The band was formed in 1998, originally called The Elements. After discovering that another band had the same name, the members changed the name to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, after Marlon Brando’s motorcycle gang in the 1953 film The Wild One.
Bassist Robert Levon Been and guitarist Peter Hayes met at high school in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Lafayette and quickly formed a band; Hayes having recently left The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Robert has said in interviews that Peter had a turbulent home life and would park and sleep in his car outside the Been household. After about a year of doing this, Robert and his father Michael finally persuaded Peter to live with them. Later, the pair started looking for a drummer. They met Nick Jago, from Devon, England, who had moved to California to be with his parents after spending some time at Winchester School of Art, where he was studying fine art. The vocals are shared between Been and Peter Hayes.
The band’s first two records were indebted to classic hard rock influenced by Led Zeppelin and also encompassed slower paced psychedelic rock, space rock, and noise pop influences from bands such as The Verve, Loop, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr and The Jesus and Mary Chain. Their second album Take Them On, On Your Own (recorded with Coldplay/Kasabian producer Rik Simpson) has several songs such as “Generation” and “US Government” that are critical of the United States government.
Been used the pseudonym ‘Robert Turner’ on the first two records, in an attempt not to be linked to his father (Michael Been of The Call). He later dropped this identity when promoting Howl. The senior Been later toured with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club as part of their sound crew.
Leeds Town Hall, the venue where Black Rebel Motorcycle Club ‘broke the floor’
In 2003, a concert in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England had to be cancelled half way through the set, after Leeds City Council officials suspected the 150-year-old floor of Leeds Town Hall might collapse. This led to the band sometimes being referred to as ‘the band who broke the floor’. Problems with drummer Nick Jago began surfacing publicly at the 2003 NME Awards, when Jago remained on stage for nine minutes, completely silent, while accepting an award.
As of the census of 2000, there were 864 people, 326 households, and 227 families residing in the town. The population density was 626.0 people per square mile (241.7/km²). There were 348 housing units at an average density of 252.1 per square mile (97.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 67.13% White, 30.44% African American, 1.04% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.69% from other races, and 0.46% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.39% of the population.
There were 326 households out of which 38.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.1% were married couples living together, 21.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.1% were non-families. 25.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.14.
In the town the population was spread out with 29.3% under the age of 18, 11.3% from 18 to 24, 33.3% from 25 to 44, 19.1% from 45 to 64, and 6.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 89.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.3 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $35,694, and the median income for a family was $36,042. Males had a median income of $30,882 versus $20,813 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,463. About 15.6% of families and 15.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.8% of those under age 18 and 25.7% of those age 65 or over.
Son of an old family of the Languedoc nobility, and initially intended by his parents for a military career, Castillon gave up plans for professional soldiering in favor of music, which he learned first in his birthplace and then in Paris, studying piano and composition. In this second capacity he went to the Paris Conservatoire; there he attended the class of Victor Massé and later, from 1869, that of the more distinguished César Franck. It was under Franck’s aegis that Castillon composed his Opus 1, a piano quintet (he disavowed earlier efforts, including a symphony in F major which he had written in 1865).
In fragile health at the best of times (volunteering during the War of 1870, he fell ill and was demobilized in 1871), he died of complications from fever in 1873, before even reaching the age of 35. He nevertheless had time to compose several impressively Romantic works (bearing above all the influence of Robert Schumann). These works included pieces for piano, chamber music, mélodies, a piano concerto, and Symphonic Sketches. As well as writing music, he took part in Parisian musical life, in particular helping to create, in 1871, the Société Nationale de Musique of which he was the first secretary.
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