It’s a soggy Monday night in Philadelphia and we’re crammed into a small room in Fishtown’s Big Mama’s House arts space. The room, which maybe measures 15-by-15 feet, is the practice space of Philly punk four piece Thin Lips, but it also doubles as drummer Mikey Tashjian’s living quarters. He moved in not long ago, and started lightly decorating the room with random artifacts – record sleeves, iridescent fabric, a blue-ish abstract print made by his aunt.
The band is workshopping many things at once on this particular evening – it’s about to head out on tour in support of Riff Hard, their debut LP out today on Lame-O Records (that we’ve been featuring all week long on Unlocked), and it’s been a while since they played these songs together live. Kinks are worked out, particularly on raging album opener “DEB.”
“It’s about how being a girl is hard,” says singer-guitarist Chrissy Tashjian, Mikey’s sister. “And how being a girl who dates girls is hard.”
After a few passes through the two-minutes-and-change blast of energy, the band stops for a breather and we casually chat about the items Mikey has scattered the room. Above his bed, a polo work shirt on a hanger dangles from a hook on the wall. It belongs to the Tashjians’ late brother Billy, who passed away at age 22 in January of 2014, right before what was supposed to be Thin Lips’ live debut opening for Radiator Hospital and Potty Mouth at Boot and Saddle.
Mikey says the shirt is a reminder. “You can work hard,” he says. “You can be a good person. And you’re still going to die.” Continue reading →