Original Bad Brains vocalist Sid McCray has passed away according to The BrooklynVegan and hardcore music press outlets. A cause of death has not yet been determined for the vocalist, who sang for the group when they were known as the jazz fusion outlet Mind Power.
McCray was active with the group for a very short period between 1977 and 1978, however H.R., who would later take over as Bad Brains’ frontman, credited the performer for introducing the group to punk and hardcore. McCray had noticed that the group was already interested in the work of Black Sabbath and introduced them to records by the Ramones and Sex Pistols.
“Well, a friend of ours named Sid McCray had been playing punk and hardcore records over at his house in ’77, and we got a chance to listen to the Sex Pistols and the Ramones and other great punk rock bands, then we decided to give it a try,” H.R. said in an interview with Juice Magazine back in March.
Following his tenure with the group Bad Brains soon came out of Washington D.C. as one of the most influential groups in the burgeoning hardcore movement. Their unique genre fusions, stage presence and talented musicianship helped garner an audience, as did their unique position as a prominent punk band with entirely Black musicians.
McCray stayed close with Bad Brains and even performed with them during a secret show back in 2017. A GoFundMe has also been launched to support McCray’s burial and funeral costs.