HR - 2006

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HR is the lead singer for pioneering hardcore punk band Bad Brains (an all-BLACK band! Take THAT, Nazi skinners!), and has also released several solo albums. However, as far as I can tell, he hasn't recorded any music since 1995 or so. As such, I was surprised when Citizine was offered an interview with this complicated (and some say violently deranged) Rastafari man. I love the first couple of Bad Brains albums, so I prepared for the interview by reading up on Rastafari and developing questions that I felt were both interesting and controversial (about what initially appealed to him about Rastafari, what he was like before his conversion, how he is able to reconcile his image as a 'prophet of peace' with his widely-acknowledged history of violence and homophobia, etc). But of course, you can't just bust right into questions like these with a person you've never met, so I figured I'd start off with some small talk and innocuous little questions about his musical history, like I usually do. And then THIS happened. (I'm in bold, all others in normal print)





Hey, this is [NAME WITHHELD]. We just got into Savannah, Georgia so I thought I'd give you a call.


Listen, HR is already down at the venue, so let me give you a number where you can reach him there.


Okay, the woman's name is [NAME WITHHELD], and you can get her at [NUMBER WITHHELD].

Excellent. Okay, thanks a lot! I'll call in about ten minutes.

And if you have any questions about anything he says, feel free to give me a call back.

Will do.

Umm... You may want to call me back! (*nervous laughter*)

Okay....? Thanks!

Alright, bye now.


(*10 minutes pass; I dial the number*)


Hi, is this [NAME WITHHELD]?


Could I speak to HR? I'm calling to interview him.

Hang on, I can't hear you. (pause) Sorry about that. What was it?

I'm calling to interview HR. I was given this number by the guy who's traveling with him.

Oh, you got the number from [NAME WITHHELD]?


Okay, well I can put you on the phone with HR. Do you want me to tell him about the interview, or do you want to do that?

I hope [NAME WITHHELD] already did!

Well, I wouldn't be too surprised if.... Okay, hang on.


(NAME WITHHELD, TO HR): [NAME WITHHELD] set up a phone interview for you, and the guy's on the phone and wants to talk to you. Okay? You need anything? If you want me, I'll be right out there, okay?


Hello? Goodbye....

Hello! How are you?

Oh, I'm doing just great.

What are you up to? Are you just playing acoustic sets? Or with the Dub Agents? Or....

Human Rights/Soul Brains. We started a brand new concept and we're working on a new tune. And we've also got a new show for you!

Great! Are you gonna put out a new album soon?

Oh no, we don't want to burn (mumble mumble). Yeah, we just gotta produce some (mumble mumble).

Are you still writing a lot of songs?

Ohhhhhhh most definitely!

Do you still enjoy your old music - the old Bad Brains stuff?

That never was our group's name! Our manager decided that it would be, but we were....

Oh, the Soul Brains. Right?

In the early days, we were called Human Rights.

Umm.... (?) Which of your records do you think are the absolute best? That you are the happiest with?

Ohhh! Which one do I like - what is the greatest album I ever did?


Okay. Just... hold on, okay?


(*1 minute and 29 seconds of silence. And if that doesn't sound like a long time to you, count it on your watch and imagine it happening ONE MINUTE into an interview*)

Thank you for your patience!

That's no problem.

So next question please.

When you first started playing music, did you ever have to deal with racist skinhead-type people com-

Are you coming to the show tonight?

Am I?

Yes. Do you want us to put your name on the guest list?

I'm actually calling from a different state.

Okay. Well, talk to you later. Bye!


(*dial tone*)

Reader Comments
Funniest shit I've read in a long time. Thank you and be careful when you cross the street. You don't want to find Henry The Dog as Henry the squashed Tortilla; do you? DO YOU???
I was at the Savannah show… I don’t think HR knows what planet he is on!
Hey man, that's a bummer about that interview with HR! He's one of the most important figures in the history of hardcore punk. He didn't even get to say what his favorite album of theirs was. Just the other day I saw a clip of Henry Rollins talking about being at a Bad Brains show, and HR jumped on Rollins and was screaming right in his face and that's what convinced Henry to be in music for the rest of his life. So now will you include a Bad Brains section on the site because I am just dying to know if you prefer Rock for Light, self-titled or I Against I?!?!

Keep on grungin'!
You fucked up, you really fucked up you nazi whore. He didn't want to answer your cold, calculated questions. Rastaman HR lives for the here and now, twenty years ago isn't relevent in this hour and his show that night. If I talked to HR I would have said some rock and roll shit. Whats your favorite album and why? I love you mark, but thats bad sloppy little shit. Here's my interview: Hey HR, so how long has it taken you to grow your dreads. Tried any peyote? Does playing give you out of body experiences? Bend down low rasta tell us what you know. Whats your favorite bad brains album and why? SEE SEE you were a ball and chain on his nuts. Place yourself in his shoes, stoned out of his mind; holding a magic instrument of communication; and then ask him what he wants to talk about with some holy spirit or just regular alcohol spirit.

Haha, awesome! I haven't been to your site in a few months and, being depressed this morning, I thought -- what do I need to get kinda happy again? Oh, yeah!! MARK PRINDLE!!! AND A ROOT BEER FLOAT!!!

So this interview made my day. I hope you're happy. 'Cause I sure am!

(And I know you said you were going to review TMBG's records sometime... hmmm...)
The man is sick. Schizophrenic. Pretty pathetic you guys posted this. (G DUBS)
I to think the interview was a classic but to me the only one that looks silly is the interviewer. he said he spent time in thought about questions he was to ask, but the only thing he could say to hr is did you ever deal with skinhead racists when they started playing- com on really hasn't pretty much everyone had to- instead Im sure HR would have gave quite an elaborate response when asked about what message his new music can give to the youth.ive never met HR but have a funny feeling he was just a liitle smarter than the otherguy on the line
I am a friend of HR's. I've known him for more then 20 years. He has great talent but he also has many problems.

He needs love and understanding.
Maybe you could interview him again. Hopefully you'll get something decent outta him. HR is too 'out there' to be forgotten.
best interview of all time! ever! in history!

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