Tribe was one of the most popular bands in Boston in the late '80s and early '90s, but was never able to translate its local drawing power and multiple local awards into national success. The band was fronted by singer Janet LaValley, whose soaring voice and gothic queen looks (Siouxsie Sioux by way of Sandra Bullock won her a close local following and the Boston Phoenix award for Best Local Female Singer for three straight years. Bassist Greg LoPiccolo, guitarist Eric Brosius, and keyboardist (and occasional lead vocalist) Terri Barous wrote songs which combined power chords with dark lyrics and thick, goth-influenced keyboard textures. Drummer David Penzo rounded out the group.
Tribe first became prominent in Boston when their four-track demo for the song "Abort" was played regularly on local radio station WFNX. After three years of building a local following, two straight Boston Phoenix awards for Best Local band, and a self-released album, Here at the Home, Tribe finally attracted the attention of Warner Bros. and in 1991 released their major-label debut Abort. Abort repeated eight songs from the self-released album and added four more, but despite production by Gil Norton it was unable to make waves outside of New England. Penzo left the band after the recording of 1993's Sleeper, replaced by Boston session drummer Mike Levesque, but once again the band could not attain a national hit despite constant touring, and they broke up in 1994. Barous and Brosius married and began a career composing video game soundtracks, while LaValley tried a brief and unsuccessful solo career. ~ Aaron Schatz