Refreshing and Relatable, Lip Candy Strives to Bring Back the Rock Band
PHOTOGRAPHY by JASON KENT
In times like these, the world is in dire need of fun, sex, glamour, excess and an explosion of glitter. Haven’t we been through enough? Enter Lip Candy. Three affable looking, sweet as pie, down to party boys that are dead set on a Sunset Strip revival with their anthemic, punky, power pop jams. And the best part? They’re bringing back “the rock band.” With their debut EP, Where Did All The Bands Go, Tommy Lloyd, lead singer; Philip “Skunk” Dion, bassist; and Luke Caro, drummer charge forth with commentary on today’s lack of bands. “Rock kind of got ignored for a while because rap, trap and hip-hop blew up and took over which is dope. I think people got distracted for a bit because they were like, oh wow, look at this sick, new genre. We’ve had 10 years of that. Now, rock’s kind of back,” says Tommy when asked to speak on the extinction of bands. He then mentions—even though there’s a rock resurgence—it’s all solo artists. Skunk continues: “There’s nothing in the scene right now that’s inspiring people to come together and make music. Nobody’s really on the teamwork wave right now. Nobody’s really in on the camaraderie, ‘let’s make and build something together.’”
Lip Candy is an absolute band, full of vigor, respect and adoration when speaking to each other, and about one another. Their enthusiasm is infectious as they detail their origin story with Skunk and Tommy first meeting at college in New Orleans. Tommy seems to have the confidence to know that he was put here on earth to be a star and to sing in this band. For him, there was never any question. Skunk, who originally studied guitar, sold everything he owned to buy a bass rig in order to join said band. There was also never a doubt that they would come to California, where they had the good fortune of meeting Luke, an LA native.
After doing an acoustic cover of an Oh, Weatherly song and posting it on YouTube, vocalist Blake Rose reached out to them with an interest in producing. “And then the rest is history,” says Tommy. “The second we moved out here in 2021, [we went] straight to Blake’s house, and started writing and recording. What you’re gonna hear on the record is the result of our work together.”
Their sound (like everything great) comes from a wide variety of influences.“I mean, I personally grew up on predominantly 90s and [aughts] rock. And then obviously there was a hint of classic. I also love blues so that was in the mix too. A lot of my guitar riffs get compared to Nirvana and stuff like that,” says Tommy. Then a twinkle
appears as he speaks admiringly of Skunk’s penchant for thick, heavy, bass music. “He listens to a lot of trap and stuff, and you can tell because when he plugs in, dude one strum and it’s just like—you know what I’m saying? There’s a lot going into it.” Luke, who’s currently on a Rage Against The Machine kick, adds, “I would definitely say, I have the soul of a drummer. It’s like we’re playing a freaking rocking song. We’re all together gonna play it like a rock song. Just freaking all of us going crazy.”
This buoyant energy and raw talent, funneled through a shared rock n roll vision are reigniting the heyday of clubs like Viper Room and Whisky A Go Go, where they’ve been regularly appearing since their arrival in LA. And unlike so many pop acts and writing rooms of today, this band operates like a true democracy. Each of them contributes equally to everything from riffs to lyrics. With songs often written in the studio, it’s clear that the rock gods are on their side with their ability to channel, as a unit. “No two songs are written the same,” says Tommy. “It’s this huge mixed bag. Each song, every person’s got a different little bit, whether it’s a word or whole line. It’s a puzzle, dude. Everybody moves a piece into the puzzle.”
Tommy admits that most of his songs are about girls, laughing and calling himself cliché. A sense of self-awareness and depth reveals itself as he continues. “It’s literally just a straight reflection of what we’re going through and how we live our lives. I guess people in suits and stuff aren’t gonna listen to me, if I stood up in their business meeting, if I somehow managed to sneak my way in there. But in making music, this is our way of giving our two cents. It’s just kind of like, ‘yo, this is how we’ve interpreted the past year and a half, and this is what the fuck we have to say about it.’”
Being a fairly new band with only nine singles, they already have a solid following. Eyes on the prize, when the pandemic hit, they hit the ground running with TikTok and gained several viral moments. They plugged away on YouTube covers and constantly made content on Instagram. They even had a self-proclaimed and much disdained “vlogging phase” and it paid off, as Tommy explains. “I think that’s pretty cool because that means this debut EP we’re about to drop is gonna be heard by the following that we [already] have, even though it’s just our first. Honestly, it’s great, it’s mind boggling. And we get to swallow that pill and use it as our work-hard-drive factor.”
Success seems inevitable for this power trio, with Tommy, who one can’t help but compare to Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee; with Philip heavily inspired by RHCP’s Flea and Luke with his “drummer’s soul.” On stage, it’s just those three and their livewire energy. A real band. When asked what their dream opening tour slot would be, they all nod quickly and respond.