The Rocks Off 100: D.R.I's Kurt Brecht, Thrash Zone Supervisor
Brecht, right, with Pasadena Napalm Division
Who? Kurt Brecht is the iron-lunged front man of D.R.I. (Dirty Rotten Imbeciles), the ridiculously speedy hardcore punk band that got its start bashing out tunes inside his parents' house in Houston back in 1982. After shattering the sound barrier with the 18-minute, 22-song Dirty Rotten EP the same year, D.R.I. pulled up stakes and headed off to San Francisco, where the group became patron saints of skateboarders everywhere by welding together the more aggressive elements of hardcore and metal into a blistering new sound known as crossover thrash.
These days, D.R.I. continues to incite wild circle pits and gnarly backside fakies the world over. The band just finished a tour with fellow crossover legends Suicidal Tendencies and kicks off a string of dates featuring its classic '80s lineup this Friday at Scout Bar.
Now back in Houston full-time, Brecht keeps busy pulling double duty as the front man for Pasadena Napalm Division, the local thrash supergroup also featuring members of deadhorse. Their debut album is scheduled to drop in a matter of weeks.
Home Base: When he's not on tour, Brecht lives and works in the Spring Branch area of Houston.
Why Do You Stay in Houston? Thirty years after beating feet to the Bay Area, Brecht calls Houston home once again for reasons familiar to any local.
"Houston has a cheap cost of living and good work opportunity," the singer says. "Both important for a struggling musician. San Francisco is expensive and jobs are harder to come by."
Music Scene Pet Peeve: It's no surprise that a musician who cut his teeth in the early-'80s hardcore scene still nurses a certain resentment toward authority when it comes to the trials of making music professionally.
"I don't feel our government supports bands enough as a form of the arts," Brecht says. "But, they mostly stay out of our way, so that is OK."
Good War Story: When it comes to rock and roll adventures, sometimes even a long career's worth of aural insanity and endless road trips have trouble topping the first. That's certainly the case for the D.R.I. singer, anyway.
"After one year practicing and playing in Houston we left for California, where our type of music was really taking off," he said. "What an adventure that was in an $800 van!"
Five Desert Island Discs:
- Pink Floyd, The Wall
- Black Sabbath, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
- T.S.O.L., Dance With Me
- The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
- Trouble, Trouble
Best Show Ever: Like a great many musicians, Brecht considers his best show ever to be the next one.
"We continue to play awesome shows all the time!" he earnestly insists.
When it comes to amazing performances by others, however, one in particular stands out. And he probably ain't alone.
"One of the best I ever went to was Black Flag in Houston at The Island," he says.
Current Projects: If there's one thing that Kurt Brecht has never been accused of, it's slowing down. It's going to be a busy month for the Thrash Zone supervisor.
"My side project, Pasadena Napalm Division, has our first full-length coming out worldwide soon: end of May," he says. "D.R.I. starts our '80s Lineup Tour this week! Five shows in Texas and Louisiana."
Skank on over and say hello.
D.R.I. plays Clear Lake's Scout Bar, 18307 Egret Bay Blvd., Friday with Dykes on Bykes, El Desmadre, Burn the Boats and Hel-Razor. Doors open at 8 p.m.
See who else has joined The Rocks Off 100 this year on the next page.
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