Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Living With Lions issue statement regarding new album

If you've been living under a rock in the punk world then you've missed out the controversy surrounding Canadian pop punkers, Living With Lions. Their latest release, Holy Shit, has been causing quite a bit a trouble for newly appointed Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The album which released last week is under scrutiny for offensive album titling and artwork that was funded by the Canadian government art assistance program FACTOR. The Prime Minister has decided to make an example of Living With Lions by instating a motion to cut their artist funding completely.

The issue has drawn a distinct line between extremely conservative political views, and artistic freedom.

Living With Lions have decided to remain true to their art by refusing to alter the album, and instead will payback every cent used to produce the album.

LWL's official statement:

A statement from Vancouver’s Living With Lions, regarding the recent controversy over the artwork to the band’s new album “Holy Shit” (Adeline Records):

The 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. We'd especially like to thank some of our newer fans in the media whose stance(s) on free speech has been really influential:

"Only a fool would think that censoring and gagging someone is equivalent of changing their mind." - Ezra Levant

"I'm a mad believer in free speech and standing up to those who want to stifle free speech and impose standards of expectations." - James Moore

- Living with Lions, May 24th 2011

Who is really to say what is art and what is not? C'mon, don't we all have those "Holy Shit" moments from time to time?

What are your thoughts on this issue? If a government does not define what is "offensive" when it comes to artistic loans, should they be able to censor art after production? Does censorship defeat the purpose of art? Hit us up with your comments and tweets! (@barricadebuzz)

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