Black Lips: From High School Expulsion to World Tours

Known for their highly energetic and eccentric live performances, the Black Lipshave come a long ways since the days of their youth, but they certainly haven’t lost their spirit.

Band cofounders Cole Alexander (guitar) and Jared Swilley (bass) were in a band together at Dunwoody High School in Georgia circa 1999. They even played a talent show together, although it apparently ended with the band being pulled from the stage after the guys were seemingly drunk and kicking stuff around. For reasons unbeknownst to Cole and Jared, the two were expelled from school their senior year.

Black Lips was born and so came their graduation to all-out, on stage insanity. In an OC Weekly interview, Cole reminisced on their early days:

“To make up for our lack of musical skills, we’d put on crazy shows…We’d get naked, light our dicks on fire, pee in the crowd. That kept ’em entertained.”

The band’s eponymous debut came out in 2003 and has since been followed by seven more studio albums and a few live albums. The Quietus called them “quintessential garage rock chameleons” and called their latest album, Satan’s Grafitti or God’s Art?, “daring, exploratory and downright vital.” The Black Lips have toured all across the world playing in places like India, Jordan, Cyprus, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraqi Kurdistan, the United Arab Emirates, and many more.

Throughout the years, the band’s musical talent has matured, and thus, so have their stage antics. But don’t get it twisted, they’re still known for their visceral energy and rock or die mentality. In a recent Vogue Russia, feature, Cole said “We always play as if this is our last concert.”

That’s the kind of show you can expect in Missoula when the Black Lips play at the Top Hat with Blue Rose Rounders on Friday, October 18, 2019. The band is currently on another world tour covering the US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, and Belgium.

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