Black Lips – the mere mention of those two words has gotten KIDS LIKE YOU AND ME excited, stoked, etc. Whatever you wanna call it – our fandom has been anything but passive. We created this very website dedicated to passionate rock ‘n roll music because of BLACK LIPS. We are the dudes that have Google’d and YouTube’d the shit out of the band over the past 9 years (which is really only about half of their existence [formed in 1999]), traveled a handful of times to New York to catch them, and played Mr. Driver on the jukebox at an Irish dive downtown.
Now we can go on and on about why Ain’t Comin’ Back should be as regular a staple in the set as O Katrina, why we obsess about the Gaye Blades and why no one is going to touch the Old King Cole Younger solo album with a ten foot pole.
Plain and simple we are the Black Lips ultimate fans. Now, that’s not to say we take everything they have ever done and just gush and bow down to it. Underneath the Rainbow is pretty much just an average album and hey, I heard they’ve got a new one out. Their discography from the very first cuts through Arabia Mountain stands on its own for pushing ‘garage’ into noisier and more experimental directions. Where other bands play it safe or just plain fuzzy, the Lips always seem to have a genuine sense of humor and an amateur vibe of not caring. This is the kind of stuff that got me to pick up the guitar, drums, and sing, and not worry about doing it ‘right’.
My 13th time seeing the Lips last night at Brighton Music Hall reminded just how giddy I am thinking about and living the experience. This is just FUN. For most bands a short set is decent, but with the Lips I just want it to never end. And life goes on, too. The members have changed so probably certain songs will never be played again and what not. But at the heart of it is a band that still has heart and puts on the best time for those that care.
They haven’t moved to “arena rock.” They are that popular to fill up an arena like the Garden in Boston. A lot of their “fans” probably have only heard “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody,” two songs that have been played constantly on KISS 108. Allegations that the brother/cousin quartet are sell-outs don’t make a lot of sense. They’ve been signed to RCA since the release of their debut album in 2003. Their sound strikes a chord with the average “pop” music listener because they play an incredibly mainstream sounding garage rock. Like their major label counterpart The Strokes, they can be easily be confused as “indie” because their rhythm is comfortably between soft rock and punk.
I’ve often thought to myself: why am I majoring in business if the corporation is something I so much despise? Business is not just the corporation. Business is everywhere. It exists in many forms and is hardly avoidable. There are good businesses and bad businesses, necessary businesses and unnecessary businesses. Wherever there is a (potential) market for something, there is a business. There’s very little that can stop business. There are government regulations placed on businesses and there are third party watchdogs monitoring business activity, but when it comes down to it…business is often inevasible and free of regulation, for at least some period of time. Maybe you’ve thought about business’ impact on you. Business has made you healthy, fat, smart, entertained, and a bunch of other adjectives too abounding to enumerate individually. Business is not God, even though the corporation, through branding and excessive marketing, tries to make itself appear omnipresent and omnipotent. The corporation is an enemy to business because of this. Business is not its own legal entity. A business is a human run operation that involves humans providing goods and services. We mustn’t let a particular organization take on certain human characteristics. This is where profit kind of fucks everything up. Because profit must be delivered to shareholders in a corporation, that’s a corporation’s only “obligation.” But, in essence, the humans running these organizations owe their earnings to a lot more people, or at least they should. Earning money for X corporation alone does not really allow for humanity to function sanely. The incentive to, for example, improve the livelihood of employees is usually not present because improving the livelihood of employees is a business expense, instead of a true “profit” to society. Most things that would otherwise help society economically or otherwise are corporations’ enemies. With small and midsized businesses, they have grassroots level focus; most customers, employees, and products consume, work, and are manufactured in a small bubble of area, as opposed to jobs and products that are outsourced. This way people will be less prone to exploit other people and/or the environment around them; the powerless (the poor, the working class, the non-corporations) are more likely to become self-sufficient and treated with dignity. I’ve kind of diverted, but what I’m trying to say is that I’m fully in favor of business. I love business and the potential value it serves to humanity. We (future business leaders) have to find feasible means of intimately bringing good to the entire world by scaling back so called “global” operations. It can be done. Just give us some time.
This isn’t really a thorough, ground breaking analysis but…profit maximizing corporations suck. There is no excuse and here’s why: Dell, maybe you own a computer made by these guys, utilizes a strategy called 3-7. It’s pretty simple, three out of ten computers are efficiently produced and are expected to be immune from any major problems. The other seven computers will be prone to problems and will require some kind of repair work. This business model works out wonderfully for Dell because people who encounter a computer that requires repair will send it back for service (back to India where the repair will be incredibly cheap) OR buy another computer (Dell hopes it’s one of their “3” models that costs only $500) all together, figuring it’s too much of a hassle to wait for a repair. Dell doesn’t mind repairing computers or assisting people in their difficulties. Their cheaply manufactured products will make them a shit load of money in sales and cost them only slightly in expenses and production. This kind of profiting off of bad things happening is not uncommon. It’s been around for years — the automotive industry has been a consistent example over the years of purposely making shoddily and unsafe parts and accessories. That’s because the cost of repair (paying damages to victims of an “accident” OFTEN subsidized by the government through TAXPAYER monies) is minutely important relative to profit, which will always be there. It can and has been argued that many industries make money off of bad things happening. And honestly I don’t feel like I am in the business to propose a lasting solution to this terrible problem. Social business is a start, perhaps most feasible in an industrial age like ours.
Today was a celebration of our lack of freedom! So while we appear to be very free, we really aren’t. Actually, the founding fathers would probably be pissed and ashamed. We haven’t really come a long way at all. The USA PATRIOT Act is still on the books…I think that’s enough.