Back To The Future: The Dirty Rotten Imbeciles That Meet In D.R.I.

Tonight at Wired Live, formerly the Meridian - or still the Meridian, just not for much longer; we don't even know at this point - you can watch part of punk and hardcore history duke it out with some of the new wave. Legendary crossover thrash band and Houston natives D.R.I. headline with support from politi-punks Room 101, Cancer and Sinister Minister.

Three years into their existence, D.R.I. booked it out of Houston for San Francisco in 1983, but they are still firmly entrenched in local punk history, even when touring with the likes of the Dead Kennedys and Austin prodigal sons MDC (or Millions of Dead Cops). Now D.R.I and MDC are a part of a proud Texas punk lineage along with Austin's Big Boys and The Dicks, and H-Town's own Really Red and The Hates.

In 2008, lead singer Kurt Brecht formed Pasadena Napalm Division with three-quarters of Houston metal heroes deadhorse. The thrash-metal band only played a handful of shows in Texas but was very well-received, with the band even playing Brecht's track from the Dave Grohl project Probot.

We compiled some of the bands that helped foster the crossover thrash sound and vision of D.R.I., from the Krishna-core of Summerfest artists the Cro-Mags to the big daddies in Black Flag. You can still hear echoes of D.R.I in bands like Municipal Waste (also Summerfest) and Houston's own modern grindcore scene of bands like Chocolate Crucifix and H.R.A. The sound lives on.

Cro-Mags "Hard Times": One of the the surprises of this year's Summerfest line-up was the inclusion of these guys on the bill. Now if only we can get a late D.R.I entry to school the kids from all the suburban coffeehouse hardcore kids on how to properly demonstrate your style.

Discharge "State Violence, State Control": Discharge doesn't get much love, being from the England and not touring the States as extensively as most of the other first wavers of hardcore. Even still, 1982's Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing is recommended listening. They helped shape the sound of everyone from Anthrax, Rancid and even Celtic Frost.
Circle Jerks "When The Shit Hits The Fan": The Internet would lead you to believe that the only song lead singer Keith Morris and the Circle Jerks ever recorded was "Wild In The Streets." But alas, they actually recorded quite a few songs. True story. This was Bad Religion guitarist Greg Hetson's first band after leaving Redd Kross, and remains his main gig away from BR when Greg Graffin feels like taking a break from being a freaking doctor or whatever he is.
The Adolescents "Amoeba": Southern California punk rock got a jolt with the Adolescents' self-titled debut LP. The band had a simple, straightforward style that would go on to inform the work of disparate SoCal bands such as the Offspring (pre-MTV) and the pop-punk of Face To Face.
Black Flag "Rise Above": It's always hard to pick one Flag song to be the ambassador for their entire sound. Purists will go with the era before Henry Rollins joined, while some will hit you with the later stuff when guitarist Greg Ginn and the rest of the boys started getting high and playing stoner metal. We went with this vintage slab from Damaged. Rollins is like a damned bald spitting viper in this clip.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty