Dirty Rotten Imbeciles
|Also known as||D.R.I.|
|Origin||Houston, Texas, U.S.|
|Past members||See below|
Dirty Rotten Imbeciles (often abbreviated and referred to as D.R.I.) are an American crossover thrash band that formed in Houston, Texas in 1982. The band is currently composed of two of its founding members, vocalist Kurt Brecht and guitarist Spike Cassidy, as well as drummer Rob Rampy and bass player Greg Orr.
D.R.I. never gained a mainstream audience, but the integration of their hardcore punk roots with thrash metal influences was a stylistic catalyst for their contemporaries — most notably Suicidal Tendencies, Corrosion of Conformity, Stormtroopers of Death, the Cro-Mags, Nuclear Assault and Cryptic Slaughter — alongside whom they are considered to be one of the major pioneers of what would later be called "crossover thrash", along with Adrenalin O.D., with both bands having a heavy influence on modern thrash metal.
To date, D.R.I. has released seven full-length studio albums. Other than three new songs on the 2016 EP But Wait...There's More!, they have not released a full-length studio album since Full Speed Ahead in 1995. Despite this, the band has continued to tour almost every year, and gone on hiatus intermittently, notably between 2004 and 2009, when Cassidy was diagnosed with colon cancer. Since at least 1998, D.R.I. has been working on their eighth full-length studio album, which remains unreleased.
Early days (1982–1986)
The Dirty Rotten Imbeciles formed on May 2, 1982 in the city of Houston, from the ashes of the hardcore punk band Suburbanites. The original line-up consisted of Spike Cassidy on guitar, Kurt Brecht on vocals, Eric Brecht on drums and Dennis Johnson on bass guitar, which was basically the Suburbanites with Cassidy on guitar. Cassidy's roommate played guitar in the Suburbanites.
The group started practicing at Kurt and Eric's parents' home. The noise made by the band allegedly drew regular complaints from Kurt and Eric's father. This led to the band gaining their name when they were described as a "bunch of dirty rotten imbeciles." This was also an inspiration for the song "Madman," which featured a clip of Kurt and Eric's father interrupting a band practice to complain about the noise. They initially went under the name U.S.D.R.I for a brief period of time before shortening it to D.R.I. Presumably, the "U.S." stood for the band, as mentioned in interviews off of the extended version on the Dirty Rotten CD. Photos of the band can be found with the original U.S.D.R.I logo. The "Skanker Man" logo was designed by original drummer Eric Brecht as a high school art assignment to create a "corporate" logo. He received an "A" on it.
Two months later, on July 2, 1982, the band played their first show at Joe Star's OMNI, in Houston.
On November 6 & 7, 1982, D.R.I. recorded their first release, the Dirty Rotten EP, fitting 22 songs into 18 minutes on a 7" EP. Only 1000 copies of this EP version were pressed, making it now a very rare collector's item. Demand caused this EP to be pressed into a 12" LP version, released in 1983, aptly titled Dirty Rotten LP.
In 1983, D.R.I. relocated to San Francisco, where they lived in their van and ate at soup kitchens in between gigs. Dennis Johnson quit the band and returned home to Texas. He was replaced with Sebastion Amok, and within a few months D.R.I. found themselves on the "Rock Against Reagan" tour with the Dead Kennedys. At the conclusion of the tour, Josh Pappe was brought in to replace Sebastian Amok who would eventually join The Dicks, another Texas band.
Their next release was the 4 song 7" EP Violent Pacification in 1984. After touring in the summer of 1984, Eric Brecht got married and left the band. He was replaced with at the time, a 17-year-old Felix Griffin. Also in 1984, one of their songs, "Snap" appeared on the anti-war benefit compilation P.E.A.C.E. along with other famous hardcore and punk bands such as Crass, D.O.A., Dead Kennedys and MDC.
D.R.I.'s second full-length album, Dealing with It!, was released in March 1985. The group toured extensively in support of the album. During the recording of the album, Josh took a leave from the band. Mikey Offender (Mikey Donaldson - bass player of The Offenders) was asked to play for the album, although Spike played bass on the songs that Mikey didn't have time to learn.
The songs on Dealing With It leaned slightly towards a metal direction, but still kept the band's thrashcore sound.
On April 26, 1986, they recorded their show at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles and released the video, which was entitled Live at the Olympic.
Crossover thrash period (1987–1996)
When Felix joined D.R.I. in 1984 he brought a new audience to the shows. The next three years the band toured and started developing a new genre, (along with other pioneers) crossover. Their third album, Crossover, released in 1987, was suitingly named since the songs on this album had a strong metal sound to them. As the band began to "crossover" to thrash, their songs became longer, slower, and more complex. The press has called D.R.I. the major band of the "crossover" movement, a style that combined hardcore punk and thrash metal. This music invited a mixed audience of punks, skinheads, and metal fans to their shows.
The Live At The Ritz video was recorded next, on June 27, 1987, at The Ritz in New York, during the band's worldwide Crossover tour.
In February 1988, the Dirty Rotten Imbeciles returned to the studio to record 4 of a Kind. The songs on this album continued in the band's metal style. They released a music video for the song "Suit and Tie Guy", and the Dirty Rotten LP was remixed to include the songs from the Violent Pacification EP, and was re-released.
The band toured Europe again to support the 4 of a Kind album, then once home in the U.S., Josh Pappe left the band because of an offer to play for Gang Green. He was replaced by John Menor.
September 1989 brought the release of Thrash Zone. Two music videos were released from this album, "Beneath the Wheel" and "Abduction". In 1990, Felix Griffin left the group and was replaced by Rob Rampy.
D.R.I. toured in 1992, opening for Testament, as well as headlining their own shows. During this tour, they recorded their gig at the Hollywood Palladium on November 27. It was released in 1994 as their first live album, appropriately entitled Live. It was, more or less, "released as a stepping stone between Definition and Full Speed Ahead". Soon after recording the show, John Menor left D.R.I. and was replaced by the band's long time friend and roadie, Chumly Porter.
The group took part in headlining the Lolitabazooka Tour, in the fall of 1994.
In 1995, D.R.I. released Full Speed Ahead. They also made another music video, this time for a song called "Syringes In The Sandbox".
In January 1996, they started touring North America with Acid Bath opening for them. But in April, Rob and Spike ran into some trouble trying to enter Canada because they had both been previously charged with driving under the influence in the U.S. This resulted in the cancellation of all their Canadian tour dates.
During 1997 and 1998, D.R.I. continued to tour the world extensively, including European & South American dates. In March 1998, D.R.I. launched their official web site.
Also in 1998, D.R.I. announced that they were writing songs for the follow-up to Full Speed Ahead, including "Against Me", "As Seen on TV", "Bad News", "Brick Wall View", "Destructive Power", "Insanity Plea", "Saddam Insane", "Sweaty Deli Tray" and "Wrong as Usual"; the former of the two would be released 18 years later on But Wait...There's More!. Relentless touring, as well as the band's slow writing and recording pace and the search for a record label, resulted in putting the album on hold for over half a decade; eventually they were signed to Beer City Records. By the spring of 2004, D.R.I. had demoed at least four new songs for their eighth studio album, including "Against Me", which was available downloading at the "record news" page from their official web site for several years. As of January 2019, the album has yet to be released.
During 1999, D.R.I. appeared as one of the headlining bands on the "Social Chaos" in North America Tour. One of their songs, "I'm The Liar", is used for a Social Chaos Tour CD compilation. The CD contained one song from each band that appeared on the tour. During August 1999, in the middle of the tour, Chumly left the band after tiring of touring. He was replaced by Harald Oimoen. Oimoen had been working on and off with the band for years, doing everything from photography and merchandise to bass tech. The band resumed the tour missing only two shows.
The turn of the millennium saw the Dirty Rotten Imbeciles headline the "Millennium 2000 Tour".
The constant cycle of touring continued into 2001 with D.R.I. extensively touring the US on the "Old School Tour” culminating in a headlining appearance at the Milwaukee Metal Fest.
2002 marks D.R.I.'s 20th anniversary and the beginning of a new era for the band. D.R.I. signed with Beer City records agreeing to reissue their back catalog and a produce new studio CDs and DVDs.
To celebrate both of these occasions, DRI embarked on a huge world tour. This tour went all over the US, Japan, Europe and South America into 2003.
The first Beer City reissue came out in 2003. The Dirty Rotten CD featured the original full length Dirty Rotten LP and the Violent Pacification 7” EP as well as a number of never before released bonus tracks and interviews. Included within the bonus tracks were live recordings of D.R.I.’s first show ever and live computer video footage from the band's only performance at New York's famous CBGB’s from the 1984 "Violent Pacification" tour.
2003 also brought the second Beer City reissue for Dealing With It. This CD contains the original album plus rare and never before heard bonus tracks as well as live video footage. The footage is from a mid 80’s interview from a San Francisco Public-access television cable TV show.
D.R.I. embarked on yet another tour in 2004 that would take them all over the US and all over Europe again. After completing the tour, they decided it was time to start working with Beer City on the Live At CBGB’s CD and DVD and the reissue of the Crossover album. The Live At CBGB’s DVD and CD was reissued and is available on Beer City Records. The reissue of Crossover was delayed due to Spike's illness.
Hiatus, recovery of Spike Cassidy and continued touring (2006–2013)
In March 2006, Spike was diagnosed with colon cancer, putting the band's current tour and future performances on hiatus until his recovery. Plans to release a new studio LP are also on hold until Spike has recovered.
In December 2006, Spike had completed all radiation and chemotherapy after being diagnosed with cancer in March 2006. A one-foot section of large intestine (colon) was removed through an eight-inch (20 cm) incision in his stomach. The surgery, which took place on March 27, 2006 was said to be successful in removing all traces of the cancer. His rehabilitation is going well and he is expected to make a full recovery. The official website states Cassidy to be cancer free as of August 2008.
Spike Cassidy commented on his return to the stage “I am very happy D.R.I. will be playing again, it has been far too long. We are currently setting up weekends to test the water and rebuild the stamina that we were known for. We all look forward to restarting up exactly where we left off."
D.R.I. is known for their high energy performances and their nonstop touring. Cassidy also adds “Right now it is 2 & 3 day weekends until 2010, followed by some international work. We really are planning to be able to do a 4 week tour by late summer 2010."
April 13, 2010 Beer City records reissued Crossover - Millennium Edition on LP and CD. Finally after many years Crossover was once again available. This reissue was remastered by the original co-producer/engineer Bill Metoyer. This release also contains liner notes by all the band members who played on this release (Spike Cassidy, Kurt Brecht, Felix Griffin and Josh Pappe). The CD version also contains 11 bonus tracks including 5 songs from their famous performance at NYC 'The Ritz'.
June 15, 2010 Beer City records reissues The Dirty Rotten EP, The Dirty Rotten LP, Violent Pacification 7" and Dealing With It on vinyl. All of these releases had been out of print on vinyl now for a very long time. The LP's were issued on red vinyl and both 7"s were issued on 5 colors of vinyl.
In 2011, D.R.I. went on a tour of the US, the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany.
But Wait...There's More!, lineup changes and new album (2014–present)
D.R.I. entered a Southern California studio in October 2014 to begin record an EP containing new material. It was produced by Bill Metoyer, who produced the band's third, fourth and fifth studio albums Crossover, 4 of a Kind and Thrash Zone. Vocalist Kurt Brecht has described the EP as "more punk rock than metal". The EP, titled But Wait...There's More!, was released on June 10, 2016, and the band embarked on a series of world tours in support of it.
On September 17, 2014, it was announced that Rob Rampy had departed from the band, citing serious injury as the reason. He was then replaced by Brandon Karns, who subsequently left the band shortly thereafter. Karns was then replaced by Walter "Monsta" Ryan. However, Rampy re-joined D.R.I in 2018. In 2017, the band parted ways with their longtime bassist Harald Oimoen, who was replaced by Greg Orr (ex Attitude Adjustment).
In January 2019, Metal Addicts reported that D.R.I. had been working on their first full-length studio album since 1995's Full Speed Ahead, tentatively planned for release later that year or in 2020; it was later reported to be released in 2021.
Although no longer working with D.R.I., one of the band's old record labels, Rotten Records, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Rotten Records is suing a Comcast user who allegedly downloaded and shared their sixth album. According to the lawsuit, Rotten Records hired Rightscorp to monitor BitTorrent networks for infringement. The company claims it connected to the defendants’ BitTorrent clients and downloaded a full copy of the album, later verifying that they were identical to the original copyright works. “Rightscorp sent Defendant 288 notices via their ISP Comcast Cable Communications, Inc. from December 14, 2014 to May 12, 2015 demanding that Defendant stop illegally distributing Plaintiff’s work. Defendant ignored each and every notice and continued to illegally distribute Plaintiff’s work,” the complaint reads. Rotten Records demands an injunction forbidding further online infringement in both cases in addition to the deletion of both albums from each Comcast user’s computer. The record label also wants statutory damages (potentially $150K per work if any infringement is deemed willful) plus attorneys’ fees.
Style and influence
D.R.I.'s music has combined elements of punk rock, thrash metal, speed metal and heavy metal, while their early material has been described as hardcore punk. They are often cited as one of the key bands that helped create the crossover thrash genre, along with S.O.D., Suicidal Tendencies and Corrosion of Conformity. Allmusic.com has claimed that, "Starting off as a speedy, straight-ahead punk band, they gradually mixed more elements of heavy metal into their sound; as they did so, their songs got longer and featured more sections and more variety in tempo. D.R.I. managed the then-rare feat of crossing over to metal audiences while retaining their skate-punk and hardcore fan bases -- they had something for all those audiences to love (or hate)."
Many bands and artists have cited D.R.I. as an influence or inspiration, including Anthrax, Cryptic Slaughter, Dark Angel, Death Angel, Kreator, Municipal Waste, Nuclear Assault, Slayer and Vio-Lence.
- Kurt Brecht – vocals (1982–present)
- Spike Cassidy – guitars (1982–present)
- Greg Orr – bass (2017–present)
- Rob Rampy – drums (1990–2014, 2018–present)
- Dennis Johnson – bass (1982–1983)
- Sebastion Amok – bass (1983)
- Josh Pappe – bass (1983–1984; 1985–1989, died 2020)
- Mikey "Offender" Donaldson – bass (1984–1985; died 2007)
- John Menor – bass (1989–1994)
- Chumly Porter – bass (1994–1999; died 2011)
- Harald Oimoen – bass (1999–2017)
- Eric Brecht – drums (1982–1984)
- Felix Griffin – drums (1984–1990)
- Brandon Karns – drums (2014–2016)
- Walter "Monsta" Ryan – drums (2016–2018)
- Dirty Rotten EP/LP (1983)
- Dealing with It! (1985)
- Crossover (1987)
- 4 of a Kind (1988)
- Thrash Zone (1989)
- Definition (1992)
- Full Speed Ahead (1995)
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