Tuesday, January 27, 2009

India to the Black Lips: You Suck!

It seems the Black Lips have learned from the people of India what the critics in the United States didn't have the spine to tell them: they are an irritating, unimaginative bunch of shysters who should have stuck to playing Ramones covers at frat parties. Though the original story of their abandoned tour of India was greatly exaggerated on the band's blog (it involved police chases and sneaking across state lines), what we do know is that the group was indeed pelted with plastic bottles and booed off-stage at their opening gig headlining a battle of the bands in Chennai, and the promoter subsequently pulled the plug on the remainder of the tour.

The Lips, now in Germany recording a new album, describe the fiasco as "a cultural-clashing shitstorm." Of course, they fail to mention that the crowd didn't feel the need to hurl projectiles at the several punk and metal acts who went on before them. India is known for having a thriving underground rock scene. Might it have been that the audience just thought the Black Lips suck?

To this writer, that seems the most obvious answer. Not some kind of Kipling-esque "clash of cultures." The Lips' explanation amounts to the arrogant posturing of a pith-helmeted explorer armed with an iPod full of Nickelback going to "civilize the brown people with our freedom-loving rock 'n' roll."

If it's any kind of omen, then there will hopefully be more of these responses to the Black Lips, a group whose break-out was due solely to the fact that there was very little else happening in indie-rock. Their entire attitude communicates as much: an insipid, insulting, pompous sneer that reads "I can't believe we made it this far by producing such heartless crap." The fans in India weren't chucking bottles because they didn't understand the Black Lips; they were doing themselves a favor.



Alex said...

If people in India love metal and "underground", the set the lips were playing probably wouldn't go over very well. Just because you don't like them does not mean they suck. They just don't fly in India after kids have been listening to punk/metal at a battle of the bands for 5 hours.Give it a rest.

Alexander Billet said...


In some ways, you just proved my point. The Lips called the aftershock of the show a "cultural shit-storm" (rather than, as you deftly pointed out, that the crowd had other tastes). There's a word for people who assume that other countries don't "understand" their own culture. They're called racists.

It's not that I don't like them. It's that their music is juvenile, something that almost definitely stems from their view that the rest of the world is there to entertain their middle-class hipster asses. It's pretty easy to be a racist when you see the world as there to provide you with a piss-pot.

And no, I won't give it a rest. I'm damn good at what I do, as evidenced above. Rest assured, I'll be a thorn in the side of a lot of folks for a long time to come.

Alexander Billet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alexander Billet said...

One more thing: if you still don't think they're racist, check out the video for their song "Fad."


Speaks for itself.

r said...

Yup. The Black Lips are a great example of "The Emperor's New Clothes". They are a safe, watered down version of garage-rock that is more bar-rock than anything else. Girls like them because they are cute, rich, and "cool", and haven't heard the Kinks records they are aping. I do hope more people would boo them off stage so they can just keep playing in Brooklyn to their trust fund cohort.

Alexander Billet said...

Ha! Yeah, that pretty much sums it up--though I think the cute, rich and cool thing applies to both male and female fans. The really offensive things is that they don't even ape the Kinks well. It's one thing to take influence from a group, it's another to just rip them off... badly.

You know what's funny? That this post keeps getting comments three months after I put it up. I guess I should figure out a way to post more like this one.

Anonymous said...

Black Lips suck soooo bad I went online just to find someplace to voice my annoyance at this garbage that I am hearing. I want to punch the engineer that mixed this record- yeah, lets take the WORST part of the song, the droll crappy vocals, and push it to the FRONT of the mix, and make everything else sound mushy and uncompressed, cause it'll sound, like, old n stuff, you know? Cause stuff was like erm, more real then, right? Lets IMITATE an older recording!

How did these guys get signed?

Whew I feel better.