By 1999, the band had recorded a polished 16-track demo CD and relocated to Los Angeles. Santa Monica-based radio station KCRW jumped on BRMC'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 ultimately 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, BRMC decided to change their direction once again, this time embracing electronica and ambient noise on The Effects of 333. Independently released via the band's own label, The Effects of 333 failed to gain either commercial or critical acclaim, and BRMC chose to partner with Vagrant Records
for the release of their next album, 2010's Beat the Devil's Tattoo. While touring that album, the band lost their engineer and Been
's father, Michael Been
(the leader of '80s alternative heroes the Call
), who died of a heart attack backstage after a show in Belgium.
BRMC toured throughout 2012 and 2013, then released their seventh album, Specter at the Feast, in early 2013. Fittingly, they covered the Call
for their first single, "Let the Day Begin," and Been
also joined the Call
for a string of concerts, standing in for his late father. The concert album and DVD Live in Paris appeared in 2015. Filmed at the Theatre Trianon in Paris, France, the concert showcased BRMC during their sold-out 2014 European tour. Also in 2015, Shapiro underwent successful surgery for the brain condition known as Chiari malformation, symptoms of which had severely inhibited her ability to play drums. BRMC next headed into Sunset Studios with producer Nick Launay
(Yeah Yeah Yeahs
, Arcade Fire
) to record what would be their eighth album. Wrong Creatures was released in 2018, and featured the singles "Little Thing Gone Wild" and "Haunt." ~ Bryan Thomas