Bonde Neurose - This group's to die for.

The different favelas of Rio are governed by three rival drug gangs: Comando Vermelho (CV), Amigos dos Amigos (ADA) or Terceiro Comando Puro (TCP). And as we know, most of the forbidden proibidão baile funk songs are the ones that glorify one of them.

And if you’re from a favela controlled by certain drug gang (no matter that you’re just an ordinary person and you don’t have anything to do with the drug traffic), you can’t show you’re face on the area of a rival drug gang. If you do so, you seriously risk your life.

Bonde Neurose was a group of three guys, Marcelo, Cado and King, and they were known for Marcelo’s grimey vocals (similar to Burro Banton – dancehall addicts know what I’m talking about) and heavy, theatrical, performance-like live shows full of scary costumes, and macumba (afro-brazilian voodoo-like rites). A big inspiration for them were terror films; zombies, skeletons and such. I think you get the idea from this music video of their song ”Baile dos Monstros” (Monster Party)

Well, it happended one night (according to a story I heard from DJ Marlboro in London) that they almost got killed because of a misunderstanding. You see they were from the favela of Pára Pedro (nearby Irajá) in the suburbs of Rio and the area there is controlled by ADA and some local drug bosses had heard a rumour that there was a version of one of their hit songs, ”100% Neurose”, with lyrics glorifying CV, the toughest rival of ADA. And that’s something you just can’t do; singing a proibidão for a rival, is an almost certain death penalty.

So the situation ended up to a point where the local drug bosses had thrown the guys of Bonde Neurose into some dirt hole and were threatening to shoot them right there if the matter wasn’t solved.

The interesting part of the story is that Bonde Neurose had a really dedicated fan, a groupie who was idolizing them and always hanging around, willing to do any favours for them - you know - bringing drinks, carrying their stuff etc. He kinda believed all this would make him one of them.

So also that night he was there and he jumped into the hole to be executed with them stating: ”Eu sou do bonde.” (I’m part of the group.) The guys of Bonde Neurose were telling him to get out, go home and save his ass. And even the drug bosses knew he wasn’t really part of the group and were yelling him to get out of there, but he insisted: ”No, no; I’m part of the group. If they’re bound to die because of a song, I’m going down with them.”

Anyway, the guys of Bonde Neurose were pleading their innocence; they have never recorded any proibidão praising Comando Verlmelho. And this is when DJ Marlboro gets a call in the middle of the night from the drug bosses trying to find out if these rumours were really true. Almost two hours he tries to calm them down; he hasn’t heard of any such song.

Finally it appeared that it was two other MCs, Cidinho & Doca, from another favela, who had done the version with lyrics that glorified Comando Vermelho. So this time Bonde Neurose gets off the hook. (The practice of borrowing and singing other people’s songs is very common in Brazil, also in other genres, but this time it almost led to a bloodshed...)

But talking about fans who are ready to die for you, how many artists in the world can claim that?

P.S. You can download some hot stuff by Bonde Neurose from Apavoramento Sound System’s homepage (including a pretty crazy track sampling Michael Jackson).

John Woo and Chico from Apavoramento have also released this fucking amazing comic book, "Break da Cavera" (in pdf), featuring Bonde Neurose. It’s drawn by Erick Rocker and so far there’s only the portuguese version out, but I seriously advise you to take a look - it’s really cool. They’ve promised to do an english version also, but it’s not out yet. I’ll sure let you know when it comes!


Domi333 said...

Cidinho and Doca!! hahaha
those rap das armas guys, I'm not surprised, their first song was so massive, now other guys are getting mistaken for doing their stuff! crazy, stuff, love the post!

Timo Santala said...

Actually Rap das Armas was made already in the early nineties. And it's by Junior and Leonardo.

And Cidinho and Doca were doing Bonde Neurose's song, not vice-versa.

But yeaf, it's a crazy, funny story!