Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the Black Lips. You got stoned, moshed, and were TP’d at one of their shows (or back in the earlier days, you may have seen some body parts, intra-band making out, live chickens… I’ll leave it at that). Or perhaps you’ve seen one of their music videos – hopefully not at work (Black Lips = NSFW). Maybe you’ve belted out “Katrina” at the top of your lungs and danced obnoxiously when you were alone in your apartment… actually, that might just be me. Either way, the kings of grunge-gritty-psychedelic-flower punk-rock (whatever you want to call it) are back and better than ever, making them our Artist of the Week.
Black Lips Return with 7th LP
Atlanta natives Cole Alexander and Jared Swilley began their journey back in 1999, later to be joined by drummer Joe Bradley and guitarist Ben Eberbaugh. However, tragedy hit just days before the start of their first tour, when Eberbaugh was struck and killed by a drunk driver. Yet, the band continued on despite the early troubles.
The Black Lips went on to debut their full-length self-titled album, commemorating Eberbaugh’s life. From that point, they had a short stint with a replacement guitarist and produced a few more albums before finally settling with current guitarist, Ian Saint Pé. The Black Lips are known for their provocative live shows, and after extensive touring and an appearance at the renowned SXSW, in addition to features in Rolling Stone and SPIN in 2006, the Black Lips finally began to gain national exposure. 2007’s Good Bad Not Evil proved to jump-start an even bigger year, as the band received national TV acclaim. In 2009, they released 200 Million Thousand and followed-up again with Arabia Mountain in 2011.
Now, here were are, and the Black Lips are about to release their 7th studio album, Underneath the Rainbow, on March 18th. The guys have said this album is more reflective of their southern-country roots, and they even got a little help from The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney. But don’t fret; you can still expect the same wild Black Lips sound intertwined within.
Their lyrics are written from personal experiences, so it will be interesting to see how the new 12-track album will translate after all these years. With each album, they manage to produce new sounds, while still maintaining the style we all know and love. Their first single “Boys in the Wood,” proves to be just that—gritty guitars riffs coupled with the slow, bluesy vocals that make you want to sing along with a bottle of gin in hand… which would totally be appropriate, as that’s what the guys say the song is about. And have you seen the video? Another one where you think to yourself “What the hell did I just watch?” but you know it’s amazingly brilliant at the same time.
Oh, and just when you think the guys couldn’t be any more busy, they’re in the works of producing their own fragrance line drawing inspiration from their live shows – I can only guess which smell will win the bid. There’s just something about the Black Lips you can’t help but love – the care-free attitude, the passion, the fun, the wish-you-could-be-doing-what-they’re-doing-feeling. It’s baffling to think they have been around for fifteen years; most bands don’t survive half of that.
Yet, the Black Lips have repeatedly defied themselves and have rolled out albums that continue to gain attention, put on unforgettable live shows, and grow their fan base in the process. Even though the band endured a rough year by suffering the loss of a few close friends, they still managed to prove their commitment to making great music, and they’re ready to take on the world. Mark my words – this is the year of the Black Lips. If you want to get crazy (well, a “matured” crazy), be sure to check these guys out when they embark on tour this spring. You won’t be disappointed.
Don’t miss the next Black Lips show in your town
Article by Erika Reinsel