I recently had the chance to ask Living With Lions vocalist Stu Ross a few questions. Incorporating catchy guitar hooks and rough vocals, Living With Lions deliver a refreshing punk sound. Read below as Stu and I chat about their current stint on the Manscout Jamboree tour, their new record, Holy Shit, and a little Third Eye Blind.
Mind Equals Blown: First off, could you please state your name and your position in the band?
Living With Lions: I’m Stu and I am the singer for Living With Lions.
So you set off on the Manscout Jamboree tour with The Wonder Years, Fireworks and Make Do And Mend in early April. How has the reception been so far on this tour?
The tour has been great. Kids seem really open to checking us out. All in all it has been a lot of fun so far.
Any funny/strange/odd stories for this tour?
Yes, for sure. However, I don’t really know if the guys would appreciate me filling you in on the dirty details.
I guess the most note-worthy thing was when we were in Vegas. Our bass player Bill [Crook] was mistaken for Travis Barker by some pool-side ladies. Our guitarist Chase [Brenneman] won a grip of money and then lost it all. I watched Seinfeld and went to bed before midnight. Vegas was a great time.
I was lucky enough to see you guys play on the first date of the tour and I would like to tell you that I personally enjoyed your set just as much as I enjoyed the headliners, which is definitely a phenomenal thing.
Thanks. I really enjoyed that show. It was a cool indication of what we could expect for the rest of the tour. The kids were awesome that night.
Even though you are a Canadian band, you have had a lot of success in the states and nationwide as well, likewise you have toured a lot all over, so tell us: what area would you say is the most fun to play shows in and why?
I think there are a lot of areas that are great to play. I really enjoy playing in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Denver, Anaheim,… the list could go on and on. Last year in Gainesville at Fest 9 was really awesome. We have some overseas plans for the summer. We are really looking forward to going over for the first time.
What is your favorite song to play live and why?
There are a few for me. I really like playing “Later Is Better,” “She’s A Hack,” and recently “Honesty, Honestly.” I am really excited to start playing songs off our new record.
What is the funniest and/or most interesting thing that’s ever happened to you while on tour?
Tons of interesting stuff happens all the time. To pinpoint one event as the most interesting would be pretty hard. I’d say us getting back home to Vancouver without the van exploding is the most mind boggling thing every tour.
You are set to release your sophomore effort, Holy Shit on May 14th. Now I have to ask, how exactly did such a ballsy title come to fruition?
When I joined the band the dudes were like, “We wanna call the record holy shit!” My first thought was “Wow, these dudes are retarded.” Then it grew on me. There isn’t any anti-christian or anti-religion message on the album. We just thought it was funny. Look at bands like Blink 182, Nofx, The Vandals etc etc. All those bands that we look up to have taken the dive into borderline offensive humor, so we figured why the fuck not? I don’t subscribe to any religion personally, I think it’s a crock of shit.
Even more ballsier than the title itself is the idea of gracing these words on what appears to be the cover of the Bible for the artwork. Now is this some sort of statement by the band, something you thought would be humorous or both? I personally laughed quite a bit when I first saw it.
I think I covered most of that in the question before this. We aren’t trying to make any sort of statement. It’s just funny. It’s punk rock, if someone thinks it’s offensive, tough titty.
I just had a chance to listen to the album and I loved how refreshing of a listen it is. Much like your first full-length, it’s very melodic, but rough around the edges as well. What do you feel fans should expect from this album compared to Make Your Mark?
Obviously the change in vocalist is there. But I think the album delivers what any fan of Living With Lions would expect. I think in ways it has darker moments than Make Your Mark but overall is very consistent with the band’s sound.
What was it like jumping in to the recording process so suddenly?
Getting into the studio was really exciting. I had spent a lot of time with the new material and it was awesome to finally put some vocals down on the songs. Dan Weston (producer/engineer) was really helpful and patient when we were tracking. It was a really pleasant experience overall.
Who wrote the majority of the lyrics for Holy Shit as opposed to Make Your Mark?
Chase wrote the majority of the lyrics on Holy Shit, the former vocalist Matt Postal had written a couple songs as well. I did a song or two. It was kind of already laid out before I had even joined the band.
What lyrical theme does Holy Shit follow, if any?
There are a lot of lyrics that deal with personal experiences. You can take from them what you will.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band and in what ways do you try to overcome this challenge?
I think the biggest challenge has been to keep out on the road and continue to get the band’s name out there. All we can at this point do is tour, tour, tour and do our best to keep kids interested.
Tell us, what band/artist do you enjoy that most people wouldn’t expect you to like?
I guess it would be Third Eye Blind. I love that band’s first couple records. I think the singer Stephen Jenkins is a genius.
In two words or less, how would you describe Living With Lions?
Smoking & Drinking.
Thank you so much for your time! Anything else you would like to add before we wrap this up?
Check out Holy Shit in stores and online May 17th 2011. Thanks!