we do in Woodstock nowadays, but there was shit from way back in the day. It should've been more focused in on what made us who we are as opposed to what we are today. Why would you start a movie about Bad Brains 30 years later at a show in Oregon somewhere. That movie has to start like you just heard the ROIR cassette. It can't come in up at some gorge and shit playing with Spearhead. It can have cartoon characters where we all look like bi-racial dudes from Southern California. Why all the sudden it's like we're Hannah Barbarra cartoons?
What kind of new material are you working on at the moment outside of Bad Brains?
I'm finishing up a project with a band called the White Mandingos--it's me Sacha Jenkins and Murs. It's like White Mandingos as a band is like rock hip-hop hybrid. But it's a story about the lifetime of a skateboarder, hood type dude. It's like the life and times of being that dude, but it's almost like Tommy or some shit. But it's like rock flavors, it's coming out in 2013 on Fat Beats. We've been working on it over the last year. Me and Sasha with a production team were always working on it. Me and Sasha were working on this idea, trying to crossover this punk rock shit, sorta like the Bad Brains, with hip-hop involved. It's not rock-hop, it's a different type of shit. I'll put it to you like this, Murs has this track called "The Ghetto's Trying to Kill Me" and this track has a sample of How Low Can a Punk Get?" It's a story that we even want to put together with a comic book.
And I'm just now getting a start on something I wanna do called "Blackmo" which like a concept, you know how they have like emo and shit? It's like emotional but from a black experience, not on no racial shit or anything like that. I'm a black man, speaking from a black core of experience of being emotional from an artistic sense like how they say emo is. So the sound that I'm trying to envision in my head, I just call it "blackmo" but it's a very sensitive sound, then it's got a realy angsty, atonal sound. It's a concept that's exciting to me because it's a musical landscape that I see, that's what's dope. I was even just saying, there's still some spots on me and Doc's finger boards, there's only a certain amount of notes in rock'n'roll, but I believe there's still approaches.