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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