The Sheila Divine
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The Sheila Divine were originally a Boston based rock group whose activities have been intermittent since 2003. Critics have compared their sound to the band's own heros, mainly early 1980s post-punk. The band has been most often noted for its loud/soft musical dynamic and Aaron's Perrino soaring vocals, screaming in key one moment and howling a falsetto the next. The band had a large die hard fan base in what was often called "the three Bs": Boston, Buffalo, and Belgium.Read More...
The band most often explained that they took the name from the Australian term "sheila", which denotes an effeminate man or wimp - thus making them in a literal sense, the sacred wimps. The name is also similar to that of the suicidal main character of the book Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living in New York. However, they took their name directly from a college friend named Sheila Devine. After changing the spelling and operating as Sheila Divine for several months the "The" was added to distinguish the band from such female artists as Fiona Apple.
The Sheila Divine formed in 1997 and played their first show on July 4 at The Middle East in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The lineup consisted of singer, songwriter, and guitarist Aaron Perrino, bassist Jim Gilbert, and drummer Shawn Sears. All three had met in college at State University of New York at Oneonta, but each had ended up in Boston independently. They were signed to local indie label Cherry Disc Records and released their self-titled five track EP in 1998. They gained a loyal local following and went on to win the 1999 WBCN Rock & Roll Rumble. Cherry Disc Records were bought out by Roadrunner Records, who released The Sheila Divine's first full length album New Parade in 1999. It received critical praise from local press and spawned the college radio hit Hum. The album featured re-recorded versions of songs that appeared on their first EP, as well as several brand new songs (the Japanese import edition featured two additional songs unavailable on the domestic release, "Secret Rendezvous" and "Weightless", the latter of which had also been released as the b-side to the then-titled "Criminal", the band's only released vinyl 7-inch).
In late 2000, the band was hard at work on their second album when they added Colin Decker as a second guitarist to broaden their sound. The band released their second album, Where Have My Countrymen Gone, in March 2001 on Co-Op Pop Records. Later that year in August, Shawn Sears left the band to spend more time with his recently born child. Following a handful of shows with fill-ins Pete Caldes (The Gravel Pit/The Gentlemen) and Paul Buckley (Orbit), drummer Ryan Dolan replaced Sears a month later; Dolan had previously been in the band Lincolnville with guitarist Colin Decker. The Sheila Divine continued to tour constantly and created a large fan base that included both people who would see them across the country and others who would record live shows to share. The band was always generous to bootleggers and allowed video and/or audio taping at all shows.
The band released the six track EP Secret Society in September 2002 (Arena Rock Recording Co.). They embarked on a non-stop world tour consisting of China, Europe, and then across the United States and back. This rigorous schedule would prove to be the band's undoing. While at a show in the mid-west a confrontation with Jim resulted in Aaron throwing his guitar down and announcing to the audience that the band was breaking up. Upon returning home, the band stated on their website they would not break up, but would instead take time off. Aaron Perrino went on to start recording songs in the studio by himself, which would end up on the War Chords EP, the debut release of his new solo project, Dear Leader. The Sheila Divine officially announced their demise on their website in April of 2003, and played two farewell shows in October at The Paradise in Boston, Massachusetts. The sold-out shows were attended by fans who had travelled from as far away as Oregon and Belgium.
Happily, original bandmates Aaron and Jim are still on friendly terms, as their respective new bands have played together several times. They still call Boston home. Shawn left Boston and now lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Ryan left Boston and moved to Maine, becoming a father for the first time. Colin Decker moved to San Francisco and is involved with television production.
On December 31, 2005 The Sheila Divine played a reunion show at Bill's Bar on Landsdowne Street in Boston. The band played as a three piece with Aaron, Jim, and Ryan. A second reunion show was played on Saint Patrick's Day March 17, 2007 at TT The Bear's Club with the same lineup.
The group continue their occasional efforts, the products of which can be seen at their Bandcamp page, http://thesheiladivine.bandcamp.com/, and their main web site: http://the-things-that-once-were.com/. In 2012 they released a new album, The Things That Once Were.
New Parade (1999 · Roadrunner Records)
Where Have My Countrymen Gone (2001 · Co-Op Pop Records)
The Things That Once Were (2012)
The Sheila Divine EP (1998 · Cherry Disc Records)
Secret Society EP (2002 · Arena Rock Recording Co.)
Hum/I'm A Believer cassette promo (1999 · Roadrunner Records)
Hum radio promo CD (1999 · Roadrunner Records)
Like A Criminal 7" vinyl (1999 · Roadrunner Records)
Ostrich radio promo CD (2001 · Independent)
Viva Noel - A Q Division Christmas : "O Holy Night" (1999 · Q-Division Records}
Then Covered Now : "Metal Health (Bang Your Head)" (1999 · Hearbox Records)