The DIRTY ROTTEN IMBECILES' history begins on May 2, 1982 around 4:00pm, in the city of Houston,TX. It was on this day that the musically agressive quartet we now know as D.R.I. made their first Dirty Rotten noise and called it a song. Back then it was Spike Cassidy (guitar), Kurt Brecht (vocals), Eric Brecht (drums), and Dennis Johnson (bass).
The group started practicing at Kurt and Eric's parents home, where the brothers lived amongst the "Madman" (their father). They practiced a few nights a week around 5:00pm, just as the Madman would be on his way home from a hard day at work. He would open his front door only to be blasted with 120db of the band's horrendous attempt to make music. The Madman would then pound on their jam room door until he was let in so that in turn, he could throw them out of his house calling them such things as "... you bunch of dirty rotten imbeciles". This is how D.R.I. got their name.
2 months later, on July 2,1982, the band played their first show at Joe Star's OMNI, in Houston. On November 6th & 7th of 1982 D.R.I. recorded their first release, the Dirty Rotten EP, stuffing 22 songs into 18 minutes on a 7" EP that played at 33 rpm's. 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, appropriately called Dirty Rotten LP. Leaving the underground music scene thriving for more, DRLP became a major success and also an inspiration for many new bands at the time. Soon after D.R.I. was labeled the fastest band in the world.
In 1983, D.R.I. moved 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 Kennedy's. At the conclusion of this tour, they replaced Sebastion Amok with Josh Pappe. Their next release was the 4 song, 7", Violent PacificationEP, in 1984. After touring in the summer of 1984, Eric Brecht got married and left the band. He was replaced with Felix Griffin. D.R.I.'s second full length release, Dealing With It , came in March 1985. The group toured extensively in support of the album. Sometime during the recording of the album, Josh took a leave from the band. Mikey Offender (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 DWI pointed slightly towards a metal direction, but still remained very hardcore. Almost legendary is the band's recording of "Madman", where Kurt's dad is mad and disturbs a rehearsal. The band gains a real cult status, supported by such fans as Dave Lombardo (Slayer), who tells everyone he's influenced by D.R.I. On April 26th, 1986, they recorded their show at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, and released the video, which was entitled Live At The Olympic. Their third album, Crossover, released in 1987, was perfectly 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 punk, hardcore, and metal. This music invited a mixed audience of punks, skinheads, and metal fans to their shows, who introduced things like stage diving and slam dancing. The 'Live at the Ritz' video was recorded next, on June 27th 1987, at 'the Ritz' in New York, during the band's worldwide Crossover tour. Also in 1987, one of their songs, 'Snap' appeared on a compilation (with other bands supporting some cause) entitled P.E.A.C.E. In February of 1988, the Dirty Rotten Imbeciles returned to the studio to record Four Of A Kind. The songs on this album have even more of a metal sound to them, and production is the best it's ever been. They even released a music video for the song 'Suit and Tie Guy'.
At the same time, 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 Four of A Kind album, then once home in the U.S., Josh Pappe leaves the band because of an offer to play for Gang Green. He is replaced by John Menor. September 1989 brought the release of Thrash Zone. Two music videos were released from this album. One for 'Beneath the Wheel' and the other for 'Abduction'. Sometime after this, Felix Griffin leaves the group and is replaced by Rob Rampy. During the spring of 1992, Definition was released on Spike Cassidy's own label, Rotten Records. A music video was released for the song 'Acid Rain', and later was even featured in an episode of MTV's "Beavis and Butthead". D.R.I. toured in 1992, opening for Testament, as well as headlining their own shows. They recorded their gig at the Hollywood Palladium on November 27th, 1992, and 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 leaves D.R.I. He is replaced by one of the band's long time friends and roadie, Chumly Porter. The group also took part in the Lolitabazooka Tour, headlining that tour, in the fall of 1994. In 1995, D.R.I. released their newest album called Full Speed Ahead. They also made another music video, this time for a song called 'Syringes in the Sandbox'. In January of 1996, they started touring North America with Acid Bath opening for them. But in April, Rob and Spike ran into some trouble trying to cross the Canadian border because they had both been previously charged with 'Driving Under the Influence' in the U.S. Needless to say, all of their Canadian dates had to be cancelled. And as much as they tour even today, I still don't think Canada will let them in!
During 1997-98 D.R.I. continued to tour the world extensively, including European & S.American dates. In March of 1998 D.R.I. launched their own Official Website (www.DirtyRottenImbeciles.com). During 1999, D.R.I. appears 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 compilation cd, containing one song from each band that appeared on the tour. During August of 1999, in the middle of the Social Chaos Tour, Chumly leaves the band because he is burnt out on touring, and is replaced by Harald Oimoen. Harald 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, only missing 2 shows replacing Chumly.
In the year 2000, D.R.I. Founder/Guitarist, Spike Cassidy, loses Rotten Records to D.R.I. Manager, Ron Peterson in a partnership break-up, and a long court battle is sure to commence. D.R.I. fired manager Ron Peterson, took its catalog of CD's, and left Rotten Records in search of a new record label. The band is said to be entertaining a few good offers. The year also saw the Dirty Rotten Imbeciles headlining their own 'Millenium 2000 Tour' which had been broken into two halves, taking place in the spring & fall of 2000.
D.R.I. is scheduled to embark once again on the "Old School Tour" in the spring of 2001! For the past 19 years, D.R.I. has been the epitome of the agressive, hardcore-punk thrash sound that we've all become accustomed to hearing. Throughout this time, they've been one of the few genuine underground bands to remain true to their pure punk roots. Still actively touring and recording, the only thing that may have changed is that they're a little older now, but time hasn't gotten the best of the Dirty Rotten Imbeciles. They're still thrashing just as hard, and just as loud as ever, continuing to overload our senses with the sound that is, and will always remain, uniquely D.R.I.
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