-by Fally Afani
I recently got the chance to talk to garage rockers The Black Lips at SXSW. I wanted to discuss their upcoming show at The Beaumont Club in Kansas City on Tuesday, but it seems all they wanted to do was talk about playing in the Middle East.
We could have talked about the new album, or their recent adventure with “Bruise Cruise,” but the guys were over the moon about a show they have planned in Northern Iraq in September.
Upon revealing to them my Middle Eastern heritage, their ears perked up. “We played in Israel!” Cole Alexander said. He explained how the band got booked for a show in Israel, but they wanted to play for Palestinians in their territories as well. “Nobody from Israel could go with us, so we were like ‘Fuck you guys, we’re going,'” said Alexander. “We got outside the mosque, and all the kids came.”
You really can’t tell the boys in the Black Lips “No.” If they want to do something, they’re going to make it happen. “I personally don’t have problems with either side,” said Ian Saint Pé. “But there’s no reason to go to Israel and not play Palestine. So we went over there with some acoustics and played in Palestine.”
The band was also pleased with the Palestinians they encountered. “People over there are real nice, they made us tea,” said Saint Pé. Alexander chips in at this point “I like Palestinians.”
The band has plans to go on a Middle Eastern tour this year, making stops in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey. “We turn it up,” said Saint Pé. “We like going on wild vacations, AKA our jobs.” The band is constantly globe trotting, playing shows in as many countries as possible. So I asked them what it feels like to come to the Midwest. Alexander told me “Music is a universal art form. It touches people, it touches them all the same.” For Saint Pé, he can’t just limit touring to one area. “It’s like children, you can’t pick a favorite,” he said. “You love ’em all the same, so everywhere in the world’s cool. Unconditional love.”
If you’d like to see The Black Lips bring some of that unconditional love to Kansas City, they’re playing at The Beaumont Club on Tuesday night with Vivian Girls at 8:00.
Here’s some video from my interview: