Question to you folks…
What word is most commonly used in a band name besides ‘The’? Surely, it has to be ‘Black’!
Have a little chat amongst your friends and I bet you could come up with about ten bands with ‘black’ in their title within minutes …BUT.. you’ll find it pretty hard to find a band with so much spirit, so much swagger and so much in your FAAAACE rock ‘n’ roll as..
For the uninitiated, Black Lips are a punk-rock band from Georgia, USA. They’re often described as flower-punk, whatever that is? Guess that’s stoner-punk if you like?
Whatever genre you may wish to describe them as – all I know is they’re one hell of a great rock ‘n’ roll band that’ll have you convulsing on the spot like you’ve been electrocuted for no apparent reason!
Back in 2000 when they were bratty teenagers (they still are, really), bassist, Jared Swilley who was in a band called The Renegades at the time, merged with ex-member of The Reruns and guitarist, Ben Eberbaugh.
Joe Bradley joined some months later taking up the drums. Congealing the line-up was Robby Rebel on vocals and guitar. Rebel left the band just after their second single, Freakout in 2002 so Cole Alexander became his replacement.
Sadly, Black Lips got off to an absolutely tragic start. In 2002, before their eponymous debut album was released and days before the band were about to embark on a tour, Eberbaugh suffered a fatal car crash when a drunk driver, driving on the wrong side of the road crashed head on into him whilst he was parked up at a toll booth. Both drivers died on impact.
The other members continued the tour with friend of the band, Jack Hines. Hines left the band a couple years later, wanting a family life, and his replacement became Ian Saint Pé (real name, Ian Brown).
Black Lips have put out some really good material, yet they’ve been kinda shunned away from proper stardom. This ‘could’ be down to some of their notorious on stage antics, such as urinating, vomiting, the use of fireworks, setting fire to their guitars, nudity and erm,… a chicken.
They famously fled India – in fear of being arrested – in 2009 when two members of the band kissed on stage (although I’m pretty sure none of them are actually gay …but who cares?) and the rest of the band exposed themselves.
I went to watch Black Lips at this year’s 1-2-3-4 Shoreditch Festival and as expected, they were total anarchic magic, without a pecker in sight!
I barged my way through the tangled up mess of drunken trendy kids, hippies, metal-heads and punks to the mosh-pit and it made me feel like a teenager again!
You see, that’s the beauty of Black Lips, get into their fused ’50s blues, country, punk and garage zone and you’ll find total escapism without the use of drugs. I got toilet roll thrown at me via the band and kicked in the head several times by stage divers… and I loved it!
Black Lips have just released their stupendous sixth studio album, Arabia Mountain. The album is a raucous mash up of all that’s cool with Americana blues and raved-up rockabilly. Think Iggy Pop scrapping with Jerry Lee Lewis on the back of a pick-up truck driven by The Sonics !
Listening to it you’ll find it very hard to believe that it’s been produced by A-lister, Mark Ronson. He hasn’t smeared the record with his all too familiar ’50s doo-wop saxophonic rhythms. Mr Ronson probably knows not to f**** around with the Black Lips sound!
He’s produced a gem that could quite happily sit alongside anything from the first psychedelic era of the mid-late 1960s without sounding too pretentious!
Please take out two minutes and 14 seconds to listen to the song above, the same one they played at the 1-2-3-4 while pelting the crowd with a tirade of toilet roll.