Features

Finding Joseph I: An Oral History Of H.R. From Bad Brains

by Pete Crigler

findingjoseph_250H.R., the legendary singer of the equally legendary Bad Brains, has had a very interesting life. This documentary does a very impressive job of talking about his career and the myriad of issues surrounding him offstage. Some of the greatest insight comes from H.R.’s brother, Bad Brains drummer Earl Hudson. This is actually the most I think I’ve ever heard Earl talk and what he talks about is fascinating, namely their childhood and H.R.’s subsequent decline into what is basically undiagnosed mental illness.

His friends and bandmates in his various reggae bands also talk at length about H.R.’s solo career. If you’re really into peace and love type reggae, then this is the music for you – otherwise don’t bother with it. The interviewees themselves are quite interesting, but for outsiders, it’s hard to take everything they say seriously (though that might just be me).

Towards the end, one gets an idea that H.R. is seriously ill. His behavior is just off the wall, and it’s nice to see that thanks to his bandmates and his wife, he finally begins to get the help that he needs to restore him to the superhuman vocalist punk fans all over the world love.

Overall, this is an interesting and quite endearing film as one realizes how gone H.R. really was, believing that he was in another dimension. It also shows how medication really does begin to help those who need it. This is recommended for those who love Bad Brains and for those aspiring mental health professionals.




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