Black Lips’ Indian tour ends in chaos

Band are forced to flee from police after 'cultural shit storm'

Black Lips‘ tour of India has been cancelled after the band were forced to escape the country while being chased by police.

The band were midway through a seven-date tour when things went awry.

The trouble stemmed from an incident during the group’s gig at Chennai‘s Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall on Friday (January 23), when guitarist Cole Alexander reportedly stripped and jumped into the crowd.


According the Indian music blog, Alexander then “proceeded to get back on stage and make out with the other band members”.

The band’s behaviour is said to have infuriated the tour promoters so much that they notified the Tamil Nadu Police, informing the band that the rest of the gigs had been pulled and that they would soon be arrested.

In a statement posted on Black Lips‘ record label Vice‘s website, the band explained the situation in more detail.

“They [the promoters] tried to get security to restrain us until the Tamil police arrived. We locked the door while they were kicking and banging on it. Meanwhile, we slipped out the other emergency exit.”

The band said that they were then forced to drive ten hours to the next town in order to escape the Tamil authorities’ jurisdiction. But when they arrived at their destination, they faced yet more problems.

“When we got to the next hotel a mysterious man and someone who worked for our Indian booking agency tried to run off with our passports,” the statement said. “That’s when our documentarian Rob went postal on them. We surrounded them until they gave back our passports. After that we booked the first flight to Berlin.”


Black Lips did manage to play four gigs in India before fleeing the country, although those weren’t without controversy either. At a gig at Pune on January 17, they came onstage directly after an eight-hour ‘battle of the bands’ mostly featuring metal acts, and were promptly pelted with bottles by disgruntled audience members.

Despite the reception they received, the band are hopeful that more western bands will tour India.

“For future reference, we really enjoyed the people of India and we hope western rock bands will be able to tour there in the future,” the statement said.

The band are now in a Berlin studio with King Khan (of label mates King Khan And The Shrines) to record a new EP. They play a Shockwaves NME Awards Tour 2009 show on February 15 at London‘s Islington Academy, supported by newcomers The Soft Pack.

To check the availability of Black Lips tickets and get all the latest listings, go to NME.COM/GIGS now, or call 0871 230 1094.