Lions In The Street are true rock ‘n’ roll survivors. Over the past decade, the Vancouver band’s dedication to its craft has made them obscure masters of open-tuned ballads and coarse rockers, and they’ve insisted—sometimes unreasonably and verging on self-destructiveness—on doing it on their own terms.
LITS began their career by signing and then walking away from a couple of major labels after recording a would-be-classic debut in a famous L.A. studio with a Grammy-nominated producer, which earned them a spot on the music industry’s blacklist. Yet despite experiencing the worst of the of old music business—just ask them about being on the wrong end of a dinner bill with Todd Rundgren, or how an A&R guy almost got fired just for going to see them play—the band somehow kept going, and now the digital and DIY revolution has given them a new life.
L.I.T.S. have paid their dues in blood, sweat, and years: they’ve released music and booked their own North American tours, with multiple stops at SXSW and CMJ—all independently and despite legal fights with their old label (saved by Pitbull and Lil’ Jon). Their most recent EP, On The Lam (Beverly Martell), finds the amps cranked up. Songs like ‘Tighten the Reins’ and ‘All for Your Love' prove that LITS' trademark swing and riffing is intact and stronger than ever and that their struggle has made them even more intense.
“We kept at it, sometimes foolishly, and these songs are the culmination of all our experience and years of listening and playing,” says Chris. “Everyone who makes music wants recognition of some sort and a good life, but at every point we’ve been prevented from compromising our integrity to achieve those things. So there’s a certain authenticity that we can’t really take credit for [laughs]—it’s a humility that’s been forced on us.”
Lions In The Street have achieved a tough, dedicated survivor’s strength and sound—this is a band that’s been at it for a spell but whose hard road has only intensified their edge and music. “We’ve always been a little ornery, I guess,” says Chris Kinnon (singer, lead guitar). “But it’s never been a matter of just trying to get our way or fighting for the sake of fighting: all we care about is trying to write great songs and make great records, and none of that is possible if you take the easy way or let someone else tell you what to do or how to do it.”