Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Origin: San Francisco, California

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Genres: alternative rock, Garage Rock, Shoegaze

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For a band which hails from San Francisco, the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club may sound quite British. The group consists of Peter Hayes (vocal, guitar, harmonica), Robert Levon Been (vocal, bass, guitar), and Leah Shapiro (drums). The vocals are shared between Been and Peter Hayes.

Been used the pseudonym ‘Robert Turner’ on the first two records, in an attempt not to be linked to his father (Michael Been of The Call). He later dropped this identity when promoting their album, Howl. The senior Been later toured with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club as part of their sound crew.

Originally called The Elements, they opted to take a name from the Marlon Brando motorcycle gang in the 1953 film The Wild One. Retro cool.

By 1999, the band had recorded a polished 16-track demo CD and relocated to Los Angeles. Santa Monica-based radio station KCRW jumped on BRMC’s demo first, giving them their initial airplay, but interest in the band eventually spread across the Atlantic, where BBC Sheffield named the demo their “Record of the Week.” Oasis’ Noel Gallagher even expressed interest in signing the band to his new Brother Records imprint.

After inking a lucrative Warner/Chappell publishing deal, however, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club ultimately chose to sign with Virgin Records in March 2000.

They have released eight studio albums: B.R.M.C. (2001), Take Them On, On Your Own (2003), Howl (2005), Baby 81 (2007), The Effects of 333 (2008), Beat the Devil’s Tattoo (2010), Specter at the Feast (2013) and Wrong Creatures (2018), as well as several EPs, and live albums.

BRMC chose to partner with Vagrant Records for the release of 2010’s Beat the Devil’s Tattoo. While touring that album, the band lost their engineer and Been’s father, Michael Been (the leader of ’80s alternative heroes the Call), who died of a heart attack backstage after a show in Belgium.

BRMC toured throughout 2012 and 2013, then released their seventh album, Specter at the Feast, in early 2013. Fittingly, they covered the Call for their first single, “Let the Day Begin,” and Been also joined the Call for a string of concerts.

The band next headed into Sunset Studios with producer Nick Launay (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arcade Fire) to record what would be their eighth album. Wrong Creatures was released in 2018, and featured the singles “Little Thing Gone Wild” and “Haunt.”

K-ZAP is spinning the track “Echo” from Creatures and you can hear it on 93.3 FM and streaming on K-ZAP.ORG/LISTEN/ Us Zappers thank you for directing your device to our station. Hear “Echo” in the video below.

Discography

B.R.M.C. (2001)
Take Them On, On Your Own (2003)
Howl (2005)
Baby 81 (2007)
The Effects of 333 (download only) (2008)
Beat the Devil’s Tattoo (2010)
Specter at the Feast (2013)
Wrong Creatures (2018)

Video