Lost Bands: Tribe

Three days after I moved to Boston in the fall of 1991, Lynne Shaughnessy, the girl that would one day become my sister-in-law, took me to Avalon, a rock club on Lansdowne Street behind Fenway Park’s Green Monster, to see a local band called Tribe. I’d never put much stock into local bands, though that had more to do with where I grew up (central Ohio) than anything else. But these guys, they were unlike any “local” band I had ever seen. A quintet with the standard Bon Jovi/Duran Duran setup of gtr/bass/keys/vox/drums, their songs were hard edged and insanely catchy, boasting lyrics that were far deeper and darker than their hook filled melodies would suggest. They weren’t flashy musicians, but they were solid, with guitarist Eric Brosius’s laid back guitar playing complementing the boisterous rhythm section of Greg LoPiccolo and drummer David Penzo perfectly.

And then there was Janet.

Lead singer Janet LaValley was simply mesmerizing to watch onstage. She didn’t just move around, she prowled the stage like a big cat. Dressed mainly in black, to match her jet black hair, she had a voice like Siouxsie Sioux’s but with better pitch, exotic but also extremely powerful. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about her was that she wasn’t even the prettiest girl in the band (that honor belonged to keyboardist Terri Barous). Still, just try and take your eyes off of her when she had a mic in her hands. She was a truly blessed front woman.

Read more about my quest to find Tribe here.