Black Lips is a "flower-punk" band from Atlanta, Georgia.The band formed in 2000 after guitarist Cole Alexander and bassist Jared Swilley left the Renegades, and guitarist Ben Eberbaugh left the Reruns. Drummer Joe Bradley joined a few months later. They released their first 7-inch in 2002 on their own record label, Die Slaughterhaus.
Just days before a tour was to begin in December 2002, guitarist Ben Eberbaugh was driving a car that was struck by a drunk driver going the wrong way while he was parked at a toll booth. He was killed but the band carried on, believing that Eberbaugh would want them to continue.
The band's debut full length album, Black Lips!, was released on Bomp! Records in 2003. Eberbaugh was replaced by Jack Hines, a friend of the band members, and they recorded their second studio album, We Did Not Know the Forest Spirit Made the Flowers Grow, with him. Hines quit the band in 2004 so he could settle down with his wife. St. Pé, who at the time was enrolled at the University of Memphis as a music major, got a call from the band asking if he wanted to immediately join them on tour. Pé, who spent his early twenties buying alcohol for his future underage band-mates , dropped out of school and accepted the band's offer.
They have slowly built a fanbase that appreciates their style that is a rough mishmash of blues, rock, doo-wop, country, and punk. One of their biggest influence is the 60's Peruvian garage band Los Saicos. They gained national attention in 2006 with features in Spin and Rolling Stone magazines. The band got exposure in the New York Times during the 2007 South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, in which they played a dozen shows over a three-day period.
Their debut for Vice Records, Los Valientes del Mundo Nuevo, was released in February 2007. It is supposed to have been recorded at a bar in Tijuana, Mexico, but fans, musicians, and journalists have expressed doubts about that claim and speculated that some or most of it was recorded in a studio with John Reis.
In September 2007 their second studio album for Vice entitled Good Bad Not Evil was released. The Black Lips made their American national television debut in October 2007 on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and played "O Katrina". In May 2008 Black Lips made their UK TV debut performing 'Bad Kids' on BBC3's The Wall.
In October 2008 a portion of the band's song "Veni Vidi Vici" was played during the season premiere episode of the television show Dirty Sexy Money, shown on the American network ABC.
The group toured India in January 2009. Following some antics at their show in Chennai, the band became worried about being arrested and imprisoned for "homosexual acts" so they fled the city and eventually the country. The band summed up what happened in an interview at the Pitchfork Media musical festival: "they [Ian and Cole] kissed, some weiners got pulled out..." Vice Records documented the trip.
After the band left India, they traveled to Berlin, Germany and recorded a 12-song LP of gospel-influenced songs with King Khan & BBQ. The album was released on September 22, 2009, under the name The Almighty Defenders.
The Black Lips released their fifth studio album, 200 Million Thousand, on February 24, 2009 on Vice Records. The songs were recorded at New Street Studio, a former art gallery in Decatur GA, near Atlanta.
The Black Lips have a reputation for crazy live shows that have included vomiting (Cole's medical condition), urination, performing fellatio on each other, nudity, band members kissing (each other and audience members who go on stage), electric mini-car races, fireworks, a chicken, and flaming guitars. The frequency of the group's outrageous stage antics has declined, as they claim to have matured "a little bit".