December 2 [10:00 EDT] -- Extra Fancy has packed it in. Singer Brian Grillo is expected to announce Wednesday that he'll be launching a solo career effectively shutting down the four-piece Los Angeles-based "sonic rock" unit. Grillo is the band's charismatic frontman as well as their primary songwriter.
Manager Paul V told MTV News that Extra Fancy had lost much of their energy and drive since being unexpectedly dropped by their label last year. That decision combined with the band's failure to land another record deal caused much headshaking, speculation and debate in the music industry, mostly revolving around gay Grillo's HIV positive status.
"We had too much undeserved baggage," says V. "We were "the 'gay band' who got dropped from Atlantic Records." V says the tag overshadowed Extra Fancy's potential, its music, live performance, and diverse, pan-sexual and sizeable fanbase.
The break-up was reportedly amicable-Grillo has been writing new songs and plans
to put a new back-up band together and record some demos in the New Year. Guitarist Mike Hateley is also putting a new group together, and drummer Derek O'Brien will be concentrating on his other band, D.I. Bassist/vocalist D. Foster rounded out the line-up.
The band debuted with an EP in 1995. Atlantic put out the CD "Sinnerman" in May of '96 but dropped them just a few weeks later in spite of strong reviews. Their acclaimed live performances included Grillo playing percussion on a 50 gallon oil drum and earned them opening slots with the likes of Porno for Pyros, Marilyn Manson, Iggy Pop, 311, The Cramps, X, The Buzzcocks, Beck, No Doubt and The Goo Goo Dolls.
The band had just put out a 7-track CD November 17 on their own label, Butch Ditties. The EP is anchored by the new single "No Mercy," and includes a holiday song called "Christmastime." Also included is a surf-punk number called "When Heads Roll," purportedly written for Atlantic.