‘We are the ones that your parents always warned you of’, could be the motto of Georgia flower punk / garage rock outfit Black Lips. Cole Alexander and co. are well-known for their infamous provocative behavior on stage, so if you go to their show, you might expect the unexpected.
Dunwoody is a suburb of Atlanta with a population of about 50,000. It is not too famous or relevant, if not for the fact that this is where Black Lips were formed. It all started when Cole Alexander and Jared Swilley left a band called The Renegades, and they were joined by Ben Eberbaugh and Joe Bradley. The latter was a college student, while the others were still in high school, if not for long – Alexander and Swilley were both expelled, because after the Columbine massacre, they were deemed to be too dangerous.
Alexander and Eberbraugh took on guitar duties, Swilley played bass (all three of them sang as well), whereas Bradley became the drummer. Their first releases were the Ain’t Comin’ Back and Freakout singles in 2002. They were in the middle of making their first album, when Eberbraugh died in a car accident in December 2002. Believing that he would want them to continue, Black Lips carried on and released their eponymous debut the following March – a record that can also be viewed as a tribute to their deceased bandmate.
Of course, the group needed a new guitarist, and Jack Hines stepped in as Eberbraugh’s successor. He didn’t stay long – although he can be heard on sophomore effort We Did Not Know The Forest Spirit Made The Flowers Grow, by 2004 Black Lips had yet another new guitarist: Ian St. Pe, who was their senior by a few of years and not much earlier, when he was in his early 20s, he would buy alcohol for the then underage Black Lips. He was featured on album number 3 titled Let It Bloom, and after its release, the band slowly started to gain national, and not much later also international exposure.
They were featured in Spin, Rolling Stone and the New York Times, and by the time Good Bad Not Evil was released in 2007, they were big enough to be invited to play on Late Night With Conan O’Brien. This album contained their perhaps best known song Bad Kids, which has had nearly 4 million hits on YouTube, and also O Katrina which was later included on the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack. In 2009, Black Lips released their next album 200 Million Thousand, and in the same year, they toured India, but they eventually fled the country because they were afraid they would be jailed for their stage antics.
The next album titled Arabia Mountain was largely recorded with super-producer Mark Ronson, it featured a song called New Direction, and it received rave reviews from music critics. 2014’s Underneath The Rainbow was praised less enthusiastically, and it was their last output to feature their long-time line-up of Alexander, Swilley, Bradley and St. Pe. The latter left in the same year and was interestingly replaced by his predecessor, Jack Hines. He’s still with the band until this day, but Bradley isn’t – he left earlier this year. Black Lips’s brand new drummer is Oakley Munson, and for the first time in their career, they have an official fifth member: Zumi Rosow, on saxophone. They also have a new album out – Satan’s Graffiti Or God’s Art is their eighth longplayer, and it features an unexpected guest: Yoko Ono! The band is currently touring this album, and you can witness how powerful they are live when you come to the A38 on November 2. To our best knowledge, Ian St. Pe will also be here with them, so this is one concert that must definitely not be missed.
The opening act will be the young and talented Hungarian psychedelic rock group, Deep Glaze. Make sure to arrive in time for the concerts: