May 2000 Archive
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Say this five times fast: Lit has a hit. If you think that's a fun little ditty, imagine how it sounds to the four members of the Anaheim, Calif. rock collective, who have worked for nine years to earn their overnight success.
Lit developed their radio monster, "My Own Worst Enemy," the same way as the rest of their tunes--by loving it a lot. "Our jam sessions go through the 'Lit machine' and everyone puts in their two cents," explains singer A.Jay Popoff. "Within two minutes, we know if it's going to be a song. If everyone's not into it right away, we get rid of it. We're not one of those bands that writes 30 songs for a 12-song album."
If Lit really did stick to that methodology for their new disc, A Place In The Sun (RCA), then they've got fine instincts indeed; there's nary a clunker among the album's 12 tunes. Throughout, the band takes a serious approach to fun songs that hang on gritty, bright hooks, resulting in automatic singalongs.
When A.Jay, his guitarist brother Jeremy Popoff, bassist Kevin Baldes, and drummer Allen Shellenberger came together back at the beginning of the decade, they were part of a rich Orange County music scene that would play third fiddle to Seattle for years. But Lit knew it was only a matter of time before their corner of California got its fair share of recognition.
"What's cool is that there's so many kinds of bands from Orange County: Social Distortion, the Offspring, Korn, No Doubt," A.Jay says. "A lot of the bands that have been around for the last nine or 10 years are surfacing now. It seems like there's a huge Orange County scene, but there's not really a lot of clubs to play. There's not a huge nightlife."
To compensate for the lack of venues, Lit made sure that the shows they did put on at places like Fullerton's Club 369 were sold-out bonanzas with big-show ambition. With A.Jay's strong, soaring vocals kicking out lyrics that bore a subtle sense of trickery, plus Jeremy's big, insistent guitar buzz and the rhythm section's firm backdrop, Lit's songs had a way of sticking in the heads of their fellow Californians.
But the formula also works on a national scale, a fact that the band had to absorb all too quickly late last December. That's when radio power KROQ put "My Own Worst Enemy" into heavy rotation a month before the album was even out. Naturally, their record company freaked and rush-released A Place In The Sun, catapulting the patient men of Lit into rock stardom face-first.
"It definitely happened a lot quicker than expected," A.Jay says of the record's success. "We're getting worked pretty hard, playing almost every night and not sleeping a lot. But we're definitely not complaining."
Steven Tyler's recent visit with producer Glen Ballard in a Boston studio turned into a recording session for the Aerosmith vocalist, who added background vocals to the upcoming Lit single, "Over My Head."
Lit bassist Kevin Baldes tells LAUNCH that all that Lit lead singer A. Jay Popoff had to do was ask to make the collaboration happen. "We did a session in Boston and [Ballard] brought in Steven Tyler just to hang out and show him the song, and A. Jay said, 'Hey man, you want to do some backups on the song?' You know, just kinda kidding around, and Steven Tyler was like, 'Dude, I'd love to.' So now Steven Tyler is doing backup on and we're -- I can't even say it's a dream true. I would have never imagined Steven Tyler doing backup on a Lit song, but it happened and it's all good, so we're stoked."
The members of Lit were undoubtedly in awe of the rock legend; however, at one point during the session, they suddenly felt as if they weren't treating Tyler right. Drummer Allen Shellenberger tells LAUNCH that the band had just ordered some Thai food and Tyler, arriving late, was stuck with a less-desirable meal. "They were running late so they ordered food on the way and they ordered pizza, and when we sat down at the dinner table I was sitting right next to Steven and, like, I look over and I have this nice, you know, big Thai food dinner and he's got, like a slice of pepperoni pizza, and I'm like, 'Wait this just is not adding up here. And I go, 'Hey Steve, you want some of my Thai food?' and he's like, 'Yeah man, sure,'"
"Over My Head" is the first single from the soundtrack to the upcoming animated film feature, Titan, A.E. It will go to radio in mid-May. The soundtrack also features cuts by Powerman 5000, Texas, and the Urge. Ballard is the executive producer on the project.
Lit recorded a brand-new song, "Over My Head," under the direction of famed producer Glen Ballard, and it might be a sign of things to come. The song is part of the soundtrack for the animated film Titan A.E.. The forthcoming video for the song includes animation and live footage. LAUNCH asked Lit bassist Kevin Baldes and drummer Allen Shellenberger if Ballard will be taking the helm for the follow-up to A Place In The Sun. "A possibility, yeah," Baldes said. "We haven't even started talking about that yet. We still have a lot of writing to do, so we'll see. 'Over My Head' is going to be on the next album."
"We have some working ideas we're noodling around with," Shellenberger added.
"We really haven't had the time to really sit there and get the ball rolling, but we have some ideas," Baldes said.
"We don't want to write the next record about who left their shoes in the middle of the bus lounge," Shellenberger quipped. "We want to get back to a somewhat normal existence and roll from there."
Baldes added with a flash of cheekiness, "I want to screw up some relationships with chicks and get those ideas rolling."
Lit wants to have an album recorded, mixed, and in stores by next summer -- this summer the band will be busy on the No Doubt tour, which starts June 5 in Dallas.
Lit lead singer A. Jay Popoff can now add his name to a long list of celebs (Fred Durst, Eminem, Enrique Iglesias, and Carson Daly to name a few!) that Christina Aguilera has had her eye -- or in some cases, more! -- on.
The pop tart and tattooed rocker after-party for the ASCAP Pop Music Awards in Los Angeles Monday (May 22) night. Aguilera was even dressed for the part -- clad in black leather pants and a hootchie mamma little top.
Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle" and Lit's "My Own Worst Enemy" were named two of the 50-plus Most Peformed Songs of the Year at the awards ceremony. For the full story on the winners of the 17th Annual ASCAP Pop Awards, check out our story in news.
DAMN! I got bad news! The Blockbuster Entertainment Awards were taped on Tuesday, May 9th. Some of you may remember it was news earlier this year. Unfortunately Lit lost! Damn. BUT at it was to Blink 182, with whom they toured last summer. You can see the awards on FOX on June 20th.
Here is a list of all the winners:
On Thursday, May 25, 2000, House of Blues will cybercast a Lit interview (at 2 & 5 PM PDT) and then "Lit in Video" (at 6 PM PDT). Both are previous appearances. The "Lit in Video" is pay-per-view, however, it appears they are offering lower quality viewing for free.
An auction will be held on Yahoo! from June 12th through June 25th for the Lit Ziploc guitar! The proceeds from the auction will benefit RAINN, the nation's only hotline for sexual assault survivors.
No Doubt, STP, Lit To Play FEZtival 2000
3 Doors Down, No Doubt, Stone Temple Pilots, and Lit have added another radio-sponsored show to their respective summer itineraries, as they have all signed on for FEZtival 2000, slated for June 28 at the E-Centre in Camden, New Jersey.
Other acts confirmed for the FEZ show, which is being sponsored by Philadelphia area radio station WPLY, include Third Eye Blind, Eve 6, Guster, and Stroke 9, with additional artists expected to be added to the bill in the next few weeks.
A portion of the ticket sales from the FEZ 2000 concert will be donated to the Philadelphia chapter of Seeking Harmony In Neighborhoods Everyday (SHINE), a youth services organization that uses art, music, and technology to help kids take a stand on various social issues.