Alt-Rockers Belly Make a Comeback

Twenty years after their grunge-era radio hits, the band that formed in RI is returning with a new album


We’re getting a new Belly record in the new year. And there’s a way for you to get up close with the band while they complete it.

Rhode Island quartet Belly, which formed in Newport in the early ‘90s, came to an important conclusion while on tour in 2016. If there was ever going to be a new album, it was “sort of now or never,” says Belly founder Tanya Donelly. The greatest hits package was fifteen years ago; the five US alternative radio hits, including the number-one single “Feed the Tree,” came out between 1992 and 1995. Now the band members – Tanya, bassist Gail Greenwood and brothers Tom and Chris Gorman – are ready to birth new Belly music. A third LP will be released April 6, 2018.

“Originally it was just going to be the tour,” Tanya says. “I wanted to play together again.” But after the band began writing new songs to play live, the idea of a new album started to come into focus.

Tanya Donelly and the band write mostly remotely, sending each other a whole skeleton song, a chorus or just a riff to which other members then contribute. This setup is especially helpful when, as with most DIY bands, the rest of life is constantly calling. All four members run businesses and two have kids. “Sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike still absolutely happens,” Tanya says, “but now I have to find the two hours a day, tops – tops – to get it done.” Tanya credits Tom Gorman with being organized enough to “stitch it all together like Doctor Frankenstein.”

The band’s first two records were released in the traditional way, through a record company. This new record finds Belly taking part in what has become, for many acts that already have a following, the New Way (although arts patronage is as old as feudal Japan). The new record is being supported with a pre-order program via PledgeMusic, which offers both bundled item packages and limited band-used items for sale. Buy one of the larger bundles and you get insider access to the record-making process. Also available are tickets to the Providence listening party where patrons will hear the album for the first time in its entirety, in the presence of the band’s members. “We’re making all the decisions, providing all of the content,” affirms Tanya. “It plugs right into the DIY thing we’ve been doing the last two years.”