Black Rebel Motorcycle Club / interview / Aug 2001
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Bring back my rock n' roll
LA-based trio bring driving guitars and smart lyrics to the forefront. And oh how we need it...
"Who's nicked our bikes then?"
Mood music circa 2001. That's Black Rebel Motorcycle Club with their sparse stage lighting, moody guitars that seem to have minds of their own, and insightful, thought-provoking lyrics.The result is a dreamy, intellectual experience, whether you're listening to the group's self-titled debut or seeing an energetic and vibe-laden live show. The band is fresh off a supporting tour with The Charlatans and is headlining gigs throughout the United States. BRMC really proved itself through some rigorous touring.

Opening for the Charlatans, the trio - guitarist and vocalist Peter Hayes, bassist and vocalist Robert Turner and drummer Nick Jago - gave the audience an incredible sensory experience. BRMC moved effortless from some very spacey numbers to right-out rockers. And always present are the heavy, moving guitars and the equally strong vocals of both Hayes and Turner.

"Live shows are hopefully real loud," Hayes said during a recent phone interview. "We get yelled at a lot from the house sound guys." "We just play for anyone and everyone," Turner added. "It's not going to get to everyone, because we're doing it for ourselves, too. We've never tried to play music for just the cool kids. We would have gone a different route if that were our intention."

Nonetheless the band strikes a chord whether it's with the dreamy Love Burns or the raucous current single Whatever Happened To My Rock n' Roll. The lyrics are very well thought out, it seems, and carry a lot of emotion. "I don't think about it a lot," Hayes said of songwriting. "Songs come and songs don't come. I kind of let it be that way." "We try to just write a song without interrupting it," Turner said. "The best part of writing is that you don't have a preconceived thing. We come up with a lot of stuff out of jams - words will just come out of the moment and those are the best things."

Moreover, BRMC leaves interpretation of songs to the fans. "Other people can usually better explain our songs," Turner said. "They're meant to be undefined." "We're not big talkers on stage," Hayes added. "We just play music." So what about all those comparisons to shoegazing bands, especially The Jesus and Mary Chain? Hayes notes that those bands are good and should be lauded for what they gave to music, but BRMC is coming from a different place. "I think people are off base calling us that. We might have a little bit of that vibe," he said. "It's more kind of an attitude of wanting to get something done. But it's all right to be compared with them. We want to bring music up to the top of the pile." "I guess I could see how people would think that," Turner said of the shoegazing comparison. "People are going to think what they're going to think. Our music says a little bit more," he said. "We don't stare at our shoes, but we do keep our eyes closed," he quipped. And we hope there's much more to come from BRMC.

The band has enough material for another album but is waiting to see the success of its current single, Hayes said. "In time we'll get our name known and find our place to sit within the music world," he said.

Suzanne Sanders



Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Official site
UK label

US label

Live in Chicago (Dec 2001)

Album review (Feb 2002)

(Aug 2001)