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Band Spotlight

The Story of the Brood

Band Spotlight

The Brood was formed in 1983 by Chris Horne and manager Richard Julio in Portland, Me. Drawing from their record collection, the band built a set consisting of very obscure garage covers and originals delivering it with vintage equipment and an unabashed enthusiasm. Quickly they built a sizable following playing at the famed local club Geno’s Pub along with pals the Moguls, Restless Hearts and others.

The group started when Chris thought The Brood would be a cool band name. She got a Burns Baldwin guitar at the pawn shop, and started playing. Through a mutual friend Chris met Betsy, and they started learning songs together. Betsy’s boyfriend played bass, and pretty soon she got a matching Burns Baldwin bass. One day Chris ran into her friend Kristen Chalmers who subsequently got behind the Farfisa organ (borrowed from Chris’ brother Joel). After working with a few drummers (Cassie, Norma & finally Ginger) Crystal came along at the beginning of 1986.

The Brood Record Party
The Brood

Geno’s, one of the few places to see music in Portland in the ’80s, became a destination of sorts for many out of town bands. Richard was booking the club at the time and used his previous record store connections to book many bands including: the Cynics, Lyres, Chesterfield Kings, Dark Cellers, Hopelessly Obscure, Plan 9 and many many more. A small scene developed around the club with several local bands sharing the stage with the Brood and visiting bands. The Brood played often, and left a strong impression on many of these bands. The word was out and good things started to happen.

During the latter part of the ’80s, the band expanded their horizons playing in Boston, NY and Canada and many places in between. They also began to show up on record, first on compilations, and a few independent 45s. Then, in 1988 a full-length LP, In Spite Of It All was released by Get Hip Records, and the Brood’s name started to filter out to a wider audience.

With the ever increasing traveling schedule, Kristen had to bow out and the group continued as a three-piece until Allyson took over on the organ. Everything was going along well, until the band played a show with Thee Wylde Mammoths from Sweden. Peter Maniette and Allyson really hit it off, and pretty soon she moved to Sweden. Asch took her place and from that point on the line-up remained very stable.

Over the next few years, the band continued to build their following around New England as they began recording their follow up album. Before that was completed, they stopped into Fort Apache studios in Boston one hot summer day to record a 45 with Erik Lindgren producing. This single, “Since He’s Been Gone”/“You’ve Got Me Cryin’,” consisted of two cover songs by obscure New England garage bands, and was released by Stanton Park in 1990.

Since He’s Been Gone cover
Since He’s Been Gone cover

Their sophomore album, Vendetta, was released by Estrus records in March, 1992. This album, led to more attention and better gigs. Most notable, was a month-long tour of Europe including stops in Holland, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy in January of 1993. In Geneva, Switzerland the audience actually sang along with some songs and in Italy, the girls were literally mobbed by the fans. Broodmaina indeed!

The next album, Hitsville was recorded for Dionysus Records in Portland and Boston during 1993, though it wouldn’t see release for a couple years. Interestingly, both studios were polar opposites in their construction. The Lanes (Boston) had all parallel walls, whereas at Big Sound, no two walls were parallel. One track from their sessions at The Lanes, “Love Me Like Before,” was contributed to to the Turban Revival compilation released by Norton.

In March, 1995 the Brood participated in an interesting series of shows put together by Gary Balaban (a freelance booking agent and film fan). The show consisted of a one hour presentation of Scopitones (rare French Juke Box films) put together by Gary, followed by a live Brood performance. Gary projected the actual original 16mm films, and patched the film’s magnetic soundtracks from the projector “line-out” jack onto the house pa system.

1996 and 1997 saw the Brood concentrating on writing songs for the next album. But that didn’t keep them snowbound in Portland. Quite the opposite. They were getting the opportunity to play at some higher profile shows. In April 1997 The Brood played The Linwood Grille in Boston with the Bomboras. In October of 1997 the Brood had the distinction of being the first band to play at the first Cavestomp in NYC. And in September 1998, they played at Fuzz Fest in Atlanta, Georgia, which was put together by Glynnis Wilson (Feline Frenzy fanzine) and Richard Ward.

Beyond The Valley Of The Brood, was recorded at Walkworth in Newtonville, where a good part of In Spite Of It All had been recorded. The lp/cd artwork was all designed by famed tiki artist Shag, and was released once again on Dionysus Records in March of 2000. After the album came out, Chris got a call from Dave Aguilar (singer of the Chocolate Watchband) in reference to the Brood’s version of “Don’t Need Your Lovin’.” At first Chris thought, “Uh oh, he’s gonna want to have it pulled from the album.” But, it turned out he really liked The Brood version and was flattered they had done the song, and wanted to add it to his collection.

In their 17-plus year career, The Brood released a total of four albums and could fill another with all the single and compilation tracks that were released. Every song they ever recorded was performed live at one time or another. However, many songs in their live set (even some originals) never made it to the recording studio including: “William,” “All Night Long,” “Who Dat,” “Never Alone,” “I Found A New Love,” and “Til The End Of The Day.” Many of these were captured on live videos or cassettes though. The Brood eventually disbanded in 2000 with Chris becoming Lady Kensington, and gathering a backing band who are dubbed The Beatlords.