Formed in Houston, Texas in 1982, the Dirty Rotten Imbeciles (D.R.I. for short) started from the remains of the hardcore band Suburbanites with Kurt Brecht on vocals, Spike Cassidy on guitar, Eric Brecht on drums, and Dennis Johnson on bass. Although the positions of bassist and drummer in the band would change, Kurt and Spike have remained in their positions since the beginning.
The band has a very dedicated fanbase, despite Beavis and Butt-Head reviewing "Acid Rain" being about as much 'mainstream' attention as they got, and are probably best known as the Trope Namer and Trope Codifier of Crossover Thrash, and is a Trope Maker in the genre, along with Suicidal Tendencies, Stormtroopers of Death, The Cro-Mags, and many others.
- 1983 — Dirty Rotten LP
- 1985 — Dealing With It
- 1987 — Crossover
- 1988 — 4 of a Kind
- 1989 — Thrash Zone
- 1992 — Definition
- 1995 — Full Speed Ahead
D.R.I. provides examples of the following tropes:
- Appropriated Appellation: The name came from Kurt Brecht's father complaining about the group playing in his house and calling them "a bunch of dirty rotten imbeciles".
- Broken Record: Equal People only has the lines "Look at you, then look at me/There's no difference I can see" repeated again and again.
- The lyrics of "Who Am I?" are also composed solely of the title and the retort "D-R-I!".
- "Reaganomics" has a total of four different words used in its lyrics: "Reagonomics killing me / Reaganomics killing me / Reaganomics killing me / Reaganomics killing you".
- Green Aesop: "Acid Rain", which is a Protest Song about climate change and the depletion of the ozone layer.
- Hardcore Punk: One of the main ingredients of the crossover thrash genre.
- Heavy Meta: "Thrashard", about what else but thrashing really hard.
- Karma Houdini: The eponymous character in "Slumlord", who wrings money from his financially struggling tenants and then burns the property down in order to collect the insurance money, never facing any punishment.
- Kill the Poor: Again, "Slumlord", who burns down the building with people still inside as mentioned above.
- Mascot: The iconic Skanking Man, also known as Moshman and the Thrashing Man, which was designed by Eric Brecht for school assignment to create a corporate logo according to The Other Wiki. It appears on pretty much anything D.R.I. related, such as shirts, album art, and even Spike Cassidy's guitar.
- To a lesser extent, the skeletal soldiernote on the cover of the Dirty Rotten LP.
- Motor Mouth: Kurt Brecht has wildly fast delivery, bordering on The Unintelligible. This is especially apparent in "No Sense", where only the Title-Only Chorus is sung slow enough to understand.
- Precision F-Strike: From "Stupid, Stupid War":"There's nothing to fight FUCKING for!"
- Protest Song: As one would expect from their punk origins, the band has many. Examples include "I Don't Need Society", "Snap", "Do The Dream", "Suit and Tie Guy", "Reaganomics", "Capitalists Suck", " "Violent Pacification", "Stupid, Stupid War"... you get the point.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "Slumlord", "Abduction", "Beneath The Wheel"...let's just say Kurt Brecht really enjoys employing this trope in his lyrical delivery.
- Religion Rant Song: "God Is Broke", about corrupt religious leaders exploiting believers for money.
- Something Blues: "Nursing Home Blues".
- Soup Kitchen is labeled as "Soup Kitchen Blues" on some releases.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "Problem Addict" is one directed towards an emotionally abusive person.
- Thrash Metal: Being pioneers of the Crossover Thrash genre, the band is an equal blend of this and Hardcore Punk.
- Three Chords and the Truth: Many of the band's songs are relatively short and simple (albeit blisteringly fast) numbers that get straight to the point with their politically charged lyrics. Later material from Crossover onward features somewhat longer and more complex arrangements with the Thrash Metal influences but retains the same highly direct approach.
- Trope Namer: For the genre of crossover thrash, the name being taken from Crossover, their second full-length.