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Rucker's world
Fortunate sons
BY CHRIS RUCKER

Itís always a trip to see Boston punks ending up in the rock-and-roll penthouses of New York, and so a tip of the hat goes to former Vigilantes dude Jeff DaRosa, whoíll be back in town this week playing bass in a band called the Exit. Why is this Jeffís big score? Because Exit singer/guitarist Ben Brewer is the son of Edgar Bronfman Jr., heir to the Seagram fortune. And no, Benís last name isnít some clever pseudonymous play on his ancestorsí occupation: heís the middle one of three children born to Bronfman Jr. and his ex-wife, Sherry Brewer. Benís grandfather, Edgar Bronfman Sr., the eminent Jewish philanthropist, caused a stir in his 1998 memoir, Good Spirits: The Making of a Businessman, by admitting that heíd disapproved of Edgar Jr.ís marriage to a black woman, "because I told him all marriages are difficult enough without the added stress of totally different backgrounds." Benís parents divorced in 1991. As CEO of Seagram Company Ltd., Benís dad was roundly ridiculed for dumping the companyís stake in DuPont (which went on to double in value) in order to leverage its acquisition of the MCA (now Universal) movie and music empire. Last November, Bronfman Jr. teamed up with the $14 billion Boston-based private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. to purchase the Warner Music Group from Time-Warner. For obvious reasons, Ben has been reluctant to rely on his fatherís connections, and heís gone out of his way to follow his own DIY muse ó as much as thatís possible for the scion of a record-industry billionaire. The Exitís new album, Home for an Island, came out on the respected indie label Some Records, the one founded by NYHC legends Sammy Siegler (Youth of Today, CIV) and Walter Schreifels (Gorilla Biscuits, Quicksand, Walking Concert). An earlier incarnation of the Exit, then called Loose Nuts, somehow landed a song on the Universal soundtrack to the film American Pie ó surely just a coincidence, right? Must be tough on olí Ben trying to make it in the lonely music business (almost) all on his own. Tonight (November 4), the Exit open for the latest Liverpool hipster bait, the Futureheads, at T.T. the Bearís. Then on Friday, they open for Britpop hitmakers Muse at Avalon. If youíve got any spare change, I bet the Exit could use a little sense.

For months, it looked as if the Street Dogs were going to end up on Side One Dummy, where they wouldíve joined friends and tour mates Flogging Molly as well as fellow Bostonians Avoid One Thing and (until recently) Lost City Angels. What happened? Word is that Side One honcho Joe Sib and his label did not see eye to eye with the Dogs when it came to songwriting. So as I mentioned a few weeks back, the band ó whose line-up includes members of legendary Boston punk-rock acts Dropkick Murphys, the Bosstones and the Bruisers ó took their business to DRT Entertainment, a label already home to Lit, GWAR, Fu Manchu, and Edwin McCain. The dude behind that labelís weird portfolio is Derek Shulman, a former president of Roadrunner and Atco Records who was the lead singer in the English prog band Gentle Giant (Derekís brother and fellow Giant Ray Shulman went on to produce records by the Sugarcubes and the Sundays) and, more important, the executive who signed Bon Jovi to PolyGram. Rich people, it seems, like to start record labels. Look for the Street Dogsí new album, Back to the World, to show up on DRTís Brass Tacks imprint on January 25 ó and look for Shulman to throw some dough at it. Thereís a video in the works, and former Island/Def Jam promo guy Patrick OíConnor is on board to work the album to college and specialty radio.

Different topic: how screwed up is Boston that the month-long Converge/Cave In tour couldnít find a room to play in those bandsí home town? The scheduled Halloween-night show at the Middle East has disappeared, and no make-up is planned. Meanwhile, the Converge/Cave In superband have a name ó Verge-In (say it fast) ó and mixes have been sent to Epitaph. Says Cave Inís Stephen Brodsky: "It kinda sounds like this freaky mix of Ride the LightningĖera Metallica meets Mars Volta meets the Allman Brothers."

(Chris Rucker is the host of New England Product, Sundays from 9 to 10 p.m. on WFNX 101.7 FM.)


Issue Date: November 5 - 11, 2004
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