Thrashin’ Through the Decades with Dirty Rotten Imbeciles

During my sophomore year of high school, lunchtime usually involved conversing with friends and crushes, all the while discussing or listening to punk rock, hip hop, or ska. One particular day in 1995, my friend Mark introduced me to the band D.R.I., or Dirty Rotten Imbeciles. He had their latest release, Live, and the metal he shared through the headphones of his disc man was the sort I didn’t know existed. Prior to the Imbeciles, I’d casually listened to Metallica, Megadeth, and the Wayne’s World soundtrack for exposure to metal. But by early high school, the genre had not affected me as much as my discovery of hardcore punk greats like Minor Threat, Dead Kennedys, and early Beastie Boys. D.R.I., along with Suicidal Tendencies and S.O.D., is one of the best bands of the ’80s I’ve heard to whisk together the speed and vocals of punk with the more technical skill and heaviness of metal. I thank Mark for the introduction and have been his ally in dutifully following the crossover innovators, one of my favorite bands still, for the last 21 years.

On December 15, 2015, D.R.I. released a teaser to build anticipation for their first new studio release since 1995’s Full Speed Ahead. Frustration and hope had been mounting even before a lone 2004 MP3 demo of “Against Me” was offered in the days of MySpace. Between band statements about focusing on touring, guitarist Spike’s cancer treatments, and side projects like the awesome Pasadena Napalm Division and Denial Fiend further adding to the years of doubt, it was satisfying to read that June 10, 2016 is the official release date for But Wait… There’s More! Pre-ordering is available through Beer City Records and Amazon. I’ve already ordered two copies of the 7″ vinyl and will await the return of D.R.I. when they tour through the American Midwest this autumn. After Overkill and Anthrax, they’re the band I’ve seen the most live and subsequently, I have many pictures and some video to share in appreciation of founders Spike Cassidy and Kurt Brecht’s lifelong musical work. Thank you, Imbeciles past and present, for the great thrash and hardcore music and dedication to touring.

Social Chaos Tour, Phoenix Plaza Amphitheater, Phoenix, Arizona, August 2, 1999

Band lineup: Kurt, Spike, Chumly, Rob

Gabe’s Oasis, Iowa City, Iowa, August 12, 1999

Band lineup: Kurt, Spike, Harald, Rob

DRI Flyer Gabes 1999

The Pig Pen, Clinton, Iowa, December, 2002

Band lineup: Kurt, Spike, Harald, Rob

My friends Mark, Kevin, Ken and I saw the Imbeciles again in 2002. At one point, Kurt Brecht asked for a volunteer to sing while he took a brief break. Mark, with encouragement from us, joined the band and sang “Equal People.” Unfortunately, there is no known video, but there may be pictures somewhere in my house.

Kryptonite, Cedar Falls, Iowa, August 13, 2004

Band lineup: Kurt, Spike, Harald, Rob

Reverb, Waterloo, Iowa, October 5, 2010

Band lineup: Kurt, Spike, Harald, Rob

Vaudeville Mews, Des Moines, Iowa May 7, 2012

Band lineup: Kurt, Spike, Harald, Rob

Rock Island Brewing Co., Rock Island, Illinois, May 30, 2014

Band lineup: Kurt, Spike, Harald, Rob

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