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Black Lips - Gimme Danger

Author: Steve Tauschke
Sunday, 9 December 2007
When a band is noted forits onstage vomiting, urinating, fireworks, inter-band kissing and stuntsinvolving chickens, people tend to pay attention. And that’s exactly what 3Ddid when we sent Steve Tauschke tocatch up with seemingly mild-mannered Black Lips drummer Joe Bradley as heand his fellow “flower-punks” celebrate the release of their fifth album Good Bad, Not Evil with a whirlwind Australiantour.  Hi Joe, what have you beenup to-Well, we had a week at home in Atlanta, which was arare occasion but a lot of fun. I had a friend come down from New York to join us forHalloween. So you get into the spiritof Halloween-Oh yeah! I was a Peeping Tom this year. I had a plastic police hat and Iscrewed some window blinds onto the top of it so that they ran down across thefront of my body. I had a pair of binoculars and a draw string and so I’d lookat people from behind the blinds and spray them with silly string. It was theonly idea I could come up with. I guess you’re stilltouring the UK right now…how’s it all going-It’s starting to be more and more forgiving. It was kind of tough butit’s our fifth trip here this year since February when we did seven shows in London one afteranother, just to introduce ourselves to the London market. Thenduring the year we’ve gone up and down to Scotland and Ireland and southernEngland and now we’re getting much more support. We gave up on this country fora long time because when we first came here four years ago just for a week itbasically bankrupted our tour. Any of the money we made in mainland Europe was quicklylost because we were getting paid like 15 pounds a show and nothing wasprovided, no food, no lodging like we got in Europe. I heard you were certainlytaken care of earlier this year at the SxSW festival in Texas where you played an exhausting 12 shows in threedays!That’s correct. Twelve shows in three days was tough and we’ll never doit again. Our voices were destroyed at the end, we were exhausted because therereally was no time for eating or sleeping between shows as we had to dointerviews as well. But it’s the only way you can do it because there’s just somany bands so you have to increase your odds by playing more shows. We didhouse parties at 4am then shows thenext day at noon, anything wecould. Were you confident ofmaking your best record with this new one GoodBad, Not Evil-We’re basically just doing everything as we’ve always done it. Everybodywrites songs and brings them to the table. Some songs weren’t written until wegot into the studio, just like our first album. And most of the lyrics againwere created the day of recording them. We haven’t really changed that much inthe recording process, but one thing I have to say is that I think we’re bettermusicians now and we have a little more experience on that side. Do you take pleasure inpeople struggling to identify The Black Lips’ sound-Well, we had a very diverse group of kids we hung out with when we weregrowing up. I know there were about 40 or 50 of us weird kids and we alllistened to different types of stuff, eclectic stuff that was a lot differentto the day-to-day shit. We all grew up listening to ‘50s and ‘60s music andthat continued on to this day. But on top of that we listen to a lot of otherdifferent things too. We have a lot of variety in taste in our music. But thereare some genres out there that have no redeeming qualities, like emo andnu-metal and stuff like that. Tell us about your tour of Palestine and Israel-It was interesting going to Palestine with a bunch ofacoustic guitars and just setting up on the street to play to a bunch of tenyear old kids and their angry fathers. Every time a little girl would bewatching she’d be quickly ripped away by her father because rock n’ roll isevil. But we met some shopkeepers and I bought a hand drum from one of thembecause he hadn’t had a sale in two days and we wanted to put some money backinto the Palestinian economy. So they invited us back to the shop afterwardsfor mint tea and to take pictures with their kids in front of this bigPalestinian flag.  WHO: The Black LipsWHAT: Play Oxford Art Factory / GoodBad Not Evil out through Vice Records and Etch n SketchWHEN: Tuesday 18 December /out