Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
The seed that became Black Rebel Motorcycle Club -- or B.R.M.C. for short -- was planted in 1995, when Robert Turner (aka Robert Levon Been) and Peter Hayes met while attending high school in San Francisco. The two formed a solid friendship and camaraderie based on a mutual love of early-'90s U.K. bands like Ride, the Stone Roses, the Jesus and Mary Chain, and My Bloody Valentine. Despite such similar tastes, both joined different bands and spent several years working apart, although they occasionally kept in touch by attending each other's gigs. In 1998, however, Turner and Hayes rejoined and added British drummer Nick Jago to the fold. The group began performing live in November 1998 as "the Elements," a name they quickly ditched after discovering many other bands that shared the same title. They purloined their new moniker from the Marlon Brando-led biker gang that stormed into that dusty California hamlet in The Wild One.
By 1999, B.R.M.C. had recorded a polished, 16-track demo CD and relocated to Los Angeles. The Santa Monica-based radio station KCRW jumped on the band'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, telling MOJO magazine that they were his favorite new group. After inking a lucrative Warner/Chappell publishing deal, however, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club began fielding offers from several labels, and they ultimtely chose to sign with Virgin Records in March 2000.
Following a short U.S. tour with the Dandy Warhols, the band entered the recording studio and eventually emerged with a self-titled debut, B.R.M.C., which was released in March 2001. Two years later, the trio returned with a slicker edge and a new album, Take Them on, on Your Own, which peaked at number three on the U.K. charts. They severed ties with Virgin Records eight months later. A deal with RCA surfaced within months, and the acoustic, Americana-influenced Howl arrived in August 2005. The band moved back to the loud rock & roll approach favored on their first two albums with 2007's Baby 81, and the resulting tour was documented by the band's first concert DVD, LIVE, in 2009.
Nick Jago left the band after Baby 81's release, ostensibly to focus on his solo career. With the Raveonettes' touring percussionist, Leah Shapiro, now handling drum duties, B.R.M.C. decided to change their direction once again, this time embracing electronica and ambient noise on The Effects of 333. Indepedently released via the band's own label, The Effects of 333 failed to gain either commercial or critical acclaim, and B.R.M.C. chose to partner with Vagrant Records for the release of their next album, 2010's Beat the Devil's Tattoo.