Black Lips dial in a studio sound, but won’t bend for promoters

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:: Bluebird Theater :: February 1 :: 

Black Lips

By Tiffany Childs

Black Lips is a band that has been notorious since its inception. With their legendary wild live shows that have gotten them banned from several venues, Black Lips have built a reputation as one of Atlanta’s most talked about underground bands. Recently, the band talked with The Marquee about how they’ve been staying busy — releasing their fifth album, Good Bad Not Evil, and touring almost continually.

The fifth album release was a pretty significant step in that it was released by Vice Records and is the band’s first studio album. Vice had previously released a live album from the band’s live show in Tijuanna and so Cole Alexander (vocals/guitar) was excited to work with Vice in the studio. “It was incredible to work with Vice. They are so fun and really know how to party,” Alexander said of the opportunity.

The album itself, Good Bad Not Evil, in Alexander’s words, “embodies all morality.” And in a way, that’s true. You will hear songs on the album that are dirty psychedelic blues songs about Holy World Wars followed by outright pop sensations, only to move on to tender, emotive songs rounding out the mix. While a lot of the inspiration seems to be personal events, finding a mother’s body, juvenile detention center experiences and so on, Alexander states that the band was really “inspired by ourselves, especially our first two albums.” This statement makes it seem as though the album’s sound is more of a development from past performances than a result of any happenings in their personal lives.

Besides working on this album release, Black Lips have been touring America and Europe steadily, but it doesn’t tire them out. Alexander has said that the band’s touring schedule is “fun to the max” and that their favorite place to play is anywhere they haven’t been because it’s exciting and new. Besides the recent release and touring, Cole told The Marquee that the band is working on a new album of unreleased material, with hopes to put it out in the coming summer. Also in their plans for the future are starring roles in a film called, Let It Be, where they will play fictitious D.I.Y. musicians.

As far as the tour goes, many fans love the high intensity shows Black Lips is famous for. When asked if they ever thought about taking it down a notch to appease club owners and stop them from being banned at certain venues, Alexander told us, “Fuck no! We would never compromise the total experience at the expense of rules and that’s part of it for us.” The music and the live show, according to Alexander, is “an emotional whirlpool of fear, mayhem and panic with disco duck moves.” And that explains the chaotic stage presence brought on by vomiting, nudity, urinating, fireworks and sometimes chickens incorporated into their act. It is a sight to be seen for sure.

With a definite influence from ’60s punk, Black Lips’ music almost fits into the garage rock genre but, then again, it’s a little too punk for that. With a really out-there, fun spirit in their music and an uncontained energy, the band provides a ragged rock experience that you don’t see too often anymore. This latest tour, if heavy on music from the new album, promises to show the Black Lips’ characteristic smirks and smears, but also shows a move into a new direction. Perhaps we can say a more mature direction, but that may upset the band.


:: Black Lips ::

:: Bluebird Theater :: February 1 ::


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