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Lit Make a New Beginning

Self-titled record due in June

Lit will end a three-year silence with the release of their fourth album in June. Freed from their contract with RCA and establishing sole production credit on the new album, the Orange County, California, troupe are planning to make it a self-titled effort to mark phase two for Lit. "The whole album was written, recorded and mixed here," guitarist Jeremy Popoff says, "instead of doing the whole L.A. grind. We just felt like it's a real Lit record, made right here in our own backyard."

The group -- which also includes Popoff's singer/guitarist brother A. Jay, bassist Kevin Baldes and drummer Allen Shellenberger -- had always shared production credits -- on the past two albums with Don Gilmore (Linkin Park, Eve 6) -- and Popoff says that work on those records helped guide the band this time out. "It was kind of liberating and nice," he says. "When you're working on a song and all the guys are stoked about it and then the producer shoots it down, that's part of the game, but that's a tough pill to swallow sometimes. Still there were definitely times where we were sitting there scratching our heads, saying, 'What would Don do?' But having done this enough times now, though, we can almost predict what he would say."

Popoff says the album has a darker tone than Lit's previous work. "Lyrically, I think a lot of people are gonna go, 'Shit, these guys have had some stuff going on.' We've been through some stuff this year." Popoff declines to offer specifics, only citing that the troubles stretch from personal to professional. "It's a silly analogy," he says. But it's like [1999's] A Place in the Sun was where everyone was excited about going to the party. Atomic [2001] was the beginning at the party and everyone's drunk and all's good. This record is sort of like the kegs are covered in dust and people are throwing up. It's just time to go home. Lots of songs that just ask, 'Well, what now?' We used to be a little more vague and clever with our lyrics, to deliberately keep it impersonal. This time it's just a raw and back to basics record, very personal."

Lit spread about five weeks of actual recording over the better part of the year for the album, due in part to the comfort of recording so close to home. "It was almost too comfortable, because we were used to having to rent houses when we recorded in Los Angeles," Popoff says. "This time we had the run of the place. No meter running. We had time to explore a few things and a couple of songs were rewritten or changed around. It took a little longer than other records have taken, but I think the end result is that we feel a little more final about these songs."

In addition to Lit, the group also has a DVD in the works that spans Lit's history. "We somehow managed to cram seven years of Lit history and about 600 hours of footage from the road into two-and-a-half hours," Popoff says. "It shows the band playing in 1996 in front of twelve people in Texas. A few years later we're in front of 80,000 in England. Everything in between is just part of a fun journey."

ANDREW DANSBY
(March 23, 2004)