RIP Asa Brebner Reviews and Biography here


i walk the streets...of heaven

we will miss you, Asa


Asa Brebner Biography by Joe Viglione


In 1978 singer Robin Lane had a deal with Private Stock Records and went out to recruit a band called Robin Lane & the ChartbustersBrebner was one of the guitarists in a group fronted by a woman who could hold her own with Chrissie Hynde and Stevie Nicks. After two EPs and two albums, Brebner and the group (without Lane) recorded David Knopfler of Dire Straits' Warner Bros demos. In 1982, Brebner launched the Grey Boys, the first band in which he sang and wrote all the songs. He also did cartoons for High Times and other magazines. He formed Asa Brebner's Idle Hands in 1986, and recorded a tape which included the song "Last Bad Habit." It appeared on Warner Bros.' Best of the Unsigned Bands CD compilation in 1988. He released three solo albums between 1996-2001 on three different labels, and a compilation of his music entitled Time in My Way on the Windjam imprint. Along with production work for Mickey Clean's Unsung Heroes, the Bloodshot album for Peter C. Johnson, and Severance for Kendra FlowersBrebner can be found in the clubs of Boston, performing and helping other musicians through benefit concerts. 2002 has him working on the long-awaited reunion album of Robin Lane & the Chartbusters.

READ MORE HERE:https://www.allmusic.com/artist/asa-brebner-mn0000609582/biography

AllMusic Review by Joe Viglione [-]
The title track is a powerful statement of an urban rock & roller who has "walked the streets where my best friends died." Forty-eight minutes and fifty-one seconds of Johnny Thunders style rock -- without Thunders celebrated excesses. Much like Marianne Faithful's Broken English, this album is a rebirth for a survivor who honed his craft for decades on stages of major venues and in many a night club. Asa Brebner has played guitar in numerous Boston-based groups from Mickey Clean & the Mezz to the second great version of Jonathan Richman's Modern Lovers, half of which evolved into Robin Lane & the Chartbusters. Utilizing eight different studios, mastered in a ninth, Jon Wyner's M-Works, where David Bowie's catalog was re-mastered for Ryko Disc, these are all Brebner originals with the exclusion of "Jacks on Drugs," written by Phil Hahnen. Ex-Archies -- you read that right -- on-stage anyway -- and Chartbuster colleague Scott Baerenwald of local legends Reddy Teddy plays bass and sings backing vocals on "Sunshine and Blue Skies," one of the many highlights on this disc, not coincidentally recorded at Ducky Carlisle's Room 9. Ducky was married to Robin Lane at the time of this recording although, sadly, she does not make an appearance. "Unhappy Birthday Girl" is the kind of song that Jonathan Richman used to craft for his fans; Richman would do well to listen to this disc by his former bandmate. Brebner gives his pop songs that roots rock foundation that made the early Rolling Stones so appealing, and it's evident in this track. "No Good for Anything But Love" has an effective riff augmented by vocals that make this no-nonsense rock & roll fans of the Modern Lovers have yearned to hear again, with a splashy appearance by the Heavy Metal Horns. The sound is surprisingly consistent for working in so many studios and employing so many musicians. "Love Only Makes the World Go Round" is very radio-friendly, and another of the picks on this CD. "Don't Ever Lose a Memory" brings that Thunders connection back -- Johnny Thunders having written the classic "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory." There's lots of heartache on this disc, culminating in the campy "Thru with Girls" which has mandolin, banjo, and acoustic guitar courtesy of Andrew Mazzone. It's back to business with "Sunshine Blue Skies," the production by Brebner and Mazzone is perfect, something that was lacking in the Robin Lane albums. There is a refinement here, a balance of the distortion of rock & roll and capturing it for the intended audience. "Jacks on Drugs" has that vintage Boston boom boom sound, while "I'm Not Going to Work Today," recorded in Brebner's attic with Allen Devine on vocals, is a country- style experiment where the artist gets to stretch. "Turn Back the Pages" has that Byrds sound so essential to the Chartbusters, wtih great drums by Andy Plaisted and a vocal by Andrew Mazzone on this Brebner original. "At Least Nobody Else Has Our Memories" is a country ballad with Brother Cleve on piano, Asa reminiscing again. The final tune, "Mr. Hide," returns to that Stones feel, with a wonderful keyboard fill on the chorus and a drone vocal by Brebner with wild guitars at the end, finally ending with an unnecessary reprise of "Thru with Girls" -- the eloquence of the last tune stifled somewhat by this. Regardless, this album should've been released on a major label as so many of Asa Brebner's other works were. https://www.allmusic.com/album/i-walk-the-streets-mw0000059300


AllMusic Review by   [-]

Asa Brebner's Best No Money Can Buy CD is a rock and roller getting a bit subdued, making country sounds more predominant in his repertoire. "The Roses I Never Bought You" is low key for sure, but things get even more obsessive as Brebner spins yarns about extinguishing those in his way from the ominous "Reasons for Murder" to "You Stole My Woman" ("now you're gonna die"). For those wanting more of the underground rock that made I Walk the Streets such a delight, you'd better be ready to change with an artist's vision. Brebner takes simple rock riffs and makes them complex, breathing new life into the cliché, most of the recording created with Neighborhoods/Paul Westerberg guitarist David Minehan and label owner Loreen Hurley. These partners in crime help the one-time guitarist for Robin Lane & the Chartbusters build an album that can be called his Beggar's Banquet. Marilyn Monroe's famous skirt blowing over the subway is in a photo on the cover, above the artist's head, and he narrates tough country & western themes with his patented rock & roll edge. "Forbidden Love" is beautiful in its almost innocence after the bitter three tunes that precede it: "You're the mother of his children/There'd be so much hell to pay," his voice vacillating from a serious Iggy Pop to ambivalent Tom Petty. "Too Many Assholes" is the first of the real rockers, taking ex-bandmate Jonathan Richman's classic "Pablo Picasso" to the extreme, but the album goes back to its country bent with "Break My Own Heart" which is unsettling. "Won't Wait for Saturday" is another about face, back to rock, and it is great rock, the most solid riff on the record, sentiment borrowed from the Easybeats' "Friday on My Mind" and Richman's "New Bank Teller." "Nice to Me" is another driving rocker, this one the only tune recorded with Ducky Carlisle, and it could have come right out of the Beggar's Banquet or I Walk the Streets outtakes with sexist comments galore. This is the stuff Brebner does best, down and dirty rock & roll, and as good as "Out of the Frying Pan (Into Desire)" is, its country slant is too disruptive, and the album would be better served splitting the rockers from the honky tonk. "Go Downtown" is more Rolling Stones by way of the Nervous Eaters, making this a truly "Jekyll & Hyde" album, the two sides of Asa Brebner. The title track brings things to a close, and it is saddled with Steve Sadler's banjo. Good material that goes back and forth from mellow to manic. While John Cate and the Swinging Steaks are crafting their roots sounds, Brebner takes a decidedly different path; musical and ambitious, its best moments are when it lets its hair down to rock.
https://www.allmusic.com/album/best-no-money-can-buy-mw0000320750



Asa Brebner Biography by Joe Viglione

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/asa-brebner-mn0000609582/biography

AllMusic Review by Joe Viglione [-]
There are degrees of greatness and when you listen to this retrospective of Asa Brebner's work you realize he is a journeyman and a contender. Play this against the Sky Saxon Blues Band to hear the difference between someone being genuine and an artist testing the waters. Brebner's authenticity combines with creativity on the amazing guitar solo in the middle of "Prophecy"; add to that its innovative riff and production, and a tip of that hat must go to Windjam Records for releasing this compilation at the same time as Best No Money Can Buy, the follow-up to Brebner's excellent Accurate Records album I Walk the Streets. Four of the tracks are from the Accurate release from the year before: "Jack's on Drugs," "Going Home," "Love Only Makes the World Go Round," and "Sunshine Blue Skies." Who decided the order and which tunes would be chosen from the Brebner catalog is not specified in the too-brief credit list provided with the insert. Material is also culled from two other previous releases, Ragged Religion and Prayers of a Snowball in Hell, one of the great titles in music history. Brebner is a clever guy, and the riff in "Idle Hands" (a song title that was also the name of his band) sounds like Led Zeppelin going total pop. Two tracks are new to this world, the snappy "Not Much Life," and "Angela," which concludes the disc while reinventing the classic Crystals riff from "Then He Kissed Me." Brebner's rocking hard folk tunes preach like a country musician wielding class and dry humor. Country radio should embrace this smart stuff, especially "Not Much Life," while "Angela" has that Triple A format polish. There are no selections from the artist's work with Robin Lane & the Chartbusters or the Modern Lovers, which is the one downside here. Otherwise, this is a great primer to the solo work of guitarist Asa Brebner who continues to record and release valid new music deserving of an audience. https://www.allmusic.com/album/time-in-my-way-mw0000327185

https://www.allmusic.com/album/time-in-my-way-mw0000327185


This tenure resulted in two albums on Beserkley Records with some titles distributed originally by CBS, the Richman classic Back in Your Life, Modern Lovers Live, and a few tracks on a compilation Beserkley issued entitled Spitballs. "Egyptian Reggae" from Modern Lovers Live is a brilliant track and went gold in England, France, Germany, and Holland.
Time In My Way
In 1978 singer Robin Lane had a deal with Private Stock Records and went out to recruit a band called Robin Lane & the ChartbustersBrebner was one of the guitarists in a group fronted by a woman who could hold her own with Chrissie Hynde and Stevie Nicks. After two EPs and two albums, Brebner and the group (without Lane) recorded David Knopfler of Dire Straits' Warner Bros demos. In 1982, Brebner launched the Grey Boys, the first band in which he sang and wrote all the songs. He also did cartoons for High Times and other magazines. He formed Asa Brebner's Idle Hands in 1986, and recorded a tape which included the song "Last Bad Habit." It appeared on Warner Bros.' Best of the Unsigned Bands CD compilation in 1988. He released three solo albums between 1996-2001 on three different labels, and a compilation of his music entitled Time in My Way on the Windjam imprint. Along with production work for Mickey Clean's Unsung Heroes, the Bloodshot album for Peter C. Johnson, and Severance for Kendra FlowersBrebner can be found in the clubs of Boston, performing and helping other musicians through benefit concerts. 2002 has him working on the long-awaited reunion album of Robin Lane & the Chartbusters.



Check out Asa Brebners biography by Joe Viglione at AllMusic.com.

The bane of many a band from Boston is the curse of bad record production, and that curse struck Robin Lane & the Chartbusters perhaps more than any other group. Where the Atlantics and Private Lightning only got one opportunity, Warner afforded the Chartbusters two albums and a five-song live EP. All three featured phenomenal songs that were not recorded by the label with the love and care that the artist deserved. The three-song EP, released on manager Mike Lembo's Deli Platters label, had all the elements that pointed to stardom for Robin Lane. A great original entitled "The Letter," not the song performed by Alex Chilton and the Box Tops, did not get re-recorded by Warner Bros., and the sound is dramatically different from the slick treatment "Rather Be Blind" gets on this album, Imitation Life. "Solid Rock," resplendent in Flaming Groovies riffs and girl group possibilities, gets lost in Gary Lyons souped up engineering. Tim Jackson's drums sound lightweight, and there are more references to angels, like the very Patti Smith-sounding first track on this album, "Send Me an Angel." Where the bands self-titled debut the year before should have had more of the lush Byrds twelve-string guitar sounds, this album takes the group even further from that format. The guitar solo on "Pretty Mala" is almost heavy metal, so far removed from what this group was all about. The band had its own identity, but the attempts to get it to sound like the Patti Smith Group by way of the Pretenders strips away the heart and soul of a truly creative entity. Drummer Tim Jackson co-writes "Idiot" with Lane, and it is one of the strongest tracks on the disc. With better production it would have hit single written all over it. It has a neat little guitar riff, summery pop melody, and easy vocals by Lane. Just a year later she would put backing vocals on Andy Pratt's superb Fun in the First World album produced by the Chartbusters' guitarist Leroy Radcliffe, who was also Lane's significant other for awhile. Radcliffe's production of Andy Pratt is everything this album needed, exactly what is missing on songs like "For You," the moody final track with Lane's beautifully melancholic vocal set somewhere between the instruments and not far up enough in the mix, too many effects keeping the words from being distinctive. The first album's inner sleeve contained all the lyrics, and this second LP has etchings by guitarist Asa Brebner, which, although humorous, might've been better as a promo. Brebner's solo album, I Walk the Streets, released almost 20 years later, contains the sounds that should've been inserted into these grooves. "Rather Be Blind" is a driving pop tune with guitars that cry to sparkle and sound so subdued and lost in some reverb quagmire. This album is a heartbreaker, such a great performance lost in the mix. Producer Gary Lyons worked with Foreigner, Queen, and the Outlaws, a prescription that makes for an album as hard to take sonically as Extreme's first major label disc. "What the People Are Doing" has a great spy movie guitar riff and haunting vocals, the guitar bursts at the end of the song really striking. It's an epic that fades into the Ramones-ish title track, "Imitation Life." Robin Lane's vision was stifled by poor recording and imitation art that the band and she cannot be blamed for. Imitation Life, by producer Gary Lyons, and Joe Wissert's ideas for the first album, Robin Lane & The Chartbusters, were forces that did nothing to further this important group's career. The song "Say Goodbye" is classic Robin Lane, and Warner Bros. should invest in remixing both these potentially classic albums for compact disc. There are great songs here that could be rerecorded decades later by artists in need of hits. ~ Joe Viglione



AllMusic Review by   [-]

Coming in between the first album, Robin Lane & the Chartbusters and 1981's Imitation Life, was this five-song EP from Warner Bros which included a cover of what was an FM hit for the Who and an AM hit for the Guess WhoJohnny Kidd's "Shakin' All Over," it not so coincidentally follows Robin Lane'ssong about an earthquake, "8.1." The band was one of Boston's best live acts, with some of the members having gone through rigorous regimentation at the hands of the brilliant and equally difficult Jonathan Richman as his Modern Lovers. This is the best production of the three platters on Warner Bros, but it still fails to capture that sweeping Byrds-meets-Flamin' Groovies sound which made Lane so very popular in Boston. This is the fourth version of "When Things Go Wrong" to find its way onto vinyl, two studio versions by the Chartbusters and one by the Pousette-Dart Band failed to get the national attention the song deserves. Lane's voice is shot, the liners noting that this was recorded at "the end of a grueling summer tour that took the band over 14,000 miles of highway." It sounds it. Had Warner Bros taped the group prior to the tour in a small Boston club where they ruled, they would have captured the nuances of Lane's beautiful voice, and the sparkling musicianship which truly broke new ground for a Boston band. They were one of the best and their major-label marriage failed to document what the band was all about. "Lost My Mind," "When You Compromise," and "8.5" are originals not on either studio album, and the band sounds more like the B-52's performing on the big Orpheum stage. That beautiful, condensed sound is enlarged here, and Lane sounds like a female Fred Schneider on some of this, through no fault of her own. This remains an important document of an important time. Still, it would have been nice to have more of the concert on this disc, with a better mix. Even the addition of the group's original three-song demo could have made this medium-priced project a tool to break this essential band with.

 RIP ASA
_______________________________________________

AllMusic Review by Joe Viglione [-]
The bane of many a band from Boston is the curse of bad record production, and that curse struck Robin Lane & the Chartbusters perhaps more than any other group. Where the Atlantics and Private Lightning only got one opportunity, Warner afforded the Chartbusters two albums and a five-song live EP. All three featured phenomenal songs that were not recorded by the label with the love and care that the artist deserved. The three-song EP, released on manager Mike Lembo's Deli Platters label, had all the elements that pointed to stardom for Robin Lane. A great original entitled "The Letter," not the song performed by Alex Chilton and the Box Tops, did not get re-recorded by Warner Bros., and the sound is dramatically different from the slick treatment "Rather Be Blind" gets on this album, Imitation Life. "Solid Rock," resplendent in Flaming Groovies riffs and girl group possibilities, gets lost in Gary Lyons souped up engineering. Tim Jackson's drums sound lightweight, and there are more references to angels, like the very Patti Smith-sounding first track on this album, "Send Me an Angel." Where the bands self-titled debut the year before should have had more of the lush Byrds twelve-string guitar sounds, this album takes the group even further from that format. The guitar solo on "Pretty Mala" is almost heavy metal, so far removed from what this group was all about. The band had its own identity, but the attempts to get it to sound like the Patti Smith Group by way of the Pretenders strips away the heart and soul of a truly creative entity. Drummer Tim Jackson co-writes "Idiot" with Lane, and it is one of the strongest tracks on the disc. With better production it would have hit single written all over it. It has a neat little guitar riff, summery pop melody, and easy vocals by Lane. Just a year later she would put backing vocals on Andy Pratt's superb Fun in the First World album produced by the Chartbusters' guitarist Leroy Radcliffe, who was also Lane's significant other for awhile. Radcliffe's production of Andy Pratt is everything this album needed, exactly what is missing on songs like "For You," the moody final track with Lane's beautifully melancholic vocal set somewhere between the instruments and not far up enough in the mix, too many effects keeping the words from being distinctive. The first album's inner sleeve contained all the lyrics, and this second LP has etchings by guitarist Asa Brebner, which, although humorous, might've been better as a promo. Brebner's solo album, I Walk the Streets, released almost 20 years later, contains the sounds that should've been inserted into these grooves. "Rather Be Blind" is a driving pop tune with guitars that cry to sparkle and sound so subdued and lost in some reverb quagmire. This album is a heartbreaker, such a great performance lost in the mix. Producer Gary Lyons worked with Foreigner, Queen, and the Outlaws, a prescription that makes for an album as hard to take sonically as Extreme's first major label disc. "What the People Are Doing" has a great spy movie guitar riff and haunting vocals, the guitar bursts at the end of the song really striking. It's an epic that fades into the Ramones-ish title track, "Imitation Life." Robin Lane's vision was stifled by poor recording and imitation art that the band and she cannot be blamed for. Imitation Life, by producer Gary Lyons, and Joe Wissert's ideas for the first album, Robin Lane & The Chartbusters, were forces that did nothing to further this important group's career. The song "Say Goodbye" is classic Robin Lane, and Warner Bros. should invest in remixing both these potentially classic albums for compact disc. There are great songs here that could be rerecorded decades later by artists in need of hits.

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