Sidney McCray, the original singer for the massively important hardcore punk band Bad Brains, has died. As Blabbermouth reports, Bad Brains revealed McCray’s death in a Facebook post on Saturday. McCray died on September 9. McCray’s age and cause of death have not yet been reported.
Bad Brains started out in 1976 as a jazz fusion group called Mind Power. McCray, a friend of the members of Mind Power, is widely credited for getting the group into punk rock and heavy metal. The group changed its name to Bad Brains in 1977, naming themselves after the Ramones song “Bad Brain.” Bad Brains went on to crank punk rock up to impossible speeds, inspiring entire generations and more or less inventing hardcore.
When Mind Power became Bad Brains, McCray became the group’s original singer, though he left the band in 1978. Guitarist Paul Hudson, better known as H.R., became the group’s new frontman, and he’s easily the most famous singer that Bad Brains have ever had.
McCray, also known as SidMac, remained on good terms with the band. In 2017, when Bad Brains bassist Darryl Jennifer was opening an art exhibit, Bad Brains played a surprise set, and McCray joined them to sing “The Regulator.” Here’s a video of that.
As Bad Brains posted, there’s a GoFundMe campaign to help with McCray’s burial.