Between touring the world, filming a documentary, getting arrested in India for kissing fellow bandmates on stage and releasing a new album, Black Lips have a lot on their plate.
The gritty, garage rock band from Atlanta will begin another world tour this month, after spending the better part of 2013 touring and filming for their documentary, “Kids Like You and Me.” The film focuses primarily on their shows in the Middle East and the young people they were able to interact with.
“Well, we wanted to just try and go everywhere while we have the ability, and we really wanted to be the first Americans to play in Iraq,” bassist Jared Swilley said. “Things were getting worse and worse for Syria while we were over there, but I’m really glad we went. We met a lot of bands and kids, especially in Egypt and Lebanon.”
Some of the Black Lips previous tours overseas weren’t quite as favorable, like their 2009 India tour when they were forced to flee the country or face possible jail time. It just depends on how well a crowd or a country handles nudity and a good ol’ male-to-male embrace.
“We didn’t even think that we were doing anything that bad,” Swilley said. “We kind of got drunk before the show and then just kissed each other on stage a little.”
It wasn’t until afterward when the show promoter expressed his anger and started demanding $6000 in damages that the band realized there might be a problem. The band canceled their remaining shows in the country and escaped unscathed and un-incarcerated.
But considering some of their antics from years before, like urinating and vomiting on fellow band members or into the crowd, India received a fairly tame performance.
The band seems to be saving most of their rowdiness for the recording studio lately, and has released a new album, “Beneath the Rainbow,” which was partially produced by Patrick Carney of The Black Keys.
“It was kind of just meant to be,” Swilley said. “We were supposed to record the record with Mark Ronson, who we worked on our last album with, and two days before we were set to go into the studio, we found out that it just wasn’t going to happen how we thought. We didn’t really know where to go from there.”
Shortly after, the band was in Mexico City at the same time as The Black Keys and during a late night conversation in a hotel room, the idea of working together was brought up.
“Patrick just said he’d really like to work with us, and we had been thinking we were going to record soon anyway, so it worked out,” Swilley said.
Shortly after the album had been recorded, yet another collaboration fell in line. Infamous rock and roll photographer Mick Rock shot the band for the cover artwork.
“I’ve always wanted to work with him,” Swilley said. “He shoots a lot for Vice, and I called up their editor and they set me up with his contact.”
The photos shoot was reminiscent of work by Swiss photographer Karlheinz Weinberger.
“We were inspired by his photos from the ‘50s and ‘60s of teenagers trying to impersonate American rock bands,” Swilley said.
The photographs Rock shot have the band donning lots of leather and slicked back hair, allowing them to look every bit the rebellious, occasional shit-starting band that people have come to love.
The band will play Hangout Fest on Friday before leaving for another world tour where they will most likely offend at least one person or have a really fun time trying.
Friday, 12:30-1:30 p.m.