On Saturday, June 1, downtown L.A. art gallery Lethal Amounts hosted a gathering for the first night of an exhibit featuring the visual artwork of a man better known for his music. Iconic frontman from the legendary hardcore punk group Bad Brains, H.R. (Paul Hudson), also keeps up painting practice. The bold, brash works of raw wit and shape-shifting, zine-inflected verve currently on view were made in collaboration with his wife, Lori Hudson. The couple was on hand at the debut of the art show, and H.R. and Lori took a moment to speak with the L.A. Weekly about their artwork, H.R.’s musical history with Bad Brains, and the mantra he still lives by, PMA (positive mental attitude).
L.A. Weekly: How long have you been painting?
H.R.: Like music, art has been with me all my life. I was, then and now, observing other people’s groove-ons. The Most High is not a celestial or terrestrial creature that we know, but an Angel of the Light.
Tell us about the art show at Lethal Amounts, and how it worked as a collaborative effort with your wife Lori?
Sometimes my wife wants to spend a little time on herself. She’s found herself working on just my stuff and neglecting her own personal desires. She’s a very creative woman and paints and draws very artistic pictures. Collaborating within your family is cool.
When Bad Brains formed in the late ’70s, did know you how inspirational your music would become?
No, but we were into having a positive mental attitude (PMA). When we played, those shows were for fun. We were very determined but we still didn’t know much about the music business at that time. A lot of friends encouraged us, and after that we read a book called Think And Grow Rich. We got on our knees and prayed for a future in the business.
Can you explain the struggle to maintain PMA despite current events or personal problems people may face?
Well, it’s best to go to God with that negativity. Put your faith in Him and into your career. Everybody feels like the burden is solo, and a lot of people think that they can’t decide their future, but there is a way to find a better tomorrow. The attitude to remain positive comes into your consciousness and anything that the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve. People are living in a radical world and everybody has trials but going to the right people at the right time can help you to be a better person. Don’t take negative things into your mentality. Conquer your fears and go to Rasta. His life reflected that we should not deal with war.
Do you have any future plans for more art and music releases or live performances?
H.R.: Who knows what’s in the future? I’m hoping that through my music I can inspire my wife and others to keep it cool. And keep that PMA.
Lori Hudson: We can announce that H.R. will be performing in Finland in mid-June, in the Midwest in July, and in the United Kingdom at the beginning of August. So touring is in the future. He has a new album coming out this summer, which will be released on colored vinyl by Hardline Entertainment. The presale is scheduled for late June.
Will Bad Brains perform shows in the future or do any future tours?
As we move forward, we become closer friends. Yeah, sure. God willing, there will be more shows with Bad Brains.
But until that day arrives, get a taste of H.R.’s original punk sensibility in visual form, as H.R.’s art exhibit will run through early July at Lethal Amounts (i Against i | HR + Lori art), 1226 W., 7th St., downtown.