Finding Joseph I: The HR from Bad Brains Documentary

91 min. James Lathos, dist. by MVDvisual, www.mvdb2b.com. 2017. DVD UPC 760137057697. $19.95. MUSIC
OrangeReviewStarDirector Lathos's debut documentary chronicles the life and musical career of Paul Hudson (b. 1956), who, using the monikers H.R. and Joseph I, rose to prominence in the underground rock community first as front man for hard-core punk pioneers Bad Brains and later as a solo reggae artist and frequent guest performer for various hard rock and reggae bands. The film focuses on Hudson's eccentric lifestyle, increasingly erratic behavior, and often self-defeating career choices, ending with a long and touching segment on how he has recently started to overcome his lifelong struggle with mental illness. Family members, former bandmates, and an impressive array of adoring musical colleagues, including fellow punk icon Ian MacKaye, offer perspective and opinions on Hudson's fascinating and sometimes confounding path and complicated and difficult life. Hudson himself appears throughout, sharing stories from his youth and career and daily routine. These varied views present a well-rounded, enlightening, sometimes harrowing but ultimately redemptive portrait of a singular figure in rock music history.
VERDICT Serving as a worthwhile complement to Lathos's 2016 oral history of Hudson, this well-made, thoughtful, and informative chronicle is highly recommended to rock fans and viewers interested in mental health issues.
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