H.R. Outside of New York's CBGB in 2006
|Birth name||Paul D. Hudson|
|Born||11 February 1956|
|Origin||Washington, DC, USA|
|Genres||Hardcore punk, reggae|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, bass|
|Associated acts||Bad Brains, Human Rights, Ill Bill, Stress[disambiguation needed] =|
Paul D. Hudson (b. February 11, 1956), better known by his stage name H.R. (Human Rights), is an American musician, best known as the frontman of the highly influential hardcore punk band Bad Brains. His vocal delivery has been described as very diverse, ranging from a rapid-fire nasal whine, to feral growling and screeches, to smooth near-crooning or staccato reggae rhymes. He has departed the band periodically to pursue solo efforts that are more stylistically mellow reggae than Bad Brains' usual punk/metal offerings. He is the older brother of Earl Hudson, Bad Brains' drummer.
Born in Liverpool, England to a Jamaican mother and American father stationed with the US Air Force in the UK, his family moved to the United States when he was a toddler, and proceeded to move around until finally settling in Washington, D.C.. Along with his early love of music, he was a gifted athlete from an early age, competing in swimming and pole-vaulting. He and his younger brother Earl both entered the local D.C. music scene as teenagers with their friends and future bandmates Gary Miller and Daryl Jenifer. H.R. was an early nickname that initially stood for ”hunting rifle”, but which he changed to stand for ”human rights”.
H.R. and his bandmates became Rastafari around 1979. This spiritual direction influenced the music of Bad Brains via his vocals, and inspired the creation of his reggae band, Human Rights (or H.R.).
Although reggae is the main focus of his solo material, he explores rock and other musical genres. He has had numerous albums released on SST Records. While a Village Voice review of a Bad Brains concert described H.R.’s presence on stage: "like James Brown gone berserk, with a hyperkinetic repertoire of spins, dives, back-flips, splits, and skanks", in recent years his stage presence has become more subdued, primarily due to his spiritual development from the O.G. Punk/Rasta to more of a Rasta Elder, as well as his occasional playing of rhythm guitar.
In recent years, H.R.'s Human Rights performances have become markedly more mellow and restrained, focusing primarily on reggae and rasta. This is a stark contrast to his wildly animated, aggressive stage performances of the late 1970s and 1980s.
Interviews with H.R. feature prominently in the 2006 documentary American Hardcore, in which he discusses the early days of the hardcore scene in New York City and Washington D.C., and his association with peers like Minor Threat and the Cro-Mags. In particular, he recalls encouraging Ian MacKaye to fully articulate Minor Threat's emerging straight edge philosophy, to give young people a positive direction. As depicted in the 2012 documentary Bad Brains: A Band in D.C., H.R.'s bizarre behavior, such as wearing a motorcycle helmet during a performance and refusing to sing, caused friction with other members of the band.
In late 2016, the film Finding Joseph I: The HR From Bad Brains Documentary premiered in Europe and the United States. Directed by James Lathos, the documentary features interviews with H.R., as well as other musicians, peers, and family member, while chronicling his life, struggles, and philosophies, particularly ”PMA” (positive mental attitude). The film's companion book was publishef by Lesser Gods in January 2017.
H.R. has adult children from previous relationships and has been married to Lori Carnes since 2012.
In 2016, H.R.'s wife, Lori, revealed that H.R. suffers from SUNCT syndrome, a rare neurological disorder which causes sporadic, excruciating headaches. He underwent brain surgery in early 2017 to relieve the headaches. He also suffers from schizophrenia.
For H.R.'s discography with Bad Brains, see Bad Brains discography.
- It's About Luv (1985) Olive Tree Records.
- Keep Out of Reach (EP, 1986) Olive Tree Records.
- Human Rights (1987) Olive Tree Records/SST Records.
- Singin' in the Heart (1989) SST Records.
- Charge (1990) SST Records.
- I Luv (1991)
- Rock of Enoch (EP, 1992)
- Our Faith (1992)
- Hey Wella (2007)
- Out of Bounds (2012) D.I.A Records.
- HR In Dubb (2013) D.I.A Records/Hamma
- "HR Live At CBGB's 1984" (2017) Catch A Fire Music
- H.R. Anthology (1991) acts as "best of" album and showcases a diverse array of songs from the 1980s albums.
- H.R. Tapes '84 – '86, compilation CD including "It's About Luv" and "Keep Out of Reach".
- Sublime Feat. H.R. – Shame in Dem Game, [Live] on Sublimes box set, Everything Under the Sun (Disk 1)
- "Inverted Paradox" – 2012 D.I.A Records CD featuring H.R. tracks 'Out of Bounds' and 'Row.'
Appearances on albums by other artists
- "Heroes" and "Heroes part 2" on Return from Incas by Lost Generation (Incas Records, 1984)
- "Zion", "Zion Dub" and "Road to Zion (Highest Region Dub)" on Zion by Zion Train (Olive Tree Records, 1986)
- "New Sun" on Right Back by Long Beach Dub Allstars (Dreamworks Records, 1999)
- "Black Eye" on 77 003 by Bargain Music (Beatville Records, 1999)
- "Like a Lily" on Se Viene El Bum by Lumumba (Gora Herriak, 1999)
- "Without Jah, Nothin'" on Satellite by P.O.D. (Atlantic, 2001)
- "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy", "More and More" and "Hip Hip Hooray" on The Epic Trilogy by Gone (SST Records, 2007)
- "Riya" on The Hour of Reprisal by Ill Bill (Uncle Howie Records, 2008)
- "Forty Deuce Hebrew" on The Grimy Awards by Ill Bill (Fat Beats Records, 2013)
- "Lucky Rabbit" on Pains by Islander (Victory, 2013)
- "Chant It Down" on Chaliwa by New Zion Trio (Veal, 2013)
- "Kumbaya" on Luicidal by Luicidal (DC-Jam Records, 2014)
- "Think It Over" on Power Under Control by Islander (Victory Records, 2016)
- "HR's Biography". HR Music.
- "New Documentary on H.R. of Bad Brains Sheds Light on His Untold Story". 6 December 2016.
- "KFTH – Bad Brains Page". Homepages.nyu.edu. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- Pollicino, Raul. "Who Is Who - Bad Brains". www.beastiemania.com.
- Calore, Michael. "Documentary Bad Brains: A Band in D.C. Sheds Light on Punk Group's Legacy". WIRED. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 June 2018. Retrieved 20 September 2018.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Finding Joseph I - Lesser Gods". Lessergodsbooks.com. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
- Kreps, Daniel (16 March 2016). "Bad Brains' H.R. Raising Money to Combat Headache Disorder". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
- "Bad Brains' H.R. 'Looks Good' After Undergoing Brain Surgery". Loudwire.