Birdbrain was a short-lived quartet from Rosslindale, MA (described as “furious grind-pop” by All Music Guide) best known for contributing their tracks “Youth Of America” and “Jet” to movies “Scream” and “Last Supper”, respectively. Those moves, however, failed to launch the band into mainstream and as a result they broke up soon after finishing “Lets Be Nice” album in 1997.
The band started in the early 90s, when drummer Mike Benway convinced then-roadie Joey Ammo to get into songwriting. Benway also hired manager Jeff Hudson, who made a contact with TVT Records and after hearing their demo “Princess” TVT signed the band and released their first proper full-length “Bliss”. Birdbrain toured in supported of the album, but “Bliss” didn’t turn out to be a success and band’s guitarist James Dennis kicked out of the band before they started recording their next (and last) album. All Music Guide described “Bliss” as “very intriguing debut with an interesting sound, lyrics that have a habit of spilling over into realms of intelligence, and periodic breakouts into outright harmony.”
In late 1996, they started recording what would eventually become “Let’s Be Nice” and according to Ammo TVT “backed them like they were U2”. By February of next year the album was finished, but Ammo ended up in rehab (which was partly reflected in CD artwork) and Benway refused to tour and was replaced with a session musician Lance Cole (who can also be seen in their video for “Youth Of America”). Cole eventually disappeared in the middle of tour and took the band’s truck/gear with him.
“Let’s Be Nice” got plenty of positive reviews and was nominated for the Best Indie Album during 1997 Boston Music Awards. “Youth Of America”, which was featured on “Scream” was supposed to introduce the band to a larger audience, but the band’s management decided not to mention Birdbrain in promotional materials for “Scream”, citing fears that of negative publicity, should the movie fail. This, coupled with touring problems and tensions between Ammo & Benway, effectively ended the band’s career.
Birdbrain was also the name of a second full-length by Buffalo Tom, another Boston band, which came out in 1990
Bliss (TVT, 1995)
Let’s Be Nice (TVT, 1997)
“Confession” on TVT500 (TVT, 1995)
“Youth Of America” on Scream Soundtrack (TVT Soundtrax, 1996)