Black Lipstick

Lou Reed, the spiritual father of Austin's Black Lipstick, once said, "You better walk it and talk it 'less you lose that beat." Black Lipstick has put the rebellious strut back into rock and roll. The band's 2001 debut EP, The Four Kingdoms of Black Lipstick, is loaded with swanky, badass lyrics like "I don't care about shit / except for getting off, and getting lit" and "high on life / drugs are just groceries."

The band had two goals when they first started rehearsing: "to get fucked up a lot" and to sound as much like the Velvet Underground circa 1969 as possible. If Black Lipstick does not blatantly steal the VU sound like the Dandy Warhols or the Strokes, that's only because they can't pull it off. "They're my favorite band -- period -- so I want to become just like them," says co-vocalist/guitarist Phillip Niemeyer. "But that's usually not a very good idea because that wouldn't be very original. But that's cured by the fact that we're not as good as the Velvet Underground."

Falling short of their goal has had some interesting side effects: People are now comparing Black Lipstick to the Stones, Brian Eno and Television, as well as the Velvets. "And that is a real honor, 'cause those guys can shred for real," Niemeyer notes.

The band recently made a pilgrimage to the Velvets' old New York stomping ground, and on some of the dates the fans who turned out to see them could be counted on one hand. Black Lipstick didn't care. For them, quality trumped quantity. An insurance adjuster who had been working on post-September 11 claims for months turned up on a whim, and after the show, told the band that their performance had made her happy for the first time since that awful day. "The best compliment we've ever had," says drummer Beth Nottingham. "Well, see, we were kinda patriotic," Niemeyer adds. "I think we all love freedom," adds bassist Steve Garcia.

George W. Bush would be proud of this band. So would Lou Reed, for that matter. But it's another VU vet that Black Lipstick puts the "would" to. A song off their debut EP is called "W.W.D.Y.D.," and as the Velvet fanatics out there have already surmised, the initials stand for "What Would Doug Yule Do?"

Evidently, the answer to that eternal question is to release a second album called You're Gonna Shit Your Culottes. Look for it sometime in the middle of next year. "We would like it to be a summer record, man," says Niemeyer. "It's for the Jeeps, you know."

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Chris Kahlich