Tuesday, January 27, 2009

That's rock 'n roll

The Black Lips' tour of India has sadly been cut short. The "#1 Indian music blog," Indiecision, had been following their progress through the six-date tour that would introduce the fine people of India to the Black Lips. Though known for the occasional on-stage antic, (nudity, fire, bodily fluids etc), the band did agree to tone things down for these gigs. To their credit, the band did get halfway through the tour before showing any wang.

They had three performances scheduled as part of the "Campus Rock Idols" competition, which is kind of like American Idol except with Indian college bands. At their first appearance, taking the stage after eight straight hours of metal, they were introduced as a "60s hippie hard rock band, like Jim Morrison" and pelted with plastic bottles. But their second appearance was more Black Lips-esque. From Indiecision:
There were about 400 people at the venue. The other headlining act for the night, hard rock band Synaps from Bangalore, ended their set at around 9:20pm following which Black Lips got on stage. The entire band was in various levels of inebriation with Joe Bradley (drums) being the least drunk, though, as with Pune, he was unhappy with his drum stool.

The band played their most well appreciated set of the Indian tour with the Chennai audience getting into their sound far more than the audience at any of their previous Indian gigs. Jared Swilley (bass) was actually chatty with the crowd asking them for any sort of intoxicant they were willing to hand him. The crowd loved it. Then, close to the end of their set Cole Alexander (guitars) and Ian Saint Pé (guitars) started making out on stage. There was a roar. Cole then proceeded to moon the audience, getting further props from the fans. As he turned around, he did not pick up his pants. The band finished their last song with Jared throwing his bass in the air and, subsequently, letting it fall on the stage and disintegrate. Jared then proceeded to jump into the crowd.

Cole was escorted off stage as Joe and Ian dismantled their gear. By this time Jared had procured additional intoxicants and consumed the same. The gig organisers, DNA Networks, were, understandably, flustered by the events, and, in the hours that followed cancelled the rest of the band’s India tour.
...and the story gets better from there. The Black Lips offered up their experience via myspace:
Unfortunately, we have had to flee the country of India due to having our whole tour canceled and having to escape being held by police for indecent exposure during our most rawkus set in Chennai at the Campus Rock Idol showcase.

After the fiasco, which the kids seemed to like, the financial backers of the event were furious and threw us off the tour. They tried to get security to restrain us until the Tamil police arrived. We locked the door while they were kicking and banging on it. Meanwhile, we slipped out the other emergency exit.

When we got to the hotel our tour guide informed us that the that the Campus Rock Idols sponsors were pressing charges and that the police would make their arrest. At that point our tour driver informed us we would have to drive six hours to get to the next town and cross state lines where we would be out of the Tamil authorities jurisdiction, because apparently the jail in Chennai is no joke. Word on the street said that it was teeming with tuberculosis, violence and live maggots so instead of risking going there we fled the scene. The drive ended up taking 10 hours because of a horrific accident on the road. We were also informed that all of the shows on our tour had been canceled effectively fucking all funds for the trip. This was a cultural clashing shit storm.

When we got to the next hotel a mysterious man and someone who worked for our Indian booking agency tried to run off with our passports they got to the car when we caught them. That's when our VBS.tv documentarian Rob went postal on them. We surrounded them until they gave back our passports. After that we booked the first flight to Berlin to instead work with another Indian, King Khan, on an upcoming EP. We are flying out as soon as sunrise hits this far away land and we have to have the US embassy's phone number on hand in case any more troubleshit starts popping at the airport or something.
Oh dear, it sounds like a rock show broke out. Someone call the cops. These financial backers should have expected something like this. I mean, asking the Black Lips to "tone it down" is kind of like asking The Doors to change their lyrics for national television. Maybe there was something to that Jim Morrison comparison after all. You can see Black Lips in Austin at SXSW.

2 comments:

Mr. Curiosity said...

Shortly after publishing I read things were slightly exaggerated.

shawn said...

Damn, the exaggerated story definitely had me going. Kinda lame that they (or publicist/management/etc.) felt they needed to dramatize the whole thing. Nonetheless, it is always a rock 'n' roll show when the Black Lips roll in to town