In The Hotseat - Cole Alexander, From The Black LipsBy DARRYL DENEUVE
In a few weeks, Noisey is sponsoring a stage at the 1-2-3-4 Festival in Shoreditch, London. We've got a bunch of rad bands, including punk iconoclast Lydia Lunch, the Ravonettes, and the Black Lips. This week, our buddies across the pond interviewed Cole Alexander, Black Lips' lead shredder, about the festival.
What are you doing on Saturday, the 9th of July? Watching the Black Lips play music in a hot field while dancing around like you’re drunk (but you’re not really drunk for reasons pertaining to party promotion and media law)? Great, us too.
This year’s 1-2-3-4 Festival takes place in just over a fortnight’s time in Shoreditch Park, east London. The Black Lips will be playing songs from their hit new album Arabia Mountain (BUY) on the main stage – which is sponsored by our brother site, Noisey – alongside people like Lydia Lunch and the Raveonettes.
We got in touch with Cole to see what was up.
VICE: Hey Cole, I read a news story about you headlining 1-2-3-4 on a website the other day. They described the Black Lips as “berzerkoid douche-bags”. Why do music writers feel compelled to write about rock n’ roll bands in such insulting ways? Do things like this hurt your feelings?
Cole: It doesn’t hurt our feelings. We kind of find it hilarious. When we worked with Mark Ronson, NME wrote a piece about it and it said “international playboy working with garage rock scumbags”. Pretty funny. I like sensational UK journalism, it’s juicy.
Like a peach! What sort of perks are you gonna get considering you’re basically headlining this festival?
Hmm. I want to meet Lydia Lunch and Damo Suzuki.
Lydia Lunch and Damo Suzuki come to you backstage. They want to know how where to go to have the best time they possibly can in London. Where do you tell them to go?
Ladbrokes! Where lads go broke.
That’s a nice image. How about you? Do you think you’ll have the best night of your life on the 9th of July?
Such optimism is always cause for concern. But usually I don’t realise I’m having the best time of my life until years later, when I’m like, “that was awesome!”
Does Mark Ronson know how to have a good time? He looks like he carries tubs of hand cream around with him.
Hell yeah, Mark knows how to have a good time! He gets invited to lots of fun parties but I think he prefers to work on music. That can be more fun than the funnest of parties. Sometimes the studio is the party. But that’s distracting, so it’s a tricky balance.
You clearly love music. Is there anyone else you wanna see at 1-2-3-4?
Is this the festival where Damo Suzuki and Lydia Lunch play?! The names speak for themselves. Whoever curated this, give yourself a pat on the back and hold your head up high with honour, for with this service you have bettered the good of the people of the United Kingdom.
Is there anyone else you’re secretly hoping they’ll announce as SURPRISE SPECIAL GUESTS, though?
Oddfuturewokfgangkillthemall. A great sensation from Amerika.
The last time I went to 1-2-3-4 I got sunstroke and had to go and sleep under a tree for two hours. Does this make me a pussy? How could I have avoided getting sunstroke?
No, you’re not a pussy. It’s the bands who are pussies, hiding hydrated in their shitty trailers with no understanding of the conditions around them. My advice to you this time around would be to stay hydrated with lots of fluids. Coconut water keeps you real hydrated.
The last time time I met you was at ATP in 2008. You said you were digging around in some mud looking for worms because you wanted to go fishing. Did you ever catch a fish?
That wasn’t for fishing. The worms were collected to be put on an overhead projector. We do a light show that involves giant live worm silhouettes swerving to nature’s dance. The heat usually kills them and I feel bad. Does PETA get mad if you kill insects? I love all the earth’s creatures the same, but I feel bad cause I have never burnt other creatures alive. At least they were killed in the ultimate sacrifice to art instead of nature which is where the fish would kill them.
What can we expect from the Black Lips live show?
We will see! We haven’t played much since we made the new record, so we are learning the answer to that question in real time.
How many different countries have you played in?
What makes the UK the best?
I’d have to say the food, and the smiles of the chunky Shoreditch hipsters and chaps who haunt the local Ladbrokes in a quest for fortune, fame and ultimate honour. We love you like all the earth’s children. We love all of our children the same. We don’t play favourites! How will Uganda feel when we go to play there if they know we said the UK was better than them? It might hurt their feelings.
OK. When are you going to get off your bone idle asses and play the remaining 162 countries in the world?
We will knock Iraq, Syria and Lebanon off the bucket list in September. It’s all in the works. In Iraq we won’t be playing for troops, we will play for the people.
Your new album’s called Arabia Mountain. What does that mean?
It’s a place in Georgia, USA. I don’t why it’s called that. We shot our album cover there. It might be a Masonic reference but we are as clueless as you. It’s a mystery that we don’t even understand. I think there is a native American burial ground near there.
Are you guys enjoying life?
Yes! It is fun.
If you want to go to 1-2-3-4, but you’re yet to get a ticket, you can find exclusive NOISEY tickets here. They’re cheaper than what you’ll pay otherwise.