Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Lead your woes away they're only here if you stay down here
Home      FAQ
:: Frequently Asked Questions ::








Black Rebel Motorcycle Club "Down Here"
FAQ (updated 6/11/08)
1. Who are Black Rebel Motorcycle Club?
 Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are Peter Hayes (guitars/bass/keys/vocals), Robert Levon Been (bass/guitars/piano/vocals) and Nick Jago (drums and percussion). Despite their tough exteriors, are actually very sweet generous people who care about their fans, each other, and their friends. They've maintained a rigorous tour schedule (real road warriors) while recording another album of memorable and distinctive music. The music flows so naturally that they write songs on stage. 
2. Why are B.R.M.C. important in music today?

They are doing something different, even if lazy music "journalists" have accused them of being a Jesus & Mary Chain cover band. It was mainly in the look (black clothes and hair styles - like they just don't care), the use of feedback, stage presence, etc. The music is pretty different if you pay attention to that kind of thing.

3. What do they sound like?

B.R.M.C.'s music is a unique combination of many influences, from the Rolling Stones (Spread Your Love), the Cocteau Twins (EVOL), Ride (Awake/Too Real), and The Stooges (Whatever Happened to My Rock 'n' Roll). "Take Them On, On Your Own" was a continuation of their sound, with rockers like "Stop," "Rise or Fall," and "We're All In Love" and the more introspective "Shade of Blue" or "And I'm Aching."

HOWL is more reminiscent of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Sam Cooke, and gospel music. Most good music reminds you of other music in some way. B.R.M.C. combine all these sounds to create something unique - which is just what the Beatles and the Stones did way back in the '60's and both bands still continue to influence musicians and encourage people to pick up instruments.

4. How do they sound so good?

They definitely practice a lot, in addition to playing tons of shows... though it could be hereditary. However, they've been touring non-stop for quite awhile and have probably played more shows than many people have see in their whole lives!

5. Why do they always wear black?

It's more out of comfort and convenience than an intentional image that they're developing. They seem to be more comfortable in the dark and wearing dark colors... it's too bad that people make such a big deal about their clothes and hair when it's the music that they're trying to emphasize.

6. When are B.R.M.C. going to be back to the US?

They're back and will be touring the country in September and October 2007.

7. Where can I get some lyrics or guitar tabs?

Here are some guitar tabs:

There used to be some at the "Motorcycle Boys Reign" site:

These two sites have bass tabs:

8. What is the song "Down Here" about?

It seems like a song about religious conversion - that's just my take on it.

"take your lonesome soul to the place I hear
where your freedom comes and nobody cares
lead your woes away they're only here if you stay
down here

down here they say there's a game to play
there's a place to go where you learn how to pray
no one seems to care but they'll give you a stare
down here

they're gonna steal your breathe
so give it away
they're gonna steal your mind
so give it away
they're gonna steal your soul so give it away
down here"

9. Why are they called "Black Rebel Motorcycle Club" or B.R.M.C. and not something simple like the Elements?

The name is from the Marlon Brando classic "The Wild One." According to interviews, the name of the meaner rival gang (The Beetles) was taken. Also, lots of bands have short names, it's a little generic though it's a good formula for bands like the Strokes, the Hives, the Vines, the White Stripes, the Doves... good bands, but it gets confusing!

Some of my favorite bands have long names, like Echo & the Bunnymen, Super Furry Animals, Jesus & Mary Chain, the Cooper Temple Clause, Electric Soft Parade, My Bloody Valentine, Badly Drawn Boy, Ned's Atomic Dustbin, Pop Will Eat Itself, Dogs Die in Hot Cars and it's easy to abbreviate their names.

10. Why did you make a website for this band?

I could have made one about any band, but I find B.R.M.C. especially interesting in terms of their love of music and their message. I saw them open for Spiritualized at Cane's in San Diego, and it seemed like more people were there to see them! (They were even hanging out in front before the show...)

I didn't know much about them before that show, so my love for their music kind of snuck up on me. Then I read some interviews, reviews, and fan reports and I realized that they're not only cool performers, but they also seem like good people who really work hard for their success and it helps that they're good musicians.

I collected so much information about B.R.M.C. that it would seem weird not to make a website about them... it's also like making up for lost time, I spent more time interested in British music than American and suddenly, here's a band that leads me back. Sure, Nick is British and they have some British influences, but they still real American music - rock n' roll, folk, country, with bits of psychedelia.

11. What scene is B.R.M.C. a part of?

Music exists outside of scenes, and that's the scene that they seem to be part of. Of course, their music didn't just appear (though I've read that they got a lot of it from dreams). In their early days, they regularly played in Silverlake near Hollywood and probably a lot around San Francisco, but they seem more international now considering that is where most of their success is. I'm sure they'll be happy to return to some familiar venues in America. They always say they prefer playing to small packed clubs, but people are still talking about them - so I'm sure they could sell out a larger venue as well!

12. How old are they?

This is a mystery! No, not really, interviews indicate that they're between 29 and 31.

13. When are their birthdays so I can send them presents?

Peter - February 11
Nick - July 19
Robert - August 22
Spike - January 19

14. Why is "Going Under" not on the North American release of the 2nd album "Take Them On, On Your Own"?

The reason is that albums are much cheaper in the US, when it came out and Best Buy was selling it for $6 which is like 3.50. It's easy to import CD's from America, so most fans would rather pay 3.50 versus 12.99 in their home country.

To combat this, record companies decided to include a bonus track (or multiple bonus tracks) on the European release. The plan is to release an EP in the US featuring Going Under and Take Them On, etc. But I'm not sure when this will happen.

15. What's up with the album HOWL? Is it a total departure from the BRMC we all know and love?

It is different from the previous albums, though similar to their more country-tinged and acoustic b-sides. It's a real treat for those of us who like to hear them unplugged occasionally. HOWL is blue-sier and more rootsy, but it still rocks.

16. What was going on with Nick temporarily leaving the band?

Most bands seem to be subject to internal pressures. Nick just needed some time away to see if he still wanted to be with the band. They aren't Black Rebel Motorcycle Club without him, so it is great that he is back.

17. Where can I find some interviews with the band?

Right here! Under "All You Do Is Talk."

18. What bands have they been in previously?

Most people know that Peter played guitar on the Brian Jonestown Massacre's "Give it Back" album from 1997. Robert and Peter played in another band called Wave with the guitarist of the now-defunct Stratford 4. Robert played bass in a band called The Beggars under the name Robert Locke. They released a self-titled album in 1995, which was produced by Michael Been (of the Call, and Robert's father) and had a single called "Lovely Soul Detonator" that got a little radio play. The album has a "Thank You" to Peter Hayes.

19. Do songs like "Gospel Song", "Restless Sinner", "Devil's Waitin'", and "Salvation" mean that they're a Christian band?

Well, Michael Been and the Call might have been, but B.R.M.C. seem to have their doubts. This is most evident on "White Palms" and "Salvation." They've mentioned their religious upbringing in a few recent interviews.

20. What kind of gear do they use?

See the Weapon of Choice page for detailed gear info.

21. Who is Spike and is he a member of BRMC now?

Spike is the 4h man on stage who fills in for Robert on bass while he plays piano and adds to the guitar on some songs. He also plays keys on some songs. I think BRMC could use his help, so he might be a permanent touring member of the band. More info on Spike here:


22. What about Robert's name change from Turner to Levon Been?

He went by Turner since that was the name of Mick Jagger's character in the movie Performance. His father is Michael Been of the Call, so he wanted to distance himself from the name by changing it. His parents gave him the middle name Levon after Levon Helm, the drummer of the Band.

23. Where can I see more of Nick's artwork?

Rebels With A Cause:


Supersweet: BRMC describes HOWL

24. What about the poetry on the album covers? Where can I read more of that?

Rebels With A Cause:


25. What kind of car are BRMC driving in the Stop video?

A Black Oldsmobile Cutlass:

Posted Sat Jan 7, 2006 2:03 PM juepucta wrote:

No idea if this is the right year, but:


26. Where does the name "Baby 81" come from?

According to Robert: As far as the mysterious album title goes... Jago thought of calling the album 'BABY 81' a little while back. It comes from a story during the Tsunami about a lost child. It was the 81st baby admitted to this hospital in Kalmunai and nine mothers came forward to claim the child as their own.
27. Is Nick really not a part of BRMC anymore? 
According to Robert and Peter's statement,  Nick is just not touring them in Europe. Leah from Dead Combo is filling in for him while Nick focuses on his solo projects.