That One Song 

Lorem Ipsum, "Luck Has It"

click to enlarge Hear Lorem Ipsum — Brian Landis, Bret Payne, Andrew Crislip and Jon Bone — at the Republic on Wednesday, July 25. - ASH DANIEL
  • Ash Daniel
  • Hear Lorem Ipsum — Brian Landis, Bret Payne, Andrew Crislip and Jon Bone — at the Republic on Wednesday, July 25.

Two years ago, Lorem Ipsum guitarist and vocalist Brian Landis and drummer Bret Payne struck out on the familiar path forged by their mid-'90s outfit, More Fire for Burning People. With guitarist Andrew Crislip and bassist Jon Bone, Lorem Ipsum gradually has steered its sound into a massive, menacing amalgam of psychedelic hard rock and grunge. A handful of tracks recorded at Sound of Music have ended up on a new EP that capitalizes on the nuanced songwriting found on their debut 7-inch. Style Weekly met with the band to dig deeper into its subject matter.

Style: Tell us about that one song. ...

Landis: I think "Luck Has It" is the first time we hit that perfect recipe.

Payne: When we got done writing it, I was beaming.

Landis: The song has taken on a life of its own. The RVA Music Festival used it as their promo song [last year]. Lyrically, I rarely sit down and write about one subject that I follow all the way through. With "Luck Has It," it starts with this profound experience I had when my son was born. And then it talks about the process of growing up and realizing you are who you are and being proud of it. There's so much negativity out there telling us we can't do something. So it starts out with me singing about my son being born and then evolves into being about me coming into my own. In my old bands, I sang about drugs and abstract things, but now the most important things in my life are my family and politics.

What political topics have you written about?

Landis: There's a song on the 7-inch called "Green March." The very first revolution to happen, before Egypt and Libya, was in Iran, and it didn't seem like it got that much airtime. At first people were like, "Oh my god, Iran is in a revolution." Then it just got squashed. That was the epitome of people rising up to say "fuck you" to an authoritarian regime. That angst hasn't disappeared, it's just been swept under the rug for a bit. These ideologues are still in power and running the people's lives.

Beyond lyrics, how is Lorem Ipsum different from your previous bands?

Landis: I didn't really know where this band fit in. I was still in this mindset of the '90s. I knew that scene and knew all the musicians I liked, like Sliang Laos and all these harder bands with a lot of minor chords. I assumed that's where Lorem Ipsum was going. But the newest song we wrote, the way I picture it is a dude sitting on his front porch in the swamp, in a rocker, by himself playing guitar. We're just starting to get our feet under us now.

Payne: This band is much more straightforward and to-the-point. It's more steeped in rock 'n' roll than anything else, but there's still something very strange about this band. People have told me, "There's some dark stuff in there." It's loud as shit and there's a lot of energy, but it's not all dark material.

Where does this dark side come from?

Landis: We work with dark subject matter. The latest song we did was about the banking system and its complete devastation. I've made a conscious effort to be less dark, though. A lot of times, like on "Luck Has It," there's actually an optimism, but then the music itself is dark.

Crislip: In the midst of everything falling apart, there's still hope.

Landis: I think we are also drawn to the darker, minor tones of the music, stuff like Jesus Lizard and Slint. The lyrics just don't always reflect that.

What has been your most memorable show?

Landis: Without a doubt in my mind, it was the RVA Music Festival show at the Republic. People were packed in, and they were all focused.

Crislip: I was amazed it was more full when we finished than when we started. I thought people would hear us and then leave and come back for Long Arms. They all stayed.

If you could play a show with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

Crislip: I'd go with my high-school heroes: REM or Robyn Hitchcock.

Payne: I'd play with Hot Snakes, before their reunion.

Landis: I think Slint. Or GG Allin. I saw him at the Metro before he died. It was funny because everybody knew his shtick. The entire dance floor was empty except for this one skinhead in a leather jacket. Every time [Allin] would come offstage the skinhead would punch him in the face.

What do you have planned for the rest of 2012?

Crislip: We all have things that keep us near home, but we're going to start doing more recording.

Landis: I would like to play with this band forever. So, I feel like it doesn't matter how slow it happens. S

Lorem Ipsum performs at the Republic on Wednesday, July 25, at 10 p.m. Free.



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