A Rare Case of Brazilian Rock Success

     A Rare Case of Brazilian Rock Success

    In 1997, producer Rick
    Bonadio, who has worked with many
    of Brazil’s biggest acts, discovered the group Charlie Brown Jr.,
    and led them to a contract with Virgin Records. A couple of
    their singles hit the airwaves. "Proibida Para Mim" (Forbidden
    to Me) took them on the road to stardom through an MTV video.
    by: Ernest
    Barteldes

    Brazzil
Picture

    In recent years, rock has been hard to play in Brazil. With the Axé
    craze sweeping the nation and the reluctance of established labels into investing
    in new bands few new rock bands have the chance to hit the spotlight. Unlike
    what happens in the US—admit it—the independent scene is much more
    obscure there than it is here.

    Such was the case of Charlie
    Brown Jr., a skateboard-friendly band from the port city of Santos, state
    of São Paulo, which has been one of the biggest-selling new acts in
    recent years. They will be appearing in New York City this Saturday, the 15th
    at China Club.

    As with many other rock
    bands, Charlie Brown Jr. had a rough start. Back in the early 90s, vocalist
    Chorão (Crybaby) was spotted singing in a bar. With that came the invitation
    to What’s Up, an original band that wrote English-language songs.

    After the recording of
    a demo tape, Chorão decided it was time to move on—and he took
    along two other members of that band, Champignon (Mushroom) and Marcão
    (Big Mark) to start their own group.

    Around a year and a half
    later, Pelado, (The Naked One, guitar) and Thiago (drums) joined, and the
    lineup was final.

    Since a couple of demo
    tapes went nowhere, the band solidified their act by opening for larger bands
    such as Planet Hemp, Titãs and others.

    In 1997, producer Rick
    Bonadio, who has worked with many of Brazil’s biggest acts, discovered the
    group, and led them to a contract with Virgin Records.

    It was then that a couple
    of singles hit the airwaves. It was "Proibida Para Mim" (Forbidden
    to Me) that took them on the road to stardom through a video that put them
    on MTV—and on the national map.

    Charlie Brown Jr., the
    name’s band was not—contrary to what one might believe—inspired
    by the late Charles Shultz character, but by the name given to a Santos coconut
    stand—the "Jr" coming as an homage to their musical parents,
    Planet Hemp.

    Charlie Brown Jr appearing
    live at China Club. For more information:http://www.newyorkbrazil.com
    http://www.charliebrownjr.com.br


    Ernest Barteldes is an ESL and Portuguese teacher. In addition to that,
    he is a freelance writer who has regularly been contributing The Greenwich
    Village Gazette since September 1999. His work has also been published
    by Brazzil, The Staten Island Advance, The Staten Island
    Register, The SI Muse, The Villager, GLSSite and
    other publications. He lives in Staten Island, NY. He can be reached at
    ebarteldes@yahoo.com
    .

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