Now that hardcore is at the ripe age of approximately 30 years old, it’s effortless to conclude that the Bad Brains were the leading pioneers of the entire genre. This is quite ironic considering the fact that group objected that the term “hardcore” be used to describe the characteristics of their music. Critics of the band often cite them as being homophobic based on 1982 interviews in both Flipside (#31) and Forced Exposure (#2) where singer HR refers to shooting homosexuals. And then there’s the well-documented incident in Texas during the same year that involved members of the Big Boys and MDC that had homosexual leanings. These incidents of folly would permanently damage the reputation of any other band that was less talented and innovative than the Bad Brains. If anything this stands as an extraordinary testament to their greatness: stating unambiguously dodgy ideologies to a politically correct audience and still being respected by them.
This post will be the first of numerous entries devoted to the documentation of live Bad Brains material. This Christmas ’81 gig is not the preeminent Bad Brains live bootleg in circulation but it’s nothing to scoff at either. (In my opinion, if you’re a fan of the Bad Brains almost any soundboard live recording before 1987 or so is worth owing). Maybe this recording isn’t the most flawless soundboard recording by these guys in circulation, but you get thirteen and a half minutes of music that will melt your face. HR's custom introduction to "Supertouch" is awe-inspiring enough to induce goose bumps before the song even begins!
I've seen this recording listed on various trade lists as being 20 minutes in length. If anyone has the 20 minute version (or the full show for that matter), please contact me through the site.