Nada Mucho

Black Lipstick

Posted by July 7th, 2003 No Comments »

By Marshall Escamilla

Black Lipstick has been getting a lot of good press. With this month’s release of their first full-length album, Converted Thieves, a slew of shows in and around Austin (including a SXSW showcase), and an upcoming tour of the Midwest and East coast, they’ve also been pretty darn busy. They managed to find a few minutes to sit down with me at Waterloo Icehouse after their in-store performance. The interview began when guitarist Philip brought a pitcher of beer over to a table I was already sharing with bassist Steve, drummer Beth and guitarist Travis. We talked for a little while about hating other bands, peep-mobiles and butlers. It went something like this.

Steve: … well lemme finish my one story, though…
Philip: (pouring beer from the pitcher) Why don’t you share this with Beth…

By Marshall Escamilla

Black Lipstick has been getting a lot of good press. With this month’s release of their first full-length album, Converted Thieves, a slew of shows in and around Austin (including a SXSW showcase), and an upcoming tour of the Midwest and East coast, they’ve also been pretty darn busy. They managed to find a few minutes to sit down with me at Waterloo Icehouse after their in-store performance. The interview began when guitarist Philip brought a pitcher of beer over to a table I was already sharing with bassist Steve, drummer Beth and guitarist Travis. We talked for a little while about hating other bands, peep-mobiles and butlers. It went something like this.

Steve: … well lemme finish my one story, though…
Philip: (pouring beer from the pitcher) Why don’t you share this with Beth…
Beth: No, I don’t need it.
Steve: …the guy last night, he goes, the two guys didn’t tip us.
Billie Joe: Hi!
Beth & Philip: Hey Billie Joe, you want some beer?
Billie Joe: No, I don’t need any more beer.

Nada Mucho: This is more than I need…
Philip: Just pour it back in here.
(pause)
Travis: all right, so this guy didn’t tip you? This… what happened?
Steve: They didn’t tip the waiter, so the waiter guy, goes out to their car, and says “Hey, you didn’t leave a tip man.” And they’re like, “well, we just got two tacos.” And the waiter’s like, “Dude, everybody tips, that’s what you do. I bring you your food, you leave a fucking tip.” And they’re like, they happened to be a gay couple, this guy’s like, “Dude, that’s fucked up. You know, I’m trying to pay rent and shit.” (at this point, a pastel-colored bus with giant marshmallow peeps attached to it and the word PEEPS zooms by behind Steve on Lamar St.)

Philip: (whispers) Check it out!
Travis: Peep.
Philip: (laughs)
Steve: What? What is it?
Beth: Peeps!
Philip: You missed the Peep-mobile.
Beth: A peep bus.
Travis: A peep bus. With a peep on top.
Steve: A wha… a peep?
Beth: A marshmallow peep…
Philip: A peep as big as a Volkswagen.
Steve: Was it that dude that was just talking to us?
Beth: Oh, he was a peep.
Steve: He was. Anyway, I thought it was weird, he was like “You’re banned, you are now banned. Don’t come back in this fucking place.”
Travis: He what?
Steve: They’re like, okay.
Travis: Oh, the waiter said that to the…
Steve: Yea. I was like… he was like there’s a few, I’ve got like four people who are banned.
Philip: You’re banned.
Travis: So that one other guy, that guy with the shaved head and the ponytail?
Beth: The teaspoon?
Travis: Yea, the place where Janet lives, and he lives downstairs and he just gets stoned on the balcony all day.
Beth: sounds fun.
Travis: Yea. And earlier I was just sitting there with Caroline drinking a beer and he comes over and says “How ya doin? I’m just waiting around to go to the instore.” And I was like, neat. And afterwards he was like, wow that was pretty cool. I just come to all the instores, just to drink beer, and come to all the instores.
Beth: Lemme tell you, when I worked here there were a bunch of guys who came to every instore, and one of them recognized me and was like, oh my gosh.
Steve: Was it the older dude?
Beth: Yea, it’s a group of older guys, like forty-five year old guys, like “I remembered you, blah blah blah.” They’re all nice…
Travis: Are you recording this?

NM: Yes.
Travis: Oh shit.
Philip: (to me) Okay. So what do you wanna know?

NM: Okay. Um, to start, what’s your deal?
Steve: We’re fucking rock stars.
Travis: Well, it’s fifty-fifty, the cut off the door.
Philip: We lose a lot of money and we get to pretend we’re having fun.
Beth: We lose a lot of money, but we manage to have fun somehow.
Philip: What’s your deal… that’s like that life in hell cartoon, where people say like… Bad shit happens to me, but I get to be bitter and complain about it.
Beth: That’s the tradeoff? That’s a good tradeoff.

NM: So how long have you been together?
Beth: Three years ago.
Travis: Has it been that long?
Beth: Yup.
Travis: Twenty-nine years.

NM: So, like the late seventies?
Travis: Yea.

NM: When you got started did you have a specific idea about the band?
Philip: Fun. Yea. Fun.
Beth: I’d never been in a band before, and uh, I’d never actually played an instrument before. And Philip just wanted to play music with me, so I started to play the drums and it just sounded good, so we started a band.
Travis: When they had me join the band… Philip and I had been in a band before this that was really hardworking, and toured the nation like three times, and by the end of it lost a lot of money and hated each other. And I wanted to be in a band that was really fun, and just not ambitious, and just play some parties and, like, be real low key. And I joined the band under that pretense and now we’re touring and putting out a lot of records and being really ambitious.

NM: So who does your onstage choreography?
Travis: A guy named Guy Fossi. He contacted us.
Beth: I think we actually need to work on that a little bit.

NM: So can you tell me more about the album?
Beth: Well, we recorded it last summer at Sweatbox, which is downtown, with Mike Velasquez. And, um, it was a long process but it was fun. It’s our first record.
Steve; Our first full-length.

NM: It came out last Tuesday?
Beth: This Tuesday.

NM: What’s it called?
Philip: You don’t know this? You gotta do some research, man.

NM: Uh, yea, but they don’t. The readers.
Philip: Oh.
Beth: It’s called Converted Thieves.
(awkward silence)
Steve: And it’s awesome.

NM: Okay, so, how about influences. Do you have any?
Philip: No. I’ve never heard music before. But I heard it’s cool.
Travis: We’re actually deaf.
Steve: Apparently Velvet Underground also kinda sounds like us.
Beth: Mine are classic rock radio. That’s the only thing that I listen to every day, that’s been really consistent. Classic rock radio.

NM: How about are there any bands you really hate?
Philip: I don’t hate any bands. If you’re in a band, you’re kinda like the sucker of the world. Because you’re just doing something to have fun and have other people have fun, hopefully. You’re not trying to kill anybody or hurt anybody, or take their money. You’re usually losing your own money. And doing a lot of work just so people can cross their arms and decide that you suck half the time. There’s nothing wrong about that, there’s nothing evil about that. There’s nothing you can really hate about that. There’s like a lot of people in the music industry who are pretty evil, but, people in the music industry can be evil, but not bands. That’s what I think. (to the band) What do y’all think?
Steve: We hate people but we don’t hate bands.
Travis: Artists.
Steve: We hate other artists, but we don’t hate their music.
Beth: I think I might hate this band (referring to the very loud pseudo-reggae that is playing over the speaker just above our heads).

NM: Okay, so how many Chihuahuas do you think could take down a moose?
Travis: That’s a very personal question. I resent that.
Philip: My dad was a moose.
(pause)
Travis: And my dad was the Chihuahua that took him down.
Steve: Are these long-haired or short haired Chihuahuas?

NM: I don’t know. I never put much thought into that.
Steve: My first dog was a long haired Chihuahua. I lived in Michigan and its name was Jingles. And um, it’s dead now.
Beth: Did it try to take on a moose?
Steve: No, I think it tried to take on a car.
Beth: Oh, Jingles.
Steve: Yeah, he kinda lost that battle. Coulda been a truck. (a pause, pours out some beer)
Philip: Pourin’ it out for Jingles.
Steve: Yeah, Jingles just gets a little tiny sip.
Philip: Where’s our butler?
Beth: Yea, we have a butler. You might wanna put this in there, we have a butler.

NM: What, like a full-time, English accent kinda deal?
Philip: Like live in.
Steve & Travis: His name is Belvis.
Steve: He’s from Dusselberry. And, um… he’s very proper, you know, but he’s got an attitude. An edge.
Beth: You know, like how all Dusselberrians do. That Dusselberrian attitude, he has that.
Travis: That’s funny, because my parents are from North Dusselberry, so we have this little thing going, because he’s from South Dusselberry. And I’m always like “Oh, Belvis.”
Philip: You make him do pushups?
Steve: (snooty British accent) Mmmm, sir… Sir… your martini, Sir. Belvis. (back to normal) He’s in the car right now.
Beth: Did you roll the window down?
Steve: No.
Travis: He’s in the car fanning the dog.
Steve: Fanning the hounds.
Beth: Fanning the hounds.
Travis: We can’t afford to roll down the window cause someone could carjack.

NM: Um, is one of you the principle songwriter? Do you all collaborate?
Beth: We all contribute.
Philip: We’re all equal contributors.

NM: How does that work?
Philip: We just go into trance, and we wake up, and there’s a song. It’s really weird.
(Interruption as some friends of the band approach the table and say they’re going to leave followed by a few minutes of wrangling as Philip tries to get them to stay and have a few more beers with us. He introduces me as “Marshall from Rolling Stone” before they ultimately decide to go home.)
Philip: So. Wait. What was the question again?

NM: I don’t know. Something about songs.
Philip: We all write songs together.

NM: Oh.
(Another friend sits down.)
Friend: What are you guys doing?
Travis: This is Marshall from Rolling Stone.
Friend: (uncontrollable laughter.)
Travis: What?
Steve: Come on. We’re total rock stars.
(pause)

NM: Okay. Well, um, I think I’ve really got enough now.
Philip: Great!
Beth: If there are any pickup truck companies that read this, I really want a sponsorship. I really want a pickup truck.

NM: Uh, I’ll see what I can do.

More on Black Lipstick.

More on Black Beauty.


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