Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Imagine the dilemma. Your band is on tour for months on end, playing the same songs night after night. Sometimes you don't even have a soundcheck to jam new ideas, and creative inspiration isn't usually overflowing while driving around during off-days in a van. When do you have time to actually write and work on new songs?
This paradox fueled rock trio Black Rebel Motorcycle Club as it came time to work on its sophomore album, "Take Them On, On Your Own," due this week from Virgin. At shows, the group began extending older songs such as "Failsafe" and "Salvation" into epic jams, and according to bassist Robert Turner, "the inevitable result of not being able to play anywhere but on stage" was that the jams spawned entirely new songs in their wake.
"We played 'Salvation' every night at the end of shows and we were just tired of ending on a somber note," he says of the origin of the rapturous, seven-minute-plus rocker "Heart and Soul." "Sure enough, [drummer] Nick [Jago] exploded on the drum beat and just turned it over." First single "Stop" morphed from an extended ending to the B-side "Failsafe" into a song charged with the confidence and swagger referred to in the new album's title.
"We don't like you / we just want to try you," Turner sings on the cut, which didn't sprout lyrics until one fateful night in London, where BRMC had been the subject of "next big thing" hype. "That's what it felt like everyone in the room was thinking. The words just came. I realized it could actually be a song other than just some ending." The group plays Sacramento, Calif., tomorrow (Sept. 3).