Monday, March 8, 2010

The Sheila Divine: Boston and (just a little) Beyond

Ever since I started this blog (a couple of weeks ago), my wife has been after me to write a post about The Sheila Divine. She can't understand how such a great band never made it beyond Boston. Well, it turns out they did; they were also big in Buffalo and Belgium. That's right ... their following was even referred to as "the three Bs." But even so, they seemed destined for so much more.

Formed in 1997 and influenced by the early 80s post-punk movement, The Sheila Divine played guitar-driven music that often took the loud/soft/loud song structure to a new level, creating intense dynamics within vocal phrases. The band was also defined by melodic bass lines and singer/songwriter Aarron Perrino's booming voice, which he also varied to extremes: pretty falsettos followed by spine-tingling screams. Perhaps most notable among the band's four releases is their 1999 full-length debut, New Parade, which received praise from local critics and included the college hit, "Hum." The first four songs on it are as powerful a start as any album gets.

After releasing the follow-up full-length, Where Have My Countrymen Gone in 2001 and the EP, Secret Society in 2002, they embarked on a massive world tour. The merciless schedule proved to be the undoing of the band. Near the end of the tour, during a concert in the U.S., an altercation with bassist Jim Gibert led to Aaron throwing his guitar down and telling the audience that the band was breaking up. The Sheila Divine officially broke up a year later when Aaron formed his current band, Dear Leader, who also enjoys popularity in "the three Bs."

The below clip is a live version of "Hum" off New Parade.




10 comments:

juliekelly said...

For once you listened to me!

bloggerDK said...

I loved those guys. And I think I found out about them the way a lot of kids did back in the late 90s. Around that time Aiwa had a TV campaign running and they used "Opportune Moment" in one of the spots. I probably saw that ad 100 times and asked everyone I knew what the song was until one friend of mine finally found out. The fact that they were from Boston made it all the easier to catch 'em. Great band.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. The fight with Jim really wasn't that dramatic:)

Cheers,

Aaron

Anonymous said...

I loved them even before a song of theirs that was used repeatedly on All My Children. Their first five song EP was the best stuff they released.

Steve Kelly said...

Thanks for the comments. I shouldn't have overlooked that first great EP.

I read about that "altercation" with Jim everywhere. I guess it makes a good story and takes on a life of its own ... thanks for the contribution and correction, Aaron.

Steve

krodamai said...

I don't feel like they got shortchanged on success. Despite being a pretty good band, they didn't really offer anything unique or special that couldn't have been gotten from other bands of the soft-loud-soft variety. And they didn't have much of a personality.

Anonymous said...

krodamai I agree with most of your points, but I feel like I have a great personality.

Aaron

Steve Kelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
juliekelly said...

With all due respect to Krodamai, I disagree. I think they had a very unique sound. I listen to New Parade quite frequently and it just gets better and better every time!

Krodamai said...

I don't aim to discredit the accomplishments of the band or the personality of the individuals within it ;) To gather substantial support in 3 distinctly separate areas of the world is something the vast majority of rock bands cannot claim. That's impressive. That I don't get why is largely immaterial, of course. I'm happy people enjoy it, even if I'm not a fan.