Letâ€™s face it. At forty-five years old, Iâ€™m a little old to be chasing down up and coming rockers for interviews. Having spent twenty-some odd years working in the music industry, thereâ€™s little most rockers have to say that impresses me. Iâ€™ve heard the infamous â€śI am a golden godâ€ť line from the movie Almost Famous said in about a thousand different ways, the most recent incarnation only slightly more nauseating than the one before. So I set out to meet the young men in Living Things with antipathy and a certain weariness that only comes from dealing with too many fragile egos.
But my crankiness went away after the first few words we shared. The Living Things were in Tucson, promoting their new album Ahead of the Lions on a tour with Gogol Bordello. The band is comprised of Lillian, Eve, and Bosh Berlin. With pal Cory Becker, make up a quartet of well-spoken, unassailably intelligent gents who have a clear vision of what their music is about and the message they want to send.
â€śWe want people our age to wake the fuck up!â€ť started Lillian, the vocalist, lead guitarist and songwriter for the group. â€śOur peers have been zombified and dumbed down by what society provides. They donâ€™t pay attention to whatâ€™s going on, and the major media certainly doesnâ€™t give them any information like they did during the Vietnam War. Almost no one my age knows there are 15,000 injured US soldiers as a result of the war in Iraq.â€ť
The Berlin Brothers were born and raised in the St. Louis suburbs during the 1980â€™s and '90â€™s in a socially conservative environment. But the Berlin family was on the road much of the time, following their father, a carpet layer for carnivals. The Berlins, especially Lillian, had the opportunity to see how others from all economic walks of life lived. But as they grew older, they developed the same growing pains all teenagers do. Lillian acted out in junior high school, was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and prescribed Ritalin and Prozac.