“I remember it was kind of packed that night. The audience was some of our friends from Washington, D.C. We had a lot of fun. It was a fast-growing scene. Hard Art Gallery kind of catered to independent groups and they opened their doors up to young, new groups that were presenting their materials to the folks for the first time.
“As for my clothes, sometimes different people would come to our shows and bring buttons along with them and ask us if we had anything to trade. So we were trading different clothes and buttons and things like that.
“It was a cool groove. Everything was all right.”
Lucian Perkins was a 26-year-old intern at The Washington Post when he discovered Bad Brains at the downtown arts venue d.c. space. After photographing various gigs across the city, he pitched a story on Washington’s fledgling punk scene to The Post’s Metro section. It landed with a thud. Perkins remembers then-editor Bob Woodward leafing through the photographs and telling him, “ ‘This doesn’t exist in Washington.’ ”
The images eventually ran in The Washington Post Magazine, illustrating a story about the District’s new wave and punk scenes. Both factions were angry about being conjoined in print, and H.R.’s retort was to cut and paste the images into a Bad Brains concert flyer.
“Hard Art was a rundown townhouse run by a bunch of artists that allowed bands like the Bad Brains to perform in the living room. The whole house was just filled with punk rockers and kids. Being in such a small, confined space, the walls were just literally shaking. It was quite a scene. A very small scene. But in that small space, it was electric.
“I knew the Bad Brains were good, but of course I had no idea that they or this punk scene I was photographing would amount to anything more than this small, passionate art scene in Washington, D.C.
“I grew up literally 10 blocks from Haight-Ashbury, so to me it was like, ‘This is no 1960s. This is a bunch of suburban kids from Bethesda trying to make something.’ So on some levels, I didn’t particularly take it seriously. But on the other hand, it was fascinating — the passion that a lot of these kids had. And it turned into something much bigger than I ever dreamed it would.”