Every Friday night at 12 o’clock, I do the Midnight Album Feature, where I bring you tracks and stories on one of the world’s finest records. This Friday’s Midnight Album Feature will be on Baby 81 — the latest from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club got their name from the 1953 Marlon Brando movie The Wild One. Brando’s gang all wore the name on the back of their leather jackets.
I got to meet the band at one of KEXP’s VIP Club Concerts, sort of. The band were about to play for KEXP members and staff at the Triple Door, a swanky club here in Seattle. And as the MC I was hoping to meet the band before the show, but they were locked away.
I went up on stage to greet the audience and introduce Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and the band walked onstage halfway through my introduction. Peter Hayes walked right toward me, looked me up and down appreciatively, raised his eyebrows and gave me a big smile. Time stopped. I was stunned (deer in the headlights, yo) that this gorgeous smart rocker guy was having a moment with me. And it took a second to remember I was onstage in front of hundreds of people, and on the air in front of thousands, introducing the band. I caught my breath, said “Please welcome Black Rebel Motorcycle Club” — and walked off. It was an amazing performance. You can check it out here.
Robert Levon Been (who used the name Robert Turner on the band’s first three albums) and Peter Hayes met in high school in San Francisco in 1995 and were influenced by Ride, Stone Roses, Jesus and Mary Chain and The Verve. Three years later they formed BRMC. Been plays bass, Hayes plays guitar and they both sing. Their first two records were electric and heavily distorted. “Howl”, their third release, was acoustic. And “Baby 81″ is somewhere in between. I love it. Here is the bomb track, “Weapon of Choice”! That’s my boy tearin’ it up on the guitar…
Baby 81 is BRMC’s fourth album — named after a baby who survived the 2004 tsunami disaster in Sri Lanka. The baby was the 81st survivor, and so the hospital staff nicknamed him Baby 81. The parents who showed up to claim Baby 81 had to prove they were the parents by taking a DNA test because all birth records had been destroyed by the tsunami.
Join DJ Michele Myers for Nite Life every Friday night at 9pm on KEXP.