You – yes, you, dear fans – can help. View video pitch, below.
Vancouver punk act Living With Lions endured a hailstorm of backlash from the
Canadian government upon the release of their sophomore album Holy Shit earlier this year.
Although critically acclaimed, the provocatively titled album was deemed
“blasphemous” by the Canadian Heritage Minister due to the artwork and
packaging, which on some level resembles a Bible, subtitled “The Poo Testament”
with lyrics written like biblical verses. The controversy stems from the fact
that the government-sponsored Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on
Recordings (FACTOR) provided funding to the band’s Canadian label Black Box
Recordings, Inc, to the tune of $13,248 to offset the band’s costs of recording
and releasing the album. With the government threatening to shut down FACTOR, Living With Lions and Black
Box Recordings voluntarily decided to return the full amount of the loan in
cash (rather than through sales over time), in order to keep their artwork
Living with Lions is appealing to both fans and advocates of free speech to
help pay back the loan through a Kickstarter campaign (http://kck.st/pn5kqI).
The campaign urges people to pledge money in an effort to defend art-funding
and the freedom for all to have protected artistic expression. The band
recorded a PSA (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wj4vYYGKF-U), viewed above, and released an official statement:
content of our artwork for our new recording was created out of our passion for
satire and absurdist humor. The lyrical and musical content of this record does
not contain any commentary on religion, nor does it use a pejorative or
malicious voice against any particular group of people (excluding possibly some
of our ex-girlfriends). When the idea came up to simply alter the artwork for
HOLY SHIT without having to expedite the repayment to FACTOR (The Foundation
Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings), we chose to entirely return the money
so that HOLY SHIT can forever remain true to the original format. The debate
about government funding contributing to potentially controversial art is
neither new nor truly resolved; but when the offended public complains, the
politicians habitually remind groups like FACTOR, the NEA and the Arts Council
that they can pull the plug rather than encourage discourse or scholarly
debate. We would like to thank our fans, friends and family for
their continued support.