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Lit Go Arena Rock

Orange County, California rockers Lit are nearing completion on their third full-length album, due out October 9th. Working in North Hollywood’s NRG Studios with producer Don Gilmore, who handled the band’s 1999 sophomore breakthrough A Place in the Sun as well as recent efforts from Sugar Ray and Eve 6, the group has tracked fifteen tunes and is presently knee-deep in mixing.

Although the album is currently without an official title, Lit – singer A.Jay Popoff; his brother, guitarist Jeremy; drummer Allen Shellenberger and bassist Kevin Baldes – say a recent obsession with Seventies arena-rock may weigh heavily in the naming process. “We’ve been kicking around ‘Lit 3’ or ‘Lit Vol. 3,'” Jeremy says. “Something in the tradition of Van Halen and Led Zeppelin and Foreigner. That’s what we brought into the studio. We didn’t bring in the new Blink-182 record or the new Linkin Park to hear what’s happening now. We brought in shit from the Seventies to sort of get into that mode of making spontaneous, big rock.”

Another name candidate, “Payola Amigos,” references the band’s sudden ascension to stardom, courtesy the now household riff that drove their self-deprecating smash “My Own Worst Enemy,” and how fame attracts suspect buddies. A.Jay further addresses the subject in the new song, “Lipstick and Bruises,” singing “Kiss me on the way up/Kick me when I fall down” as Jeremy’s Randy Rhoads-ish riff resonates behind him.

While that song suggests a newer, heavier Lit, the new album is nonetheless chock full of their trademark shimmer and smartassness. “Same old shit,” A.Jay says. “Lotta chick songs and bad relationships.” The first single candidate “Last Time Around,” tips its hat to the Cars ‘ “Just What I Needed,” even as it inverts the riff to Metallica ‘s “I Disappear,” while “yeah-yeah”s populate “Addicted,” in which A.Jay tells that special someone, “I’m so addicted to you/And you’re such a dick to me.”

For their biggest departure to date, the all-acoustic “Happy in the Meantime,” the band asked noted arranger (and Beck ‘s dad) David Campbell to play and oversee string parts. Elsewhere No Doubt horn-man Gabe McNair guests.

“The ‘Enemy’ riff was just an accident that happened, and I don’t think you could ever try to duplicate it,” Jeremy says. “That was a phenomenon that happened that no one expected. You’d drive yourself crazy trying to recapture that, but there are a couple of hooks on this record that I think are pretty awesome.”

In addition to a new album this fall, Lit will be releasing their first home video, “Stuck in the Middle of Everywhere,” a collection of tour footage and behind-the-scenes stuff gathered along the two-year road stint that followed “A Place.” Also included will be new videos for older tracks “Four” and “The Best Is Yet to Come Undone.” The foursome have also tracked a version of the headbanging classic “I Wanna Rock,” for Twisted Forever, a tribute to Eighties metal androgynauts Twisted Sister, due August 14th.

While Lit says they won’t be launching a full-scale U.S. tour for this upcoming album until sometime in early 2002, the guys will play a handful of summer radio festivals and likely make a quick run through Europe in the coming months. Their lone scheduled North American gig is August 3rd in Las Vegas, where they’ll play poolside at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino with Eve 6 and Handsome Devil, the first signing to the band’s new Dirty Martini imprint.

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