“Act of Jah”, 2013
72 x 18 x 18 inches
matchsticks, roman candles, extruded polystyrene, paper, acrylic paint, wood
“Well I think everybody has at least a couple musical albums they experience that change their life. The Bad Brains self titled first EP was one of those for me. I was eleven, it was 1985 in New Brunswick, New Jersey and I was a skateboarding fiend. A random skateboarder was playing the cassette and the aggressive music and eerie vocals playing through the boom box intrigued me. I asked him who it was and he ended up giving me the tape.
It was the Bad Brains first album. The cover artwork struck me because it was during the times of the crisis of Reagan being President, or more appropriately acting like a president and I thought and still do that the image of a lighting bolt striking the Capitol Dome in D.C. was awesome. The music threw me on my head as if I was in a mosh pit and picked me back up again. It was like nothing I had heard before. To me it sounded like Punk and Metal combined and then the Reggae kicked in. The lyrics, the music, the attitude, the art, the band are what embodied the beginning of a musical movement called Hardcore.
What I learned from that experience is to not conform, to express yourself especially in the face of oppression and hypocrisy and to be tough and compassionate about doing so. One of the most important aspects I learned from that album though is to keep that P.M.A., the positive mental attitude. With all musical works of genius they stand up to the test of time and the test of bullshit. This one has in so many ways. That is why I am doing a tribute sculpture to the Bad Brains, to their musical and many other endeavors, but most specifically that first album that somehow found its way into my life and changed it to be more aware, more hardcore.”
Joe on the stairs