"We're predicting the future," says Black Lips drummer Joe Bradley of his band's new album, 200 Million Thousand, due out February 24th. "Just general predictions, like violence in Europe and the assassination of a figurehead." Though he says he's not talking about our new president, Bradley is vague: "It's kind of how Nostradamus made his predictions — they'll be applied if something actually happens."
Too bad the Atlanta foursome — who hit India on a mini-tour earlier this month — didn't predict getting banished from the Subcontinent. The reason for their exile: During Friday's show in Chennai, a large metropolis on the Bay of Bengal, guitarist Cole Alexander stripped, dove into the crowd, then jumped back onstage and frenched his bandmates. Apparently, not everyone dug the bromance: promoters killed the tour post-haste, the cops showed up and the Lips fled through the venue's emergency exit, according to the NME. (At press time, the band's label didn't know their whereabouts, but the Lips posted a missive on their MySpace page: "This was a cultural clashing shit storm.")
Days before the Lips left for India, we asked Bradley if the group — known for getting naked, making out with each other and freely showering their fans with, uh, golden showers — planned to tone down their antics in fear of, say, corporal punishment. "It all depends on how our audience is responding," Bradley said. "I'm sure we can get away with it. I mean, there are worse things going on there."
Hopefully the chaos didn't completely overshadow the band's new tunes, woozy garage rockers boosted by chunky riffs and the guys' ragged howls. Recorded in a former Atlanta art gallery, the album's highlights include "Starting Over," which mixes Byrds-y guitar with monotone, Lou Reed-style delivery; "Drugs," a punky, surf-rock ode to runny noses and BC bud; and "I'll Be With You," a reverb-drenched love song. One track, "Body Combat," features a snippet from a song recorded in France in 1860. "I think it's the first song ever recorded," says Bradley. "Cole found it on the Internet, and he liked the 'woo-woo' sound."
Despite the wacky predictions and ghostly influences, not all of the Lips' songs are rooted in hypotheticals. "We threw in bits and pieces from our lives, but nothing you can put a finger on," Bradley says. "Some personal, yo, I'm really blanking out. I smoked too much weed."