Articles - Interviews - "You Can't Hear Me Very Well. We Will Destroy! - The Sick Lipstick"

The Sick Lipstick, from Toronto, Canada, have the havoc turned up on the stereo dial. This group, which features members of the famed Black Cat #13, will destroy. The out of control synthesizers and blistering guitars, attached to screams of devastation, fire out songs with killer precision. After the assault on my senses in a basement somewhere in New Brunswick, NJ on 08.06.02, I probed these no wave riders about their group and their plans for world domination.

BG – Okay, the standard first question is who plays what in yr band?

DE – My name is Dennis and I play drums.

LI – My name is Lindsey and I just sing.

AL – I’m Alan and I play guitar. You (talking to Lindsey) also write the keyboards.

DE – Lindsey writes the key parts; those are all her parts. Mark’s basically, sort of…I don’t know…not a side-guy, but…you know? (LOL)

AL – No…Mark writes too. Come on, give him credit… (LOL)

LI – No, me, Mark and Alan write.

DE – Actually, all the drum parts were actually Mark’s. Actually, I just sort of joined the band.

AL – Mark wrote some of the other things.

BG – Yeah, I thought he was the drummer.

DE – Yeah, he was…

AL – But he wrote other stuff too. We’re a very collaborative band.

LI – Yes, I would say that. But I mean, like, I do write the keyboard parts. (LOL) Well, like, when we formed this band, the main thing was I wanted to play an instrument, because before I used to just sing. And now I kind of decided I couldn’t do keyboards and sing at the same time. So…we got someone else to do it, but now we’re switching up.

DE – The new lineup is what, all of five shows old?

AL – Yeah, we practiced, like, twice together, as our new band, so we’re very sloppy.

[front] Lindsey w/ "Brad the Guitar" [back] Alan M.BG – It sounded pretty good. I like the guitars, though I think you blew my eardrums.

AL – Yeah, it’s pretty shrill.

BG – So, when did you start your tour?

DE – The 2nd…August, 2nd… This is our fourth show.

AL – Fifth?

LI – Rochester, Providence, Cambridge…New York…

DE – Okay, the fifth…

BG – Okay, so how’s the tour going?

LI – Great.

AL – We’re clearing rooms sometimes.

DE – Last night was rough (Brooklyn), but it’s going really well. There have been some good shows and some shows that were kinda "ehh."

LI – Well, we toured last year with me, Mark, and Alan, and this other guy Aidan, who left the band, but I think this one is going considerably better. I think it’s more like we don’t really fit in well to the shows that we play. It’s like either hardcore shows or indie rock shows, but I think, like, hardcore kids are opening up to a broader type of music.

AL – I think we fit in really well tonight.

LI – Yeah…

DE – Well the show before last night was in Cambridge and some kids came from Providence to see us again. And there were a lot of hardcore/metal-core bands on the bill, and they stuck around and watched us play, and bought records, and were really awesome and sweet; but the shows are going really well. I think tonight, again I think it was sloppy, but it was probably the most fun. I just love basement shows.

LI – MC McLean!
(Mark enters)

MA – Mark McLean – synthesizer.

BG – How was your show in Brooklyn?

MA – Terrible.

AL – The venue was really cool. It was, like, under a bridge.

DE – The bar was cool, and some of the people in the bands were really nice and stuff, but…

MA – We played like shit.

DE – We didn’t play that well and we had technical difficulties. That’s just what threw us off…

LI – I think, also, it had to do with, like, it’s a bar show, and maybe a third of the bar was watching the show and the rest of the people were just siting around drinking. Which what bar shows are usually like.

DE – And again, we were, like, the oddball freak band, really the outcasts… And people were like, "What are they doing…" It was just an odd thing.

MA – It was a crazy trip, man.

AL – All the bands were good, but it’s like…

LI – It’s hard to get shows in New York, and everyone was really nice…

AL – It was more fitting than most of our shows in terms of bands, cause there was no hardcore/metal bands…

DE – It was less threatening…like in Cambridge and even Providence with all these hardcore bands. It’s just like I show up and there are these seventeen-year-old thugs, and they look really tough and mean…

LI – The guy in Rochester, the guy who put on our show, he’s super nice, he just thought we were, like, hipsters. I think people see us the same way. I don’t think it’s that bad. I think we feel very alienated wherever we go. Because certain people really like us and, like, we can also clear rooms really fast.

AL – But also, we’re very piercing. So it hurts and people leave.

MA – It’s not that, it’s like when it comes to no wave, we’re players. There’s haters and there’s the non-haters.

DE – Let it be known that Mark is drinking Bush beer.

BG – That’s the drink of champions!

DE – Sure…I guess…

LI – No one hates us. People are nice everywhere we go; and its getting nicer cause hardcore people are kinda, like, broadening their horizons and being more accepting.

BG – You just released two new records, right?

MA – They’re not actually new. They were recorded a long-ass-time ago.

LI – Like January…

AL – This band hasn’t written a new song it a really long time.

MA – We’re basically waiting to write a new song for the whole dramatic pause thing… Like during our set tonight, we took a break between the fifth song and the last song to may it more special… The last time we wrote was early September 2001. So when that one year anniversary comes around, like full circle, like 365, we’re gonna drop the most life changing song. We want it on vinyl, but the label said they can’t do it cause we want it to be, like, 70 minutes long…

AL – How ‘bout you shut up.

MA – It’s gonna be the most insane thing in the world.

AL – Shut the fuck up! (LOL)

LI – No, cut everything he says out.
(Side Note, a rock ‘n’ roll journalist, AKA the enemy, never cuts anything out)

LI – We haven’t written a song for a while, but we’ve all been really busy and we can’t devote our entire lives to the band.

MA – And we change lineups. I play keyboards and I used to be the drummer.

DE – So the new record is out, it’s on Sound Virus; it’s six songs. We’re really happy with it. The artwork is really good. It was done by this kid, Andy, in Vancouver. And the 7" is the first song they wrote. Everyone’s happy with the way it came out. The artwork, everything…

BG – Yr on a compilation too, right?

DE – Yeah, we’re on the 5RC comp. It’s the song they wrote. And it’s on the Kill Rock Stars site. So a lot of kids downloaded that song and heard it. And they just sort of know us as the Teenage Robots song.

MA – It’s like the kids don’t even know us as the Sick Lipstick. It’s like when you have a hit on the radio, they call our band "Teenage Robots." When we go to shows kids are chanting, "Teenage Robots! Teenage Robots!" We’re like, "Fuck you! That’s an old song! We might play it if we want…" (LOL)

LI – No! Mark…

BG – You could dress up as teenage robots.

MA – We actually are teenage robots…actually she is…

DE – She’s the girl with the wire skull. (LOL)

King Kron AKA Mark

BG – So you guys haven’t written or recorded anything in a while?

DE – We’re reportedly going to be on a show in October with Melt Banana and I think we’d like to write a couple new songs for that show.

AL – We started writing new songs and then we just stopped playing… I went away for a while.

LI – We’re all busy, but we’re gonna try and write some new songs for sure. When we get going it goes really fast.

AL – Most of our songs are written is very short spans, like a month, almost two months…

DE – Yeah, but I think with the new lineup and once we actually get a practice space, right now we don’t have a solid practice space. There’s just, like, this room we rent, for like ten bucks an hour, and it’s totally ghetto-style and…

MA – People puking in the rooms…reggae bands smoking dope…

LI – But this lineup works a lot better, I find…

MA – So, basically the past year we’ve been resting our heads, so, like, when the year anniversary comes for our last song there’ll just be, like, an explosion. Seriously, like fifty songs in a week, probably… We’ve already booked the rehearsal time…I think it was like twelve hours a day in September, every day of the month for thirty days… (LOL)

AL – Shut the fuck up, okay?!

MA – What?

LI – That’s a lot of fuckin’ money. (LOL)

MA – The label’s paying for it.

Anonymous Dude – Where am I supposed to buy some of these records from?

DE – Whose records?

Anonymous Dude – Your records.

DE – Mark, you should go sell shit.

MA – That’s okay…

DE – Seriously…go, guy…

AL – Go, King Kron! This guy wants to buy a record.

Anonymous Dude – Unless you don’t want my money…

MA – Is it American currency?
(Mark exits)

BG – Okay, so you guys are from Toronto?

LI – Yep.

BG – And how’s the music scene over there?

AL – Bad… There’s a few good bands like Rockets Red Glare and…

LI – I would say it’s very disconnected.

AL – They’re no all ages venues or anything.
(Random guy comes into use the bathroom; then chats with the Sick Lipstick about Canada stuff.)

DE – No, we’re from Toronto, I mean, there’s good bands, there’s bad bands, like every city.

BG – Who do you normally play with, or do you not play out a lot?

LI – We don’t play out a lot. I just find that everything’s very disconnected…

DE – Toronto’s a huge city, it’s like there’s 4.something-million people, probably now… It’s a huge city.

AL – For Canada at least…

DE – Yeah, for Canada, it’s a big city. So there’s good bands, there’s bad bands, so… I wouldn’t say there’s any super-tightly-knit community or anything. It’s just like, there’s a lot of bands, there’s a lot venues…

AL – Well, Toronto actually has a pretty poor music scene. It used to be a lot better. There are some good bands, but there’s no musical aesthetic. Everything is very different.

DE – It’s diverse…

LI – It’s kinda like, for me, Allan, and Mark, we lived with our parents in high school, we all started at the same place. So those kinds of people have always stuck together. So like, Rockets Red Glare and Holy Pattern, they all started from the same place.

AL – Blue-eyed Blockade and I Am Robot and Proud…

DE – Those are, like, suburban bands. They all live in Toronto…

LI – We don’t play very often in Toronto.

BG – Do you play other places in Canada a lot?

LI – We play, like, Montreal…

AL – We don’t play much at all, really…

DE – The last local show was probably in April, or May, in Toronto.

LI – It’s bullshit, though… It’s like any city… It’s like there’s a couple people that book shows, and if you don’t get along with them then you don’t really get shows, or whatever… And we don’t really wanna play too much cause it’s the same people coming to our shows all the time, so…we don’t wanna over-play, ya know?

BG – So you play Montreal?

AL – We played once, with the Electric End and Rah Bras.

LI – The Electric End were actually supposed to come with us…

AL – On this tour…

LI – But they had problems, so…

[front] Marky Mark [back] Dennis the Menace

BG – That’s too bad… Umm…so this is your second tour. How was the first tour of the US?
(Mark enters again)

MA – It was ghetto-fabulous. It was five shows. Two with our buddies XBXRX and three on our own… We cleared a lot or rooms.

AL – Well, we cleared more rooms on that tour than this tour. So we’re lookin’ up.

BG – And how many more dates do you have on this tour?

MA – Seven…

BG – How far are you going out?

MA – We’re going to Chicago.

DE – We’re playing tomorrow, I think, in Philly, tomorrow night.

MA – No, we’re playing in Wayne tomorrow night. Cause the fuckin’ man shutdown all the all ages venues in Philly.

AL – Yeah, no all ages venues in Toronto either. It fucking sucks. That’s why there’s no scene in Toronto cause there’s no all ages venues.

MA – It’s basically a rock ‘n’ roll tragedy. You know that guy from the ‘Stones that fell down the stairs and died in that pool…Brian Jones…it’s the same thing, but it’s all ages. (LOL)

DE – Yeah, no, this tour is Philly, then a couple shows in Ohio, and then Chicago, Indiana, and……Michigan.

BG – Yeah, so, you don’t have anymore records coming out anytime soon, do you?

AL – No, everything’s out now…comp, 7", and EP.

DE – We’re just waiting on the CDs…

AL – Yeah, CDs of the EP…

BG – What label pressed the EP?

DE – It’s a label from California called Sound Virus. It’s from Valencia, CA, which I think is outside of Los Angles. This guy, Mikey Ott, runs it. He’s put out records by the Blood Brothers, Red Light Sting; he’s putting out a Liars record. It’s seems like a really cool label. We sent the record out to ten or fifteen labels and probably four or five of them said, "Yeah, definitely." Some people didn’t’ respond, but Mikey and Sound Virus was the one we were most into. And they’ve worked with another Canadian band, the Red Light Sting, whom I’ve been talking to on and off for quite a while and they were like, "Yeah, Mikey’s great. You should do that record with them."

BG – Did you get a decent record deal?

DE – Yeah, we get 10%, or something. Which is fine… It’s a pretty standard band/label relationship; we get so many…but yeah, it’s good. I’m really happy, actually.

AL – They’re really cool.

DE – Apparently Mark talked to the label guy today and he said he’s got, like, tons of orders coming in…

BG – Good distribution?

DE – It’s distributed by Ebullition.

AL – The 7" is out in Sweden, a split 7" with XBXRX; it’s a Swedish label called Deleted Art.

DE – And that is distributed by Stickfigure, in the US, and in Europe I think X-MAS carried it. It’s available, we have it… And as we’ve been going on the tour, Mark’s been selling the records to stores and stuff, so…

BG – Do you think it’s easier now for Canadian bands to get their records heard in the States?

AL – I think it goes through waves, like when there was Shotmaker and all those hardcore bands it was really easy, and then it kind of died down… It has it’s ups and downs…

LI – A lot of people don’t even think that you’re Canadian. You just release stuff on American labels… I don’t associate with the Canadian music scene at all.

DE – There’s never been a Sick Lipstick tour of Canada. Canada’s huge, and so is the States, but there’s never been a Canadian tour. There’s been shows in Ottawa, Montreal on weekends, maybe, but…we play Toronto…

AL – Well, cause, like, Winnipeg is, like, 24 hours away, or something…

DE – Southern Ontario is really good. There are some decent sized cities… But the States, there’s such a huge market, especially for the kind of music that Sick Lipstick plays…that synth/keyboard music is just really popular… And kids down here are really into it. There are definitely kids in Canada that are into it, but it’s not to the extent that it is here. There are lots of places to play, lots of kids to play to.

[front] Lindsey an' "Brad" [back] Adam 12BG – Do you guys like to go on tour, rather than play a small number of dates at any given time?

AL – Well, in the States, it’s better to do a small tour at least, because, like, getting across the border is a lot more difficult. Lindsey was interrogated at the boarder.

DE – Yeah, we had a hard time.

AL – We weren’t even searched, they just figured we were coming to live here, or something. They have this crazed immigration paranoia.

DE – It was weird cause friends of ours in Toronto told us since September 11th crossing the boarder is actually easier just because they know that touring rock bands aren’t their biggest problem.

AL – Well, if you’re white maybe…

LI – It’s a little bit more difficult for a Canadian band, because you can’t just come over.

DE – We had or merch sent.

AL – From an American label to an American city…

DE – To Rochester, the first show.

AL – Well, An Albatross, we had it sent to them and they brought it up with them to Rochester. So that was really cool of them…

DE – That’s the way to do it, just don’t bring any merch.

AL – Also, if you’re going to make money here you also have to get a work permit and it would cost us, like, a $1000 dollars. And if an American band comes to Canada it’s, like, $300 dollars. It’s very strange.

LI – It’s such a big hassle.

AL – We’re selling our 7"s for $4.50 and they cost us $4.00 to get to Canada.

DE – Cause it’s from Sweden.

LI – But at the same time, when we play a show in Canada is like $5 bucks to get in, and a show here is, like, $5 bucks, but it translates to, like, $7.50 Canadian. And the food is a lot more expensive. It seems like the same price in Canadian dollars, but it’s like $1.60 on a dollar or whatever…

BG – How about getting paid for playing on this tour, has it been going well?

LI – Yeah… I love playing basement shows. You make the same amount of money.

DE – Tonight was the most fun show, like I said before, it was fun.

LI – It’s just like hanging out. We kind out look at it as a vacation. Cause we all have jobs, and school, and stuff; it’s like a getaway. You get to hangout with fun people. Especially if you’ve toured the year before, you’ve already met a lot of these people before…it’s just like hanging out.

DE – I’m just excited cause I get to meet some of my Internet friends in the States. It’s like, "Oh, we’re going to see you in Columbus, how amazing."

BG – Are you playing with the same bands that you did last tour? Do you have the same contacts?

LI – Yeah, it’s setup a bit better.

DE – Yeah, the records out, people’ve heard of the 5RC comp, and maybe the 7"… I guess the name’s out there a little bit more. That label, the guy who run’s the label, Mikey, told us that he’s gets a lot of orders, kids’ll buy anything he puts out, basically… It’s weird…

BG – Okay…well that’s basically all of the questions I have for ya tonight…

DE – Well thank you for coming to the show… It was sloppy, but it was the most fun…

BG – I really enjoyed it. Thanks for doing the interview.

Releases –

Split 7" w/ XBXRX (Deleted Art) 2002
S/T 12"/CDEP (Sound Virus) 2002
V/A "If the twenty-first century didn't exist, it would be necessary to invent it" CD (5RC) 2002

Contacts –

The Sick Lipstick
67 Brunswick Avenue
Basement Apt.
Toronto, ON
M5S 2L8

Interview and pictures by Joe Domino.

© 2003