Friday, March 12, 2021

Bad Brains-Pay To Cum!/Stay Close To Me; Bad Brains Records, 2020


Ok, so Disaster Amnesiac was NOT there for the rock that hit the water of culture that the Bad Brains were. That said, I most DEFINITELY felt their ripples. I can still recall hearing Pay To Cum! on Let Them Eat Jelly Beans and just knowing that their sounds, along with those of Black Flag, had changed how music was going to be heard and appreciated by me. I would soon become aware of just how many other people had this same revelation, but at the time, it was a purely subjective one as I sat alone in a small bedroom apartment in West Germany. The lightning fast guitar riffs from DR. Know and Darryl Jenifer, giving off so much more energy than those I'd been digging from groups I had been hearing, exploded in my ears, their chords tracing neural paths that were clearly necessary! The precision drumming of Earl Hudson, as if originating from some ancient and yet absolutely current ritual, with that cowbell sound and crisp snare hits! And, of course, the strange incantations from H.R., sung and spat out with such declarative fury and intriguing accent! Much like many others, Disaster Amnesiac found myself asking "who are these beings, and what planet are they from?" 

Pay To Cum! was one of those paradigm shift moments that Punk Rock presented. I'd imagine that copies of the original 7" are closely guarded and kept in secure locations by those that acquired them at their initial release, they being well aware of their import on the cultural landscape. It was fucking significant then, and it remains so.  The song has just never aged for me, and I'd imagine that that rings true for millions of others at this point, too. 

Thankfully, for people such Disaster Amnesiac that never were able to get their mitts onto an original copy of it, Bad Brains have gotten their business act tight, and are re-issuing huge chunks of their back catalog, starting with the world historical song of which I'm now singing praises. I was stoked to have found my copy of Pay To Cum! on a sleek silver slab of 7" vinyl at their website, and at a non-bank busting price to boot. 

As for the B-side, I was never familiar with Stay Close To Me, and have been enjoying its Punky Reggae feel as well; it conjures up visions of summertime cook outs and puppy love, what with its good time feels. Not as earth shattering as Pay To Cum!, but, then, what really could be so? Not much..... is a beautiful, slick, and classy spot on the web, and they're delivering their product with efficiency. Kudos to Bad Brains for that, and, of course, for using their PMA to draft that kick ass template of a large swath of music for the ensuing four decades. 

I needn't tell anyone who has marveled at the precision attack of Bad Brains musical vision that they should get on over there pronto, if for nothing more than a reminder of the possibilities that Bad Brains are so adept at invoking.

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