The Black Lips Interview

The Black Lips
By Alexander Laurence

The Black Lips are a band from Atlanta, Georgia. They are one of the hot
bands this year after causing a sensation by playing a lot of shows and having
crazy live shows. They started in 2000 as teenagers. But since then one member
has died, and they have been naked onstage, they have vomited and urinated, set
themselves on fire, and played instruments with their genitals. They have
released several singles and albums. Most recently they come out with a live
album, Los Valientos del Mundo Nuevo, and Good Bad Not Evil. The band members are
Cole Alexander (vocals, guitar), Jared Swilley (Bass guitar), Joe Bradley
(drums), and Ian Brown (guitar). I spoke to Jared recently on the phone while he
was getting a haircut, so here we go.


AL: Are you playing tonight?

Jared: Yeah, we are playing in Athens, Georgia tonight. We were actually
banned from the club four years ago. We had a bad reputation. They got worked up.
They had anticipated all this crazy stuff happening. It wasn’t that crazy.
They overreacted. We had brought out some lighter fluid. We were going to light
the drums on fire. They sent a stagehand onstage to take our stuff apart. Our
old guitarist got in a scuffle with him. He pushed off the stage. It became a
big debacle. They kicked us all out and called the police. They kicked out
everyone from Atlanta. Since then the owner of the club likes our band now. She
comes to see us play all the time.

AL: You can just blame it all on the guy who is not in the band anymore.

Jared: It was based on things that we have done. Back then people wouldn’t
let us use the monitors or any of their gear. They would take pictures off the
wall because they thought we would break it. They would threaten us when we got
to the place. It would start off on the bad foot.

AL: It took you a few years to figure out how to play?

Jared: We were more into destruction in the beginning. It took a while to
become technically proficient. We were really young and we would get really
drunk. That is what we liked to do.

AL: But you have played a lot of shows?

Jared: We have toured relentlessly since I was seventeen years old. We
couldn’t do the same stuff all the time. We never really thought about it. Stuff
changes. Time moves on.

AL: You played some shows in Tijuana?

Jared: Vice wanted us to do a live album. It was our first major label
release. You do a live album you want to make it fun. Doing it in Tijuana seemed
like a good idea. It is a crazy city. We wanted it to be a spectacle. We have a
lot of friends from Mexico. The guy who tours with us and does a lot of our
videos is from Mexico. He has friends in Tijuana.

AL: It’s odd for bands to go down there.

Jared: Yeah, we want to tour all of Mexico. There is a cool scene down there.
In Tijuana, I thought it was going to be a bunch of white kids from
California. But we ended up playing with a local band. They were cool. It was a good
vibe. People weren’t jaded.

AL: Have you played in Europe?

Jared: We have been there a lot. We are going again tomorrow. Europe is great
too. They are not jaded. Paris and London are rough crowds, but the rest, and
especially small towns are great. Italy is great.

AL: Do you like to go to new places?

Jared: I like to do that. We are going to Israel this summer. We are working
towards getting a show in Uganda. I would like to go to more crazy third world
places. We have wanted to go to Brazil for a long time.

AL: How did you decide which songs went on the live album?

Jared: It was mostly songs from our last album, Let It Bloom. Just some
random songs from the previous albums. We just play the songs we think are good and
are not tired of playing. We usually have a set and add songs all the time.
We don’t play a lot of songs on the record that have organ or piano.

AL: You just finished this studio album, right?

Jared: We just got out of the studio. We recorded twenty songs. It will
probably be twelve or thirteen songs.

AL: When you play live now, do you ever feel the need to light your pubic
hair on fire? Or do you figure that you have to do something new?

Jared: We don’t do that stuff as much as we used to. If it happens, it
happens. I don’t think about it. We want to play a good show and play our songs.
It’s more important to have a solid set. People should not expect that we are
going to pee on them.

AL: You have this song “Cocksucker.” Were you trying to be shocking with

Jared: That was on the first album. That wasn’t trying to be shocking. The
song’s contents haven’t changed all that much. We still write about the same
things. There are no new references to oral sex on the new album.

AL: How do you write songs in the band?

Jared: Everyone will come up with ideas for a song. We work on songs at sound
checks and at band practice. Sometimes we have lyrics ready, and other times
we will write them right before we record.

AL: How did the tour with Be Your Own Pet go?

Jared: It was great. It was weird because it was the first time we did a tour
where we were the older guys. They are all teenagers. When we were their age
we would have shows canceled on us or we would have to wait outside the venue.
They didn’t have to do that because they are on a major label and they had a
lot of press, and people know that they are all under 21.

AL: Did anyone in the band ever get seriously injured?

Jared: At SXSW three years ago I had to get fifteen stitches on my head. I
used to have this wrestling video where they show you how to cut your forehead.
You bleed but you don’t scar. I was really drunk when I did it, and I took a
razorblade and cut my scalp. I did it towards the end of the set. I played the
last two songs. Then people told me that I had to go to the hospital. We have
never had any broken bones. We used to fight onstage a lot.

AL: You fought with the audience or the band members?

Jared: Both. We used to fight with our old guitar player. Once some people
tried to steal our guitar. We fought some rednecks at SXSW.

AL: Now do you have better gear?

Jared: It’s nicer. For a long time we didn’t have any equipment. We had to
borrow stuff every night. Now that we are on Vice, we have stuff that works. We
had the same drum set for so long, it was pathetic. That is probably why we
play better. We used to have practice amps and the drum kit was in shambles. For
a long time we couldn’t afford to buy any cymbals. That was our main problem
for a long time. Other bands wouldn’t let us use them cymbals, even when we
were totally sober. It was annoying.

AL: If it works, the songs sound better?

Jared: Yeah. We got a tuner too. We don’t know how to tune really well. That
helps a lot.

AL: Would you consider doing the Warp Tour?

Jared: No. It would have to be totally different. I don’t like festivals
because you are outside all day.
Share/Bookmark Read more / Permalink


Jesus and Mary Chain @ the Wiltern

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Miranda steals the show.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Miranda is feeling the positive vibe.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

All photos by Alexander Laurence
Share/Bookmark Read more / Permalink


The Mystery Jets Interview

The Mystery Jets
By alexander laurence

The Mystery Jets are probably the best new band from England this year. They
are four young guys from London who play the most original melodic music. They
also have one of their dads in the band. He was the main songwriter in the
band, but he has taken a backseat on the second album. Their first American
album is called Zoo Time. They did their first tour in America this September
2007, supporting the Klaxons. I got to talk with Blaine and Will before their show.

Blaine Harrison: Vocals, guitars, and keyboards
Henry Harrison: Vocals and guitar
William Rees: Guitar and vocals
Kai Fish: Bass and vocals
Kapil Trivedi: drums

AL: It took a long time for a proper album to be released in the USA. We had
been hearing songs for a while.

Blaine: We just released Zoo Time which a compilation of old songs that we
still play and some new songs we did with Erol Alkan. We are doing the new album
with him. That is the American album. We figured that when we came over here
that many people would already have our earlier stuff on import. I buy a lot
of stuff on Amazon from America. It’s so easy these days. You might as well
give them something different. We had different artwork, took off some songs, and
put on three new songs.

AL: You originally put out a few self-released EPs. How did you get from
Transgressive to 679 Recordings?

Blaine: Transgressive just did the single of “Zoo Time.” Then we did “You
Can’t Fool Me Dennis” with 679, and then we did the album. That took us to the
end of 2006. We were touring in England so much. We did five or six tours in
England from 2005-2006.

Will: We were on Warners Bros in America. Apparently they are pretty poor at
the moment. We want to have the same presence in America that we have in
England. In England, what we have is a grassroots following. We have always
released a lot of singles. We have interesting b-sides. We have made the artwork. We
use all that to inspire the fans.

AL: I got the Mystery Jets “You Can’t Fool Me Dennis” remix single. How did
that come about?

Blaine: We were lucky because the people at our label were helping Justice
get over to London. They gave Justice our record. They said that they would do a
remix of “You Can’t Fool Me Dennis.” At the time they had a low profile, and
it was the second remix they did.

AL: It seems like an odd combination?

Will: Us and them? Yeah, at the beginning we didn’t know how lucky we were to
have Justice do a remix. We didn’t know anything about the French dance
scene. We didn’t know how popular it would become in a year’s time.

Blaine: It worked really well. Out of all their remixes, it is the only one
not made for the dance floor. It reminds me of “Rocket Man.” It’s like a piano
ballad. It’s a pop song. It’s really cool because it shows that they can do
that as well as the other stuff.

AL: That dance music from ten years ago seems like it’s making a comeback.
Daft Punk, Chemical Brothers, and Underworld are all back this year. Were you
guys every curious about that?

Will: I recently bought pretty much every Chemical Brothers record. I was
trying to figure out what they were about. I think many people our age are
checking out dance music and what it was like ten years ago.

AL: But you guys seem to be more inspired by records from the 1970s?

Blaine: We didn’t listen to dance music at all. It was really my dad, Henry,
who introduced us to all these bands from the 1970s like Pink Floyd and King
Crimson. Those were records he listened to when he was a teenager. Henry was
one of the founding members of the band.

AL: Much of that prog rock is very complicated music.

Will: That is what is interesting about it. It’s not straight songwriting.
It’s music with real imagination.

Blaine: That is what caught our imagination. We almost tried to replicate
those bands. We did some elaborate prog songs on our first EPs, and we never play
them. We have sort of outgrown them. I am glad that we got to music that way,
because we have always set out to be different. We just naturally grew up
with different things. I was never into punk.

Will: We love stuff like Oasis and the Beatles. The simple stuff.

AL: What are you doing now?

Blaine: We wanted to do our second record with Erol Alkan. I don’t know if
you know him over here. He is known and respected within British dance music.
You see kids with t-shirts: “E.R.O.L. keeps kids dancing.” He is one of the
guys who have made dance music credible again. He made records that are exciting
and not about record sales. We did a session with him. He was waiting to do
stuff with bands that were outside of dance music. We were one of those bands.
He has worked with Klaxons and Long Blondes. We have taken seven or eight
months to do this new record. We are desperate to get back on tour again. Some
bands take three years to do an album.

AL: With some of the prog bands they are more about making albums than making
singles. What do you think of Secret Machines take on that concept?

Will: We like their first record. That was wicked. We like records being
about an hour long. Their live show is amazing. If you have had a few spliffs and
put their record on it enhances the experiences what they doing sonically.
Every band can be appreciated in slightly different circumstances. There are few
bands that do the progressive thing very well. I like Secret Machines and Mars

AL: So, with the new album are you trying to redefine yourselves?

Will: Yes, I think we are trying to redefine ourselves. We are trying to
shake off some of our old influences. We are making an album that is more focused.
It gets to the heart of things very quickly. It’s an album of ten or eleven
songs. It’s very straight the way it’s put together. There are no grand intros
or outros, or instrumental parts. It is literally what you see is what you
get: eleven songs. From where we are coming from, that is a new thing.

AL: How does the songwriting go in the band?

Will: The first album was written over a period of ten years, because we were
a band for a long time. This second album was written more quickly, and it
was more of a collaborative effort.

Blaine: The principal lyrical writer of the first album was my dad. He wrote
like 80% of the lyrics. This album we have written lyrics together. When I
have written lyrics, I bring them to him, to see what he thinks, and visa versa.
It’s totally heads together. That is something that I want people to realize:
that although he is not touring with us, he is an essential ingredient to the

AL: He’s become like Brian Wilson?

Blaine: If you like. Yeah. That is something in his head, he could see
happening. He used to joke: “One day, you guys are going to kick me out of the
band.” He’s not being pushed out. He is there when we are writing. He comes to
practice. We had a song with a sample from a Third World record. He said: “Let’s
use that sample, and write our own chorus.” That is what we did. He is part of
the decision making as anyone else. One person comes up with the chords and
the lyrics, and it’s the rest of us to make it into a song we can be proud of.

AL: When did Henry decide that he wasn’t going to tour anymore?

Blaine: It was last year. We all sat down and talked about how we were going
to move forward. He is cool with it. He leads a double life. He has a whole
other career as an architect. He is an artist. He has only been playing since we
started the band.

AL: Did you go to University?

Blaine: We dropped out. We both went to art school. I would like to finish
but we have very little time left.

AL: If you go to school, people are going to go: “I am in a class with that
guy from Mystery Jets.”

Will: Do you know Jah Wobble?

AL: Yeah. I did an interview with him.

Will: He used to work for the London Underground, after Public Image. He used
to drive the trains, and would go “There’s the guy in Public Image LTD.”

Blaine: It’s funny that. You see Daniel from Television Personalities all
around London. We have rode together on the night bus. You don’t know that this
is the guy who wrote “Part-Time Punks.” What people do after bands may be
quite funny. We did a few shows with Television Personalities.

AL: Where would you like to live in the world?

Blaine: I would like to live here in Los Angeles. I think that a lot of
people do.

AL: A bunch of British bands come over here and do their records here. Dirty
Pretty Things are in town at the moment.

Blaine: We saw them last night. They said it’s going really well. They are
working with some guy who was in the Prodigy.

AL: What other bands do you like?

Blaine: Mostly bands that we have toured with: Futureheads, Bloc Party. Those
bands rubbed off on us when we were doing the first record. Klaxons are

AL: You did a remix of Futureheads?

Blaine: That was something that our label arranged. At the time, they had
bands like Futureheads and Death From Above 1979. There was a lot of

AL: Do you have any hobbies?

Will: I like to run.

AL: Are you still doing art?

Blaine: We do the artwork on the first record. For the second record, we
found these amazing photographs by Hans Bellmer.

AL: With the dolls?

Blaine: Yeah, with the dolls. They are photographs of his dolls. Some of the
photographs are less known. Some have this color tint. Some are blue and red.
They look amazing.

AL: Hans Bellmer was a Surrealist.

Blaine: Yes. He escaped from the Nazis. He was an exile.

AL: Have you read any good books?

Will: Yes. J. G. Ballard “Crash.” Just read it.

Blaine: I don’t really read that much. I am a slow reader.

AL: If someone wants to meet you?

Blaine: Come backstage after the gig.

AL: When will the record come out?

Blaine: Hopefully it comes out in February 2008.

AL: Who else would you like to work with?

Blaine: John Cale. He did that record with LCD Soundsystem. James Murphy is a

AL: Didn’t you play one of those NME Shockwaves tours?

Blaine: Yeah. In 2006, with Arctic Monkeys, Maximo Park, We Are Scientists.
We did really well. That was when it was getting really intense for Arctic
Monkeys. There was a bit of a scandal when they were supposed to play before
Maximo Park in Sheffield. I think that Maximo Park let them headline.
Share/Bookmark Read more / Permalink


Devendra Banhart @ the Orpheum

Share/Bookmark Read more / Permalink


Playlist @ Bar 107

Music is My Boyfriend #10
October 11th, 2007

This one was one of the more successful ones. I was flying solo all night. Andrea was sick. Wendy threatened to come. A few other friends made cameos. It was packed from 9pm- to after Midnight. Some person ran up a 1200 dollar bill. So I made a lot of money playing the music that I love. I hope you like it too. Here is what I played:

Renegade Soundwave "Black Eye Boy"
Lords of The New Church "Russian Roulette"
Mararishi Mahesh Yogi "Love"
Renegade Soundwave "Transworld Siren"
Pink Floyd "Time"
Black Sabbath "Sweet Leaf"
T- Rex "Hot Love"
CSS "Pretend We're Dead"
The Ventures "Walk Don't Run"
The Castaways "Liar Liar"

Bat For Lashes "What's A Girl To Do?"
Klaxons "Golden Skans"
Teddybears "Cobrastyle"
LCD Soundsystem "North American Scum"
Bow Wow Wow "I Want Candy"
Devendra Banhart "Lover"
The Dandy Warhols "Bohemian Like You"
Peter Bjorn and John "Young Folks"
We Are Scientists "This Scene Is Dead"
The Go! Team "Grip Like A Vice"

The Rapture "Get Myself Into It"
Kraftwerk "Pocket Calculator"
New Young Pony Club "The Bomb"
Maximo Park "Girls Who Play Guitars"
David Bowie "The Jean Genie"
Black Sabbath "Paranoid"
My Bloody Valentine "Only Shallow"
Lene Lovich "Lucky Number"
Jarvis "Fat Kidz" (Let Them Eat Acid)
Clinic "If You Could Read Your Mind"

Babyshambles "Delivery"
Bloc Party "The Prayer"
Interpol "Mammoth"
The Futureheads "Hounds Of Love"
Ladytron "Soft Power"
The Streets "Let's Push Things Forward"
Queens Of The Stone Age "3s and 7s"
Broadcast "American Boy"
The Long Blondes "Weekend Without Makeup"
The Psychedelic Furs "Love My Way"

The Rutles "Doubleback Alley"
The Cure "Boys Don't Cry"
The Coral "Who's Gonna Find Me"
The Cure "Just Like Heaven"
Roxy Music "Do The Strand"
Brian Jonestown Massacre "Let Me Stand Next To Your Flower"
The Horrors "Count In Fives"
PIL "Dead Disco"
Liars "Plaster Casts Of Everything"
Massive Attack "Inertia Creeps"

The Knife "Like A Pen"
Klaxons "It's Not Over Yet"
UNKLE "Burn My Shadow"
Blonde Redhead "En Particulier"
Wire "Another The Letter"
Cold War Kids "Hospital Beds"
The Good, The Bad, and The Queen "Herculean"
The Three O'Clock "With A Cantaloupe Girlfriend"
The Dream Syndicate "That's What You Always Say"
The Rakes "The World Was A Mess But His Hair Was Perfect"

Mararishi Mahesh Yogi "Love"
Renegade Soundwave "Thunder"
Low "Hatchet" (optimimi version)
Mystery Jets "You Can't Fool Me Dennis" (Good Books remix)
Arcade Fire "Intervention"
Richard Hawley "Baby, You're My Light"
The Black Angels "Better Off Alone"
Share/Bookmark Read more / Permalink


Bat For Lashes @ Troubadour

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

All photos by Alexander Laurence
Share/Bookmark Read more / Permalink


Music is My Boyfriend October 11th

Music IS MY BOYFRIEND: the club
the monthly downtown LA party for music lovers

Thursday, October 11, 2007 at 9:45pm:
bar 107:
107 West 4th Street @ main
Los Angeles, CA

music is my boyfriend #10 @ Bar 107 / October 11th

Music Is My Boyfriend is the name of our amazing night of NEW MUSIC in Downtown LA. It happens the second THURSDAY of every month. DJs Alexander Laurence and Andrea Sutterfield revisit to BAR 107....

Alexander Laurence (aka The Portable Infinite)
CELEBRATES VINYL and the birthday of Ennio Morricone

My book Five Fingers Make A Fist is available... Buy a copy at new low price and I will sign it.

New Indie Rock + New Indie Dance + Select Records from the 70s & 80s + you + me + everyone

Sexy videos of Meg White + free stuff + special appearances

It is all FREE and there are no lines

LA Cita - Charlie Os - Bar 107 = barmuda triangle
Share/Bookmark Read more / Permalink