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Cabeça Dinossauro

Cabeça Dinossauro (Portuguese for Dinosaur Head) is the third studio album by Brazilian rock band Titãs. It was released in June 1986.

Background, concept and production

Cabeça Dinossauro was the first Titãs album to be produced by Liminha, who was the director of WEA at the time of the album's recording, and the first of the band to receive a gold certification, in December 1986. It was recorded and mixed in one month. Its demo was recorded in just two days.

Vocalist Arnaldo Antunes and guitarist Tony Bellotto's arrest for drug possession in 1985; the "relative failure" of previous album Televisão; and the will by the band to take a heavier direction influenced the music on this album. But they did not suddenly decide to turn punk. The ingredients, according to keyboardist and vocalist Sérgio Britto, were already at the band previously. Bellotto says the band already showed signs of this new sound during showsBesides, then drummer Charles Gavin considered the troubled moments lived both by the band and by Brazil at that time were also influencing factors:Co-producer Pena Schmidt saw the album as "the moment of truth. Titãs had crisis between surrendering to phonographic perfection or to the rebellious statement. There the result balances track by track."

The album's front and back covers were taken from sketches by Leonardo da Vinci: "The Expression a howling Man" and "Grotesque Head", respectively. Both acetates were brought straight outta Louvre by a friend of vocalist and keyboardist Sérgio Britto's father. They replaced small reproductions the band had but could not use for the album due to low quality. He would say in 2006 that "the first 30,000 copies of the album were made in a mat and porous paper, much more expensive than the ordinary one. A gesture of generosity by André Midani, then president of Warner, which gave us total support before, during and after the recording sessions, complying with almost every of our requests."

Song information

The musical material for the album was ready before the band got into the studio. The first track to be recorded was the single "AA UU". The last one was "O Quê".

The title track was conceived during a bus trip. Vocalist and saxophonist Paulo Miklos showed his colleagues a tape with folk music by some Xingus. Over that base, someone improvised the verses "Cabeça dinossauro/Cabeça dinossauro/Cabeça, cabeça, cabeça dinossauro" and soon the lyrics were all done. The percussion was performed by Liminha. After several elaborated attempts, he improvised with the walls, the floor and the pillars of the studio, and the "trance" performance was approved by all. The vocals of "A Face do Destruidor" was recorded over the base played backwards. According to Britto, "when we recorded, we had to think that it would be listened to that way".

Some of Bellotto's solos were played with the musician alternating between the guitar pick and a big ring he was using. That way, he could play and simultaneously obtain percussive effects from his instrument.

The song "Bichos Escrotos" had originally been written in 1982 and was supposed to be part of the band's debut album, but it was censored by the Brazilian military government, and the band was thus unable to release it until Cabeça Dinossauro. Even after the song was finally released, radio airplay was still prohibited, but the radio stations were receiving so many requests that they decided to play the song anyway and face the fines afterwards, because the price was low enough compared to the profit to make it worth the disobedience.

"O Quê" was the most demanding track in the album, according to Britto:In a 2016 interview, coproducer Pena Schmidt considered that "the mantric perfection of 'O Quê' paved the way for some three subsequent releases. From there, they graduated in pop production and engineering, ready to take on their own career."

Accolades, legacy and re-release

In a 2012 interview, guitarist Tony Bellotto revealed he made a bet with vocalist Branco Mello: he would buy him a bottle of Jack Daniel's in case the album sold over 100,000 copies, since he thought it would be a commercial failure. However, the album sold well, and Tony lost the bet. Until its first anniversary, the album sold 250,000 copies, with a total of 700,000 sold until 2016.

In a 2006 article for the Brazilian Rolling Stone, Britto commented:In 1997, Bizz magazine elected Cabeça Dinossauro as the best Brazilian pop rock album. In 2007, the Brazilian version of the magazine Rolling Stone elected it as the 19th greatest Brazilian album of all time. On September 2012, it was elected by the audience of Radio Eldorado FM, of Estadao.com e of Caderno C2+Música (both the latter belong to newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo) as the seventh best Brazilian album ever.

In 2012, in order to celebrate the 25 years of the album's original release, Cabeça Dinossauro was re-released, fully remastered and with a bonus disc containing the original demos for the songs, plus a previously unreleased track, "Vai pra Rua", an outtake of the album. The band also promoted a tour in which they performed the entire album respecting the original ordering of tracks. One of these performances was recorded and released as Cabeça Dinossauro ao Vivo 2012. Performing the album would help define the sound of the band's then next album, Nheengatu.

In the next year, the remaining members of the band recorded a video for the title song, using images from the movie Vai que Dá Certo. Both the movie and the video feature Brazilian actors and humorists Fábio Porchat, Gregório Duvivier, Bruno Mazzeo, Lúcio Mauro Filho, Danton Mello e Natália Lage.

Play and book

In 2016, celebrating 30 years of the album, a book with tales inspired by the album's tracks and a play inspired by the album were prepared, titled Cada um por si e Deus contra todos (Everyone for itself and God against all) and Cabeça, respectively.

The play, directed by Felipe Vidal, take eight actors to the stage where they perform the entire album. It features "the sign of urgency and its relation with youth" in two different years: 1986 (when the album was released) and 2016 (when the play was presented). Vidal considers that the sign in 1986 "provoked the urgency of living a newly-acquired liberty, with the end of the dictatorship, today [2016], it fights to guarantee such conquest, in a world scenery troubled by growing conservative forces.

The book was released by publisher Tinta Negra, organized by André Tartarini and includes tales by authors such as Letícia Novaes, Juliana Frank and Renato Lemos, besides an introduction by Bellotto.

Critical reception



By the time of the album's release, newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo's Alberto Villas stated that the album was "the great surprise of the year. [...] It's a shocking, punk, angry and very curious album. An album of poison-rock, a scream. An album of surprises."

Track listing

;Bonus track on 2012 re-issue

Covers

  • Brazilian thrash metal band Sepultura made a cover of "Polícia", present on the B-side of their "Territory" single, the digipak and Brazilian pressings of their 1993 album Chaos A.D., and the compilation Blood-Rooted.
  • Biquini Cavadão covered "Estado Violência" in their tribute album 80.
  • Pagode group Molejo covered the song "Família", adapting it to a samba rhythm.

    Personnel

    ;Titãs
  • Arnaldo Antunesvocals
  • Branco Mello — vocals
  • Paulo Miklos — bass (in "Igreja") and vocals
  • Nando Reisbass and vocals
  • Sérgio Brittokeyboard and vocals
  • Marcelo Fromerrhythm guitar, lead guitar (in "Igreja" and "Família")
  • Tony Bellotto — lead guitar, rhythm guitar (in "Igreja" and "Família")
  • Charles Gavindrums and percussion

    ;Additional personnel
  • Liminha — rhythm guitar (in "Família" and "O Quê"), percussion (in "Cabeça Dinossauro") and Oberheim DMX (in "O Quê")
  • Repolhocastanets (in "Homem Primata")