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 aggressive 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.
Two 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, Dirty Rotten LP 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″ EP “Violent Pacification” 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 Dealing With It 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, Beneath the Wheel and 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. The video would later be 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.
During this tour, they recorded their gig at the Hollywood Palladium on November 27th. 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 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 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. Even today, I still don’t think Canada will let them in!
During 1997 and 1998, D.R.I. continued to tour the world extensively, including European & South American dates. In March of 1998, D.R.I. launched their official web site (www.DirtyRottenImbeciles.com).
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 of 1999, in the middle of the tour, Chumly leaves the band because he is burnt out on touring. He 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 missing only two shows.
In the year 2000, D.R.I. Founder/Guitarist, Spike Cassidy, lost Rotten Records to D.R.I. Manager, Ron Peterson in a partnership backstabbing (a long court battle is sure to commence). Needless to say, D.R.I. fired manager Ron Peterson, left Rotten Records , and took its catalog of CD’s in search of a new record label.
Not to be stopped, 2000 saw the Dirty Rotten Imbeciles headline the “Millennium 2000 Tour” in the spring & fall.
The constant cycle of touring continued into 2001 with DRI extensively touring the US on the “The Old School Tour” culminating in a headlining appearance at the Milwaukee Metal Fest.
2002 marks DRI’s 20th anniversary and the beginning of a new, even better era for the band. DRI signed with Beer City records agreeing to reissue their back catalog and a produce new studio CDs and DVDs. It was the perfect arrangement. DRI could work with a label that was involved with the music as well as the record business and Beer City would finally have a large band on their label.
To celebrate both of these momentous occasions, DRI embarked on a huge world tour. This tour went all over the US, Japan, Europe, South America and Greece. In fact the tour continued well to into the year 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 ton of never before released bonus tracks and interviews. Included within the bonus tracks were live recordings of DRI’s first show ever and live computer video footage from the band’s only performance at New York’s famous CBGB’s from 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 cable access show.
DRI embarked on yet another tour in 2004 that would take them all over the US and all over Europe again. After completing the tour, the guys finally 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 (all scheduled to for release in 2005).
For the past 22 years, D.R.I. has been the epitome of the aggressive, hardcore/punk thrash sound. 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 just as hard as when they began. While they’re a little older now, 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.