- Interviews - "You Can't Hear Me Very Well. We Will Destroy! - The
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 Im Alan and I play guitar. You (talking to Lindsey) also write the keyboards.
DE Lindsey writes the key parts; those are all her parts. Marks basically, sort of I dont 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 Marks. 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. Were 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 couldnt do keyboards and sing at the same time. So we got someone else to do it, but now were 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 were very sloppy.
BG It sounded pretty good. I like the guitars, though I think you blew my eardrums.
AL Yeah, its pretty shrill.
BG So, when did you start your tour?
DE The 2nd August, 2nd This is our fourth show.
LI Rochester, Providence, Cambridge New York
DE Okay, the fifth
BG Okay, so hows the tour going?
AL Were clearing rooms sometimes.
DE Last night was rough (Brooklyn), but its 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 its more like we dont really fit in well to the shows that we play. Its 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.
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.
MA Mark McLean synthesizer.
BG How was your show in Brooklyn?
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 didnt play that well and we had technical difficulties. Thats just what threw us off
LI I think, also, it had to do with, like, its 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 its like
LI Its 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. Its 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, hes super nice, he just thought we were, like, hipsters. I think people see us the same way. I dont think its 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, were very piercing. So it hurts and people leave.
MA Its not that, its like when it comes to no wave, were players. Theres haters and theres the non-haters.
DE Let it be known that Mark is drinking Bush beer.
BG Thats 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 Theyre not actually new. They were recorded a long-ass-time ago.
LI Like January
AL This band hasnt written a new song it a really long time.
MA Were 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, were gonna drop the most life changing song. We want it on vinyl, but the label said they cant do it cause we want it to be, like, 70 minutes long
AL How bout you shut up.
MA Its gonna be the most insane thing in the world.
AL Shut the fuck up! (LOL)
No, cut everything he says out.
LI We havent written a song for a while, but weve all been really busy and we cant 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, its on Sound Virus; its six songs. Were 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. Everyones happy with the way it came out. The artwork, everything
BG Yr on a compilation too, right?
DE Yeah, were on the 5RC comp. Its the song they wrote. And its 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 Its like the kids dont even know us as the Sick Lipstick. Its 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!" Were like, "Fuck you! Thats 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 Shes the girl with the wire skull. (LOL)
BG So you guys havent written or recorded anything in a while?
DE Were reportedly going to be on a show in October with Melt Banana and I think wed 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 Were all busy, but were 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 dont have a solid practice space. Theres just, like, this room we rent, for like ten bucks an hour, and its 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 weve been resting our heads, so, like, when the year anniversary comes for our last song therell just be, like, an explosion. Seriously, like fifty songs in a week, probably Weve 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?!
LI Thats a lot of fuckin money. (LOL)
MA The labels 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 Thats okay
DE Seriously go, guy
AL Go, King Kron! This guy wants to buy a record.
Anonymous Dude Unless you dont want my money
Is it American currency?
BG Okay, so you guys are from Toronto?
BG And hows the music scene over there?
AL Bad Theres a few good bands like Rockets Red Glare and
LI I would say its very disconnected.
Theyre no all ages venues or anything.
DE No, were from Toronto, I mean, theres good bands, theres bad bands, like every city.
BG Who do you normally play with, or do you not play out a lot?
LI We dont play out a lot. I just find that everythings very disconnected
DE Torontos a huge city, its like theres 4.something-million people, probably now Its a huge city.
AL For Canada at least
DE Yeah, for Canada, its a big city. So theres good bands, theres bad bands, so I wouldnt say theres any super-tightly-knit community or anything. Its just like, theres a lot of bands, theres 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 theres no musical aesthetic. Everything is very different.
DE Its diverse
LI Its 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 dont play very often in Toronto.
BG Do you play other places in Canada a lot?
LI We play, like, Montreal
AL We dont play much at all, really
DE The last local show was probably in April, or May, in Toronto.
LI Its bullshit, though Its like any city Its like theres a couple people that book shows, and if you dont get along with them then you dont really get shows, or whatever And we dont really wanna play too much cause its the same people coming to our shows all the time, so we dont 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
Thats too bad
so this is your second tour.
How was the first tour of the US?
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 were lookin up.
BG And how many more dates do you have on this tour?
BG How far are you going out?
MA Were going to Chicago.
DE Were playing tomorrow, I think, in Philly, tomorrow night.
MA No, were 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. Thats why theres no scene in Toronto cause theres no all ages venues.
MA Its 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 its the same thing, but its 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 dont have anymore records coming out anytime soon, do you?
AL No, everythings out now comp, 7", and EP.
DE Were just waiting on the CDs
AL Yeah, CDs of the EP
BG What label pressed the EP?
DE Its a label from California called Sound Virus. Its from Valencia, CA, which I think is outside of Los Angles. This guy, Mikey Ott, runs it. Hes put out records by the Blood Brothers, Red Light Sting; hes putting out a Liars record. Its 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 didnt respond, but Mikey and Sound Virus was the one we were most into. And theyve worked with another Canadian band, the Red Light Sting, whom Ive been talking to on and off for quite a while and they were like, "Yeah, Mikeys 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 Its a pretty standard band/label relationship; we get so many but yeah, its good. Im really happy, actually.
AL Theyre really cool.
DE Apparently Mark talked to the label guy today and he said hes got, like, tons of orders coming in
BG Good distribution?
DE Its distributed by Ebullition.
AL The 7" is out in Sweden, a split 7" with XBXRX; its 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. Its available, we have it And as weve been going on the tour, Marks been selling the records to stores and stuff, so
BG Do you think its 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 its ups and downs
LI A lot of people dont even think that youre Canadian. You just release stuff on American labels I dont associate with the Canadian music scene at all.
DE Theres never been a Sick Lipstick tour of Canada. Canadas huge, and so is the States, but theres never been a Canadian tour. Theres 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, theres 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 its not to the extent that it is here. There are lots of places to play, lots of kids to play to.
BG 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, its 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 werent 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 arent their biggest problem.
AL Well, if youre white maybe
LI Its a little bit more difficult for a Canadian band, because you cant 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 Thats the way to do it, just dont bring any merch.
AL Also, if youre 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 its, like, $300 dollars. Its very strange.
LI Its such a big hassle.
AL Were selling our 7"s for $4.50 and they cost us $4.00 to get to Canada.
DE Cause its 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 its 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 Its just like hanging out. We kind out look at it as a vacation. Cause we all have jobs, and school, and stuff; its like a getaway. You get to hangout with fun people. Especially if youve toured the year before, youve already met a lot of these people before its just like hanging out.
DE Im just excited cause I get to meet some of my Internet friends in the States. Its like, "Oh, were 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, its setup a bit better.
DE Yeah, the records out, peopleve heard of the 5RC comp, and maybe the 7" I guess the names out there a little bit more. That label, the guy who runs the label, Mikey, told us that hes gets a lot of orders, kidsll buy anything he puts out, basically Its weird
BG Okay well thats 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.
Interview and pictures by Joe Domino.
© blankgeneration.com 2003