For the past 21 years, they have been peddling their wares around the world, attracting ever-growing audiences in the process. The trio of Martyn Jacques, Adrian Stout and Adrian Huge play songs which spin giddily around a dark and twisted carousel, taking influence from British vaudeville, punk, gypsy folk music and burlesque, whilst managing to be utterly original at the same time.
With a large catalogue of recorded material behind them – including the renowned Shockheaded Peter and the Grammy-nominated The Gorey End – last year saw The Tiger Lillies delight a sell-out Fringe crowd with a ‘greatest hits’ set of twisted tales and disturbing ditties.
This year, they will be showcasing some new material: including songs based on Little Red Riding Hood and The Rhyme of The Ancient Mariner; and some truly taboo-busting songs from a forthcoming opera featuring stories about criminals on ‘Australia’s Alcatraz’, Cockatoo Island prison.
In May, The Tiger Lillies played at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival curated by one of their friends, a certain Matt Groening. Now, they are looking forward to returning to the Edinburgh Fringe next month, and we caught up with falsetto frontman Martyn Jacques to ask him a little about the show and his plans.Tell us a little bit about your show – where’s it happening, what’s it about, why should people come to see it?
It’s on at the Pleasance Courtyard at 9.45 pm. We’re juxtaposing old songs from our first album with one of our latest “Freakshow”.
People should come and see us because our music is beautiful and unique! Honest guv!
What do you think the best things about the Edinburgh Fringe are?
Er..when loads of people come and see our show and buy all our 26 albums afterwards.
(Did that come across as a bit selfish? Oh well there you go! ).
What changes have you seen – good or bad – over the years?
Slightly more people coming to see us from year to year.
Where are your favourite places in the city?
No one place. It’s a beautiful city and like no other city.
What’s the strangest or funniest thing that’s happened to you at the Fringe?
We once had a woman walk on stage take the microphone and announce to the audience that they should all leave. She then burst into tears while the audience booed and heckled her.
Describe, if you can, your ‘average’ Edinburgh Fringe day…
I write and practice all day, or record with the band.
We’ve recorded a couple of albums in Edinburgh and plan another one this year.
I go out for lunch sometimes. Do the show and go for a drink afterwards.
If money was no object, what publicity stunt would you do to promote your show?
I don’t think I like the sound of publicity stunts! We’re serious artists you know!
At least that’s what my mum reckons.
Who else are you planning or hoping to see?
More Light Please at Universal Arts’ New Town Theatre has Tiger Lillies songs in it. I shall also probably go and check out some of the competition like Meow Meow.
What do you have planned after the Fringe?
We’re doing a couple of shows in Russia. Then doing a new theatre show in Prague and straight on to Berlin to do a Tiger Lillies Circus type show.
We travel all over working pretty much the whole year.
Sum up your show in three words for us:
Roll Up !
You can buy tickets for The Tiger Lillies show at The Pleasance website.