Living With Lions Grow Up Quick
Published May 29, 2011Living With Lions' sophomore album was already set up to hit the ground running. Relentless touring and inspired performances of 2008's Make Your Mark won more fans and friendships throughout the punk community, and a new singer and bassist meant a renewed energy for the already positive Vancouver party-punks. The album delivered, and then suddenly, the band had a whole new audience – but not from listening to the music.
Days after its release, Holy Shit was admonished by Canada's Heritage Minster James Moore for its Bible-satirizing artwork. Refusing the bait, the Vancouver party-punks returned the album-enabling $13,000 FACTOR grant and – fecal Jesus and principles intact – brushed off the stuffy misunderstanding and forged on. In the midst of touring (again), the band was focused on firming up the new songs, let alone its new configuration.
"It's still a role that I'm getting used to," vocalist Stu Ross says of his new job from gig in PEI. "Playing guitar in a band is one thing, and it does feel like an important role, but I definitely now recognize the weight that front-men have to carry."
In mid-2010, within a day of Ross leaving his previous band Misery Signals, his old friends serendipitously approached him about taking over for recently departed vocalist Matt Postal. Already into writing and recording Holy Shit demos, the band were pursuing anthemic new highs, but Ross (who recorded vocals in a shoe warehouse) sees his joining as more crucial to the band's mindset than its material.
The band had written a stronger record this time around," he says. Modesty (and controversy) aside, Holy Shit's big sound owes as much to the band's past as its new present. "I can't speak for the whole band, but from what I can see, it feels like the band's functioning a lot better. I think [they're] really happy with the way things are going. There's definitely a change."