September 8, 2004

“Basically, [Virgin] had given up, saying, ‘We put in all the effort that we are going to do,’ I think speaking monetarily, and they didn’t want to release another single. That didn’t really make sense to me,” accounts Peter Hayes, singer-songwriter-guitarist of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. “So then it really became Take Them On, On Your Own because they said, ‘Well, you’re on your own,’” he adds, referencing the title of the band’s last album.

BRMC has parted ways with their label Virgin Records who released the band’s first two albums. Though there were major differences between the artist and label, Hayes doesn’t seem to have hard feelings. “They were nice enough to [let us out of our contract]. They could have held onto us and destroyed us if they wanted to. They have the power to do that because legally we couldn’t [get out of our contract] unless they said yes.”

None of this has stopped them from moving forward as a band. The indie-minded group is working hard on the follow-up to last year’s aforementioned acclaimed Take Them On, On Your Own. Hayes recently took some time to fill us in on what BRMC has been up to, amidst recording the album and playing shows, such as the acoustic evening entitled “Unplug Bush.”

Politics was weighing heavily on Hayes’ mind as he was writing songs for the new album, although that doesn’t mean he’s next in the Woody Guthrie vanguard. “We’ve got about four songs that are blatantly political, but I just like to use more creative words than the government-has-taken-my-vote-again,” he says. The best example is a song called “Complicated Situation,” which Hayes explains is “political in as far as it reaches back to our elementary days. It’s all pretty convoluted, even from back then.” Hayes took the time to recite some of the lyrics to the song, which they performed earlier this year at the Coachella Festival:

everything’s so different now, a scream which fills the air
and haunts the smallest children, asleep upon the floor
where have they gone, you’ll hear them say,
with smiles meant to cry
if they wind a watch slapped on a wrist
and quickly look away
foreign sakes have come and gone five times before they're seen
and upon the lips of everyone a curse they’ve never dreamed
upon the lips of everyone a curse they’ve never dreamed

the young must be our sacrifice
they say with crippled grins
the eyes of youth must lose their way
and stumble here within
so the sleeping children were awoke
in time to haze their eyes
so it was never known on which they choked
were books of old and time

As for what will happen next, Hayes is taking it all in his stride. “We’re not too worried about it. We are going to carry on,” he says. “We’ve got about 14 songs now and we are going to try to have [the new album] all done, and then shop it around that way, see who wants it.”

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By Ryan Gillespie