There are few people as widely accredited in the pantheon of rock than Dave Grohl. Not only was he the drummer for Nirvana but he has since led Foo Fighters to be one of the biggest bands in the business. So when Grohl recommends an album you listen.
You should especially take notice when his recommendation comes complete with some heavy accolades themselves. Arguably the band is one of the most influential punk bands of all time. They certainly influenced a young Grohl.
The album in question is R.O.I.R. from Bad Brains is arguably the finest distillation of the D.C. punk scene you’re every likely to hear. One issue is, however, as a true punk, you’ll have to work for it as it’s an obscure punk bootleg.
The album goes by a few names but Dave Grohl simply refers to it as R.O.I.R, which may well be an original bootleg. “The Bad Brains studio albums are great, but for me ‘R.O.I.R’, this unofficial bootleg, comes closest to capturing their live sound on tape,” remembered Grohl when speaking with NME.
It would make sense that Grohl was so connected to the band, after all, he was living in the bubbling punk scene of Washington D.C. while Bad Brains were becoming icons of the movement. “I was living in DC in the early ‘80s,” says Grohl “and got into the hardcore scene but nobody else blew me away as much as Bad Brains.”
“I have never ever, ever, ever, ever seen a band do anything even close to what Bad Brains used to do live,” continues the former Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman. While one might point to the intensity the band were famed for bringing to every show as a key indicator of Grohl’s love for the group, it was in fact their connection with the audience that really endeared him to Bad Brains.
“They were connected in a way I’d never seen before,” says Grohl. It seems fitting that this should have such an impact on Grohl, a man who is perpetually known as “the nicest guy in rock“—Grohl’s connection to his fans is unrivalled. For Grohl, though, there was nobody more inspiring than Bad Brains. “They made me absolutely determined to become a musician, they basically changed my life, and changed the lives of everyone who saw them.”
Happy hunting for the mysterious album but while you are on the hunt for a classic Bad Brains bootleg, we’d suggest also checking out ‘Banned in D.C.’ as quite possibly the greatest hardcore bootleg of all time.
Below are some tasters of Bad Brains live, and if you need another, follow the link to a stellar performance at CBGB’s.