An interview with
Lit has traveled in the Orange County music circles for a number of years. Through hard work and by believing in their talents, they have become an almost overnight success story. Lits hilarious video for "My Own Worst Enemy" is on MTV daily and they have cracked onto the Billboard charts in the past month. I had a chance to talk to Lits frontman, A.Jay, about their success and about what its like to be a rock star.
You guys have been touring your asses off. Are you getting tired yet?
A.Jay: Yeah. You know, it goes up and down. Usually if we get like a day off, thats all it takes and were completely rejuvenated. Its cool. I guess we kind of run on adrenaline when it comes show time, but after the show its like were getting pretty worked. But were not complaining!
Do you guys play for like six days, then get a break?
A.Jay: Pretty much. I mean, weve been out for (pauses) about seven weeks, or maybe going on eight. Weve had maybe three or four days off. Yeah, its been pretty rough. (chuckles)
What are the best and worst parts about touring? -Devil Chick from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
A.Jay: Ha ha. The best part is probably the shows, getting on stage and, you know, just, actually whats really cool is going through a city for the second time. Were hitting some of the same spots we hit with Silverchair, and going back and meeting people who went out and bought the record, and seeing people in the audience who actually know the words. Thats really cool! The worst part is probably lack of sleep. (laughs). But its cool. Theres really is not too many negative aspects of touring, but mostly positive.
Do you prefer playing the big shows like the KROC "Low Dough" with Living End and Tinstar, or more small intimate shows? - Jessica from New York City, New York, USA
A.Jay: Huh. They have their pros and cons, but the big shows are cool because I personally like a big stage where I can kind of do my thing, you know. The smaller intimate shows are cool too because youre stuck in a hot, sweaty box and sometimes thats cool too.
Ive been to the shows, I know whos watching MTV. Are you overwhelmed by the number of youngsters that show up?
A.Jay: No, not really. I mean, I think its kind of cool. Anybody whos into the music and comes down, it seems like its usually young kids who come really early to get up front and theyre waiting out, sometimes its rain or freezing cold out and theyre out there for like three to four hours before the show. You got to love them for that!
What about the girls? At the show I went to, there were at least twelve girls around you at all times!
A.Jay: Its great, man, we love it! (laughs) Its all good. Thats one thing about us; we really dig like meeting people after the shows. Hmm, hopefully it does not get too out of control, where we cannot stand out there and hang out and meet people. Thats one of the aspects we love the most, you know, thats hanging before and after the shows. Mostly after.
Because of the young audience, is that a confidence builder for the band, knowing that youll have a fan-base for the next record?
A.Jay: Yeah, its cool. Yeah, because thats why were doing it, because we want to be able to do it for a while. We want to be able to do touring when we dont have a song on the radio, you know what I mean. Having a song on the radio is great, were getting exposed to a whole lot of new fans, but when it comes down to it, we dont want to have to rely on radio to be able to tour and have a career. Getting new fans is like propriety number one to us. The charts and MTV and all the other stuff is secondary to us.
Do the faces in the crowd in any way remind you of yourself as a kid going to shows?
A.Jay: Yeah, totally! I mean, thats kind of how we met, the four of us. I met Kevin (Bassist) when I was in junior high, and the rest of us met shortly after. We used to go to concerts together, so we were kind of, at one time the four of us were in the audience at one point, and hmm...
So you probably always talked about forming a band?
A.Jay: Yeah, we are meeting guys out in the audience who were always talking about forming a band, giving us their demo tapes and stuff like that, which is cool. Were planning on releasing our first album called Tripping the Light Fantastic. We are probably re-releasing that on our own label called Dirty Martini and eventually do a deal with RCA for our label. We want to eventually work with new bands and produce and do what we can to help bands.
Whats it like to see yourself on MTV?
A.Jay: I mean, its pretty cool. I have only seen the video like twice on MTV, because a lot the hotels we stay at dont have it. Its cool because we kind of grew up watching MTV.
Because you guys are from Orange County, was it tough to break out or blend in due to the different types of music around there?
A.Jay: We have been playing together for like ten years and sort of like, most of us were born and raised in Orange County. I was born in Palm Springs, but moved straight to Orange County pretty much. We sort of did not pay too much attention to the other shit or bands going around. I mean, we have a few friends, like bands like Zebrahead, who are good friends of ours. We were aware of our immediate surroundings, but we tried to focus on doing our own thing. We have a warehouse where we write our songs and rehearse and stuff. But I guess its just persistence. We kept doing it, and got our first record deal back in 1995 or 96, and that was a foot in the door and a learning experience. When we left that record company we just sort of tried to refocus and write more songs. At the time we had a deal with IME Publishing and had access to recording studios where we got to sort of demo our new stuff and, hmm, we have had the same manager for like the past eight years.
Are you guys going to go to the warehouse and throw some more parties for the next album?
A.Jay: (laughs) I doubt it because we have not been able to have those parties in awhile because there has been a change in management and we dont want to press our luck. We love our space and we don t want to get evicted or something.
By the style of your lyrics, it seems you have an interesting perception of life. How do you go about writing your songs?
A.Jay: I mean, I think our priorities lie more in the music and the melody. Then we sort of let the music inspire the lyrics. Like "Down", for instance. Its very 70s, I dont know, when I first heard the riff I sort of thought 70s sex-pop. The first thing that came to my mind, you know, was my car. So, hmm, I just kind of ran with that. I mean, our lyrics are very down to earth, and mostly everyday stuff people can relate to; we dont get poetic or political with our lyrics. Its just simple rock and roll lyrics, you know.
How much do you love your Caddy?
A.Jay: How much? (laughs) Im anxious to get home and Im kind of concerned because its been sitting out, its not in a garage or anything like that. Im kind of itching to buy another one.
Whose car is on the back of album?
A.Jay: Thats Jeremys. Hes got a 61 and I got a 63 and mines black.
Whos got the better car in the band?
A.Jay: Hmm, thats a tough one. I tend to like the older models, but I think Jeremys car is killer, but I love my car to death. The other guys are still working on coming up with a little something cooler.
I read somewhere that you recorded "My Own Worst Enemy" naked. Is that true? Did it help you at all?
A.Jay: (laughs) Ah, you know it was combination of Jagermeister and it felt like the right thing to do!
"Lovely Day" is one of my favorite tracks on the record. What inspired you to write that?
A.Jay: When we were starting out, trying to make it, a lot of the business class people were sort of looking down on us, saying, "Why dont you get a job?" and that sort of thing. Its our take on that, is that when youre stuck in an office all day long, youre missing out on a lot of things. When its a nice day outside, youre just stuck in the office. Just another look on life, life less ordinary.
Have you and your brother (Jeremy) always been writing songs together?
A.Jay: Yeah, for quite awhile. Im trying to think. For a good nine years. Its cool. Its sort of like a check and balance type thing; we work off each other pretty well.
Whats the next single?
A.Jay: It looks like the next single is going to be "Zip-Lock". It could change, but it thats where it is heading.
Going back out on the road this summer?
A.Jay: After the Eve 6 tour we are doing the Warp Tour. We are doing the first half so I dont know what areas we are covering, but its looking like we might, its premature but we might after the Warp Tour maybe going out with Goo Goo Dolls and Sugar Ray. Were going to be busy for along time.
Thats good though! Thanks for your time.
A.Jay: Youre welcome.
Enjoy the Warp Tour!
A.Jay: Right on. Later.