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Brazzil - Music - May 2004
 

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.

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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