A Day in the Life: Black Lips (Part 2 of 3)




    Performing on Fuel TV’s The Daily Habit.

    CA: The South is a good place to make music. There’s a lot of good food and music: country, old soul, and blues. The surroundings where we live are culturally conducive to our music. Sometimes the road is inspiring, too. I’ll come up with good songs on the road.

    JS: Sometimes we do band vacations in the middle of tours if we’re in Europe or somewhere interesting. Usually, we come up with a lot of stuff then. I wrote a lot of songs when we were in Sardinia, where we had rented a little villa for 10 days. It was cool, because we were right on the beach and there was nobody around. It was inspiring.

    CA: We took some acid, went surfing and came up with a song called “Surf Mountain.”





    Waiting for the van to pull up.



    Dinner at Zucco: Le French Diner.






    Saint Pé’s ring, a reward for selling a certain number of albums.



    JS: My first musical memory was in church, because my dad’s a preacher and he used to sing at church services. I remember clapping and being onstage, dancing and stuff.


    CA: I guess mine was whatever my parents listened to. My mom liked Stevie Nicks. Looking back, it’s not so bad, but it’s not really my thing.







    Approving the set list.



    Drummer Joe Bradley.



    Clean socks and a shower. (Yes, Bowery Ballroom has a shower.)





    Before heading onstage.









    CA: “Recently I got into a lot of Zambian rock bands from the early ’70s. There’s one called Ngozi Family, another called Amanaz, one dude called Chrissy Zebby Tembo, another one called Witch. It was pretty much this scene in the early ’70s. I think some miners found oil, so there was a bit of an economic surge in Zambia, where people were able to afford better equipment and stuff, so they got fuzz pedals and shit. Their music was like protopunk. I heard a lot of hype about the band Death, which was this protopunk band from Detroit that consists of all black guys, but I think the Zambian bands should have gotten more credit for being protopunk. They came out before Death and even before the Sex Pistols. I don’t want to sound like I’m dissing Death, I’m just saying.”


    JS: “I’ve got these compilations of ’60s girl groups from France. I don’t know any of the names of the bands on them, because on the compilations, all of these bands have only like one song each. It’s kind of like the Ronettes, but a little quirkier. It’s not as good, but it’s cool to hear.Then I’ve been listening to Charlie Feathers a lot lately. I’ve got a bunch of his records, many of them are unreleased.”


    CA: “To me, punk is not spikes and studs, or necessarily fast, heavy guitar. Anybody who is pushing boundaries in their genre is punk. Surrealist artists, for example, were punks. They would shave weird patterns in their heads back in the ’30s. I thought that was kind of punk. You could say someone like Sun Ra is punk. Then it evolved and sort of climaxed in the ’70s, but I definitely don’t think punk is specifically spikes, studs, and heavy guitar. That’s just one form.”











    JS: Everyone gets into fights, but me and Cole got into a bad fight onstage one time because he was out of tune. This was in Sardinia, and we were playing this olive grove. I was mad because he was really out of tune, and for some reason, I kept yelling at him. He said something to me, so I spike-slapped him in the face. He got his guitar and hit me in the face with it, which made me start to bleed. There was no backstage, because we were playing outside, so we had to walk to the side of the stage. All of us got into this big shouting match and everyone was just watching.

    CA: When I hit him with the guitar, it was kind of like a joke, because I had gotten hit first. I didn’t realize there were prongs sticking out of my guitar, which cut his head open. I felt really bad and smashed my guitar. People in the audience took all of the guitar pieces and kept them as souvenirs.


    JS: The crowd was kind of confused.

    CA: I think they loved it, though. People love to see things fall apart.









    CA: My favorite Black Lips song to play live is “Hippie, Hippie, Hoorah.”


    JS: Mine’s whatever’s newest, usually.


    CA: I prefer recording in the studio to being on the road. I mean, there’s fun with partying on the road, but I like to work on music. I feel that those records live forever, whereas live shows are done when they’re done. Even if you record the show, it’s not the same.

    JS: I like them both. They both have their ups and downs. I like being in the studio making new stuff. That’s exciting. But it’s also fun going to different places, seeing people, and partying while on the road. 








    Click here to view Part 3.