Friday, March 18, 2005

The Brains

Speaking of Cyndi Lauper, her first solo record contains a cover The Brains "Money Changes Everything". Tom Gray, who led the Atlanta band, wrote the song and also spent some time writing additional songs with Cyndi. Later she recorded "The Faraway Nearby" for the "True Colors" LP, and "A Part Hate" for "Hatful of Stars." All Music has an excellent review of both artist's interpretations of the song.

"Money Changes Everything" originally appeared on an independent single and was later rerecorded and produced by Steve Lillywhite for the Brains self-titled Mercury Records major label debut album in 1980. The Brains released a second album on Mercury in 1981. The band suffered from the usual major label malaise, released an independent E.P. the following year and fell away into obscurity. My thanks to Tom Gray for letting me post his music.

Tom continues to record with the blues band Delta Moon . You can sample and buy Delta Moon's music here.

Go to the download page to get The Brains- "Money Changes Everything"- album version


Anonymous Anonymous said...

great post, thanks

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy cow... I found this page looking for one of the great lost songs, the Brains' "Heart in the Street". Any chance you could get permission to post that? It's stuck in my head, though I don't think I've heard it in 20 years.

3:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a college radio veteran from the early '90s...the "Dancing Under Streetlights" EP was one of my favorite records. I've been waiting in vain for 20+ years for a CD version.

10:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry...make that the early '80s.


10:16 PM  
Blogger Roddy McCorley said...

So, I find this post five months later. I was remarking to a friend this very afternoon about hearing Steve Lilywhite interviewed one afternoon on Steve Jones's radio show. I wanted to call the station and tell Lilywhite, "Steve, you and I seem to be the only people who remember the Brains." And now I find out we're not... This, for my money, is the greatest lost band of that era. I'm just glad to know that Tom Grey is still out there making music.

8:50 PM  
Blogger mpw57 said...

Tonight, I went to see the Robert Cray Band at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta. Opening act was Delta Moon. I'd never heard of them, but they were pretty damn good. At one point, the vocalist introduces one of the slide guitar players as Tom Gray. For some reason, The Brains instantly popped into my head for the first time in probably 15 years (if not 20). I then started to think the guy looked like the guy from The Brains, but I thought that would just be too strange. Google brought me to this post and confirmed my suspicions.

The Brains were a great band among many in the Atlanta area at that time.

Now if I could find something by The Para Band.

Great post!!

12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bassist from The Para Band is Michael Brown. Last I heard he was working for the Atlanta library system; he could possibly be located and may have a vinyl copy of 'Nazi Hunter' he'd be willing to part with.
Michael played with Brains' drummer Charles Wolff during the late 80s-early 90s.
I've seen Brains bootleg CDs on eBay.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous GrantParkRefugee said...

That was a great time for music in Atlanta. I have a tape (probably recorded from various WRAS broadcasts, that includes Money Changes Everything, as well as the Para Band (name of song unknown), Rose Whipperr and Mark Stowe (Heathen Girls, Snake Boy, Dark vs. Light), Desperate Angels, and the B52's doing "52 Girls".

I remember Graham Parker at Agora Ballroom, Cruise-O-Matic, Tinsley Ellis, Urban Gorillas, sitting with Tom Gray in the Little 5 Points Pub between sets, and David Allgood playing in my living room.

And Delta Moon kicks ass.

11:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shit If I could ony get the first two Brains on CD, no it does not have to do with the fact the he lived down the street.

Tom was thoughtfull and a non egoists.

Now if they would give us Charlie Wolf's "Who gave the the monkey a gun"

3:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gosh, that sure WAS a great time for music here in the ATL. I used to hang out at the Agroa Ballroom all the time....someone metioned WRAS. Aubrey Walton (WEHT to him?) did the "Georgia Music Show" and that is where I 1st heard the Para Band, the Brains and all those great locals!!

4:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There's always some girl
that you've seen somewhere before.
Maybe she reminds you
of someone you once knew before."

Perhaps it was titled "Looking for the one" by the Para Band?

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You had to be pretty close to the Para Band ot remember the lyrics of Looking for the One. FYI. Michael is living in St. Pete FL with his mother. His brother Fred, the guitarist for the Para Band passed away late last summer. Michael and Charles Wolf has a cover band called the Retreads in the early '80s.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the Para band received more overall air play than anyone during that era,especially "Looking For the One". They and the Fans were the real pioneers in Atlanta for original music, not specifically southern derived. Each band had great song writers and guitarists.The were the Atlanta equivalent of Beatles and Stones.The two bands writers .Michael ,Alfredo and Kevin were friends going back to the 60's and both bands formed somewhere around 1976-( with all due respect to The Brains who came along in 1978).When Glenn Phillips,Michael Brown and Kevin Dunn were on the radio in the 90'S.Glenn said something to the effect that all of these people should have had box sets out instead of old albums and 45's.

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Brains was a great punk rock band in the early 80's, and I just wish that they had a album on cd, and IVE looked on, and in money music stores, and maybe someday they will relise their first cd Money Changes Everything thats a good song. Another band that was popular at that time was The Humans they from California, they had a song called I Live In The City, and Ive also looked for a cd by them but can't find one either. These are two bands I hope that someday I can get on cd.

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Hubbard stole my Brains LP's in 1985. I am still sad about that. Love to have "Money Changes Everything" again, at least.

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Thanks for keeping The Brains alive! Does anybody know where I can find "See Me" to download?

10:57 AM  
Anonymous peter d said...

Yes, many good good songs. My fave was "Gold Dust Kids".

5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best small bar band I ever saw. Just an incredible show. Long live the Brains.

10:41 PM  
Anonymous mystere2 said...

Great bands
check out
maybe you can suggest some bands
Thanks for the Brains info.

8:09 PM  
Blogger BillyBopNYC said...

Regarding the earlier post on the Para Band by aonymous, I would like to make a few corrections.
First off, Michael Brown was NOT the bass player, he was the keyboard player. The bass player was Don Macumber.
I know this because I was their drummer for a brief period in 1978-79. During my time with Para Band, we played the Agora numerious times, including as as opening act for The Talking Heads.
I actually have a 45 of Nazi Hunter, but no longer own a turntable to play it.
I'm truely sorry to hear thar Fred Brown has passed away. He was a gentle soul and a unique guitarist.

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey I've been a Brains fan since I saw them at 688 right after high school. I had both the album and EP (Dancing in the Street lights), and they were stolen during a house party my kid brother had in the late 80's - somebody had good taste! Do you know any way I can get a hold of either album or a download? I've been looking for 20 years now and they are impossible to find.

12:16 AM  
Blogger edwinkhunter said...

Saw the Brains and "Q's" Summer of 81 in Milledgeville GA as I was entering my freshman yr at GC. Tom always had that serious attitude like David Byrne or perhaps Bowie in 73.
Finally got all three lp's. I used to play them on my college radio show. The first two albums are great. The third must have been part of their downfall.
Hope to see Delta Moon someday.

10:46 PM  
Anonymous John Bullabaugh said...

I probably saw The Brains 50 times during their sonic life. They were always excellent live, but began to bog down later on with lengthy bass solos [soli?] and stuff like that. The first LP in particular is brilliant. I think Tom Wolfe also played with Thermos Greenwood. Rick Price went on to play in the GA Satellites.

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved Electronic Eden. Iused to play the hell out of that album. Is the CD available anywhere ? I don't have a turntable anymore.

3:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a college radio DJ and then Club DJ back East in 1979-1997. When The Brains released a final EP like so many bands that were dropped from their major labels, I quickly checked it out and fell in love with "Dancing Under Streetlights". A funky, grooving tune with a great sound and awesome production. I would play it regularly in my sets, and the old, pre-Dolby VHS Rockamerica video (with the bad sound and high hiss content). Almost no one would dance, but I did not care....To this day it is one of my favourite tunes from 1981-1986. A classic from the High Period of College Radio Rock --- DJ Ben

6:25 AM  
Blogger R S Crabb said...

Hell, I've been trying to get the A holes at Universal to reissue the Brains albums. Think they give a flying Houdini? Great post.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Frasure said...

I saw a Brains LP at a flea mall today in Alabama. I had never heard of them so that is what brought me to this blog. I am going to go back and get it now.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In '79 and '80 Mercury Records was on a crusade to sign as many Atlanta bands as possible. I was involved with The Brains for a short while doing publicity and had asked the band to wait for another label to sign them. Unfortunety they signed with Mercury who dropped them while they were on tour in California and that was the end the of the Brains. Sadly Charles Wolfe (drummer) died this year (2012) after batteling brain cancer.

6:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the opportunity to post. Mike Noyce was the bass player, Steinie Brown the drummer, Fred lead guitar and Michael on key boards. I used to be friends with all of them 34 yrs ago and would sit in on practice sessions in the basement in the house on Rocksborough. SOrry to hear about Fred - he was a great guy!!

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

does anyone remember Baby and the Pacifiers or Thermus Greenwood and the Coloured People?

1:43 PM  
Blogger R S Crabb said...

8 years on and Universal still holds the first two Brains hostage. I'll never see it reissued on CD as long as I'm alive and Andy McKie blocked me from his email addy from all the times I told him to reissue the damn thing. I'd buy a 100 copies if they did.

That fell on deaf ears.

1:52 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Does anyone have any knowledge of the where the bass player, Bryan Smithwick, ended up?

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Para Band bass player was Don McCumber. George Roberts played drums Michael Brown was guitarist and writer. I was there! I have old vinyl didn't know it was so coveted. Para Band wife!

7:45 PM  
Blogger Lauren Griffin said...

I have almost everything by The Brains (a friend copied the albums and 7"s to MP3 format for my husband and I) and I'd be happy to compress them for e-mail or whatnot. I've personally been trying to find "Snake Boy", "Lowlife", and others by the Heathen Girls. (I have the Dark vs. Light EP.)

8:41 AM  

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