Lit Up
By Laura Johnson

Cadillacs, black slacks, leather, lips, and lugubrious lyrics.

Lit.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting these So-Cal dudes from Anaheim, CA, who are currently speeding their way to the top of rock charts before the nationís very eyes. Their chic styleówith greasy hair, chunky gold rings, tattoos and platinum Cadillac symbolsómake them positively, physically irresistible, yet their power lies in their sound, not their appearance.

Litís first single, "My Own Worst Enemy," which was reportedly recorded while singer A. Jay was naked, has become a ballad that appeals to the masses, especially those who spend their days wondering about the pissed-away nights. Their new album, Place In The Sun, on the Dirty Martini/RCA/BMG label, took a lot of hard work and dedication to complete. The success of the "My Own Worst Enemy" video has also sparked Litís mainstream popularity. The band has just finished the summer with a lengthy run of the multi-city Vansí Warped Tour, as well as completing their second video, titled "Ziploc."

But thatís just the front fins of the Caddy.

Litís radio success has shot them into a booked tour schedule, with little time to think about the new album. Yet the spunk and energy that arises from their live performance shows that these guys are no slackers to the music business. There are many more songs to be performed, more cities to play in and more MTV coverage awaiting Lit in the upcoming year. It is certain that the fire inside this band has been lit, and the smoke of success is just starting to rise. (For more fun with Lit, visit www.LitLounge.com.)
In an interview with Lit on July 4, 1999, Boreal Ridge, Tahoe at the Vans Warped Tour, I spoke to A.Jay Popoff (vocalist), Jeremy Popoff (guitar), Kevin Baldes (bass), and Allen Shellenberger (drums).

How do you guys like the success of your new song, "My Own Worst Enemy?"

Kevin: Itís great. When that song was written, we didnít expect what happened. Eleven weeks at #1 on "Modern Rock," itís just been amazing.

Allen: The radio success is pretty cool, but we usually judge our success by the live show and how people can get into it. Thatís one way we measure our success, but radio helps a lot.

Kevin: I agree with Allen.

Is this your first album?

Kevin: This is our second album. We had one out on Delicious Vinyl in í97, called Tripping the Light Fantastic, which we are going to re-issue on our own label, called Dirty Martini, probably through RCA. Before that, in í96 we had an EP through Delicious Vinyl also. Weíve been together for 10 years.

Where are you guys from?

Kevin: Anaheim, No-Doubt land.

How many times have you been to Disneyland?

Kevin: Iíve probably been there about five times.

Allen: Five times? Thatís it?

Kevin: Props to Knottís!

How do you guys feel about producing a song that appeals to so many people?

Kevin: I think we try to do that with all the songs. Weíre not a political band or anything. We sing songs about everyday stuff, relationships, carsÖ On the first album we had a song about a car, and on this album we have another song about a car. We have a love for old Cadillacs, Ď50s and Ď60s kinds of stuff. But "My Own Worst Enemy" is something everybody can relate to, itís [boozing] a weekly thing, I guess. Weíve had a lot of people come up to us and say that too, like, "Wow, I can really relate to your song so much."

Yeah, where Iím from thatís such a tribute to everyday stuff.

Allen: We played Chico before.

Kevin: At the Brick-something-or-other.

Oh, The Brickworks.

Kevin: Brickworks, yeah. Actually, we also played Chico State out in the middle of the quad at lunch. That was a couple of years ago, though. Cherry Poppiní Daddies was there the night before. That was actually before they hit it big, too.

Whatís the significance of Lit?

Allen: Actually, that was going to be the name of our first album. We used to be called Stain. And one thing led to another and this guy got a copyright for the name Stain. Lit was what we could all agree on because it describes our live show and our music. Itís also a cool word.

Kevin: Todayís been hard. Itís really hard to play up in this altitude.

Have you enjoyed touring with the Vans Warped Tour?

Kevin: Itís been great. Every night thereís a barbecue and everyone hooks up. We hang out, drink beer, and hang with Fletcher from Pennywise and some skaters and motorcycle racers. We just eat burgers and whatnot. Itís fun.

Allen: Itís great watching the other bands, too.

What else?

Jeremy: After the Warped Tour, we drop off in Chicago halfway through and start supporting The Offspring.

Kevin: Weíre supporting them with The Dickies. Weíre doing two weeks in the U.S. and three weeks in Europe with them. Weíre hitting all the festivals; weíre doing Redding, weíre doing Leeds, and all the other major festivals. In Europe, our album just came out two weeks ago and thereís talk of us going out with Blink 182 in October and November. Weíve really bonded with those guys, itís been great. And we just shot our video to the new song two days agoó"Ziploc." It has Blink 182 in it. Blink ran naked and we had Dee Snyder of Twisted Sister with us, the intro is like a remake of "I Want To Rock," if you remember that one. It will be interesting if it hits MTV and the kids get to see it because I donít know how many people watch MTV now who were back in í84 watching that video.

Allen: Itís one of those things that kids can still relate to these days.

Kevin: Yeah, well a lot of people will think itís our own deal. Theyíll be like, "Whoa, whoís that guy?" Iím excited to see the final cut. As a matter of fact, we finished it last night and then hopped in the bus and came to Tahoe. And here we are.

Whatís with the Cadillac signs? Is that your symbol or something?

Allen: Itís just a sign. Itís almost like an American flag. I donít own a Cadillac but Jeremy and A.Jay have Cadillacs. I donít even have a car back at home right now.

Kevin: A.Jay has a Ď63 and Jeremy has a Ď61 and weíre all into it, but Allen and I have had to keep our trucks in order to haul around all our equipment and stuff.

You guys are all so cute. How old is everyone?

Kevin: Iím 27.

Allen: Iím 29.

Kevin: Jeremyís 27 and A.Jay is 25.

A.Jay, howís your Cadillac doing?

A.Jay: My Cadillac is really, really tired right now, and dirty. But Iím going to get a new one when I get home. I have a friend looking for a Ď58 right now, so hopefully when I get home I can get another one.

Your new video has been getting a lot of airplay on MTV. Whatís that like to watch yourselves every day on the channel?

Jeremy: itís pretty awesome, but we havenít been able to see it all that often because weíre on the road. But when we do, its pretty amazingóweíre stoked. Canít wait to see and hear the reaction of the new video.

When does the new "Ziploc" video coming out?

Jeremy: Two weeks, I think.

Wow, two weeks?

Jeremy: Yeah, well it takes a few weeks to make the video and then a few more to get some airplay. I have the major munchies right now. (Checks out some pizza nearby.)

How long have you been singing?

A.Jay: Ten years. Well, actually I started out as the drummer at firstóme and Kevin started jamming as little kids. I had a drumset, he was trying to sing and a friend of ours was playing guitar and thatís how it all started. It had to start somewhere, in the garage. Allen joined a few years later and started playing the drums and I started singing. Then Jeremy joined in í89, and here we are.

You guys have been working really hard.

Jeremy: Weíve been so busy that weíre just focusing on this record right now. I donít see us putting a new record out into late 2000 or so. It all depends on how this tour goes and how the record sells, but we already have enough on our plate for now, I think. Weíre booked right now until the end of the year in Europe, Australia. Itís weird now.

A.Jay: We donít take a break until Christmas. Then weíre back on the road in January. Nonstop. But its fun. No complaints. Iíd rather do this than flip burgers.




- from TheSynthesis

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