Black Lips Interview

Annie | 1 March 2012

The Black Lips’ Jared Swilley on stealing Nazi memorabilia and why Denzel Washington is his on-screen alter-ego.

Hi Jared, how are you?

I’m great thanks. I’m at a fish market in Bordeaux. We’re having a little breakfast here.

What time is it? That sounds like a fairly full-on breakfast.

It’s about 10am. Yeah, we had oysters and fish stew, stuff like that.

You guys seem to be on tour constantly.

I’ve always just looked at touring as normal life. Not being on tour is kind of weird for me. I have difficulty assimilating back into normal life because I’ve been on tour since I was 17 years old and haven’t stopped. I’m 28 now, so I’m kind of used to having a nomadic lifestyle. If I’m not touring then I’m travelling somewhere.

Where’s home when you’re not on tour?

I actually just moved to Los Angeles a few months ago and the other guys still live in Atlanta. I really like that it’s good weather all the time. I don’t really do much there, it’s my haven. I sit in my basement and record songs and watch TV a lot. Usually I just watch World War I or World War II documentaries.

You guys were recently in India. What was it like?

We were supposed to be there for two weeks but we only made it about 10 days and then… uh, we kinda had to leave. It was really cool, the tour stuff we did, but the actual shows, there was a lot of misunderstanding with our aesthetic maybe. Some of the guys were kissing each other and we got in trouble for that because they don’t like the gays. But aside from the shows, the personal time we had was great. I think most of the people there just thought we sucked ‘cause we’re not really technically skilled, as far as being able to do awesome guitar solos and stuff.

What was the most memorable thing that happened?

I guess the most memorable thing that happened was when they said the police were coming to get us and we had to leave. That was the scariest part. Homosexuality is a crime there, you can go to jail for that. We were playing at a university in Chennai and Ian and Cole kissed each other on stage and I guess that’s like a big deal. A few years ago when Richard Gere was there he kissed a Bollywood star on the cheek on stage and they wanted to arrest him for that. So you know, don’t kiss any chicks there.

What was the good part?

The best thing was going to restaurants and just eating. Actually, I had the best haircut of my life while I was there. It only cost like 30 cents and they gave me a shave. I just got a cool haircut like my grandpa would have had in the ‘50s.

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