A decade ago, one of the finest bands from Boston's eclectic '90s rock community decided to call it quits. On this day in 2000, Letters to Cleo took the stage for what ended up being their final show (they officially announced their break-up about a month later). Though they had sold hundreds of thousands of records, had videos in heavy rotation on MTV and had achieved international success, Letters to Cleo went out the way they began, playing a small Boston club as part of a multi-act bill that helped to raise money for longtime friend and scene fixture Mikey D.
It was a poetic end for the group, who first got together in 1990 when singer Kay Hanley and guitarist Greg McKenna changed the name of their group ("Cleo" was an actual pen pal that Hanley had when she was younger). They became a fixture in the local rock scene and dropped their first album Aurora Gory Alice in 1993. The album became such a big local hit that they got picked up by a major label and scored a national hit with the single "Here and Now," which was famous for Hanley's rapid-fire delivery in the chorus.
More success followed in 1995 with the release of their second album Wholesale Meats and Fish. Though they toured the world, their hearts remained in Boston, and they regularly played benefit shows for local causes and appeared on compilations like Safe and Sound: A Benefit in Response to the Brookline Clinic Violence (as good a snapshot of the '90s alt-rock scene as you'll find). Things began to unravel in 1997, as drummer Stacy Jones left the band (he joined Veruca Salt before fronting his own group American Hi-Fi) and the group parted ways with their record label just as their third album Go was coming out. Though they recorded a handful of soundtrack and compilation tunes (including a cover of Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me" for the film "10 Things I Hate About You"), they never made another album.
The band members scattered to the wind after their final show on May 4, 2000, with Hanley achieving the greatest success (she put out a handful of solo projects and also joined Miley Cyrus' band), but they did get back together for a brief reunion tour in 2008. They remain one of the most charming bands from the '90s alt-rock scene, and their single "Awake" (from Wholesale Meats and Fish) is one of the best tunes from that era.