Extra Fancy was one of the handful of post-alternative punk bands to be led by an openly gay frontman. Although the promotion of lead singer Brian Grillo's sexuality helped gain the band notoriety, it prevented them from breaking through into the mainstream and sent them into difficulties with their major label.
Grillo, bassist D.A. Foster, guitarist Mike Hateley and drummer Derek O'Brien formed Extra Fancy in Los Angeles in the early '90s. In May of 1996, the group released their debut, Sinnerman, on the independent label Diablo Musica. The record became an underground success and earned good reviews, as well as the attention of Atlantic Records. The band signed with Atlantic within a few months of Sinnerman's release, and the record was repackaged and re-released by the label. Atlantic intended to use Extra Fancy and their debut as the flagship of thier fledgling gay marketing division.
Initially, Sinnerman performed well, receiving good reviews and word-of-mouth, and the video for the title track was aired on M2. However, Atlantic pulled the plug on their gay marketing division and Extra Fancy eight weeks after the re-release. According to Atlantic, the band and division were dropped as part of routine housecleaning and restructuring, but the speed with which the group was dropped raised eyebrows among the alternative rock community. The speedy departure hit the band hard. They tried to stick together, but Hateley left in early 1997. Toward the end of the year, the remaining trio released the EP No Mercy on their own Butch Ditties label, but it was too late -- in early December, the group called it quits. After Extra Fancy's disbandment, Brian Grillo decided to launch a solo career. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi