Bad Brains’ Darryl Jenifer on the Origins of the Bad Brains “Fire Burn Babylon” Hot Sauce

Bad Brains perform at the Wetlands in New York City, 1990. Photo: Steve Eichner/WireImage

DC reggae-punks Bad Brains are no strangers to fusion, so we weren’t surprised when they released their first organic hot sauce, Fire Burn Babylon ($8.99). Dubbed a “hardcore hot sauce with a party in every bottle,” bassist Darryl Jenifer swears it will brighten up any dish, even plain old rice and beans.

“It’s a straight sauce to be put on anything you like hot sauce on,” he tells Hive. “It’s not a particular jerk sauce or anything. It’s a little mild. We made it for people who like hot sauce and don’t want to get their face burned off.”

The branded sauce came about when Jenifer was thinking of ways to reboot the band’s website (which relaunched earlier this month) and develop new merchandise. “What better way to draw attention to our brand than with hot sauce?” he thought. His mother, “like everybody’s mother,” was a terrific soul food cook, and he’d always been fascinated with “the science of cooking” ever since Ray Shin, a Chinese-Jamaican, taught him how to fry fish in the late ’70s. Jenifer rang up his old friend Shepherd Fairey and asked if he’d help with the bottle’s design. Fairey did, and now he hopes to get the sauce sold in The House of Blues, among other venues. “The theme behind this sauce is just to sit down, get a plate and have a good time,” Jenifer says. “Rasta men just sit, give thanks and eat the food.”

This week Jenifer and Dr. Kno are hard at work on their next batch of sauce — “it’s going to be hotter”– but food isn’t the only trick they have up their sleeves. Jenifer says he’s in talks with Los Angeles-based artist David Cho to do a series of limited-edition guitars, and has considered making “a ginger and echinacea shot” he’d call the Re-Ignition Energy Drink. Could Bad Brains Destroy TV Dinners be next?

Bad Brains’ new album, Into the Future, is out now on Megaforce Records.

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