We’re dipping into the Far Out magazine vault and going all the way back to 1987 to revisit Bad Brains on stage in during Florida’s spring break frivolity performing a reggae-funk mash-up of The Beatles’ ‘Day Tripper’ and The Rolling Stones’ ‘She’s A Rainbow’.
It’s hard to quantify the ginormous effect that the British Invasion had one America’s rock and roll audience during the sixties. The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, among a host of others, were seen as the fresh new wave of pop music and flooded the radio and television airwaves alike.
It meant that a whole generation of musicians was influenced by the Stones and the Fab Four. Whether bands and artists were being inspired by orchestral sounds, the power of short and pithy pop or indeed the need to rally against rock in the mainstream, you cannot deny that they are among the most influential bands of their generation.
By 1987, Bad Brains had done their own fair share of inspiring others. Bursting on to the punk scene in the late seventies out of Washington D.C., the band developed a keen interest in reggae music and the Rastafari movement, something which had solidified into a clear ethos by the time they took to the stage in Florida and how now be adorned with the flecks of funk.
At the time Bad Brains were comprised of H.R., Dr. Know, Darryl Jenner and Earl Hudson with H.R. and his brother Earl leaving shortly after the conclusion of this tour. It is what many call the iconic line-up of the group and sees the band in captivating form, seamlessly marrying their sound with the hardcore punk acts that were still rolling around the US.
Despite their varied influences, Bad Brains were also clearly inspired by the British invasion bands as they honoured the two groups with a quite astounding cover of The Beatles classic ‘Day Tripper’ and The Rolling Stones’ own kaleidoscopic journey, ‘She’s A Rainbow’. The band also performed the track in Amsterdam, where it was captured as part of The Youth Are Getting Restless – Live at the Paradiso, Amsterdam, 1987.
The covers aren’t likely to please aficionados of the two bands but it does offer up a crystalline image of what made Bad Brains great. They brought so many different facets of music and thread them through the same machine, producing some of the warmest moments of musical unity you’ll ever see.