Bad Brains’ Shamanistic Frontman HR’s Eccentric Life and Spiritual Struggles Revealed in Documentary, Finding Joseph I
Paul “HR” Hudson is a misunderstood spiritual warrior. As the voice of Bad Brains, punk/hardcore pioneers, one of the most influential bands to rise out of the 1980’s, and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees, HR has trail blazed a musical aesthetic and codified a way of living. Finding Joseph I, directed By James Lathos and produced by Small Axe Films with Executive Producer Jay Mohr, takes the viewer on a harrowing odyssey into the life and spiritual struggles of this iconic iconoclast.
Finding Joseph I has been praised by The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, OC Weekly, and The Washington Post. The documentary has been screened in New York, Maryland, Long Beach, California, England and Finland, with upcoming screenings in Brooklyn on January 24th; in San Francisco on February 9th and 11th, at SF’s Independent Film Festival; at the Long Beach, CA Art Theater on February 12th; and Missoula, Montana, at the Big Sky Film Festival. Currently, Finding Joseph I is also being considered for other national and international film festivals.
From the start, HR oozed charisma and never-say-die swagger. His vocals were soulful and tribal, hitting us deep in our spiritual core. In performance, he gave it all, springing forth from stage monitors into swan-dive leaps into the audience, arguably, pioneering the stage dive. He frothed over with fiery enlightenment gleaned from his Rastafarian faith, Napoleon Hill’s seminal self-help treatise Think And Grow Rich, punk rock, and his inborn sage wisdom. With the Bad Brains he harnessed the fiery potential of melding punk rock, reggae, dub, jazz-fusion, metal, and funk into a kaleidoscopic art form. HR’s uplifting ethos – P.MA. (Positive Mental Attitude) – have cast a light amidst dark defiance, and inspired everyone, from rock stars to regular Joes. He is a punk prophet, and his legacy is as resonate today as it was nearly four decades ago.
Offstage, HR was mercurial and eccentric. Finding Joseph I presents a complex picture of a complex man. It shares his explosive artistry as well as his explosive temper, showing how a leader unraveled through being tangled in his own dogma and truth. Over the years, the Bad Brains have reunited several times only to struggle with their unpredictable singer. HR’s increasingly strange and abnormal behavior has left many convinced that he his suffering from psychological troubles while others believe he is still living out his journey as one of the greatest frontmen in rock and roll history.
Finding Joseph I features never-before-seen archival footage, photography, and exclusive interviews. Interviewees include Paul “HR” Hudson, Earl Hudson (Bad Brains/HR’s brother), Ras Michael (The Sons of Negus), Anthony Countey (Bad Brains’ Manager), Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat/Fugazi), and members of Sublime, Deftones, Fishbone, Cro-Mags, Murphy’s Law, The Wailers and Living Colour. In this revealing documentary, HR’s peers and fellow musicians share their stories and firsthand experiences with the tumultuous singer. HR ‘s own interviews find him digging deep to discuss his life, philosophies, and career.
James Lathos is a director, cinematographer, editor, and published writer living in Florida. He makes his documentary debut with Finding Joseph I: The HR from Bad Brains Documentary. Previously, he wrote the definitive tome, Finding Joseph I: An Oral History of H.R. (Lesser Gods). This oral history is the first fully authorized biography of the enigmatic frontman.