Who has the politics of the Dead Kennedys, the humor of the Descendents, and the crossover appeal of Suicidal Tendencies? Punk/thrash pioneers D.R.I. fill those shoes and will be appearing at downtown venue 32 Bleu on Friday, July 9, with guests Strong Intention, Try Redemption and The Misplaced.
Punk rock is known for, and almost prides itself on, its frantic energy and a crash-and-burn mentality. Because of that, its quite the oddity when a punk band manages to survive the years, much less do so successfully. Twenty-two years ago, the band D.R.I (short for Dirty Rotten Imbeciles) began in Houston, Texas, and today is still touring and inspiring punks everywhere.
After years of Spinal Tap-like changing lineups, the band features the two original members, singer Kurt Brecht and guitarist Spike Cassidy, who are now joined by Rob Rampy on drums and Harald Oimoen on bass.
The joy of punk is how crazy and lively it can be, and D.R.I. has never been criticized for lack of energy. Their first release, the now-rare Dirty Rotten EP, was a blitz of movement, cramming 22 songs into eight minutes on a 7-inch EP. They soon became an underground favorite, and the band found themselves on the Rock Against Reagan tour with punk rock legends the Dead Kennedys.
D.R.I.s second full-length release, 1985s Dealing With It, marked a major rerouting for the group. While still trying to write the shortest, fastest songs ever, they also began to explore other musical venues. The result was nothing short of groundbreaking. Since then, D.R.I. is acknowledged by the press as one of the major bands of the crossover movement, a style that combined punk, hard-core and metal. This music invited a mixed audience of punks, skinheads and metal fans to their shows, who in turn brought stage diving and slam dancing into the mix.
While staunchly remaining underground and true to their musical roots, the question facing D.R.I. has been how to remain viable. Regular touring has earned them legions of loyal fans, and Brecht maintains that the audience hasnt changed a lot in 22 years .
Their travels have taken them worldwide, covering European and South American shows. D.R.I. even had their 15 minutes of mainstream fame, as their videos achieved regular rotation on MTV and a shining moment on the show Beavis and Butthead. Brecht even made a recent appearance in the mainstream arena, singing a track on Foo Fighter Dave Grohls newest project, Probot.
D.R.I. doesn't live in the past.
As a punk band with songs that often have a political bent, Brecht says they have to adjust their play lists to fit the times. Singing about 80s reform and a way-back-when president wont reach a current audience, so time-specific songs, such as Reaganomics, have to be replaced. We dont play that song anymore, said Brecht. We have many more songs that are more relevant to the times, he added, referring to recent songs like Violent Pacification and I Dont Need Society.
In fact, the group keeps an eye on its future. "We hope to hit the studio soon, as we are currently in good relations with our record label, Beer City," said Brecht.
K eep an ear to the ground and expect something
new from these dirty rotten imbeciles very soon.
-- Kara Luger
D.R.I. with guests Strong Intention, Try Redemption and The Misplaced
32 Bleu, 32 S. Tejon St.
Friday, July 9, 9:30 p.m.
$10; Call 955-5664.