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The Black Lips

Written by Michael Carr on January 11, 2010

As a journalist every now and again you end up with an interview that is entirely irrelevant. Whether is was because you had shitty questions, or because the artist was stoned out of their mind, it doesn’t matter. You usually have to either pour over for some shred of relevance you can then stretch out into a story or scrap the article. Why? Because random blather isn’t interesting.

However as with most rules there are exceptions, and this, my email interview with Black Lips vocalist and bass player Jared Swilley is one of those exceptions, but considering their reputation for ‘getting creative’ with interviews, bios etc. as well as their tendency to involve bodily fluids, homoeroticism and livestock into their shows, should I have been expecting anything else?

Music Feeds: You’re coming back to Australia soon, and the stories about your last show are legendary. How are you going to live up to them? I read somewhere you’ve matured. Why in God’s name would you do that?

Jared Swilley: You really wanna bring God into this? Does God believe everything he reads? No sir. God invented the mind that wrote whatever it is that is being read. God could also cite the source. He also invented the source… of everything.

MF: You played with some awesome Aussie bands last time, you know who’ll be supporting this time?

JS: Who we are playing with when we get there is a profound mystery to me. I love a good mystery. Makes life as exciting as a swashbuckler’s adventure.

MF: You guys like to tour to out of the ordinary places, any plans to do that more in the future – You toured then fled India recently, what was that all about?

JS: It was an elaborate and costly hoax. Much like the “moon landing” in 1969.

MF: With Los Valientes Del Mundo Nuevo, you have claimed it was recorded in a bar in Tijuana, but no one seems to believe you. Did you? If so why do you think people are so skeptical?

JS: It was an elaborate and costly hoax. Much like the “moon landing” in 1969.

MF: So the new album, 200 Million Thousand, why should people buy it?

JS: Because we donate every penny that we profit from the album to things like disease, and famine and ending various wars. So if you don’t buy it it really means that you hate children, the planet earth and are probably racist.

MF: Your live shows have been described as… well wikipedia says this: ‘live shows that have included vomiting (Cole’s medical condition), urination, nudity, band members kissing (each other and audience members who go on stage), electric mini-car races, fireworks, a chicken, and flaming guitars…’ How do you then approach recording?

JS: Completely naked, lots of fire, and circus-y type things. We usually end up calling the cops on ourselves a few times early on. It gets real bad when someone’s parents get called and they gotta step in.

MF: I was reading you’re heavily influenced by Los Saicos. How did you discover them, random south American friend or is 60’s Peruvian garage everywhere in Atlanta?

JS: Are you implying that South Americans are “random”? I should hope not. I had a pretty posh flat in Lima in the early seventies, and I went to a lot of really high end parties with a bunch of know it alls. I overheard the exciting sounds of Los Saicos at one of the aforementioned parties and was instantly hooked. I buzzed out the door, leapt into my car and drove into the sunset like the whimsical teen I was. I never returned to Lima, but I still have the eternal sounds of Los Saicos in my heart forever

MF: You also have your own (amazingly named) label, Die Slaughterhaus, which you used to release early stuff and some of the side project stuff. Do you ever see yourselves hanging up the instruments and becoming label heads? Are there any bands out there you’d like to sign?

JS: I would definitely like to be the CEO of an international company. Or at least be on some sort of board. I’d like to wear suits and read the Financial times, and say “fuck” really loud into the phone all the time. I’d sign whoever was the most promising i.e. whatever bankrolls my excessive nature.

MF: I was just reading an interview with Barry Hogan where he writes you guys off as assholes and says you’ve been banned from ATP. What’s the deal there?

JS: Some people are angry. They make movies about stuff like that. How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Friday the 13th, Cool runnings etc. I’ll make sure to pray for him, since I turn the other cheek.

MF: With festivals usually cramming as many artists into one day as possible do you guys approach performing at festivals any differently to your own shows?

JS: It’s all about the pyro pyro pyro.

MF: Finally, I just had to ask, is Black Lips a reference to drinking too much red wine and waking up with, well, Black Lips?

JS: We didn’t get to choose it. Our parents did when they forced us to form.

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The Black Lips land in Australia at the end of the month. Click here for full tour details. Their new album, 200 Million Thousand, is out now. Find it on Black Lips

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