photos: Dan Monick
It’s no secret that the Black Lips are a destructive bunch. The Atlanta bred, blues-tinged garage band once held a party encouraging attendees to destroy the house they were performing in. It also happened to be the house where they lived. Aside from destruction, Black Lips shows are known to include just about every bodily fluid that can be dispensed at will. Combine that with the essential rock star drug and alcohol abuse, and it’s a wonder the band can make it through a show unscathed. But according to 23-year-old bassist Jared Swilley, the guys aren’t even the fighting type. It’s when a young lady’s honor is at stake that the Black Lips become the quintessential Southern gentlemen you’d never mistake them for. Currently touring to promote their latest album, the boys are too ready to continue their path of destruction and maybe even hand out a few down-home ass kickings.
“We were at South by Southwest three years ago playing a secret show in our friend’s basement and a bunch of redneck metal-head dudes showed up. We had our ex-guitarist [Jack Hines’] girlfriend on tour and another girl that we were all friends with. [The rednecks] were getting kind of rowdy and grab assin’ and they touched both of the girls’ butts. We didn’t wanna have a fight about it cause we’re not really that aggressive. I was just like, ‘Come on guys, don’t do that. Say you’re sorry.’ They were just being total dicks about it like, ‘Fuck that!’ They were calling me a white belt hipster or something over and over again. So I went over to the rest of my band and our friends, and I was telling them what happened and they’re like, ‘Which guys was it?’ I pointed at the guy and I guess he thought that I was calling him out. The night before, I had to go to the hospital because I cracked my head open, so I had 10 fresh stitches in my head. He walks up to me and slaps me right on the stitches. The second he hits me, everyone in my band, and a couple guys in the other band that were opening, all punch him at once and just take him out. He gets up covered in blood and all his friends see what’s going on. There’s like 10 of them and probably about an equal number of us, but they were way bigger than us. So we start scrappin’. This other band that we’re friends with called The Spits were [onstage] playing and they’re big guys and pretty tough and they’re kind of like our older brothers. We were like, ‘Spits, help!’ They came out and just start annihilating people. Their roadie had one of those tiny Swiss Army Knives that was like three inches long and he stabbed one of the guys right in the leg. Their drummer, who’s also a bouncer on his off time, had this guy in a grapple hold. [A redneck] spit on him or something, so he just bent all of his fingers back and I think he broke them.
“Our guitar player, Cole, is this squirrelly little guy of Columbian descent and he kept running up and getting secret shots on the big guys. We were holding one of them down and he’s like, ‘I don’t wanna fight anymore, I just wanna get one shot at that little Mexican bastard!’ At this point the girl whose house it was had already called the police. They’re leaving the house and the cops showed up right then. The girl who lived at the house was like, ‘Fuck you, assholes!’ So they said something like, ‘You fat dyke bitch!’ The cop was a fat lady, probably a lesbian, so she immediately arrested all the guys and we were all standing out in the front yard waving to them. It was pretty funny. And I hate rednecks, so that felt really good.”