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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC for short) is an Americanmarker alternative rock band from San Franciscomarker, Californiamarker, now based in Los Angelesmarker. BRMC is known for its brand of garage rock, blues, folk revival, neo-psychedelia, and often religiously inspired lyrics, and its influences are groups and musicians such as The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Rolling Stones, John Lennon, The Velvet Underground and The Jesus and Mary Chain.


Formation and early years: 1998–2003

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club formed in 1998, taking its name from Marlon Brando's motorcycle gang in the 1953 film The Wild One. The band was originally called The Elements, but after discovering that another band had the same name, it changed the name to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Their second album Take Them On, On Your Own has several songs such as "Generation" and "US Government" that are critical of the United States government.

The band's first two records were indebted to classic hard rock influenced by Led Zeppelin and also encompassed slower paced psychedelic rock, space rock and Noise Pop influences from bands such as The Verve, Loop, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr and The Jesus And Mary Chain. Recently, with their fourth record Baby 81, they developed a more concrete sound and style; encompassing blues, folk, and rock, while remaining angst-ridden in theme.

The vocals are shared between Robert Levon Been (Bass) and Peter Hayes (guitar). Been and Hayes met at high school in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Lafayettemarker and quickly formed a band, Hayes having recently left The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Looking for a drummer, they met Nick Jago, from Devonmarker, Englandmarker, who had moved to California to be with his parents after spending some time at Winchester School of Art, where he was studying fine art. Been used the pseudonym 'Robert Turner' on the first two records, in an attempt to not be linked to his famous father (Michael Been of The Call.) He later dropped this identity when promoting Howl.

Middle era: 2004–2006

In 2003, a concert in Leedsmarker, West Yorkshire, UKmarker had to be cancelled half way through the set, after Leeds City Council officials suspected the 150 year old floor of Leeds Town Hallmarker might collapse. This led to the band sometimes being referred to as 'the band who broke the floor'.

After conflict with the label, the band was dropped by Virgin Records in 2004. Nick Jago became estranged from the band in 2005, reportedly due to drug problems that became publicly apparent when he remained on stage for a full nine minutes, completely silent, while accepting a 2003 NME Award. A year later at the 2004 V Festival, Jago walked out when asked to sign an inflatable penis. Things came to a head in Scotland, when after a tense gig Jago and Hayes came to blows and before long, Jago quit. As such, Jago did not take part in the Howl sessions. Instead, he went through various rehab attempts, eventually rejoining the band in time to record one track on Howl, the ballad "Promise". Some fans believe the lack of Jago's presence, and the encompassing drug problems the band had faced, lead partly to Howl's stripped-down folk style, a departure from the traditional B.R.M.C. sound.

In 2005 the band signed to Echo in the UK, and RCA in the U.S. Their third album Howl was released to widespread critical acclaim. Several of the songs on Howl are said to have been written long before the idea of BRMC was conceived. Jago returned after most of the album was recorded but plays on track 7, "Promise". On tour for this album the band also employed a temporary fourth member, guitarist Spike Keating, on stage during performances.

Possible influences of the band include the beat poet generation, notably of the Denver scene, and particularly in Allen Ginsberg. This is evident in the title of their third album: Howl is the name of Ginsberg's most celebrated work.

Recent years: 2007–present

The band's fourth album, Baby 81, was released on April 30, 2007 in the UK and Europe and May 1, 2007 in the U.S.. The band has posted several songs of Baby 81 album on their MySpace page.

On June 6, 2007, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club performed in a concert that was streamed live via MSN Music.

In June 2008 Nick once again left B.R.M.C.'s touring line-up, being replaced by The Raveonettes' touring drummer Leah. Nick stated he "took it as I am fired again and to be honest with you I respect their decision.". However, Peter and Robert issued a statement reading: "Nick won't be joining us for the upcoming European tour, but it's not true that he is fired. We just feel Nick needs time to sort out exactly what he wants right now. His heart and all his energy and attention is on his own solo project and he needs to see that through."

On October 27, 2008, the band announced via a Myspace bulletin that they were to release their newest album independent of any record company. The album, which would be their fifth studio record, would also be their first release through their own "Abstract Dragon" label.The album, titled, The Effects of 333 is completely instrumental and is available as a digital download only through their official music store since 3:33 am Pacific Time on November 1.

On March 3, 2009, B.R.M.C. announced that they are recording their 6th studio album, and their tentative plan is to release the album later this year with tour dates to follow. Besides, they have recently completed their first ever live DVD, with audio mixed by Peter Hayes, recorded in Glasgow, Berlin and Dublin during the Baby 81 world tour. The DVD will be released on the 10th of November through Vagrant Records.

As of September 2009, B.R.M.C have updated their website with a new layout, a roadtrip montage video (with a soundtrack of 'A Twisted State' from Effects of 333) and have stated that the next album is on schedule to be released in March 2010. The band are set to debut a new track on the OST of upcoming 'Twilight' sequel; 'New Moon' along with Thom Yorke, Bon Iver and The Killers.

The release date of the album 'Beat the Devil's tattoo' was confirmed on the official band website as March 8th along with a string of tour dates.


  • Peter Hayes – vocals, guitar, bass, synthesizer (1998–present)
  • Robert Levon Been – vocals, bass, guitar, piano (1998–present)
  • Leah Shapiro – drums, percussion (2008–present)

Former members




External links

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