Black Lips

Black Lips

The Black Lips are from Atlanta, but they’re not rappers and they’re probably not doing a funny Soulja Boy dance – yet, they could be down – or eating at Waffle House with Ludacris at 2:00 a.m.

Instead, the Vice band travels to cool places, kind of, well, when they’re allowed. “Yeah, I’m banned from Canada. The first time we got kicked out, we didn’t have permits and I made up these fake contracts for a recording studio saying we’re working there,” says Jared, the band’s bassist. (Currently, Jared is banned from Canada for a DUI, but that does not stop him from jumping the boarder.)

In fact, Black Lips are in a good place. Aside from the occasional fist fight with douchy drunks – “We got in a big rumble and came out on top… I had to head-butt a guy in Tijuana” –, Black Lips are living large. Well, they’re not eating at homeless shelters no more. “You go to and you can find every city’s times and where the homeless shelters are.”

“A bunch of Blackberries got stolen… we went in there and this dude was passed out and his fingers were in a girl’s vagina. They were both passed out.”

Format: Most bands face humble beginnings. What are some odd situations you’ve encountered with lodging, food or travel while working with a meager budget?
Jared: The first five years are what we call the dark days. We were too young to get into a lot of the clubs, so a lot of the shows were canceled: Chicago, L.A. and a show in New York. If we did get in, they’d have to lead us by the hands and lead us out to sell our merch on the sidewalk. We weren’t getting paid for a long time. We did a two night stint in Reno and the bartender felt bad for us and gave us $20. There was a lot of sleeping in the van. We ate at a lot of homeless shelters, too. You go to and you can find every city’s times and where the homeless shelters are. If we did have money, our budget was everyone can get one thing from the Wendy’s value menu and that’s it. There were times when we didn’t have food. It was pretty rough. Say you need cigarettes, you walk in the club and bum one from everybody until you get a full pack. Or someone is leaving the restaurant with leftovers, especially a guy and a girl on a date, you always ask the guy for the food, because he doesn’t want to look like a dick.

Format: A lot of bands face border problems when they tour. Have Black Lips experienced any disgruntled border patrol workers?
Jared: Yeah, I’m banned from Canada. The first time we got kicked out, we didn’t have permits and I made up these fake contracts for a recording studio saying we’re working there. I made the mistake of using the real band name and they Googled us, and I got caught. I was banned for two years for that, but I’m banned for life for my DUI. I tried to walk over the border at Niagara and I tried to dress like a tourist – I had a camera around my neck – but I guess I looked weird and a jock guy ran my passport, and I got kicked out and had to take a Grey Hound to New York. Last time, I was with a girl that worked for Vice and we rented a car, posed as a couple and they let me through. We always have trouble in England, but they just like to dick with you. We’ve had trouble in Switzerland.

Black Lips

Format: Black Lips have toured in North America and Europe. Are the reactions from your audience different, based on geography?
Jared: No, even in Israel and Mexico, kids are kids and they like rock and roll. Yeah, Germans and the English are a little more reserved, but all in all it’s the same vibe.

Format: The song “How Do You Tell A Child That Someone Has Died” is fantastic. How would you break the news of death to a child?
Jared: That’s the thing, I’ve never done that. I guess if you consider telling a 17-year-old. We have had a lot of friends pass in the last few years. I don’t know how I would explain that to a little kid. That’s why we posed that question.

Format: In Election 2008, do you predict a female, an African-American or a Republican President?
Jared: I think it’s a run between who wins the Democratic primary is going to win the election. I could care less. Nothing will change. I’m going to do what I always do and vote for a third party.

“We ate at a lot of homeless shelters, too.”

Format: When you baptized Cole in the Jordan River, a man was noticeably displeased with you. How did the idea it to baptize Cole materialize?
Jared: My dad’s a preacher so I’ve saw tons of baptisms so I knew the routine. We were near the river and it seemed like the logical thing to do, and we had a camera. Everyone was telling us to go in, even the priests and the Japanese tourists. The only guy that got disgruntled was the guy selling $15 tunics and Holy water. He’s the shark that was trying to turn a profit with fake ass Holy water and a fake ass tunic.

Format: Is it hard to hold down a steady relationship while being in a band?
Jared: Yes, it is difficult. We’ve all had troubles with that. Now, I have a good handle on it. My girlfriend is a trooper about it. She’ll meet me on tour. It’s tough, but you got to learn how to make it work.

Format: In a Plan B article, it reveals that you were babysat by Tammy Faye Messner, then Bakker. What was your reaction to her death and was she a good babysitter?
Jared: I don’t remember too well. When Jim went to jail, his son, Jay, had to move in with my aunt and uncle, so they kind of raised him. Her death was really sad, because she was a really sweet lady. With all the problems that happen in the church, she was the shining light. My grandma was close to her so she was real upset. It was really sad to see her on Larry King, but that was a cool way for her to go out. For all that she went through, she came out on top.

Black Lips

Format: In the Black Lips song, “Navajo,” are you guys howling like wolves or is that your Native-American chant?
Jared: That’s our non-PC Native-American chant. Joe had the music and I’m into cowboy movies and I like to call people Navajos. Joe used to have a Native-American girlfriend, so loosely based on that, maybe.

Format: In the music video for “FAD,” you’re all dressed like Native-Americans and, eventually, attack cowboys with clubs and, bow and arrows – you take their white women, too. What is the fascination with Native-Americans?
Jared: Yeah, we wanted to stick it to the white man! I just like the wild west, I’m really into cowboys. I know it’s all bullshit and really bad stuff happened. I’m into campy John Wayne movies. It is so wrong that it’s hilarious.

Format: Black Lips live shows are known for peeing and vomiting. What type of objections do Black Lips face when crass behavior happens on stage?
Jared: That is overblown in the press. There was a little puke, because Cole had an acid reflux problem which he now takes medication for, but that was a serious medical problem. People thought it was part of the show, but it was tearing a hole in his esophagus. We used to do crazy stuff, because we were teenagers and didn’t know how to play very well.

“He’s the shark that was trying to turn a profit with fake ass Holy water and a fake ass tunic.”

Format: Have you been in a fist fight over an incident during a live show?
Jared: Yeah. There have been a few. The last one was recently in Nashville. We had to rumble these four guys, but our tour manager is really big and saved our asses. In Texas, one time, we were at South by Southwest and these rednecks were there and messing with our old guitarist’s girlfriend. They grabbed her ass and we told them to stop, and one of the guys slapped me in the face. We got in a big rumble and came out on top. The guys actually got arrested, too, so that was cool. I had to head-butt a guy in Tijuana, because he kept unplugging my bass, slapping me in the face and grabbing my ass. If you have to be in a room with a bunch of drunk assholes almost 300 days a year, stuff like that is going to happen. Especially when you get weekend warriors and dudes that can’t handle their alcohol or in college towns they’re just really dumb.

Format: A lot of popular bands are extremely politically correct in their music and image. The Black Lips are the polar opposite. Is there a subject that is off limits to Black Lips?
Jared: We’re not tacky, but doing the uber-PC thing is such a white-bred thing, I don’t want to offend any African-Americans, but it’s so lame, played out. It’s so mid-`90s.

“It was really sad to see her on Larry King, but that was a cool way for her to go out.”

Format: Today, it seems like a lot of rock is bitch-made. If you could change anything in the rock industry, what would it be?
Jared: I don’t know. I would make a bunch of bands stop playing that I didn’t like.

Format: Currently, Atlanta is known for its rappers: Yung Joc, Soulja Boy, T.I., Young Jeezy. Is it is hard to be a successful rock band in Atlanta while the image of rappers is what popularizes the city?
Jared: Crime Mob is the best one! If anything, it makes it better. We have a good scene going. It’s really awesome to come in from the airport, in Atlanta, the first sign you see “Welcome to Atlanta, home of So So Def Recordings.” I always like seeing that. Rap crosses over with rock, too.

Format: If Black Lips could allow any company’s product use a Black Lips song in a commercial, what company’s product would Black Lips choose?
Jared: Anything by Procter and Gamble or Marlboro, I like cigarettes.

Format: Los Valientes del Mundo Nuevo, is recorded in Tijuana. Tijuana is known for crazy adventures and you’re in Black Lips – did anything raunchy go down in Tijuana?
Jared: Fuck yeah. A bunch of Blackberries got stolen and then, in the room where we kept the gear, we went in there and this dude was passed out and his fingers were in a girl’s vagina. They were both passed out. It was really bad. Then our tour manager got caught peeing outside, which is a big no, no and the cops took him to an ATM and took $800 from him. One of the guys from Vice is Canadian and he didn’t have his passport or something and he was detained for five hours.

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Black Lips

Kemp Illups

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