Music takes on new meaning for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club drummer

Leah Shapiro talks returning to music after brain surgery, BRMC's new album and more.
 Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club performs at Royale Jan. 31. Photo by Tessa Angus

Even after all these years, touring the country for live shows still means a lot to Leah Shapiro.

 

However, the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club drummer didn't realize how much she loved performing on stage until she was forced to briefly step away from music due to a recent battle with a serious brain condition called Chiari malformations. Thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign, Shapiro was able to have surgery in November of 2014, and quickly hit the road again for another tour just six months later.

 

"When I was finally more-or-less recovered, we went on tour in 2015 in Europe, which was almost like a therapeutic tour to be honest," Shapiro tells Metro. "I had been disconnected from music for so long, and I had also been sitting with those thoughts of, 'Oh s--t, what if something goes wrong and I can't play anymore?' those types of voices that tend to pop up in your head when things like that happen."

 

The rush of live performances clearly rejuvenated the BRMC musician, who wasted no time getting back into the studio following that summer tour after surgery. The band went straight to work on their eighth studio album, "Wrong Creatures," their first record in five years which hit stores on Jan. 12.

 

"Coming back from that tour, I was in better shape, for starters," Shaprio says. "I also finally had the right frame of mind to dig into the writing process, which can be very daunting at first because there's just so much work that needs to be done."

BRMC has been back on the road this winter  in support of the new album, and will rock out at Royale in Boston on Jan. 31 before heading to Brooklyn on Feb. 2. For Shapiro, a former Northeastern and New York University student, she couldn't be happier to be back doing what she loves.

"It's honestly been awesome to get back into the swing of things," Shapiro says. "I really needed it more than I thought while I was still going through recovery and whatnot. Being able to go out and play live again is a huge relief."

 
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