Wednesday, April 28, 2010

December UK Tour...

We’re pleased to announce we will be returning to the UK this December.
Tickets go on sale April 30th. All venue and ticket agent information is listed below.

• Dec 5, 2010 – Manchester (UK) – Academy
Tickets on sale April 30th:

• Dec 6, 2010 – Glasgow (UK) – Academy
Tickets on sale April 30th:

• Dec 7, 2010 – Birmingham (UK) – Academy 2
Tickets on sale April 30th:

• Dec 9, 2010 – Norwich (UK) – University Of East Anglia
Tickets on sale April 30th:

• Dec 10, 2010 – Bristol (UK) – Academy
Tickets on sale April 30th:

• Dec 11, 2010 – London (UK) – Brixton Academy
Tickets on sale April 30th:


Tivoli show in Utrecht on sale...

We are pleased to announce we will be playing Tivoli in Utrecht, NL on August 24th.
Tickets are on sale NOW.


Nottingham show postponed...

Due to illness in the band, BRMC has to regretfully postpone tonight's show in Nottingham. New date is Dec 3 - all existing tix are honored.


Monday, April 19, 2010

15/04/10 London@Electric Ballroom


Okay so, I luckily managed to get a ticket for the B.R.M.C gig at the Electric Ballroom for last night. It was nice because I was going with my old workies who I haden't seen for fucking ages from HMV. I went straight from work to meet them at Camden, we hung out for a bit before doors were meant to open at 7.30!

Doors didn't open at 7.30, in fact quarter to 9 we were still stood outside in the freezing cold.... This was okay though, as the band knew we'd all be a little bit grumpy and we'd been waiting for hours, so Robert Levon came out to play us some songs, to apologise for the long wait!
He just strolled around playing acoustic guitar, looking hot and singing effortlessly :)
Straight away, this was going to be a great gig!

The actual gig was EPIC beyond EPIC, they were loud, rough, deep and were every inch the rock n roll they claim to be (or have the label of anyway) The highlight for me was ''Weapon Of Choice'' they couldn't have performed it better and the crowd just went....APESHIT for it. They were a good crowd to be in because they were all just happy and moving, I hate being in crowds that don't move, presumably they were like that because they were all OFF THEIR TITS and wanted to ''fuck shit up''but in a good and pretty fucking amusing way!!

Everything was spot on, the sound, the vocals, the lights, the set up, even what they were wearing, how they spoke to the crowd and the little faces they'd pull when they really got into playing. I also loved how Peter Hayes didn't have a hair out of place at the start and by the end it was all over the place. HARDCORE :)

They performed ''spread your love, weapon of choice, howl, love burns, red eyes and tears'' and many more, obviously, but... Those were a few of my personal highlights :)

All in all, they may have been the only ''big'' live band I've seen so far this year but, whoever else I see has a lot of living up to do.... I am contradicting myself massively because I have posted a blog about Tunng and how good they were but....BACK OFF, its a completly different kettle of fish okay???

......And Black Rebel pissed on them anyway :)


Friday, April 16, 2010

confirmed festivals...

We’ve been making a lot of festival confirmations recently, and so we wanted to compile a list for fans. Listed below are all the summer shows we’ve confirmed so far as well as links to ticket agents.
Stay tuned for more announcements in the near future.

Jul 30, 2010 – Byron Bay (AU) – Splendour In The Grass

Tickets available May 6 exclusively through

Aug 7, 2010 – Osaka (JP) – Summer Sonic Festival Osaka

Aug 8, 2010 – Tokyo (JP) – Summer Sonic Festival Tokyo


Aug 20, 2010 – Green Park, Sankt Pölten‎ (AT) – Frequency Festival

Aug 21, 2010 – Großpösna, Leipzig (DE) – Highfield Festival (Tent Stage)

Aug 22, 2010 – Lüdinghausen (DE) – Area 4 Festival


Aug 27, 2010 – Paris (FR) – Rock En Seine Festival


Aug 28, 2010 – Winterthurer (CH) – Winterthurer Musikfestwochen


Splendour in the Grass

We’re pleased to announce we’ll be heading to Australia this summer.
We’ll be playing the Splendour in the Grass Festival on July 30th.
Tickets go on sale May 6 exclusively through moshtix.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

BRMC@Area 4 & Highfield Festivals

just announced: 
we'll be playing AREA 4 & HIGHFIELD festivals in Germany in August...


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

another review from Webster Hall

BRMC (photo © live4ever)
BRMC (photo © live4ever)

(New York - April 9)

In all walks of life we can get to experience the finer things. Cigar aficionados get their Cubans and wine snobs get Clarets & Beaujolais. Music fans get Black Rebel Motorcycle Club who, during a 12 year career, have given us 6 brilliant albums, fusing together brands of music such as shoe gazing, post punk, rockabilly, alt & psychedelic rock, paying homage to such greats as The Bunnymen, Jesus & Mary Chain, The Verve & Ride to name but a few. Molded together, it produces a raw and rare sound, not mainstream but almost underground as they’ve largely chosen to shun the limelight and do things their own way, prompting them to set up their own independent label, Abstract Dragon in ‘06, the platform for their last 3 albums.

Last month saw the release of ‘Beat the Devil’s Tattoo‘, which came out with little pomp and fanfare to a legion of fans and is receiving rave reviews, some citing it a return to form - it could well be one of their best pieces of work. BRMC hit New York on the latest leg of the current tour, showcasing Devil’s Tattoo, for a 2 night stint at Webster Hall. I caught them on Friday night when they were supported by Alberta Cross who offered us a set peppered with many familiar and varied sounds interpreted in their own way. Some were bluesy, indie, rock or atmospheric, with a good use of guitar effects and keys. They were well received by a large crowd, who had obviously arrived early to claim their floor space. A wise move, as by the time BRMC were due on stage the place was packed to the rafters with a mixed crowd anticipating their arrival and the chance to see this new album and line up live.


The 3 members, now including Ravonettes drummer Leah Shapiro, hit the stage to a series of whoops, whistles and cheers. Opening with two songs from the new album, ‘War Machine a slow, pounding and rather moody song with a great use of the bass, then diving straight into ‘Mama Taught Me Better‘ with it’s driving beat and Hammond solo in the middle, they quickly stamped their authority on the venue, filling it with a huge presence and plenty of attitude. Leah proved to be a power house on the skins and her introduction hasn’t altered their sound, only enhanced it. Proof of this came in ‘Berlin‘ which sees Peter Hayes take over vocal duties and Rob Been swap his battered semi-acoustic bass for a Les Paul. This leaves Leah to hold the back line on her own, which she pulled off flawlessly.

The crowd was in awe and absorbed each song as the band tore through the set, which offered a wide selection of previous releases such as the political ‘American X‘ and the punk inspired ‘Whatever Happened to My Rock And Roll’. As expected ‘Beat the Devil’s Tattoo’ made up most of the set, including ‘Conscience Killer‘, a rock n roll wall of sound, and BTDT, the title song, giving us a bluesy, country influence, concentrated mainly on vocals. This album isn’t a departure from the norm, rather a piece of work that provides us with a journey through their career and this performance proves that they are at their best live. What becomes apparent at a BRMC show is these are three musicians who produce a huge sound and are so wrapped up in the music and truly are masters of their craft. They didn’t disappoint. BRMC don’t really get fans at gigs, merely humble people who pay respect to an awesome band and sound.

(Mick Baldwin)

Check out our live shots from BRMC’s show at Webster Hall:
BRMC (photo © live4ever)
BRMC (photo © live4ever)
BRMC (photo © live4ever)
BRMC (photo © live4ever)
BRMC(photo © live4ever)
BRMC(photo © live4ever)
BRMC (photo © live4ever)
BRMC (photo © live4ever)
BRMC (photo © live4ever)
BRMC (photo © live4ever)
BRMC (photo © live4ever)
BRMC (photo © live4ever)

Bob Dylan’s “Vision of Johanna” covered by Robert Levon Been from Black Rebel Motorcycle club ( B.R.M.C)

[Thanks @ charlouzze]

0 comments: interview in english

BRMC are featured on the cover of UZetka, a local university’s magazine in Poland. You can read the entire magazine, including an interview with Peter, on UZetka’s web site.

A PDF of the April issue is located here.

The full English translation is below. A special thank you to Michał Stachura for providing us with the link and translation.

Rip off of Elvis
They don’t make big money on music.  They don’t reach tops of charts.  But life gives them a lot of kicks. They returned broke from their last tour.  They’ve lost a band member, too. Now they’re back: with the new material, new drummer and the new tour, after which, they’ll probably end up dead broke again. On the May 23rd they are going to visit Poland again to promote their latest record. Here’s Peter Hayes, a vocalist and a guitarist of the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Your latest album is entitled “Beat The Devil’s Tattoo”.  Sounds mysterious, where did it come from?
One of our friends here in Los Angeles was working on an album that would contain Edgar Allan Poe’s works. We were working on “Annabel Lee”. We found another poem by Poe, I believe the title was “Devil in the Belfry” and there was a line “beat the devil’s tattoo” that became the title of the album and one of the songs. The song used to be called “Forsaken”. All the changes were made ten hours before we sent the record to the press.

Was the process of writing songs for this record different from writing material for “Baby 81”?

Not too different, no. You know, every album is the mixture of everything around us. Sometimes we make a song when we’re jamming, in hotel rooms, in a bus, during sound checks… we take a song any way it comes. [laugh]

The new album sounds dirtier than the previous one. Did you plan that?
The only idea we had when we started writing songs for the new album was to do what we do best. We wanted it to have a piece of each of the previous record in it, too. Intersperse our sound a little bit, but we were focused on writing really good songs. That’s what it’s all about, the sound. But we didn’t want to turn on the wrong road… you know, if we’re not on it yet. [laugh] We wanna stick to what we do.

One of the best songs on “Beat The Devil’s Tattoo” is “Conscience Killer”. Where did that come from?
That actually came from Elvis. That song is a rip off of two Elvis songs: “Hound Dog” and “King Creole”. It was Elvis’ birthday and I spent 24 hours watching Elvis movies and documentaries. If you listen to those songs you’ll hear it: the intros, guitars…

Yeah, I sure will. Elvis Presley was not the first thing on my mind when I heard “Conscience Killer”…
I’m not lying! [laugh]

I’m not saying you’re lying, it’s just that Elvis… used different guitar effects?
OK, his sound was little different, yeah [laugh]

Long before releasing “Beat The Devil’s Tattoo” said that you fell in love with it, then stopped loving it and fell in love with it again. On which stage are you now?
Right now I’m trying just to remember how to play it [laugh], it happens with every album. You go through this non-stop, almost torturous process from wrtiting to recording, then you get the basics of the recording and start overdubbing it, you go to mixing, mastering… I mean it’s non-stop every day for good 20 hours a day… it affects your sleep. And it’s hard not to get fucking pissed off at the end of it, you know? Then you’re done and if we’re lucky we have probably a month or so of not doing anything. Then you start rehearsing things before touring and you realize you’ve forgotten things, so you get back to the record and listen to it to remember parts and how you played stuff. I’m at this point right now, trying to remember stuff. And once you remember you can have a little fun with that, that’s when it gets really good.

There are songs of your oldest previously unreleased tracks on the album – “Evol” and “1:51″ [bonus track]. Fans even signed petitions to get you record these.  Were fans the factor that made you think about recording the songs?
Various versions of them were floating around out there and we knew that they’re what people would be excited to hear. So, that’s a bit of a factor, definitely. It’s fun to do that, it’s fun to give people a voice. I think it’s a nice thing. If I could ask a band that I like to do a song and they actually did it, that would be nice [laugh]

This is your first record with the new drummer, Leah, who replaced Nick Jago. How did you get to know her? Were the songs from the new album written with her?
The majority was written with her, yeah. We met her when she was in a New York band called Dead Combo. We toured with them twice in America: First time they got a drum machine, the second time we toured they brought Leah with them. And then Nick was kind of keen to do something else so we got in touch with her when Nick wanted to go. Then she joined us and we toured for about six months and after that we went straight to Philadelphia to write songs. It took a long time just writing and creating music together, but having toured it’s been natural. Of course you gotta get used to each other a little bit, but we had six months of touring, so it was real quick. [laugh]

When Leah joined you you announced that she’d only end the tour with you, then you revealed that the new record is to be made with her, a final confirmation that she’s officially a band member came last.
We didn’t know if it’s gonna work, you never know. But we didn’t think about it too much, it was quite simple and we were aware it was gonna happen a long while ago. Like I said, Nick was definitely saying he wanted to do other things for a long time. We didn’t have any try-outs or nothing, she was the only person we had in our hat that seemed to make sense and it just worked out.

Lots of fans say that the BRMC without Nick isn’t really BRMC.
Yeah, you know, I thought the same. It’s a fair comment. I guess I would be more persuaded in that way if Nick was a bit more involved than he was. I’m not putting him down at all, but there’s been many years when he didn’t really wanna be there. It’s hard to say if someone’s a big part of the band if he doesn’t really wanna be there.

You tour a lot all over the world. What’s your way to survive the tour, see the same faces all the time and not want to kill each other?
We’re just doing it. There’s a lot of good people here with us. Road managers, people helping us with guitars… it’s important to get a bunch of people that kinda get along and like what they’re doing. And it’s lovely [laughs]. Sure it gets hard and it gets fucking rough and you get grumpy but so does anyone else, so that’s fine. [laughs]

Do you feel in a way underestimated as instrumentalists? You get a lot of questions asked about your name, haircuts but people seem to forget you play instruments, too.
Nah… I’m just cheating, really [laughs]. I don’t really know what I’m doing…. All our guitars are in different tunings cause I never learned to play guitar properly. So I don’t feel underestimated or anything, I couldn’t…. you know, I can’t even play with other musicians cause they’d tell me to go to different scale and I wouldn’t really know what that means… [laughs]

Right, and besides you can’t play guitar, you can’t play piano, too. Or trombone…
Yeah. When I was in high school I was in a symphonic band. I was in a jazz band and in a marching band. I lived in Minnesota for a long time and at the time in the US they were pretty much into football stuff, marching bands and all this, so that was what you did when you were a kid, you played instrument. Well, you either played football or in a marching band, but I was too scrawny so I ended up in a marching band. Then I moved to California and I kept playing, Robert played it too for a little while. Same thing, I never learned to read music, I just knew what the dots meant… the little black dots on the paper.

Last summer in 2009, you played one of your very few shows in Poland. Was there anything special you remembered about this visit?
We met our fas there, it was great. It’s always good to see people who enjoy your music. They gave us a flag that travels with me everywhere. It’s with my guitars.


Leah in Drum!

Leah is featured in the current issue of Drum! on stands now. Make sure to pick up a copy.
For anyone unable to get their hands on the magazine, you can view the article in its entirety here….

Page 1
Page 2
Page 3


"Beat The Devil's Tattoo" on Jimmy Fallon

Due to copyright issues with NBC Universal, the video link previously posted for YouTube is no longer available. We are, however, able to upload our performance of “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo” from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to our server. You are now able to watch the performance from the April 9th show at any time below.
Please be patient as the video file is high quality, and the page will take some time to load.

We would like to thank Jodi again for compiling this video.


09/04/10 New York@Webster Hall

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club wrapped up its sold-out, two-night stand at New York’s venerable Webster Hall last night with guns blazing and new drummer Leah Shapiro in tow. Hey hey, my my.

Drawing from the richest material in their dense, seductively fuzz-laden catalog, the California band played to their strengths, highlighting their adroit ability to switch from trademark reverb-heavy tracks to stunning Americana/folk-esque jams they introduced with 2005’s Howl, without getting lost in the inertia of the ever-present split personality the band is no longer hiding. This is no United States of Tara, but for BRMC, as they hit the open roads yet again for what will surely be another long stint, Beat the Devil’s Tattoo and its stunning (and satisfying) scope and vision is worth the journey.

Shapiro, having assumed the seat behind the drum kit in the wake of former drummer Nick Jago’s departure in 2008, is a spitfire. A self-assured dervish of flailing arms and militant booms and crashes, providing the sturdy, percussive backbone of the patented BRMC sonic wall of assault.

The standard ear-bleed began immediately with Tattoo’s rumbling “War Machine,” giving way to a High Noon-esque outing of “Mama Taught Me Better.” Of the material from the recently released album, in addition to the aforementioned tracks, “Bad Blood,” the title track, “Long Way Down,” a haunting take on “The Toll” and an explosive “Conscience Killer” all slayed; and have been seamlessly integrated with no sign of unfamiliarity. Save for the usual Webster Hall sound system wonk and wank, the show itself did not suffer, although the crowd did for the omission of swampy Tattoo highpoints “River Styx” and “Aya.” The latter of which garnered many screamed requests. “The Toll” lived up to its exceptional studio version, with a soulful Peter Hayes riding his own preternatural groove into harmonica-augmented nirvana.

Old crowd favorites “Red Eyes and Tears” off of the self-titled 2001 debut, was suitably drenched in the overt sexuality the band injects into its finest material, “White Palms,” a rollicking “Berlin,” “Punk Song,” ”Shuffle Your Feet,” a ferocious, sternum-busting “Six Barrel Shotgun” and a cathartic, steamy “Spread Your Love” – indeed, this music was meant to be felt below the belt.

Oddly, the most satisfying moments of the night were some of its quietest. An impassioned acoustic cover of Bob Dylan’s “Visions of Johanna” at the hands of Robert Levon Been had many audience members rejoicing, and a heartbreakingly graceful “Open Invitation” with Been and Hayes in harmony closed the evening in much the same way it began – an outstretched hand to enjoy one of the few, genuine rock shows out there from a superb underdog band who walk as they talk and pull no punches.
–Carrie Alison, Photo by Tear-n Tan

2 comments: interview...

Po prostu nam się udaje
Dodano: 2010-04-13 13:33:00 przez: eddie
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club nie są zespołem sławnym. Nie robią wielkich pieniędzy na muzyce, nie królują na listach przebojów, za to od życia dostają w kość jak mało kto. Po trasie promującej ich poprzednią płytę, z której wrócili kompletnie spłukani (jak wieść gminna niesie, możliwość dokończenia tournee sfinansowali z własnych kieszeni) posypał im się skład – po raz drugi i na dobre odszedł perkusista Nick Jago. Teraz wracają z nowym materiałem, nową perkusistką i nową trasą po której pewnie też wrócą bez grosza. Grupa 23 maja przyjedzie do Polski, promować swój najnowszy krążek, „Beat The Devil’s Tattoo”. Po drugiej stronie słuchawki i oceanu – Peter Hayes, wokalista i gitarzysta BRMC.

Wasza najnowsza płyta nosi tytuł „Beat The Devil’s Tattoo”. Brzmi on dość zagadkowo, skąd taki pomysł?
Jeden z naszych przyjaciół w Los Angeles, pracował nad złożeniem płyty, na której znalazłyby się muzyczne interpretacje wierszy Edgara Allana Poe. My pracowaliśmy nad „Anabell Lee” (utwór ukazał się jako bonus do jednego z wydań „Beat The Devil’s Tattoo” – przyp. red.). Natknęliśmy się wtedy na inny jego utwór, chyba nazywał się „The Devil in the Belfry” i był tam wers „Beat The Devil’s Tattoo”, który stał się tytułem płyty oraz jednej z piosenek. Nazywała się ona wcześniej „Forsaken”. Te wszystkie zmiany wprowadziliśmy na jakieś 10 godzin przed wysłaniem płyty do prasy.

Czy proces powstawania piosenek na tę płytę różnił się od tego towarzyszącego tworzenia poprzedniego materiału?
Nie, niezbyt. Wiesz, każdy nas z album jest miksturą wszystkiego, co nas dotyczy. Piosenki czasami powstają podczas jamowania, w pokojach hotelowych, w autobusie, na próbie dźwięku... przyjmujemy piosenki skądkolwiek pochodzą (śmiech).

Płyta brzmi zdecydowanie surowiej i brudniej od jej poprzedniczki, „Baby 81”. Mieliście zamiar zmienić brzmienie, czy wszystko wyszło w praniu?
Jedynym zamysłem, jaki mieliśmy siadając do pisania tego albumu było to, by zrobić to, co wychodzi nam najlepiej. Chcieliśmy też, by pojawił się na nim kawałek każdej z naszych wcześniejszych płyt. Może chcieliśmy trochę urozmaicić nasze brzmienie, ale byliśmy bardziej skoncentrowani na tym, by napisać dobre piosenki. To o nie chodzi, nie o brzmienie. Choć z drugiej strony nie chcielibyśmy pójść złą drogą... no wiesz, chyba, że już na niej jesteśmy (śmiech). Staramy się jednak trzymać naszego stylu.

Jednym z najmocniejszych utworów na „Beat The Devil’s Tattoo” jest „Conscience Killer”. Jak ona powstała?
Ta piosenka wzięła się od Elvisa! To zrzynka z utworów „Hound Dog” i „King Creole”. To było tak: były urodziny Elvisa, a ja spędziłem całą dobę oglądając filmy z nim i dokumenty o nim. Potem chwyciłem za gitarę i tak wyszło. Jeśli posłuchasz tych piosenek to usłyszysz to samo intro, te same partie gitar,  itd.

Tak, sprawdzę na pewno. Tym bardziej, że twórczość Presleya to nie pierwsze, co przyszło mi na myśl, kiedy usłyszałem „Conscience Killer”…

Ja nie kłamię! (śmiech)

Wcale tak nie uważam. Po  prostu Elvis chyba... używał innych efektów gitarowych?
No tak, brzmiał trochę inaczej, fakt (śmiech)

Jeszcze przed wydaniem „Beat The Devil’s Tattoo” Robert (współzałożyciel oraz basista i wokalista grupy – przyp. red.) powiedział, że najpierw ją pokochał, później znienawidził i znowu się zakochał. Na jakim etapie ty jesteś?
Teraz staram się nauczyć, jak grać te piosenki (śmiech). Wiesz, przechodziliśmy przez ten nieustanny, będący niemal torturą proces od pisania, do nagrywania, poprawiania, miksowania, produkcji non-stop każdego dnia przez dobre 20 godzin na dobę. Nie śpimy wtedy zbyt dobrze. I ciężko nie być tym wszystkim zdrowo wkurwionym (śmiech). Na sam koniec mówisz „nie, dość już”. Jeśli nam się poszczęści, mamy jakiś miesiąc wolnego, po czym zaczynamy próby przed trasą i uświadamiasz sobie, że zapomniałeś, jak to wszystko się gra, więc słuchasz tego od nowa, żeby wszystko sobie przypomnieć. Jak już to nastąpi, dopiero wtedy zaczynam lubić nowy materiał.

Wiele zespołów bardzo krytycznie odnosi się do swych wczesnych nagrań, wręcz odżegnuje się od nich. Jakie masz podejście do nagrań BRMC?
Nie słucham żadnych z naszych płyt, nie mogę ich słuchać. Pozwalam innym ludziom je oceniać. Opowiedziałem ci o tym całym procesie, kiedy już się skończy, nie chcę do tego wracać. To był ten konkretny czas, daliśmy z siebie wszystko, na co było nas stać i tyle.

Na płycie znalazła się piosenka „Evol”, natomiast jako B side ukazał się utwór „1:51”. Oba są jednymi z najstarszych waszych kawałków, które do teraz nie miały oficjalnej premiery. W sprawie ich wydania fani pisali nawet petycje. Czy braliście pod uwagę głosy słuchaczy myśląc o ich nagraniu?
Różne wersje tych piosenek krążyły gdzieś tam i rzeczywiście mnóstwo fanów prosiło, by je w końcu nagrać. Tak, wzięliśmy to pod uwagę. To fajna sprawa, dać ludziom głos w takiej sprawie. Gdybym mógł poprosić zespół, który lubię, by coś nagrał, a on by to zrobił, byłbym zachwycony (śmiech).

To pierwsza płyta z nową perkusistką, Leah Shapiro, która zastąpiła Nicka Jago, który był z wami od samego początku. Jak doszło do waszej współpracy i czy udzielała się przy pisaniu piosenek na nową płytę?
Tak, większość materiału napisaliśmy z Leah. Poznaliśmy ją dzięki nowojorskiemu zespołowi Dead Combo, z którym koncertowaliśmy parę razy. Za pierwszym razem mieli automat perkusyjny, ale za drugim mieli już ją w szeregach. Nick chciał zaangażować się w coś innego, więc skontaktowaliśmy się z nią. Następnie koncertowała z nami przez jakieś sześć miesięcy, po czym polecieliśmy prosto do Filadelfii, by pisać nowe piosenki. Wszystko to było bardzo naturalne. Oczywiście musieliśmy się do siebie trochę przyzwyczaić, ale przez sześć miesięcy grania na żywo mieliśmy całkiem niezłą okazję (śmiech).

Czy Leah to był oczywisty wybór? Początkowo ogłaszaliście, że dokończy z wami trasę, później, że nagrywacie z nią płytę, natomiast potwierdzenie, iż jest oficjalną członkinią zespołu przyszło ostatnie. Nie byliście pewni, czy to wypali?
Nie byliśmy pewni. Nie wiedzieliśmy, czy to wyjdzie, tego nigdy nie wiadomo. Nie zastanawialiśmy się nad tym zbytnio, to było dość proste – spodziewaliśmy się już tego od jakiegoś czasu. Nick chciał zająć się solowym graniem, a ona była jedyną osobą, którą znaliśmy. Nie mieliśmy żadnych przesłuchań. Na szczęście się udało.

Wielu waszych fanów mówi, że BRMC bez Nicka to już nie BRMC.

Tak, sam tak myślałem. To uczciwa opinia. Ale wiesz,  przekonywałoby mnie to bardziej, gdyby Nick był bardziej zainteresowany zespołem. Nie neguję tego, czego dokonał, to było świetne i nie twierdzę, że już nie zagramy razem, ale przez wiele lat nie chciał już z nami być. Wiesz, ciężko mówić, że ktoś jest dużą częścią zespołu, jeśli ten ktoś nie chce w nim być.

Bardzo dużo koncertujecie po całym świecie. Jaka jest wasza recepta na przeżycie wielu miesięcy w towarzystwie tych samych osób?
Po prostu nam się udaje. Jest z nami mnóstwo dobrych ludzi: menadżerzy, techniczni, wszyscy.... to dość proste, gdy masz dookoła siebie tak wspaniałą ekipę, w której dodatkowo każdy wie, co robi. Jest świetnie. Jasne, że czasem robi się dość ciężko, nieprzyjemnie i stajesz się marudny, ale wszyscy inni też, więc to w porządku (śmiech).

Nowy album wyciekł do Internetu na tydzień przed premierą…
To chyba ludzie w prasie, gdzie tłoczy się płyty. Wysyłasz tam płytę i okazuje się, że chyba częścią ich pracy przed oddaniem jej do tłoczenia jest skopiowanie albumu i wrzucenie go do internetu. Nie sądzę, żeby w ogóle znali zespoły, którym to robią, po prostu to robią.

Jaka jest twoim zdaniem rola internetu w przemyśle muzycznym?
No wiesz, tu chodzi o przemysł. Nas zbytnio on nie obchodzi. Co prawda miło by było się utrzymać z muzyki, móc opłacić czynsz, mieć co położyć na stół, ale nigdy nie miałem z tym wielkiego problemu. Tak działo się od dłuższego czasu. Kiedyś muzycy rzucali się na pieniądze i robili muzykę szybko, wykorzystując ją, by się dorobić. To nie było nigdy potrzebne. Teraz tego nie ma, teraz musisz robić bardzo określone rzeczy, by dorobić się na muzyce. Wiesz, jest na to wzór (śmiech).

Czy czujecie się niedoceniani jako instrumentaliści? Zadaje się wam przeróżne pytania: o fryzury, nazwę, ubiór, ale ignoruje się to, że poza wyglądaniem gracie.
Nie... ja tylko oszukuję. Tak naprawdę nie umiem grać na gitarze (śmiech).Wszystkie nasze gitary są inaczej nastrojone, bo nigdy się porządnie nie nauczyłem grać, dlatego nie, nie czuję się niedoceniany. Wiesz, nie mogę nawet grać z innymi muzykami, bo powiedzą, w jakiej tonacji będziemy grać, a ja nie będę wiedzieć, o co im chodzi (śmiech).

Poza tym, że nie umiesz grać na gitarze, nie umiesz też grać na pianinie i na puzonie…
Taaaak. Gdy byłem w szkole średniej byłem w orkiestrze symfonicznej, a także w zespołach jazzowym i takim przygrywającym futbolistom. Byłem przez długi czas w takim zespole w Minessocie, a ludzie tam interesują się futbolem i takimi zespołami. Gdy byłeś dzieckiem to albo grałeś w futbol, albo przygrywałeś grającym. Ja byłem zbyt chudy, żeby grać, więc wylądowałem w orkiestrze (śmiech). Potem przeprowadziłem się do Kalifronii, a ja wciąż grałem, Robert przez jakiś czas zresztą też. Nigdy nie nauczyłem się czytać nut, wiedziałem tylko, jak powinna brzmieć mała czarna kropka na papierze (śmiech, tu chodzi chyba o tabulatury).

Na żywo gracie dużo coverów. Powstanie kiedyś płyta Black Rebel Motorcycle Club wyłącznie z przeróbkami piosenek innych wykonawców?
Jeszcze o tym nie myśleliśmy. Może to kiedyś się zdarzy, nie wiem, czy byłby to oddzielny album, czy dodatek do któregoś. To ma sens. Musimy tylko najpierw ich trochę nazbierać (śmiech). 

Latem zeszłego roku odwiedziliście Polskę, zagraliście u nas jeden z niewielu koncertów w 2009. Czy jest coś, co szczególnie zapadło ci w pamięć z tej wizyty?

Spotkaliśmy się z fanami, to było wspaniałe. Zawsze dobrze jest spotykać się z ludźmi, którzy lubią twoją muzykę. Dostaliśmy od nich flagę, wszędzie ze mną podróżuje. Trzymam ją z moimi gitarami.
Autor: Michał Stachura


Friday, April 9, 2010

BRMC on Late Show with Jimmy Fallon

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club  are winding down their first North American tour in support of new album, Beat the Devil's Tattoo, and ending with two sold-out NYC show plus a performance on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon."
Set your TiVos to 12:35 am tonight

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April 5, 2010 by Peter

Out of the darkness of the late 90s, into the darkness of the now–Black Rebel Motorcycle Club maintains a disassociated psychedelic fury against the waking world. While other bands from their scene have gone soft or gone away, the Club is selling out shows without gimmicks or pandering. After almost 10 years of working with brilliant, troubled, fighty drummer Nick Jago, including a period when they had to record an entire album (Howl) without him, (which became a resounding critical success due to its stripped-down folk-blue stompiness FYI) they picked up Leah Shapiro and made their scariest West Coast spaced-out VU-channeling record yet: Beat The Devil’s Tattoo. They’ve seen it all, and probably done it all, and are still madly successful, as their sold-out 9:30 Club date tonight proves.

We talked to bassist Robert Levon Been on the phone on April Fool’s day about New Moon, the folks who constantly iPhone at rock shows, and why THEY’RE KICKING THEIR DRUMMER OUT OF THE BAND **BREAKING NEWS**
(ps I’ve included some pictures of 1950s and 60s biker gangs because my favorite thing to do while listening to BRMC is to pretend I am in one, I suggest you do the same).

BYT: Where are you guys right now?
Robert: Levon Been: We just made it up to Toronto. We are about halfway through the first US tour—maybe a little more than halfway—but it’s been a blur doing about 6 shows a week. It seems like one big long epic concert. It’s been going on for a while; The longest encore of all time.

BYT: How long was it before that? Did you have any break before this tour, like in 2009?
RLB: No, we kind of asked for the full dose of pain. We have had about a year—maybe more than a year—off from making the record. We’ve had some charity things in between, but then were pretty much just focused on the album, which is something we wanted to do. But yeah, this is the beginning of the whole avalanche.

BYT: Well, good luck. So, I wanted to ask about the drummer situation. Leah [Shapiro] has been your drummer since 2008?
RLB: Yeah, mid 2008. 

BYT: How is she working out?
RLB: [Laughs] It’s kind of beyond expectations for us. She jumped on originally just to fill in for some European shows—she didn’t want to go out. She learned the old songs—she learned like 40 songs in like 2 weeks—and they were just flawless. We were impressed by that, of course, but as far as making the record and really becoming part of the band, and being able to mold together and write together, that took another set of skills. We didn’t really know if that was going to sit the way it has until we got up to Philadelphia and started working on the record. It took a little time before we actually knew, but ever since that moment when we started recording we haven’t stopped. This record is kind of the proof of what we’ve done and we’re pretty proud of it.

BYT: I was going to ask how much her presence had affected the recording of the album– it sounds like she is very 
RLB: Yeah, you know, it’s kind of the way we record or the way we write. It’s often just kind of jam sessions where we see what comes though. Nick was really good at that. Nick was really good at listening, and responding, and knowing when to lay in, and knowing when to lay off. It’s not really something you can teach someone, but we were surprised that Leah, in a different way, had those same sensibilities and it really made us feel like a band, which was the last thing we thought would come.

BYT: I used to be in a band with a woman drummer, and they rock, but they are very demanding on the road.
RLB: [Laughs]

BYT: Can we make some stereotypes happen right now?
RLB: [Laughs]

BYT: Is that true at all for Leah?
RLB: Unless you know Nick, there is really no one that will ever be as high maintenance than that boy is. I would be in a band with 100 woman to take the place of one Nick. But, as far as that stuff goes… I could go on and on about trouble with women, that’s a whole other interview, but this is one that is actually working out for us. Maybe it’s smart that we haven’t slept together, it would probably turn into a nightmare. I’ve been around that one, and that’s a really good way to ruin anything.

BYT: It is April fool’s day today, it would be a really good opportunity to just start making stuff up.
RLB: That’s when I called her to hire her in the band! The day we called her to tell her that we wanted her to come out and do the European tour, and all these shows, was on April Fool’s Day and she did not believe me. It was kinda crazy. I actually had to call her back because she hung up. [Laughs]

BYT: That’s awesome.


I’ll print the headline that she is out of the band so you can send it to her.

RLB: Yeah, sorry Leah it’s not working out, we thought this would be the best way to tell you.

BYT: So, you guys have been going on the road for a long time, what are some of the things that have changed in the past 10 or 12 years of touring?
RLB: Well, I don’t know. It feels right now, just in the last couple years, that rock and roll music is trying to be pushed out of the game. I don’t think it’s going to be killed off or anything like that, it just seems like there are more people that are trying to divide between dance kind of mentality, and people who really and truly love rock and roll music—there aren’t many—but I feel like the division has become more and more pronounced…it just feels like it’s becoming a smaller niche and our culture is making it that way. I’m not sure why, but I guess I never trusted the fuckers that liked it before so… [Laughs] I always thought they were just weekend warriors and were like “Rock and roll, man!”,but didn’t really have any idea what the word means, and the power that music can really bring. It was  more like, “Oh, this is what’s in this week.” So actually I’m kinda happy that people that are hanging with us, that they really feel it. It is a beautiful thing, people coming together under this spirit. I don’t know… I could go on about it. It is definitely different without a doubt. It’s more of a fight than before… it was kind of given to you but you didn’t trust why. 

BYT: But just in the last couple years has there been a sudden contingent of New Moon fans showing up to your shows?
RLB: [Laughs] I haven’t really seen any change. We have always had a diverse crowd of older kids and younger kids, and everything in between. But I kinda dig that, that there isn’t just one type of person that likes us. It’s kinda weird like you walk through the crowd. Like I’ve been to a Yeah Yeah Yeahs show in the past and there are really little kids, it kinda feels like I’m walking through a high school gymnasium announcement or something. Our crowd are like that but there old rockabilly guys that are there, there are motorcycle gang people, and there are all sort of old crooners that out there, plus you got young kids. I’m glad it’s the scenester kids that are disappearing… they only last or awhile anyway, they don’t have much stamina.

BYT: I was going to ask if there was still a garage punk ’scene’ anywhere. It sounds like you’re saying that there really isn’t. I know in DC there are a lot of people that love garage punk, but there isn’t really like a get-up and a hair-cut anymore, you know?
RLB: I mean, it’s not bad. I don’t know if when you see a show it’s surprising how much it goes into that world but we often go into the complete opposite direction, like we’ll go into a more country ballad or folksy stuff. People who are really into that music don’t usually like to mix their peas and carrots. They just like the one thing—you have to respect it and it’s kind of purist—but maybe to a fault. But, yeah it’s totally subjective.


BYT: Speaking of kind of taking left turns, can we talk about Howl? I plenty like all your records but that one definitely stands out for me. I mainly wanted to ask about the circumstances around making it– I know at the time you weren’t together with Nick, but so, was the sound that came out of it, the really stripped down acoustic stuff, was that the result of  “Wow, great we finally get a shot at this” or was it like “Let’s just see what happens when we go into the studio without a drummer?”
RLB: Well, um, we have been writing songs like that since we started. We always had songs that we had written that stared to pile up, which didn’t have a place on a proper Black Rebel record, and all of a sudden it’s like our first record. On the first album we were really just trying to figure out what our sound was going to be. We didn’t really know too much about recording and we were first just starting to experiment with it, and we didn’t have a proper band sound yet because we hadn’t played enough as a band. Then on the second album we toured for about two years so we really developed our own thing, and Take Them On was kind of an attempt to capture our moment—like, this is our band and this is our sound and this is what we created together. But through all those years we were still writing all these acoustic songs but we couldn’t find a way to put them on these records that we really balls-to-the-wall rock and roll. Howl was pretty much like we had to designate a record to that type of music because there really wasn’t a way to sneak it in with out it being a little to obvious about what we were trying to do, and then it just wouldn’t work, I think. But, we started thinking it was just going to be an acoustic album but then as we started recording, it kept growing and growing, and we kept experimenting with it and seeing how far we could go with the different tracks. It was a constant thing about keeping us limited, using limitations as much as possible, because it could have been kind of orchestrated, just piling on more and more instruments…

BYT: Right.
RLB: So we were really hard on ourselves and tried to apply the “less is more” theory to this record. That really helped keep it grounded. 


BYT: Am I right that T-bone Burnnet was involved at some point?
RLB: Only on one song. We had pretty much finished the record and were working on “Ain’t No Easy Way Out”, and we were really having a hard time finding a mix for that song so he invited us out to his home studio and we hung out there and got to use his board that he used on “Exile On Main Street”. I mean, we were blown away to get to play around on it. But I don’t think we ended up using that mix in the end. [Laughs]

BYT: Do you still have more acoustic songs like that floating around that might end up…
RLB: I think on the new ablum there are songs that have elements of that…

BYT: Like the title track, at least at the start, kind of reminds me of Howl.
RLB: Right, we’re not becoming as rigid about what we do anymore. We know that folks know us and it  frees us up to do what we want. It’s getting fun.

BYT: Last question, man. I read a couple a years ago that [guitarist] Peter [Hayes] grabbed a cell phone from a guy in the front row and kind of confiscated it like a teacher for recording the show…what are your feelings about stuff like that? Like people going to shows that spend the whole time video taping and taking pictures, or people in general who don’t come to rock out–who just stand around and talking. Are you OK with it or does it get under your skin?
RLB: I mean, there’s a time and a place for it. If you’re standing with a camera in front of your face for the entire concert I feel like you are kind of missing the point. I think that was, if I remember correctly, that incident. Sometimes that’s just a bit ridiculous–there is something about trying to put yourself in the moment just for a little bit. It’s good to capture things, but there is a limit. It’s a moment that may never happen again so its good to just be present and not behind a blinking light.

BYT: Have you seen an shows recently that took you out from behind the blinking light and really blew you away?
RLB: Leonard Cohen. I say him at Madison Square Garden a couple months ago—that was the real thing. Nine Inch Nails, one of their last shows before they called it quits, and it was pretty amazing. They’ve always been great but seeing them say farewell had another weight to it.

BYT: Yeah their longevity is a dream come true. Actually so is yours. Thanks for talking to me yo.
RLB: Thank You.

Evolve if you can, tonight and forever.


05/04/10 Washington@9:30 Club

By Michael Darpino, 1:00 pm April 7th, 2010

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club rumbled into town on Monday night to subject a sold-out 9:30 Club to a shock and awesome display of rock-n-roll annihilation. Touring in support of their latest long-player, “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo“, BRMC embraced that album’s raw power style to play a set that was fast, loose, and loud. So loud that it often felt like the band was testing the audience’s commitment to BRMC’s maximum rock approach. The noise assault drove fans out in staggered waves through the set but left behind a sizable core of diehards to truly enjoy the display of sonic audacity and seemingly-effortless talent being unleashed on stage. Being a long-time BRMC fan, I was a bit shocked at the levels with which they could still manage to surprise and impress. After many years of watching Black Rebel Motorcycle Club perform, their Monday night, aural brainwashing made me feel like I was seeing the band for the first time all over again.

I have been an acolyte to the church of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and their country-fried, shoegazer, blues-rock for a long-ass time. They have made it onto my year-end, best-of-DC, concerts lists three times before (2007, 2006, top honors in 2004) and, unless this year gets crazy-good, will probably make it onto 2010’s list as well. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are repeat offenders on my lists because every time I have seen them perform they offer a new perspective on their great rock-n-roll show. The first time I saw them in 2004 the show was all about atmosphere and cool. In 2006 they hit DC twice, first with a folksy/blues rock-out and then a few months later with a plugged-in fuzz-fest. In 2007, they brought their most polished show-yet, featuring an extra guitar-player, they focused on the expansive nature of their catalog, embracing every subtle note swirling around inside their huge, bombastic moments.

Monday night’s show was no different in how different it was from tours past. Gone was the well-rehearsed, beautiful delivery of ‘07; gone too was the red-light, atmosphere of ‘04. On Monday night, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club brought the noise. I have heard them work the 9:30 Club sound-system better than almost anyone to produce shows of stunning beauty in years past. On Monday night, BRMC threw that approach out the window. Dialing everything in the sound-booth to max dBs and their amps to Spinal Tap 11, they took to the stage and let the Kraken loose. In a way this show was the most like The Jesus & Mary Chain that I have ever heard BRMC play. They played every moment so loud that the air itself began to vibrate and hum. For two hours and fifteen minutes the audience was trapped on the bleeding edge of sound; for some it was bliss, for others not so much. I personally loved every second of it. Guitar, bass, drums, vocals all bled together to create a primeval racket that had us feeling like banana slices trapped in a giant, jiggling, jello mold. You know you are witnessing pure-rock intensity when your car-keys are vibrating in your pocket and your drink is playing like it’s an insert shot from Jurassic Park.

As I mentioned earlier, this was the least rehearsed I have seen BRMC play. That is not to say BRMC performed poorly. What I mean is that they didn’t focus so much on big, dramatic moments or precision delivery like they usually do. Much like their new album, the show was a little sloppy, and that worked brilliantly in amping up the rock-n-roll sincerity of the whole thing. No surprise then that the songs from the new album sounded the best on Monday night. The highlights of the new songs were ‘Bad Blood’, ‘Aya’, and ‘Shadow’s Keeper’. There were bass sounds produced during the performance of ‘Aya’ that were so mind-blowing, they had to have been the coolest sounds on planet Earth at that given moment.

The show heavily featured BRMC’s full catalog, particularly in its second half. The older songs sounded fresh with Monday’s looser renditions. The material from their brilliant album “Baby 81” benefited most from this; especially songs like ‘American X’ and ‘Berlin’. ‘American X’ was one of the highlights of the entire show featuring a brilliant vocal performance and an awesome noise jam in its second half. Other back-catalog, highlights of the night included ‘White Palms’ with its unbeatable cool-vibe, and surprisingly (to me anyway) ‘Ain’t No Easy Way’ from “Howl“.

Without a doubt the best moment of the evening for me was their intense performance of ‘Six Barrel Shotgun’. It was the moment when the in-your-face, volume matched the material so perfectly that you just had to close your eyes and give in to music nirvana as the insane wall-of-noise washed over you. It was the perfect illustration of what Monday night’s show was all about; straining the sound-system to its breaking-point with down and dirty rock-n-roll to provide musical, freak-out bliss to a house packed with BRMC devotees like myself. My ears are still ringing as I type this and I am already jonsing for more.


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April 6th, 2010

Dark, gritty, and atmospheric Los Angeles trio Black Rebel Motorcycle Club — which has been making psych/shoegaze/gospel-tinged garage-rock (sort of an American version of Spiritualized or the Jesus and Mary Chain) for a decade now — returns to town tonight behind its excellent new album, Beat the Devil’s Tattoo. We caught up the other day with bassist/vocalist Robert Been, who was just waking up at the rock-star hour of 3 p.m., to talk about playing live, the new album, how it’s been for the band since permanently replacing mercurial co-founding drummer Nick Jago with Leah Shapiro (the one-time Raveonettes touring drummer) in time to record the new album, and more:

You awake?
I’m awake. Once you fall into the pattern we’re in it’s hard to get out of it because you get all this adrenaline when you go on and play around midnight, and then you’re pretty much wired for the rest of the night.

Yeah, I would imagine it’s pretty hard to come offstage after playing a show and then be like, “Okay, I’m going to sleep now.”
You need a lot of pills to do that one.

At the same time, you must feel pretty drained after you come offstage having given it your all for an hour and a half or whatever.
Yeah, I thought I had more control over it and then I realized that once…because we’ve been doing six shows in a row for the past couple weeks, I keep thinking I’ll try and pace myself this time. But once you get out there, it’s like there’s no real control over pacing yourself methodically in order to take time for the rest of the week. Every night there’s no real controlling it. If people are giving you energy, you’re not gonna put it into your pocket and save it for a rainy day.

You feel confident now playing the songs off the new album live?
We rehearsed like two months to learn this album and you really feel like you’re covering yourself because we forgot how we played that stuff [laughs]. You listen back to it and you’re like, “Oh yeah, this is how I played that,” and you kinda memorize it all. Getting to the point of second nature is what it’s all about. Once you get that, you can forget it — once you’re able to forget it again, that’s kinda cool [laughs]

Now that you have six albums out, it must be getting a little tougher to come up with a set list, yeah?
Yeah, and it’s just starting to get weird, playing old songs. It’s kinda like, the people that are coming out, there’s something where I feel like we’re playing it for them rather than ourselves now, the older songs I mean. We’d probably mostly just play the new record if we had a choice. We’ll play some stuff from [2007's] Baby 81 and [2005's] Howl, but anything before that, I guess naturally it’s like, you only wanna go a couple years back and let the past be the past. But It’s a different feeling, I kinda like that it’s not all about us anymore.

So you might still pull out a song or two from the first album?
Sure. Maybe. Or maybe not, who knows?

But if it was entirely up to you, you’d pretty much just play the new album start to finish and that’d be it, and you’d feel all right with that?
I’d feel great about that, but people are already getting kinda pissed off because we can’t play that much from each record now in a two hour time. We can only do a couple from each, you know? We try…I dunno, it’s kinda liberating knowing that you’re not gonna make everyone happy. It’s kinda freeing now. We’ll do our best but that’s all we’ve got, and that’s okay. In the past, the potential to make everybody happy was a nightmare [laughs].

When you put an album out now, are you concerned with how it’s going to be received by fans and critics and so on?
Umm, you know, it’s funny. Each album, you try and get more and more where you don’t care, where you get to a place where you’re really proud of the music you’ve made and worked on it and it shouldn’t matter what other people think. Each album you try to let go of that more and more. But, umm, the trick is, I finally realized, is to not let go how much you love it, because there’s an element of…there’s a choice you make, or a choice I made, where I had to give my heart back to this music again, and there was a point where I didn’t want to.

What do you mean?
Well, I just wanted to do it and kind of let the picture be bigger than just this. It’s kinda like, “I’m gonna get back together with my girlfriend but I’m gonna play it really cool and whatever happens will happen,” and, you know, be kind of unemotional about it. And it’s funny because I notice a lot of people in bands – I’m not gonna name names – but they do that and I totally understand why. The more you love something the more it can be torn apart and it can break your spirit. So it’s kind of a fine line for me, allowing myself to love it and giving my heart back to rock and roll or whatever you wanna call it, and still not giving a fuck what people think [laughs]. That’s the trick. That’s the really hard part. You know, it’s okay to want people to love your baby as much as you do, even though they probably never will. And that’s okay too. They can go fuck themselves! [laughs]

Do you tend to change the ways you go about writing and recording albums each time you make one in order to keep things fresh, or do you rely sometimes on the methods and sounds that have worked for you in the past?
Hmm…it cuts both ways. Every time, we try to change everything as much as possible, so it’s never looking at the same picture from the same angle for too long. That helps me a lot. When it starts, a lot of time the natural inspiration comes from all of us in a room together jamming out and not thinking and just being together and having the music turned up loud enough where you can’t hear the sound of your own brain thinking anymore. And then you’re able to explore some new shit. Once the music dies down you gotta finish the song, and that’s when changing the routine helps. Almost every time, we let half the song come naturally and everybody knows when it’s working and when it’s not. And then whoever gets on the microphone first…it’s almost the curse, whoever comes up with the melody first it’s like, “Ohh, shit…” [laughs] There’s the moment that happens right after where you’re like, “Fuck …” It’s like homework, and then you gotta kill yourself over it for the next five months or something. It’s the blessed curse.

Do you feel like making a record is rewarding in the moment, or do you need the months afterward to process the experience before you can decide if it was rewarding or not?
Umm … Baby 81, for example, was kind of a…it was really hard and it made us almost come to the brink of, like, why are we doing this if the process is so unenjoyable? The music was still great, but there’s a certain point where you’re like, “Fuck, this shouldn’t be so difficult, there should be more joy.” And this record pretty much from the start…it had a lot to do with our relationship with our drummer that we were able to get a fresh start. Leah [Shapiro] brought a lot of new blood and energy into the project. So the process was pretty fun. The only thing we were worried about was, it was almost the other extreme where fun’s not the main concern — we didn’t want to make it sound like we were having too good of a time [laughs]. Everyone thinks the album’s pretty dark, but it sounds to me like we were having a blast.

So not to belabor the point, but now that Nick isn’t in the band anymore and Leah is in, it feels like a fresh start?
Yeah. You know, it was pretty much the typical story with bands after a while, and we’re not so special. You end up havin’ three boys in a band for too long and there’s all sorts of, “I fuckin’ hate you,” “I wanna kill you,” “I love you,” “Get the fuck away from me” — every emotion we’ve got towards one another, like brothers. But after a while it wasn’t giving back to the music. It used to. All the tension and turmoil, it gave back as much as it was taking. But then it started taking more than its fair share, so we had to go our separate ways. Things are good now.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

BRMC @ Winterthurer Musikfestwochen...

just confirmed- we'll be playing Winterthurer Musikfestwochen August 28. 
Purchase tix here


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Frequency Festival...

BRMC are pleased to announce they will be playing the Frequency Festival in Austria on Friday, August 20th.
Tickets are now available through


25 /03/2010 Chicago@Metro


SXSW review @ La Zona Rosa

SXSW Review: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club @ La Zona Rosa
Following what seems like a trend this year at SXSW, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club took the stage a little late to a full house of eager fans at La Zona Rosa and thoroughly rocked all in attendance. After a handful of songs warmed the crowd up, “Weapon of Choice” got them moving, and for the rest of the show, there was no turning back.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - SXSW 2010

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - SXSW 2010

The set was a fantastic mix of sound and some of the best stage lighting experienced during this year’s SXSW. Leah Shapiro, the 2008-to-current drummer and replacement for the oft-troubled Nick Jago, destroyed the drums. I might be the only one, but I can’t help but think of Matt Belemy of Muse when Robert Levon Been is singing. That is definitely not a bad thing, especially when it’s mixed with raw jams that conjure up thoughts of The Rolling Stones, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre (the band guitarist/bassist/vocalist Peter Hayes left to create BRMC in 1998).

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - SXSW 2010

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - SXSW 2010

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - SXSW 2010

BRMC is touring through April in the US before beginning the European leg of their tour. If they’re stopping anywhere nearby, I suggest you check them out.


muzzle of BTDT review...

By Pete Donahue

Since I latched on to their 2001 single “Whatever Happened to My Rock ‘n’ Roll (Punk Rock Song),” I’ve always held Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in high regard. I don’t own a motorcycle or a leather jacket, but when I listen to the band’s ragged amalgam of rock and roll, blues, americana and folk, I get a glimpse of what it must have been like to roll with Velvet Underground in Manhattan back in the late-60s. To have been right there with people like Lou Reed who helped shape rock and roll into the coolest kind of chic I can imagine, decked out in black leather jackets, heeled boots and sunglasses, regardless of what time it is.

For me, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are today’s embodiment of proper rock and roll. The kind carried with just the right amount of vintage swagger that doesn’t reek of hipster irony. There may be a long list of younger bands one could use to remind me that rock and roll hasn’t gone anywhere, but those bands haven’t come close to mastering the ability to make you fantasize about living in an era when rock and roll was just an insubordinate, snotty teenager who didn’t give a fuck if you liked it or not? The kind of rock and roll that lives on embedded in the tattered cement and bricks of cities like New York, Detroit, San Francisco and London.

Beat the Devil’s Tattoo is the sixth and latest LP by the band and is probably one of, if not their most complete record to date. And with over 10 years in the rock and roll rat race, B.R.M.C. have done so right in the face of some pretty unsettling events for a band. After a reluctance to license their music for commercial use (ahem, but “Spread Your Love” in a Miracle Whip commercial was a terrible idea, RCA), they were dropped by their major label – for the second time. With the departure of original drummer, Nick Jago, and a grueling tour schedule that eventually left the band without permanent addresses, some bands would call it a day. But if rock and roll is all you know, then you do the only thing you know how.

Recorded in a house/recording studio owned by The Cobbs in Philadelphia (making a record while squatting – very rock and roll), B.R.M.C. sound as if they’ve actually welcomed all the shitty things that’s happened to them over the last couple of years. From the first verse of the title-track that opens the album, it’s clear the band will be damned if you’re not going to listen up this time around: “Your body’s aching, every bone is breaking/Nothing seems to shake it, it just keeps holding on.” Sounding like a Wild West-meets eastern European gypsy death march, equal parts twangy acoustic guitar leads backed by fuzzy electric guitars and a maddening rhythmic stomp, the song sounds more like a band’s declaration of survival than lead single, but either way, it’s a proper way to start an album.

The up-tempo “Conscience Killer” impressively rings like a frenzied ensemble of buzzsaw guitars and thick, pounding drums, with bassist/vocalist Robert Levon Been and guitarist Peter Hayes trading blazing statements like “It don’t mean all that much, does it boy?/We never really had a choice” with a cocky snarl that almost dares any music industry bigwig to stand in their way. If the music industry machine was set on rolling over Black Rebel Cycle Club, to band shows two songs into their new album that they’re not interested in being just another major label casualty. It is equal parts furious, desperate and awesome.

Fans of the band’s stripped-down, Americana/folk Howl and Howl Session EP are not to be disappointed, either. As the band have eeked out a living effortlessly dabbling in various roots music genres, “The Toll” is a damned near perfect personal statement about life. Based around a sole acoustic guitar, Hayes takes the mic with an unsettling honesty, lamenting “Everything is taking its toll, it’s a moment we carry alone/With a cause there’s a cure for the soul, but, oh, everything is taking its toll.” The haggard sentiment is the tune of a guy giving it everything he’s got, and that’s something that no Pro-Tools plug-in or social networking marketing campaign can re-create, for this is very real. Alongside “The Sweetest Thing,” Hayes’ voice sounds as best as it ever has throughout the band’s career, even if his heart seems like it’s going through the worst.

On “Aya,” the band takes a sludgey, hypnotic jam approach, letting a minimalist drone of fuzz bass provide the foundation while new drummer Leah Shapiro wheels the song along over a seemingly rough terrain, letting no more than absolutely necessarily through in the verses before the exploding choruses. “Aya, we’re alone and there’s no room here anymore!” Been howls, as if it’s the last love song he’ll ever sing.

One of the best elements of Beat the Devil’s Tattoo is the band’s ability to take the slower, atmospheric songs like “Aya,” as well as 10-minute-plus album closer “Half-State,” and intertwine them among mid-tempo cuts like “Shadow’s Keeper” and “Bad Blood” without lessening the quieter moments like “Long Way Down.” The album has phenomenal balance, never wavering towards too loud or quiet, and never getting too caught up in the longer tracks. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club has always displayed the cunning ability to take on various sonic avatars, and they’ve shown again the importance of flawless sequencing.

Beat the Devil’s Tattoo appeases every fan’s taste, an impressive feat considering the band often dabbles in more than one genre. The thick, distorted bass lines and furious, thunderous drums, soulful blues licks surrounded by massive walls of sound, and melancholy acoustic moments are all present. And then some. Considering all the rough times the band have endured lately, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club make it sound so damn good. With their backs seemingly against the wall, it’s as if the trio took those heavy odds stacked against them, thrown them onto the highway, and ran them over. And they probably did it on the way to the next gig.