When Laura Baricevic (a.k.a. Laura B.) talks about the early '90s, she can't help but get a little nostalgic. And who could blame her? Around 1989, the singer and guitarist — who had "escaped to L.A." after finishing high school in New York — started an alternative band called They Eat Their Own.
Signed to a small label, the band found success on college and modern-rock radio, and scored a hit with "Like a Drug," an angsty, aggressive track that put the band firmly in line with (and even slightly ahead of) the female-fronted alt-rock boom. They found themselves on tours with bands like Goo Goo Dolls and Smashing Pumpkins. Their video was on MTV.
"It was great," Baricevic recalls. "It was a whirlwind of activity for a couple of years. It was a really high point in my life." Then, as the band began preparing to release its second record, things took a turn.
"We got an offer from Geffen Records and of course we jumped at it. We thought we were going to be big rock stars," Baricevic says. The deal fell through — Baricevic offers two pieces of advice to young musicians: keep persevering and get everything in writing — and in 1994, the members went their separate ways. Baricevic bounced around the country for a few years and ended up in Pittsburgh.
"I came to visit and basically never left," she says. "I never thought of Pittsburgh as a thriving little city [but] I just kind of fell in love with it."
These days, Baricevic has a new band, The Off Labels, with whom she plays TETO songs, as well as new stuff. She's also released a compilation of songs she'd written over the last decade, The Off Labels EP1. It's a solid collection that brings to mind bands like The Breeders and Hole. Baricevic is also planning to release a collection of unreleased TETO demos.
"There's a lot of what I think is great stuff in the archives," she says. "I just need to get this They Eat Their Own stuff out there, get it out of my system."