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Need proof of why Bad Brains is considered one of the most influential punk bands of all time? Check out these clips on YouTube to see the band in its awe-inspiring prime.
In this hour-long 1982 clip of Bad Brains at the legendary CBGB’s in New York, you get an amazing look at the band’s palpable energy. Backed by a makeshift wall of Marshalls, Gary “Dr. Know” Miller taps out the show opener, “Big Takeover,” and then singer Paul “H.R.” Hudson, bassist Darryl Jenifer (who, sadly, is off camera for most of the show), and drummer Earl Hudson join in to tear the place apart.
After 12 minutes of footage showing H.R. prowling the same CBGB stage as the human embodiment of hyper-kinetic energy, the primal frontman settles down, Miller kicks on some cavernous reverb, and the band lays back into deep reggae grooves as NYC punks of all shapes and colors dance alongside them onstage.
If you only watch one portion of this excellent 25-minute clip from a 1987 spring-break gig in Florida, start at the 3:30 mark and witness Miller—equipped with a Charvel “super strat”—lead the band’s raging intro to the then-brand-new song “House of Suffering.” Immediately after, there’s an über-funky rendition of the Beatles’ “Daytripper” that finds Jenifer getting the crowd moving with his go-to Modulus J-style bass.