Music » Music Stories & Interviews

Gone too long


It’s 1982 in Houston, Texas. Kurt and Eric Brecht stand in their parents’ house alongside two of their friends (Spike Cassidy and Dennis Johnson, for those of you keeping score at home). They’ve assembled in the interest of forming a new band, much to the chagrin of the Brecht brothers’ father, who regularly barges into practice and tells the group of “dirty, rotten imbeciles” to keep it down.

Such was the birth of Houston’s very own hardcore co-pioneers, D.R.I.

One of the more exciting aspects of punk rock and its numerous subgenres is its ability to constantly change and evolve. Sure, we’ve always been lousy with boring new bands determined to rehash the same old crap we’ve heard a thousand times over, but there’s also always been a steady undercurrent of bands reworking the noise and pushing the boundaries, redefining what punk means and sounds like as they go.

In that respect, D.R.I. have undeniably contributed their fair share. From their very first record, the group set themselves apart from the rest of their hardcore contemporaries by fusing, quite seamlessly, a hearty dose of thrash-metal influence into their music. A match made in heaven, to be sure, and one that not only proved D.R.I. to be rather groundbreaking in their interpretation of the genre, but established them early on as one of the better bands one could listen to whilst atop a skateboard.

As time progressed, they injected more metal into their sound, creating what would eventually come to be known as crossover thrash. The songs got slower and longer (by longer, of course, I mean two minutes instead of 45 seconds), with more riffage and other familiar guitar wankery aplenty. D.R.I. is, to this day, generally credited as the band responsible for coining the term “crossover” with the 1987 release, erm, Crossover.

I know what you’re saying right now, dear reader: “OK, OK, so we’ve established that D.R.I. are worth listening to. Great. But isn’t the Current supposed to be about things that are — you know — current? How is this current? What does this have to do with San Antonio right now? Where did I leave my keys?” Never fear, my eager friends. I’m building toward a point, I promise.

Though their activity in-studio dried up pretty much entirely post-1995, D.R.I. never ceased their relentless tour schedule, touring regularly all over the United States, and even finding themselves once or twice in Europe, Japan, South America… even beautiful and majestic Canada! Basically, if you live on Earth (as most of us do) and are into punk rock, chances are you’ve had the opportunity to see D.R.I. live. They guys absolutely never stopped touring.

That was, until early 2006, when Spike Cassidy was diagnosed with colon cancer. Their then-forthcoming tour (slated to pass through San Antonio) was canceled, and the band was put on hiatus for a while to allow the founding member time for treatment and recovery. It was a dark time for the group, and, of course, for their fans, who worried for Spike’s health (and, perhaps more selfishly, wondered if they’d ever have a chance to see the hardworking hardcore troubadours together again).

Well someone must have been closing their eyes, clapping their hands, and chanting “I believe,” because not only is Spike feeling better, but the last couple years of chemotherapy and radiation and good ol’ fashioned American bedrest have cleared Spike’s now all-too-often-talked-about colon of any trace of cancer. Huzzahs are indeed in order.

So what do you do with a clean bill of health and a legacy of nonstop touring that’d been collecting dust there on the shelf for the past half a decade? Well, if you’re D.R.I., you toss some amps into the back of a van, pop a few Geritol for good measure, and hit the road! Which is, as you can guess, exactly what they’ve done. As we speak, the group is out on the road and headed straight for us. One can safely expect some manner of brutal hardcore onslaught, rife with thrash overtones, and perhaps one or two weirdos attempting to do skate tricks in the pit. •

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