Founded as Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, by brothers Kurt and Eric Brecht (vocals & drums respectively), Spike Cassidy (guitar) and Dennis Johnson (bass).
Starting as a Punk outfit influenced by both British and American styles, they found a strong fan base in the Thrash Metal genre as that genre was being born in the early 1980s. Soon after their debut D.R.I. (1984), they shortened their name to D.R.I. and moved to the home of early American Thrash, the San Francisco Bay area. The debut was an example of blistering Punk influenced Thrash Hardcore. Dealing With It (1986) saw Eric replaced with Felix Griffin and Mikey Offender taking over bass from Johnson. It was also their first recording for 'Metal Blade' before 'Roadrunner' got them for Europe on their next effort.
Josh Pappe saw his debut on bass on the Violent Pacification EP (1984) with the relatively unnoticed 22 Songs following in 1987. The appropriately titled follow-up, Crossover (1988), was just that, an album popular in both Punk and Metal genres, creating a new chapter in the so-called Hardcore scene and shifting more attention onto the act's style.
As the speed Metal/Thrash scene hit its peak in the later part of the decade so did D.R.I. with the Four Of A Kind (1988) and Thrashzone (1989) albums. The former being more traditional 80's style Thrash and featuring the debut of John Menor on bass, while the latter was more back to their roots. In between the albums, they would remix and re-release their Dirty Rotten LP with 4 added tracks from their Violent Pacification EP, originally done back in 1984. Definition (1992) featured Ron Rampy taking over on drums. Live (1994) and Full Speed Ahead (1995) continued on their own 'Rotten' label in their trademark Hardcore style; the former demonstrating Chumly Porter's bass ability. The guys realized they could go no farther, so they decided to leave with honor and quit recording while on top; they still tour, however.