Road Fever

There's been an epidemic of road fever lately. As we told you last

week, ex-Germ (will he ever live down that sobriquet?) Pat

Smear flipped his cookies and commandeered the Foo Fighters van and

took off into the California night for parts unknown. Now we have

gotten word that Bad Brains' lead singer HR pushed the self-destruct

button in Montreal minutes before the hardcore punk band was to open

up for the Beastie Boys. According to their publicist, HR "went from

volatile to uncontrollable, " and refused to go on-stage for what was

to be the first night of their tour with the Beastie Boys. When Bad

Brains manager, Anthony Countey went to collect the singer from his

room, HR apparently flew into rage and assaulted Countey, in the

process breaking his nose and injuring his hand. HR also struck his

brother, Brains drummer, Earl Hudson. The police were called, and HR

was led away from the venue in handcuffs following the incident, but

released later that night. Ever have one of those days--because this

story gets even worse. When HR attempted to leave Canada and return

home to Los Angeles the next day, he was stopped at the Canadian

border for possession of marijuana. Somebody must like him up there,

because custom officials held him, but didn't charge him and he was

allowed to leave. But the bad news is that Bad Brains are off the

Beastie Boys tour. Back home in Los Angeles and feeling more like

himself, HR is trying to make amends and has met with his record label

to straighten this thing out. There have been some behind closed door

meetings with the Beastie Boys , and we heard that they might be

willing to give the explosive HR another chance. It's not like the

Beastie Boys haven't pushed the panic button once or twice themselves.

HR is refusing to talk about what set him off, and no one wants to

ask for fear of getting him worked up again. Maybe he should talk to

Sebadoh's Lou Barlow. Barlow recently told Melody Maker that

he's trying hard to curb his explosive on-stage temper tantrums. By

his estimation, he has lashed out at approximately one in four of the

band's shows. The most gruesome incident occurred at Sebadoh's

appearance at the Redding Festival last year, when Barlow had to be

rushed to the festival's medical center because he was covered in

blood. He was so worked up, he thrashed his guitar over his head, and

wound up hitting himself in the head, giving himself a huge gashing

wound. But according Barlow, we've seen the last of that kind of

behavior. "I'm just sick of exhibitionism, making a lot of excuses and

backing down from my responsibilities. I hope to move beyond that in

the future. I've been listening to a lot of Elastica lately and I'd

really like to have that sense of confidence [that they have]." But

don't count on all the fireworks being gone. Barlow still admits to a

stubborn strain of violence. "There's always a certain percentage of

shows that I flip out at, but now my average is way down. Now it's

maybe one in 20."