Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's Robert Been on Father's Death, New Album

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's Robert Been on Father's Death, New Album

FUSE TV - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's Robert Been on Father's Death, New Album

After a three-year break, San Francisco’s leather-clad fuzz rockers Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have returned with yesterday's release of sixth album Specter at the Feast. Fans should consider themselves lucky—BRMC almost didn't return at all.

Tragedy struck in 2010: Michael Been, the band's mentor, sound technician, occasional second guitarist and "fourth member," died of a heart attack backstage at Belgium’s Pukkelpop fest as BRMC performed onstage. He was more than just a key member of BRMC's crew; Been, the frontman of 1980s rock band the Call, was the father of BRMC co-founder Robert Been.

The death forced Been and guitarist-singer Peter Hayes (a Brian Jonestown Massacre alum) to cope with the loss and take stock of their future with the band. The result is Specter at the Feast, a glorious tribute and their first release without Michael Been. BRMC revisit their primal rock n' roll roots with gusto and atmospheric depth, using the recording process as sonic therapy.

Simultaneously heavy and tender, gorgeous and gritty, the LP’s 12 songs are full of bonfire guitar riffs, engine-rev bass and rising choruses with hopeful, gospel-tinged melodies that’d have Bono blushing. They don't dwell in pity, but hold their heads high and reflect: “A part of you is ending / A part of you holds on / Cradled by the sun,” the duo harmonize to a swelling wave of church organ, cymbal crashes and fuzz-toned guitar on "Returning". On opener “Fire Walker,” Been sings, "Sweet Lord, I'm coming home" over a gritty bass riff and shadowy atmospheric flourishes. 

Specter at the Feast is certainly BRMC’s most personal and arguably the band’s best album yet. Been called Fuse from Los Angeles, where BRMC were rehearsing for their upcoming tour... 

You’ve said BRMC’s first show, just days after your father’s death, was a cornerstone to the band’s future. 

You got to pick yourself up and keep going. That show was the first look at who I’m with and who has my back, and why I’m going forward. In a way, this whole record is the long version of that one show. You just have to get up and do the work, because sometimes that’s all that’s needed and all you know how to do. 

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