This piece was published in January 2013 in The QH (the student newspaper at The University of Westminster.)
You May Not Have Heard…
Formed in 1989 under the slightly dubious name Razzle, sunny Californian four piece Lit have had something of a rollercoaster career. Consisting of brothers A Jay and Jeremy Popoff (Vocals and Guitar respectively), Kevin Baldes (Bass) and Allan Shellenberger (drums), they proceeded to record debut Tripping The Light Fantastic in 1997. The album performed reasonably, however it wasn’t until ten years after the band’s formation they shot into the limelight with monster smash single My Own Worst Enemy. With its instantly recognisable octave riff and morning after lyrics “Can we forget about the things I said when I was drunk? I didn’t mean to call you that” it became a mainstay in MTV playlists and on radio for years to come, appearing in countless films and video games alongside pop punk stalwarts like The Offspring, Green Day and Blink 182.
After the worldwide success of the single and accompanying album A Place In The Sun, Lit continued to bubble under the surface of the rock scene. They released follow up album Atomic in 2001 accompanied by single Lipstick and Bruises, a classic tale of groupies and the rock and roll lifestyle with an accompanying video featuring – I kid not – a robot named ‘Mulletron’ attacking their gig and giving their fans awful haircuts. It’s on YouTube and I recommend you have a look. Atomic – as with most of Lit’s material – is an album all about unhealthy relationships and partying. Witness Addicted; a tongue in cheek pean to co-dependancy and Everything’s Cool with its treacle thick guitars and lyrics about, well, going out and getting drunk: “I hit the city by three and the bottle by four”. Unfortunately Atomic suffered from poor promotion and as a result of this and mediocre sales Lit were released from their contract with RCA in late 2002. A quiet few years followed; although the band signed with DRT entertainment and recorded a follow up (2003’s self-titled release) they only completed one low key club tour in support of the album. Releasing a live DVD All Access in November 2004 finished a somewhat quiet chapter for the band.
In 2009 the band suffered a personal tragedy with the death of long time drummer and friend Allan Shellenbeger; he had been suffering from a malignant brain tumour. Despite the tragedy the band vowed to keep going. In November 2009 they announced that Nathan Walker would become their new sticksman and that a new album was in the pipeline. Understandably, the writing process was a difficult one; newest release The View From The Bottom was released just last year. First single You Tonight premiered in demo form in November 2011, with an official release through iTunes the following May.
The View From The Bottom is a sound of a band sticking to the old cliché if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Frankly, I couldn’t agree more. The only noticeable difference with The View From The Bottom is the slightly deeper lyrics in places; particularly ‘Here’s To Us’, a genuinely moving tribute to Shellenberger. That aside it’s business as usual with songs about drinking (Same Sh**, Different Drink) and women (Partner In Crime), instantly catchy buzzsaw guitar work and rhythms so utterly infectious you’ll need to see a doctor.
There’s a goofy kind of appeal to these guys which stems from not taking themselves too seriously; every album is instilled with a real sense of fun. Whilst they aren’t about to win any literary prizes for their lyrics, it has to be said that their songwriting is razor sharp whilst being instantly accessible on every level – the mark of an excellent band. All together now: “Please tell me whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy…..”.
You can check Lit out online at http://www.litband.com.
Like the sound of Lit? Start with these: My Own Worst Enemy, Zip-Lock, Lipstick and Bruises, Over My Head, C’Mon, Same Sh**, Different Drink.
Tripping The Light Fantastic (1997) Malicious Vinyl
A Place In The Sun (1999) RCA
Atomic (2001) RCA
Lit (2004) DRT Entertainment
The View From The Bottom (2012) Megaforce Records