High Five! from The Lions
Calgary, Alberta natives The Lions play rock and roll that is melodic, aggressive, and jazzy, often simultaneously. Chris Millar, the lead vocalist and guitarist of The Lions explains that the trio (rounded out by drummer Liz Dumenko and bassist, keyboardist, and backing vocalist Justin Luchinski), “sounds like Snatch, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and any other movie Guy Ritchie has made without Madonna in it.” Much like the title of their latest release, Iconoclastic Motion Picture Soundtrack and Pub Songs and Sing-a-Longs, this week's High Five! feature showcases the diverse list of films that have influenced many of the band's songs:
1. Shaun of the Dead
This is the best movie ever made, period. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost not only made a unique movie, but they created a genre of film that has inspired other filmmakers to copy what they did. When you tell people who haven't seen Shaun of the Dead that it's a comedic, romantic, zombie flick, they’re definitely dumbfounded...probably like when people first listen to some of our albums, which tend to be all over the place. When we were on tour in 2010 and we drove through East Hastings in Vancouver, I couldn’t help but think that all the crackheads looked like the zombie characters from Shaun of The Dead. We love this movie so much, it partly influenced the lyrics of “Marc Bolan’s on our Stereo?,” a song found on our new album.
2. From Dusk Till Dawn
Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez never disappoint, but this film is pure class from beginning to mind-blowing end. I loved the look and feel of the film so much that I was inspired to write a song that could become its own movie, called "Syd…Is A Serial Killer!" The song is about Syd running around in a dress, killing people by draining the blood from his victims. He collects the blood using a wooden spoon and a tin bucket. I think that’s way more interesting than Twilight and could definitely be made into a film if people don't get sick of vampires draining blood.
3. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
If it weren't for this movie, The Lions would have never come up with the idea to wear three piece suits and dress up like the characters from Guy Ritchie films. If you take the analogy that Oasis wanted to look like The Beatles, we wanted to look like Big Chris, Barry The Baptist, Dog, and Bacon from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Most of the time, our on-stage apparel made us look like we’d just left a wedding, so it was always nice to show up at a shitty pub in a three piece suit and stare down all the rich kids in their fashionably ripped Tommy Hilfiger jeans. If people walked out while we were playing, we’d yell at them during the set. Ironically, the rich kids were trying to look like bums and we wanted to look rich and famous. I always wear suits to the bar, because when I’m famous, I don’t want people saying, “He’d never have the gaul to wear that in my pub!” Lately though, we’re not as dressed up on stage, because the dry cleaning bills cost more than a new pair of jeans.
4. Rise of the Footsoldier
This is the story of a criminal who is respected by everyone for his honesty and the way he conducts his business. He goes from being a football hooligan to a legend that no one can touch. After I finished watching the film, I thought it was a lot like being in a band, where you start out as no one and move up the ranks, becoming more and more respected. There are no medals or certificates to say what you’ve done as a band, so you only have your reputation. Being in a band is like being in a gang, sometimes you’ve got to watch out for one another, especially when on the road. We’ve always been the type of band to do what we want and we've been loyal to anyone who has been loyal to us. A while back, I needed a title for our last album, but didn’t want to use the exact title of this movie. After watching Jimi Hendrix playing “New Rise of the Setting Sun” on the Live At Berkeley DVD, I came up with New Rise Of The Footsoldier, by combining both phrases. In doing so, the album became about one band's struggle to go somewhere.
Awaydays is about a boy that is fed up with his life and finds excitement by getting into fights. The music in the film is post-punk. After watching the film, I wanted to write a modern post-punk song that people would say,"That should have been in the movie." I had plenty to write about since 2010 was such a bad year for us, so I sat down and recorded each of the parts of the tune and then sung a melody over the top that turned out to be the words. I spent about ten minutes writing the lyrics and chords to the song; it felt good to get that out. This film reminded me that songs don’t need to be seven minutes long to be brilliant, which is why our new album is broken into two sections Motion Picture Soundtrack and Pub Songs and Sing-a-Longs.
Listen to The Lions' Radio.
This week's High Five! is brought to you by: The Lions' Chris Millar with Lauren Mercury Roberts
To celebrate the end of the nine to five, a Green Light Go staff member or artist will leave you with their short list of favorite things, better known as the High Five!