Lit finds reignited enthusiasm with new album, label

By: Jeff Pack - Staff Writer

When Lit released "A Place in the Sun" in 1999, the Orange County band found quick success. The album went platinum, had four legitimate hit singles, with "My Own Worst Enemy" as 1999's most-played modern rock song according to Billboard Magazine.

But two years later, the band released "Atomic" and found out that success can be fleeting.

"The whole RCA chapter should have closed before 'Atomic,' " said singer A. Jay Popoff. "We found out pretty quick that it wasn't all peaches and cream after you have some success. That album was pretty trying times for us. It just shows how a struggling label can bring a band down.

"When you are on a major (label) you have to come out blowing up or you get pushed aside. That was the case with 'Atomic.' We realized that all the people that were behind us on 'A Place in the Sun' weren't around anymore. We quickly realized that not everyone was worried about your best interests."

In the three years since, Lit parted ways with RCA, struck a deal with Nitrus Records and is about to release a self-titled album (June 22), which the band produced on its own for the first time.

"This is the most liberating record we've ever done, it's a fresh start," Popoff said. "We feel like the label that we signed with are as passionate as we are. It's the feeling you get when you graduate; we were just a lot more pumped up to write again. It's a way cooler energy."

It's a fresh start that Popoff says has the band ready to hit the road. Lit opens for Hoobastank on Friday at SOMA San Diego.

"We're all anxious to get back on the road," said Popoff, whose brother, Jeremy, is the band's guitarist and shares the stage with drummer Alan Schellenberger and bassist Kevin Baldes. "We are kind of easing our way in with some one-offs, and once we get back to doing it every day, that's when we'll really feel like we're back."

1999's "A Place in the Sun" featured such songs as "Miserable," "Zip-Lock" and "Four," tunes that spoke about cruising hot cars, partying all night long and young-adult relationships gone good and bad. Popoff says their new music has matured along with the band members themselves.

"This time around is a little more personal," he said. "I think we let that happen naturally. Not everyone's going to automatically relate, because we've moved on and grown up and write about mature topics. Hopefully our fans will have grown up a little too and can relate to what we've gone through."