- A. Jay Popoff
- Allen Shellenberger
- Jeremy Popoff
- Kevin Baldes
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Biography: The Lit StoryIn the two years since A Place in the Sun hit the streets, Lit has played nearly 300 shows around the world and toured with heavy hitters like The Offspring, No Doubt and Garbage as well as winning an ever-growing contingent of fans with its blazing live show on the Warped Tour and their sold-out headlining tour. Interspersed among the incessant touring were a spate of honors: Billboard and ASCAP awards for "My Own Worst Enemy" plus numerous other nominations. The success was a long time coming and well-deserved (Lit had been grinding it out together for more than a decade with an indie EP and album under their belt before they signed to RCA). The success also upped the ante for Lit when the time came to record the new album, Atomic, but the band rose to the occasion. "We just naturally write poppy songs that have a heavy feel because that what we grew up on: heavy metal and pop music," observes Lit's guitarist Jeremy Popoff, contemplating the musical ingredients that go into the quartet's hummably hefty songs. "I mean, it sounds kind of funny, but we don't try and write good songs." He pauses and adds wryly, "I guess it's a matter of opinion whether they are good or not."
The consensus among the million-plus fans who bought Lit's 1999 major label debut, A Place in the Sun, which launched the hits "My Own Worst Enemy" (#1), "Zip-lock" (#11), and "Miserable" (#3) at modern rock radio speaks for itself. "When you make a record, you document where you're at with your songs," Jeremy says. "With A Place in the Sun, we had been unsigned, just doing local gigs for years, and the songs came out one by one. Then (after doing that album's release and touring to support it) we HAD to take a break. I literally didn't pick my guitar up for three months because we were running ragged for two solid years. Everybody just needed to unplug and recharge their batteries. But once we got the wheels turning it was like Wow! This is rad! Now we've got this record that we're so proud of." When asked about the pressure of the follow-up, Jeremy responds, "We don't know if there will ever been another "My Own Worst Enemy" and we really aren't focusing on that. This record is better than the last record."
Atomic sizzles with all the features fans have come to know and love - snappy tunes as catchy as they are crunchy plus sassy lyrics delivered by frontman A. Jay Popoff with a nudge and a wink. ("I'm so addicted to you, and you're such a dick to me," he quips in "Addicted"). But Atomic also reflects dynamic growth in the hard and soft sides of Lit's music. "She Comes" unwinds with a distinctly Beatles-esque flare while "The Last Time Again" (featured in the #1 smash summer comedy "American Pie 2") explodes with a mighty Metallica-esque edge. A. Jay describes the track as a kind of sequel to "My Own Worst Enemy." "Lyrically, it's kind of (about) the morning after," he says. "Wishing you wouldn't have done that and saying this is the last time...again."
This time out, bassist Kevin Baldes contributed two major riff/song ideas to the album ("Live for This" and "Next Time Around") and other tracks are the result of collaborations with friends in other bands--Danny Walker of Handsome Devil (signed to Lit's Dirty Martini label) and Butch Walker of Atlanta's Marvelous 3. There are some even more surprising turns on the album. "'Happy in the Meantime' was written with the full band," Jeremy explains. "It was a rockin' song and in pre-production we stripped it down to just guitar and vocals, and after we did that, everybody in the room was kind of like, Wow, that would be a really cool way to do the song. Since we had completely stripped it down we wanted to build it back up in a different way, and bring in an orchestra." Rather than bringing in a 60-piece orchestra, Lit opted to bring in David Campbell and a small string section. "It was just an experiment, but it really worked and it's like nothing we've ever had on any of our records."
A. Jay describes the first single off the new album, "Lipstick & Bruises," as a snapshot of success in the rock arena - a mixture of pleasure and pain that he and his bandmates have learned to appreciate whole-heartedly. "You wake up some mornings and you feel like you're covered in lipstick and bruises," he says. "It was going great and everybody was patting you on the back, and at the same time people were tugging at you in different directions and stretching you thin. You push yourself to the limit every day and every night on stage. You leave your guts kind of laying there on the stage, so it's just a feeling you have some mornings when you wake up. It's like man, you've really left it all out there, and it was crazy, but you loved it and you want more."
|Five Smokin' Tracks From...Lit||Malicious Vinyl 1995|
|"Tripping the Light Fantastic"||Malicious Vinyl 1997; re-released by RCA/Dirty Martini 1999|
|A Place in the Sun||RCA/Dirty Martini 1999|
|Atomic||RCA/Dirty Martini 2001|
|"My Own Worst Enemy"||1999|
|"Over My Head"||2000|
|"Lipstick and Bruises"||2001|